Friday, March 16, 2012

You are Worthwhile (and a little bit of funny)

I need to be doing a lot of other things besides writing right now, but I need to clear my head a little and focus for a moment or two.  Have you ever noticed how the things you are thankful for aren't necessarily the things that the next person is thankful for?  We are all wired so very differently, each one of us has a different perspective and a different voice and a different circle of influence that God designed for us to be in.  I may not have the same writing style as the next writer, my voice sounds different than the person singing next to me...that does not de-value my voice or make the words I write less worthy of being read.  It's a miracle really...there are new songs being written every day, new books published every day with new insight and people who may read what I wrote but will not even consider what another had to say about the same subject.

It's not that different than teachers I suppose.  Have you ever noticed you can learn from one person and not another.  One student raves about the teacher and the next can't understand a thing and is frustrated beyond belief.  I witnessed that phenomenon at my kitchen table yesterday as my husband tutored a young lady in math.  She couldn't understand it in class, but he presented it in a way that made sense to her and voila! learning happens.

We are such wonderfully complex creatures, each with a different set of gifts and talents to share with the world.  Don't let anyone tell you and by all means don't tell yourself that what you write/create/craft/sing/_________(fill in the blank) is not good enough because it doesn't look/sound/feel like that person's over there.

I'm not exactly sure where this post is stemming from today but I felt a need to write that for someone, perhaps myself, to encourage you today in whatever dream that is being woven in your heart just now.  It's okay to be you (or me)!  Live fully the life God has designed for you.

And now for a bit of funny...
There were rumors of discontent floating around my supper table last night and so I encouraged my children to think of some things to be thankful for since it is difficult to grumble and be thankful at the same time.  My eldest son who is almost 16 pipes up and says..."I thankful for flatulation", my lovely daughter gets on the bandwagon and says, "and defecation" and another son, "how about urination".  While gales of laughter abound I cannot say not to be thankful for so basic of bodily quote Shrek, "Better out than in!"  Later on that evening as we're getting ready for bed my husband informs me that there are other much more pleasant bodily functions that he could have mentioned but thought better of it!  This is my family, like it or lump it! :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Feeling the need to give thanks just now...

for white on the ground that will mean green in the fields this year
for 'thanks for supper mom, that was good'
for a 'serger miracle' today
for a way to fix a mistake
for ideas that come after you pray
for a husband who loves God more than he loves me
for worship music
for the book of Ruth
for a really good sleep last night
for good friends

Friday, March 02, 2012

A miracle and invitation

A little miracle happened yesterday.  A dear friend sent me a cheque in the mail.  How is that a miracle you may ask.  Do you get random cheques in the mail every day?  I don't.  It was why she sent me the cheque that touched my heart so deeply.

A month or two ago I ran into her at a concert and we stood and talked until the concert started.  We haven't seen each other for a few years and it was so good to reconnect.  As we caught up with one another I mentioned my desire to go to the Allume Social, it's a convention for women Christian bloggers.  I have a few obstacles to overcome; it's in Pennsyvania (definitely not a hardship to go there, just expensive), did I mention that it's expensive? and there are very limited spaces available.  The other husband talked with God and they came up with a little 'test'...I can go...if my readers support it.  Way back when I was really regular with this blog, had a pretty large readership and was even selling some of my little inspirational journals that I self-published...I would have said that it was a possibility.  Now that I'm sporadic and I live in a different space and place... I'm not so sure.  I gave up the thought almost immediately.

Then yesterday, it was March 1st and I knew that they were opening up some seats and here's this cheque in the mail from that same dear lurker *smile* encouraging me in my dream and telling me that she believes in me enough to send me a little money to go...(yes I cried...just so you know).  I still don't know if I'll be able to go because that set of seats sold out before I even remembered that it was the day to check that out, but God knows.  There is a writer's conference close by that I've been encouraged to attend and maybe I'll have to settle for that this year.

I was watching Letters to Juliette the other day and this wanna-be writer is claiming perfectionism as a reason for not submitting her work for publication.  Her adversary tells her that she's just using that as an excuse because she's a chicken.  My dear husband of 20 years looks at me out of the side of his face and laughed if you can believe it! prove I'm not chicken I am going to invite you, should you wish an invitation to the opening of a new blog that will contain my writing as it is right now.  I have a few poems that I might submit to a competition and 2 novels underway.  In this private blog I will share my rough drafts and you'll be free to read and comment.  If you'd like an invitation and you've actually read this far you can post a comment or e-mail me and let me know if you'd like to be a part of my unfolding writing drama, such as it is.

I probably am just a chicken walking around looking like a human...

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Reflections of Mexico - When Plan B Becomes Plan A

The interesting thing about this mission trip is that in the beginning I didn't really want to go.  Way back in August when registrations opened for the trip I had no intention of going on the trip.  However, my oldest daughter wanted to go and she didn't want to go without me...and I wouldn't have let her.  My oldest son was chomping at the bit to go, he'd been before and was anxious to go again.  Kelly and started praying about it and decided it might be a good idea for our child who thinks he's entitled to, well, everything, to go see a much poorer culture than the one he is privileged to enjoy.  Since Kelly was needed at home we decided that I was the best choice to go on the trip.

Don't get me wrong, I've loved every mission trip to Mexico that I've been on, I've just noticed that as I get older I am much more inclined to stay home and sleep in my own bed!  I wasn't looking forward to a bus trip and all the discomfort that goes along with that.  As it turned out, there appeared to be only a few of us planning to go so we decided to fly.  "Much better," I says to myself.  Then suddenly there were 33 of us planning to go.  Our plan, according to the mission base, was for us to build a home for a three generation family group of 17 people.  No problem, we thought, and started raising money for the project.

One fund-raiser that was particularly successful was my son's haircut.  Josiah agreed to have his hair cut...but only for a lot of money.  That hair raised about $3000 for our project, and got him a pretty nice haircut.  Don't anyone get to used to seeing him with short hair, he'll probably let it grow out again!
Before - it was longer than this when he actually got it cut.
After - we can see his handsome face.
The week before we left we found out the family we were going to build for took off!  Fortunately the cement hadn't been poured yet or that might have been a really big disaster.  We headed down to Mexico not really sure what we would be doing and didn't find out until the morning we started building.  The trip itself was pretty uneventful other than a few items getting taken away at customs.  Three families drove down and 21 of us flew.

At the end of the week we were able to dedicate a house to a family that wasn't actually present on site because the husband was in hospital.  The amazing thing that happened there was that the parents of the couple weren't on speaking terms when we got there and by the end of the week were working together.  Our prayer is that full restoration of their relationship would happen.  They are both attending the church across the street and, as far as we know, Christians.

Not only did we build a house we built an addition to a pastor's house  in the same area.  He and his wife had been praying for this addition to their tiny home for three years.  They were overwhelmed that we built in three days.  This pastor has a side business of building windows which he also uses as a ministry to young boys, teaching them how to build, as well.  We were delighted to leave money to build a roof to replace the tarp he uses to cover his tools and worksite.  We also left food that they can distribute as they see fit to local residents.  Cesar and Maria are doing an excellent job of being Jesus in their community and we were so pleased to be able to bless them in this way.

Hold on, we're not done yet!  A house, an addition, and a storefront cafe!  A lovely single mom who runs the breakfast club at the community centre that was built last time our team went down had a vision to start a cafe for the early morning workers who go out to the field.  She wants to use the money to support the ministry at the community centre.  She has five kids to support as well.  We were super excited (and so was she) to not only build the storefront, but to supply here with cooking utensils, pots, plates and cups for her business.  

In the afternoons part of the team ran "The Sunshine Club", a VBS program for kids.  They had some bumps along the the way but remained faithful.

It was a remarkable trip in so many ways.  Here are a few other snippets that we are so thankful for:
1.  No injuries beyond band-aid assistance.
2.  Incredible bonding between the youth on the trip.
3.  Not only did they gel with each other, but also with the Alberta group that was at the base at the same time.
4.  Excellent working relationships between kids and adults.
5.  Some kids got spit on, hit or kicked by some boys at VBS, but they did NOT retaliate and that was amazing.
6.  No hold-ups at customs.
7.  Great food.
8.  A lot of laughter.
9.  Very low stress.
10.  An unexpected late night trip to the ocean with a local youth group to watch the grunyons run (didn't actually see any).
11.  Many answers to prayer

I could go on much longer but I'll save some space for a few pictures that say plenty...

The whole Oskar

We split into three teams to build, this is Henricetta and the storefront team.

Pastor Cesar and Maria, we built the addition for them.

Abby and some of her groupies, Daniel, Manuel, Diego and ??

The "Old Ladies" cabin being a little silly.

Ryan and Josiah learned to roof one day and then did the addition roof by themselves the next day.  They were a good team.

Calla Lilies growing in her garden.

the addition

Working together, the family was very eager to help their sister /daughter and her husband.

Getting the countertop ready.

Part of the puppet/VBS team.

Oskar Jr. and Chris spent a lot of time together.

Josiah was impressed with the 3L coke bottles! :)