Sunday, August 31, 2008

Still Sunday



BeStillSunday



Saturday, August 30, 2008

Change

If you're reading this through google reader or bloglines, you probably can't see my new look. Tell me what you think. I got this design for free at LeeLou Blogs. She has lots of cute designs and gives you tips on how to change your blog over without losing all your widgets.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Faith

This past Sunday, in our Sunday school class, Steven was teaching a lesson on faith. When he teaches a small group, he likes to ask questions to get you thinking. His first question was, what does it take to please God? After some discussion within our group, he shared Hebrews 11:6, which says, "without faith it is impossible to please God."
The next question was, how much faith to you need? To which I responded, as much as you can get! But as soon as it came out of my mouth, I remembered, a mustard seed. At the same time, Steven began sharing about Matthew 17:20, which tells us that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can do great things.
For the next few moments, I began thinking about that verse, a verse that I've heard my whole life and to be honest, I didn't hear the rest of the lesson. But I'd like to share what the Holy Spirit taught me during in those moments. mustard seeds

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matt. 17:20
As I kept thinking about the verse, I was thinking what I've always thought, that our faith can be small and God can do great things through it. But then I began thinking, "what is the purpose of a seed?" Well, obviously, the purpose of a seed is to grow and bear fruit. So yes, our faith can start out small but God never intends it to stay that way. If God wanted our faith to remain small, couldn't He have said, "if you have faith as small as a pebble"? Sure he could, but a pebble won't change or grow but a mustard seed will grow and bloom and eventually produce more seeds that will continue to spread. I came to realize in those few moments that I've always looked at that verse with the wrong focus, it's not about having a small faith, it's about having faith that will grow and flourish and spread! mustard plant

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3

Monday, August 25, 2008

22 with 15 years experience!

Yes, I turned 22 with 15 years experience yesterday! Take a moment to add it together to figure out my age......did you get it yet, ok, let's move on!
Last Wed., Steven called and asked if I wanted to go to Jekyll on Friday night for my birthday. My answer was uhhh....yes! It was even better when some friends of ours said that they would keep Caleb (the other 2 were at their dad's.) Well then Fay had to show up and rain on my parade, literally! So Steven called the hotel and moved our reservations to the weekend after Labor day.
On Friday morning, Steven told me he needed to go to Augusta, so we decided to go that afternoon and since there's only one non-fast food restaurant open in our small town on Friday evenings, we could eat dinner while we were there. I had (in my mind) decided that I was going to suggest Italian even though I generally say, "it doesn't matter." But while driving past the Japanese steakhouse, Steven casually asks, "why don't we come back here and eat when we're done?" My immediate answer was, "ok." I really make life soooo easy for him. You see Mr. Casual had about 4 other couples meeting us for dinner at the Japanese place. I was completely surprised when we walked in and saw our friends.
We had a great dinner and a great time with friends and even though I was originally wishing I were in Jekyll or at the Siesta Fiesta, it turned out to be a very special weekend!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes through fb! I feel so loved!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cleaning Out.....

I'm sure none of you have this problem and this is probably going to qualify as the most boring post EVER.........

but I have this cabinet that has become my catch all, this is different from our junk drawer but anyway. This bottom cabinet is where I keep things like chip and dip platters, seasonal plates and bowls, cutting boards, grilling utensils and whatnots. At one time I decided I would also keep our phone books on oneside of this cabinet beside it's right next to our breakfast counter and that's where the phone is! But lately, it's become the place where you can throw anything that you're not sure where it goes or you know where it goes but you just don't want to make the effort to put it away.

But when Caleb opened the doors of that cabinet the other night and was almost crushed by the landslide of cutting boards and phone books, I knew I needed to get it organized. You won't believe the things that came out of that cabinet (you can't make this stuff up!)

~a hammer

~fishing line huh?

~various rolls of tape- electrical, packing & duct

~2 outdated phone books and school directories

~a can of black spray paint whaaat?

~a student handbook from 2005-2006

~hummingbird food no wonder we don't see any around here?

~2 packets of flower seeds

~a resistance exercise band still in the box, big surprise!

I took the time to put the things where they belong, well actually I made a stack of things for Steven of the things that belong out in his workshed and then threw away the other things. Once I got all the things out that didn't really belong there, I was amazed at how much space I have in that cabinet.

Since I've been working on this Bible study all summer, I realized that this cabinet is an example of what can sometimes happen in our lives. We all have things in our lives that, if we're not careful, will begin take the place of God. These things aren't always bad sinful things, in fact, they're ususally things that are good. It's when we allow these things to take precedence over our relationship with God, that it becomes a problem!

We have to love God more than we love our family.
We have to desire to please God more than people.
We have to protect our relationship with the Lord more than our feelings.
We have to know and obey the word of God better than...........ANYTHING!

I know for myself, I've learned that I have to constantly keep a check and if I'm not careful (or lazy) my life will begin to look like my cabinet. This summer, I've done some serious organizing and put those things where they belong. If we don't keep God in His rightful place in our lives, not only will our lives suffer but those closest to us, just like Caleb, will be affected as well.

So, I'd encourage you, check your cabinets. Are there things that need to be put in their rightful place? If so, spend some time talking with God about it. You'll be so glad you did!

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." Mark 12:30


Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday, Monday.......

This pretty much sums up how we're feeling around here today. Poor Caleb barely made it through lunch before he fell asleep!

First let me say thanks for all your comments about the makeup issue. Emma read your comments over the weekend and we've had some good conversations about it! She is no hurry to begin wearing it and I'm so grateful.

Secondly, our family and church has been under some serious spiritual warfare since last week. I don't want to share any details but I'll just say that God has shown Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him. (2 Chron.16:9a)
If you think about, please say a prayer for us. Steven started a series of messages 2 weeks ago on the armor of God and we know that what we've experienced is not coincidental.

Now on to the fun we had this weekend!!!!!
Saturday was Picture Day at UGA. This is an event where fans can get autographs from all the athletic teams. Of course, most people are there to meet the football players. Most of the athletic teams were there from 1-3 and then the football team was there from 3-5. Last year, we were able to get autographs from lots of the football players but this year was a different story!! I guess that what happens when you're ranked #1 in the preseason and you have a possible Heisman winner. We at least got autographs from the linebackers and special teams (kickers). Some friends of ours got in the line for the runnning backs (specifically Knowshon Moreno's line) at 1:15 and by 5 they hadn't reached the players so they didn't get anybody's signature!






Mia, Emma, Dougie, Holton, Haven, Chaz and Max waiting on the players to arrive!







This is wait Caleb
did while we waited!









Dougie with the Sugar Bowl trophy.










Dougie with #33, Dannell Ellerbe. He's on the cover of Sports Illustrated this month along with UGA's Stafford and Moreno.




UGA's special teams & kickers.







Ok, I'll stop with the pictures. I thought I had one of Emma with the National Champion GymDogs but I guess I didn't get it! : (

I hope you had a great weekend and have an even better week!

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good. Genesis 50:20

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What do you think?

I'd like to hear what you think. At what age do you think it is appropriate for a girl to begin wearing make-up? Emma isn't asking (yet) but I saw a girl the other day, who is the same age as Emma, wearing make-up; eye liner, eye shadow, mascara, blush and lipstick. I was a little caught off guard and it's really got me thinking, at what age should Emma begin? At what age did you begin wearing makeup? I was such a tomboy, I had no desire to wear it until I was about 13.
I can't wait to hear what you think about this subject.

Update- My grandmother is steadily improving. She's out of ICU and will probably begin some physical therapy soon. A full week in the bed can do a number on an 83 yr. old body! Please continue to pray for her and I'd like to ask you to pray for my grandfather as well. He is in the beginning stages of dementia and this past week has been confusing for him. Yesterday, he knew that my grandmother was in the hospital but he thought she was having a baby. (I know we shouldn't laugh, but it's either laugh or cry and I choose to laugh!) To give you a taste of my grandmother's personality, when he asked her (on the phone)last night if she had had the baby. She told him,

"Yes, I had triplets!"

Have a great day!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Update, First of school and other stuff...

****UPDATED -SEE BELOW****

Thank y'all for praying my grandmother. I just got off the phone with my mom and she is doing much better. She will hopefully be put into a regular room this afternoon. Please keep praying!

Today is the first day of school for Emma and Dougie. Emma is going to 5th grade and Dougie is going to 2nd. They are very excited about the school year and they were even nervous on the way to school this morning!


Look how they've grown in a year's time! Thanks Deanna for the idea!

In between my trip to see GG and church yesterday, we have been watching the Olympics as much as possible. I was almost late to SS yesterday morning because I was watching the US Soccer team play the Netherlands. This is evidence that I LOVE the Olympics because I know nothing about soccer and probably never will!
If you didn't stay up to watch the men's 4x100 swimming relay, you missed and absolute AMAZING race. To add insult to injury, the French swimmers had been quoted saying before the event that, "we're going to smash the Americans, that's why we came." Even the commentators didn't think the USA would win.
Well, Team USA showed the French a little Proverbs 16:18!
Here's a video of the race, if you didn't get to see it.






So have you been watching the Olympics? What's your favorite event?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Please pray

Please pray for my grandmother. She was diagnosed with pneumonia a couple of days ago and was put in ICU last night. She has diabetes and is also battling some other sicknesses right now. I'm on my way to see her today.
Since she became a great-grandmother about 13 yrs ago, we affectionately call her G.G.
Thanks for praying for her.

Love y'all,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Costa Rica- part 2

This is the continuation of our mission trip to Costa Rica. Go here to read the first part (if you want, if not, just keep reading.)

Tuesday morning we had a fun, memorable adventure. We went to a place called Fossil Land to do the zip line over the rain forest. Just let me say, if you ever have a chance to do this....do it!
"Du, Du mantenga!!" Which, according to our guide "Tom Cruise", means Go For It! But I've tried to look up a translation and can't find one! I think our guide just made it up or it could mean, "I'm a crazy gringo!" Who knows?!
My cousin Kaylan, who has a fear of heights, even loved it. I can't even tell you the rush you get from speeding across a cable high above the rain forest. Of course, you could always use your right hand to slow yourself but me being the speed-demon that I am, never once tried to slow myself!

After lunch, we returned to San Jose and met up with Pastor Gabriel. He has church that ministers to a community of Nicaraguan refugees. The plan was to purchase about $10 worth of groceries for 15 families. We had allotted $200, so Pastor Gabriel decided that we could buy some extra things that would bless the families. We bought rice, frijoles (beans), sugar, salt, butter, oil, spaghetti noodles, and coffee. We were trying to keep track of the costs and with thought it would be about $180. When the cashier finished ringing up the merchandise the grand total was $152!!!
After we bagged up the food, we headed to an area that was like nothing I'd ever seen. These refugee families live in small little tin shacks probably as big as our bedrooms. There are many that have 4 or more family members living there. Because we were going into people's homes, we could only go one or two at a time with Pastor Gabriel. While some would go into the homes, Pastor Gabriel was adamant that we needed to keep the windows on the bus closed for our safety. But I have to tell you, when we saw children, teens and adults walking right by our bus, we couldn't pass up this God-ordained opportunity. When Pastor Gabriel would take a group, we would open the windows and pass out the Spanish NT's, salvation bracelets, tracts and candy! There's a picture of a little boy in the slide show, he's knelt down and you can see his back. When he came by, Steven handed him a bracelet. He immediately knelt down, in the rain, read the card and put the bracelet together! It was priceless! This turned out to be one of the best times of ministry! It was quite funny because when we would see Pastor Gabriel coming back, someone would shout, "here he comes!" and we would quickly close our windows!
You know, the thought just hit me. It was these very things (bibles, tracts and bracelets) that were in the suitcases that got left at home and had to be brought to us in ATL. No wonder the enemy tried to keep us from getting them to CR!

Wednesday we were able to go to a Kindergarten. The kids were between 5 and 7. It was a half day program so we had a group in the morning (approx. 60) and then a different group in the afternoon (approx. 55). We had an absolute blast with these kids. We sang some Uncle Charlie songs that our JAM kids sing. The songs are silly and have silly motions and even though there was a language barrier, silliness is universal! Steven presented the gospel and again, it began raining while he was talking. But after he shared, we had the opportunity to sit with the kids and put together the salvation bracelets. The instruction cards were in Spanish, so the kids could read them and hopefully take it home and share it with their parents. These kids were so loving and fun and we really enjoyed being with them and their teachers. In between the groups, the sweet lunchroom lady fixed a snack for us. Rice, beans, a slice of cheese and homemade tortillas. Although I was pretty tired of rice and beans, I ate them and they were delicious. We had a refreshing glass of carrot-orange juice. Most of our group didn't like it but I loved it!
After we left the school, we went back to the grocery store to buy the food that we would need to feed the homeless. We bought enough bread, cheese, bologna and butter to make 150 sandwiches. Because God had blessed our shopping earlier and we had extra money, we were able to buy juice boxes, packages of cookies and apples. Once again, we thought we were spending around $210 and it rang up $179! Dios es bueno!
We made the sandwiches and prepared everything to go. We left after dinner to head to downtown San Jose. Because this could be a potentially dangerous situation, we had to follow Pastor Hubert's instructions. When we got off the bus at a street corner, we lined up against the store front. Pastor Hubert would hand us the food and we would in turn hand it to the people who formed a line as soon as they saw us pull up. Along with the physical food, we would hand them some spiritual food, a bible and/or tract. The women handed out the food and the men had to stand behind our line to keep anyone from coming up behind us. There was a gentleman who walked up to get some food when it was my turn to hand it out. He had a cast on his left arm and and with his right, he was clutching a large piece of cardboard. When I went to hand him the food, he couldn't take it because he's hand were full. My first thought was, "why doesn't he put the cardboard down?" Then immediately, I realized that the box would be the only shelter he would have from the rain that night. I pointed to his shirt pocket and he nodded. So I put the juice box and apple in his shirt pocket and he was able to hold the sandwich bag as well as the cardboard. When I realized he couldn't hold the bible I wanted to give him, I quickly tucked it in his shirt pocket as well! :)
It only took us about 15 minutes to hand out all the food. My prayer is that once those precious people had a full stomach, they would be able to sit and read the copy of God's word that we had given them.

Thursday, our last day in CR was spent touring the Poas Volcano and then doing some last minute souvenir shopping. Earlier in the week, we had been to an open air market and I met a girl there who fell in love with my little purse. I bought this little shoulder purse for $7 at our local grocery store, the day we left for ATL. It was a Vera Bradley knock off and I had planned to leave it as a gift. When this girl saw my purse, she kept saying (in very broken English) "it's so cute, I've looked every where for something like that. Is it Italian?" At which I had to laugh and told her, definitely not! I wanted to give her that purse right then and there. When I told Steven about it, he reminded me that I didn't have a tract or anyway to share the gospel, so he told me to wait and if we came back to this market, we'd come prepared. Well, here it was Thursday, the last day of our trip and I was at this market for one purpose, to find that girl!
I walked down the aisle, praying that I would recognize her and that she would be there. When I made eye contact with her, I knew she remembered me too. I asked her if she remembered me and she immediately said, "oh yes, you have purse that i love!" I immediately began cleaning out the few things I had in my bag and as I handed them to Steven, I was telling her that I wanted her to have my purse. The look on her face was so precious. She kept saying, "Are you sure? For me?" I kept saying, "Si, Si." When I gave her the purse, she put it on her shoulder and then hugged me and kissed me. I hugged her and told her that I loved her. I finally remembered to ask her name and she told me, Chantel. I handed her a tract (and left one in the purse) and tried to explain the reason I wanted to give her the purse was to show her God's love. I told her Jesus Christ changed my life and I wanted her to know him. She said, "my English not very good." Which I think was her way of telling me she wasn't comprehending what I was saying. So I asked her to promise me that she would read the tract and she said she would. Steven took a photo of us (see slide show) and she told me to come see her if I come back to CR.

If you hung on and read this long post, thank you. Thank you to all of you who said a prayer for me while we were on this trip. I believe that many lives were impacted for all eternity!

And you will be witness to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts. 1:8

I love you all!

The first video is me. The 2nd video is Steven while he's on the zip-line!

video

video

Monday, August 4, 2008

Finally, Costa Rica 2008

I can't believe I'm just now getting around to sharing about our time in Costa Rica. I could give you my list of excuses but this post is going to be long enough! If it gets too long, I'll do a part 2 but I hope to get it all in one.

Let me give you a piece of advice: If you live more than an hour away from your airport, always, and I mean ALWAYS go up the night before your flight. We are so grateful that we did! We had a tire blow out and then we realized about an hour outside of ATL, that we had left the 2 suitcases, that contained ALL of our ministry stuff, at the church! God intervened in both situations and we were so grateful when we checked in at the airport on Friday morning!

Our flight to CR was uneventful and we arrived around 12 noon (2pm our time.) We were picked up at the airport by Melissa (a student intern for SI) and Manuel, a missionary for SI. Melissa is from USA and could translate for us.
They took us to our home, which would be a dorm at The Bible Institute of Central America. At first I was disappointed that we weren't staying at Score's villa but that changed when I realized we would have private bathrooms versus common bathrooms! As it is for anyone, the first few hours of being in a foreign country are absolutely overwhelming. San Jose is not the tropical, resort area of CR. We were stunned at the looks of the homes. Not the homes themselves but the large fences, iron bars, gates and even razor wire that surround every home. Melissa told us that the perception of crime is much higher than it really is and with the lack of faith in the police, people choose to guard their homes this way.

Saturday, we went to buy school shoes for an orphanage. We brought $600 to go towards shoes and other minstry opportunities. Our plan was to buy 70 pairs of shoes for about $490. When we arrived at the shoe factory, they were having a sale!!! We bought 82 pairs of shoes for $320! We were beyond excited because we knew that now we would be able to buy groceries for some families as well as have the opportunity to feed the homeless.
That afternoon, we went to the orphanage. One thing you always learn on a mission trip is to make the best of any situation. They wouldn't allow us to go into the building, so we met with the kids in a covered basketball court. We sang songs, did our puppet show (by holding up a balck tablecloth!) and then Steven presented the gospel. While he was sharing it rained so loud you couldn't even here him. But the kids were very attentive and several raised their hands to say they had prayed to receive Christ. It was an amazing time. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with the kids. We even played "pato, pato, ganso."
It was a day that I will remember for a long, long time.

Sunday we went to church with David and Marianella. They were our house parents! They are a wonderful young couple from Uruguay. They felt God's call to come to CR and be apart of the SI team. After lunch, they took us souvenir shopping. It was a great day.

Monday we set out to downtown San Jose to pass out tracts. The area was very busy and there were plenty of people to hand the tracts to but to be honest I was very intimidated. But after I got past my self, it wasn't intimidating. But the range of emotions was unbelievable. Some people readily accepted the tract which made me joyful. Others refused to make eye contact which made me feel sad. Some would shake their head and refuse to take it which caused me to feel rejected. I felt persecution when I saw some who took a tract from someone in front of me and when they realized what it was, began laughing making fun of it. It was hard fighting the feeling of desperation, when you walked by a trash can and the top was filled with the gospel tracts you had just passed out. I had to keep reminding myself that I am not responsible for others decision, I can only be faithful in spreading His word. And God promises that His Word will not return void but will accomplish His purpose.
Monday evening, we attended a Score basketball game, in which a group from Tn. was playing against a Costa Rican team. This wasn't part of our plan but we were sharing our dorm with these guys and we wanted to support them. During halftime, we passed out tracts to the fans and then at the end of the game, the players shared the gospel with the other team.

Ok, I'm going to stop there. I'll try to wrap it up tomorrow!