Wednesday, June 20, 2012

thought for today...OVERSIZE LOAD

Have you ever experienced a time when your burdens loomed larger than life over you?

I know that I have...days or weeks can go by and it feels like the load never eases up.  I am grateful that we have Someone who can take our burdens.  I know it is Him who holds me up when I think I can no longer stand. 

When I saw this truck and the sign OVERSIZE LOAD I immediately thought of  Matthew 11:28-30.  What a blessing that we who are weary can come to Him, give our burdens to Him, and He will give us rest.  

May you find relief from your burdens, no matter what size, in Him!

linking up with:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Scott City here we come!

I am speaking to a group of 2nd through 4th graders at a kid's camp out in Scott City, Kansas this evening.  As part of my talk on being a missionary I am going to teach them a song in Kriol.  I can teach it to you too if you like!

Do you know the song This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made?  My friend Shelly wrote out the words for you go!  (Just a note on pronunciation...di sounds like dee.)

Dis da di day, dis da di day
Dat di Lord has made, dat di Lord has made.
We wah rejoice, we wah rejoice,
And be glad ina it. And be glad ina it.

Dis da di day dat di Lord has made,
We wah rejoice and be glad ina it.
Dis da di day, dis da di day, dat di Lord has made!

Monday, June 18, 2012

the gift of travel...

There is a blessing in traveling that I had forgotten.

Traveling can take you to exotic places.  But, it can also take you home.  We traveled from New Mexico to Kansas this past week...going through Texas and Oklahoma along the way.  The closer we got to Kansas the more things started to look and feel familiar.  We have not lived in Kansas since 1988.  And it feels like 'old home week' each time we come back for a visit.

We are seeing old friends and meeting new.

We have had time with family...including my 93 year old grandmother and my cousin's 2 and 1/2 year old son.

The same highway that took us out of Kansas 24 years ago brought us back again.  And for that I am indeed grateful.

And the gifts of this trip just keep unfolding...

849.  my 93 year old grandmother is still mentally sharp and full of life.
850.  hugs and kisses from Auntie Martha.
851.  hugs and kisses from Aunt Lisa.
852.  my mother's face all lit up with excitement.
853.  seeing real life answers to prayer at Mike and Kristy's church.
854.  spending time at Hope Community church.
855.  the generosity of fellow believers.
856.  a young girl who gave us all she had to give because she wanted to support our work.
857.  dinner with Sister Ralston and her family.
858.  Paul and Cathy's friendship and hospitality.
859.  safety as we traveled.
860.  watching a little one eat ice cream with such pure joy.
861.  seeing Sister Ralston's secret garden.
862.  five new families who made pledges to support us.

863.  Greensburg, Kansas and all that they have rebuilt since the tornado five years ago

864.  interruptions that cross our path in the parking lot. 

865.  simple reminders of God's loving care everywhere we go.

gifts found in the Word:

866.  He does not show favoritism  Galatians 2:6
867.  He will rebuild us  Jeremiah 31:4
868.  His gifts and call are irrevocable  Romans 11:29
869.  He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters Hebrews 2:11
870.  He knows our needs  Matthew 6:32

 joining in with the gratitude community:

Friday, June 15, 2012

on the road again

Yesterday we left Albuquerque, New Mexico and drove to Guymon, Oklahoma. We spent last night watching the basketball game and waiting out the severe storm that came through Oklahoma.  We saw hail for the first time in years.  The winds were high and the rain was coming down hard.  Thankfully, we were safe, warm, and dry in our hotel room and not trying to drive in that storm.

Today our destination is Andover, Kansas.  Pray that all goes well on the drive for us... we are excited to see family and friends in Kansas!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

business cards...

Tom has these made at Kinkos...just so we have something to give out to any new people we meet in Kansas until our prayer cards arrive.  He wanted something that looked jungle-y.  I think he did ok!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

thought for today...mouths of laughter and tongues of joy

So much of being joyful is about perspective.  

A while back the guys went for a walk, locked all the doors, and didn't take a house key.  They tried to call me using the neighbor's phone, but, I was at lunch with a friend and ignored the call because it was from a number I didn't recognise.  When I got home, also without a house key, the three of us started laughing.  We laughed as we worked on ways to get into the house.  We laughed when Tom went out to buy a new lock.  We laughed as we retold the story to others.

It would be easy to get angry about cancelled flights, power outages, getting locked out of the house, or finding a gecko in your bed...but anger has no power to change a situation. Somehow, at least for us, laughter does have power.  It changes our attitudes.  It changes our outlook. And it changes how we speak about the events of our daily lives.

May we all learn to laugh and rejoice and allow God to change us through the power of joy!

linking up with:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tasty Tuesday...Crunchy Primal Crackers

I saw these on Pinterest and will give them a try when we get back to Belize...I love crackers and these sound like they will be pretty tasty and very easy to make!!

Crunchy Primal Crackers

2 cups raw blanched almond slivers
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried dill
1 egg whisked
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a food processor mix nuts, salt and dried dill until nuts reach desired consistency. For textured crackers, leave nuts in tiny pieces. For smooth crackers, blend until nuts reach a flour-like consistency.
Add egg and oil and pulse just until incorporated.
From here, you can shape the crackers in one of two ways:
For a thin, crunchy cracker flatten the dough between two sheets of parchment paper (sold in the same aisle as plastic wrap and aluminum foil) then use a rolling pin to get the dough as thin as possible. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and set the other (with the dough on top) on a cookie sheet. Use a knife or pizza wheel to cut cracker shapes.
Or, for a thicker cracker with a rounded shape, wrap the dough in a large piece of parchment paper and shape it into a log about 9 inches long and 1-2 inches tall. Use a knife to slice thin pieces of dough into crackers. If the dough is too soft, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes, then cut.
Bake crackers for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely before eating.

Monday, June 11, 2012

the precious gift of family...

The older I get the more I appreciate the value of family.  Not just our little family of four but our extended family.  My brothers, Tom's sisters and brother.  Our parents and the legacy of long lasting marriages, faith, and steadfastness they handed down to us.  Family that prays prays for you and sticks by your side.  Family that goes through stuff and comes out stronger than before.  Family that answers calls in the night when you need help.  Family that listens and comforts when needed.  Family that laughs and rejoices together.

Family...truly one of life's greatest treasures!  

831.  unexpected time with Steve, Angie, Jalen, Malik, Kalil and Kaysha!
832.  celebrating Tom's parents 50th anniversary!
833.  going to see The Avengers with Nathan and Spencer.
834.  hugging Nathan for the first time in over a year.
835.  reading over family history with Norm and Phyllis (aka Mom and Dad).
836.  family dinner time and all the laughter that goes with it.

837. family photos from Chris to replace some of those lost in our move from Russia to Belize

838.  seeing Les Mis together!

839.  Spencer finding treasure in the boxes stored here in New Mexico.

840.  a cookie jar of my own filled with gluten free cookies baked by Mom!

841.  rediscovering treasures stored away seven years ago before moving to Russia.

842.  reminiscing about Christmases long ago...

843.  cherishing the memories of sons as children.
844.  grateful to have strong relationships with them both now that they are grown men.
845.  pondering the blessings that flow from Mom and Dad and the family that they created 50 years ago.
846.  reading Dad's memoir.
847.  looking at old photos.
848.  treasuring all of these memories, new and old, deep within my heart!  

 joining in with the gratitude community:

Friday, June 08, 2012

Happy Weekend Time!

After a bit of a delay and another flight that almost cancelled we finally made it safely here to Albuquerque.  And now we have a few days of rest here with Tom's parents, Spencer, Nathan & Angelina.  What a blessing it is to be with family!

Enjoy your weekend...we sure will!!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

there is always a silver lining...

When we left Belize yesterday it looked like this...

But when we arrived in Dallas it looked like this...
and by the time we landed it looked like this...

An announcement was made about delays due to the weather, however, we thought we would escape all of that because we had a three hour lay-over anyway.  Our connecting flight eventually ended up being cancelled and the airline began passing out cots, blankets and pillows...and offering half-priced hotels.  We joined in the long line to re-book our tickets for today and by the time we got to the counter at least 40 minutes had elapsed and we were told that all of the passengers ahead of us had been put on stand-by.  While we were being waited on three seats opened up...shocking the man who was helping us find a flight!  We are booked and have boarding passes for today and should leave for Albuquerque just before 1pm if all goes well.  

The silver lining in all of spending time with my youngest brother Stephen and his family!  I called him from the airport and he drove out with Kalil to rescue us.  Kalil found us as we were searching for the exit to go out and meet them.  Angie spoiled us with a fabulous dinner which we eagerly devoured.  Jalen is home from university and Malik was also awake when we arrived...seeing everyone was truly a special treat!  We didn't think we would see them at all on this trip because we were not scheduled to spend time in Texas.   Thankfully, God had other plans!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

thought for today...word power

Are we speaking words that kill or words that give life?  

There are times when the wrong thing comes flying out of my mouth and I have no idea why I said that.  Or times when I question "did I just say that out loud?"  My choice is that my words would give life.  My prayer is that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart would be acceptable in His sight.  

If I have to choose between spewing poisonous life killing words
 the ripe fruit of sweet words wisely spoken...I choose the fruit.  

Not all of our choices are so cut and dried when we are in the middle of a chat.  Sometimes an ill worded joke or a gruff tone of voice can be conversation killers.  Even a scripture quoted to bring comfort or give instruction can be misconstrued if the timing is off.  So I need to choose wisely.  

May God guard my tongue...and prompt me to speak affirming life-giving words in His time.

linking up with:

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Adventure with the Divaz

Are you an adventurous person?  

I didn't think I was...but, I have watched tv shows like The Amazing Race and dreamed of participating in some of the things they were doing.  Well, I woke up on Saturday at six in the morning ready for an adventure.  A real adventure!  I went along with Anna and Andrea, the hosts of  the Divaz Next Door talk show, and four other moms to take part in a day of canoeing, rock climbing and zip lining courtesy of Cayo Adventure Tours and PlusTV.  I can't share every detail because there will be a tv show highlighting our adventure coming up in a few weeks and I don't want to give everything away.  

We all took a pledge in the van on the way to Barton Creek Cave that we would not back out of anything. So beginning with crossing this hammock bridge I participated in each event to best of my ability.  I just kept telling myself to not look down but straight ahead!

At first I was nervous about the cameras...I was mostly afraid of cussing while zip lining or freaking out in the cave while canoeing.  Fortunately, neither one of those things happened for me!  The cave at Barton Creek is listed among  9 of the most beautiful and unusual cave destinations in the world by Mother Nature Network, and was actually one of the highlights of my day. 

Canoeing inside the Mayan underworld was intriguing, fascinating, tranquil and yet thought-provoking.  I expected to feel trapped being underground but I didn't.  Instead I was in awe of the fingerprints of God I saw in the stalactites, stalagmites, and halagtites.  The unique shapes and designs that form naturally over hundreds of years were at times breath-taking.   

Looking up, around and down into the water...pausing now and then to breathe in deeply and exhale slowly with my eyes closed to fully take in the moment and be grateful for the entire experience.  I couldn't keep my eyes closed for too long because I didn't want to miss a moment of this opportunity.   Quartz shimmering like diamonds as the 1000 candle lightbulbs bathed the rocks with illumination.  Our tour guide from Cayo Adventure, Teddy, was highly knowledgeable and he deftly guided us through the water with his expertise and his stories.  

It was easy to see why the Mayans believed the gods lived in there...and why they chose to perform some acts of worship inside the caves.  The majestic formations have a cathedral-like feel and reveal the handiwork of God all along the way.  Here in Barton Creek the cave includes 10 ledges of known sacrifice sites and the skeletal remains of nearly 30 humans.  

After the cave we had lunch and then got ready to experience rock I am all set to climb!

And then learning how to zip line...I would love to do the zip line again!  

If you ever have the chance to come to Belize make sure that you plan to spend some time with Cayo Adventure will enjoy each minute of your time with them! (click here for their Facebook page)  They offer several different tour packages to choose from...I know our family will definitely be planning a trip.   

When you meet Mike and Maria, the owners, or Teddy, the tour guide, be sure to tell them Hi from me!! 

Monday, June 04, 2012

the gift of people...

Are you more grateful for the people who are in your life than the things you have acquired?  

Each day this past week was filled with people.  As an introvert that can get overwhelming for me...but this week it was energizing.  I am excited about relationships that are deepening and acquaintances that are turning into friends.  As we prepare to leave for a month long trip to the states on Wednesday God took time to remind us that there are people here that we will miss greatly.

We lost many material possessions in our move from Russia...but what we are gaining in relationships with people here in Belize is truly priceless.

And we accept each encounter with people that God has placed along our path as priceless treasure from His hands.

810.  praying with a woman in a village not far from here.
811.  holding her precious baby as we chatted.
812.  Maritza, who is patiently helping me to learn Spanish.
813.  rejoicing with a young mother over the work opportunities she has for the month of June.
814.  lunch with my friend Liz who had just returned from time in the states.
815.  feeling the love and support of the missionary community here.
816.  Eric bringing back a battery for Tom's computer.
817.  meeting the ladies on the Morality Matters team here working with CDF last week.
818.  counseling with a young mom who is growing in awareness about herself and her choices.
819.  meeting with Merv who will be staying in our house while we are away for the month.
820.  laughing with Charles, Ranika, Spencer and Meesha as we enjoyed dinner and games.
821.  long chats with Spencer and Meesha.
822.  dinner with the CDF board members and their families.

823.  meeting Shannon, Emrece, and Nerise on our Divaz Next Door adventure.

824.  Mike, Maria, Twila and Teddy from Cayo Adventure Tours who provided us with a day of canoeing, rock climbing and zip lining!
825.  time with Anna and Andrea the hosts of the talk show Divaz Next Door.

and precious gifts found in the Word:

826.  seeing God as the ultimate boundary setter  Psalm 74:17
827.  His desire to feed and satisfy His people Psalm 81:16
828.  His example of unlimited patience  I Timothy 1:16
829.  His eternal encouragement and good hope  II Thessalonians 2:16
830.  He faithfulness as He strengthens and protects us from the evil one  II Thessalonians 3:3

 joining in with the gratitude community:

Friday, June 01, 2012

Table for six...

Last night we had guests come over for dinner...Spencer and Meesha, along with Charles and Ranika.  To make things easy for myself I decided to make a big pot of soup.  Good plan.  Until the reality set in that we only owned three bowls that match.  I have plenty of plates but bowls kept getting broken for some reason.

 I  finally found these in Cardinals.  They were only $2.60 (USD) a bowl!

I set the table before everyone arrived. 

Garlic bread from Casa Pan Dulce.
I didn't eat any because it was not gluten free...but it sure smelled divine

The soup was very tasty and very filling!

My plan worked...we had a simple meal of soup, salad and garlic bread.  Everyone got filled up and the peals of laughter ringing throughout the night were awesome.    After dinner Meesha taught us to play Who, What, When, and Where. Then we topped off the night with ice cream for dessert.  I can hardly wait to do it all over again with the same crew!