Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Burkina Door

"Congratulations!  Your application has been reviewed and approved.  You've been added to the 2014 Women's Ministry trip to Burkina Faso."

That's what the email said and that's when my heart started to race and the nervous excitement sent my blood racing faster through my body.  Whoa.  Have I really just been approved to go to Africa?  I had to sit down as all the worries, concerns and possibilities raced through my mind.

Maybe not the normal reaction to an approved application.  I believe a normal reaction would have been a bit less filled with apprehension.  You did notice the first thoughts were worries and concerns.  The idea of going on a ministry trip, to Africa of all places, was not really on my bucket list.

So why?  Why am I beginning this adventure?  Because I have a desire to be changed.  I want God to throw open the doors.  I want to see people as He sees them.  I want to carry His love to the ends of the earth.  Jason Gray sings it best.....

Monday, April 14, 2014

simple woman's daybook

FOR TODAY April 14, 2014

Outside my window... the 'S' word!  Snow that is.  In spring I'm not real excited about it, but it sure is beautiful and I know it will be melting soon.
 
I am thinking... about my dad more than usual today.  He liked to call attention to special dates that held some sort of pattern or repeated a number an unusual amount of times.  Such as November 11, 2011 would be 11-11-11.  It was a competition to see who could be first to announce the date.  So, today being 4-14-14 is upon my heart and I miss his phone calls.
 
I am thankful... for music.  Music has the power to motivate me to clean.  It helps me persevere during a run and it will remind me of special memories. 
 
In the kitchen... for dinner tonight we are having fried perch, honey corn biscuits and hopefully some sort of vegetable.
 
I am wearing... a school sweatshirt, blue jeans and fun socks.
 
I am creating... a list of blog posts.
 
I am going... to enjoy a cup of chai just as soon as the kettle heats up the water.
 
I am wondering... what's the difference between a yam and a sweet potato?  So, I looked it up on the internet and found this article.  Apparently they are not related.  Who knew?
 
I am reading... the baking instructions for the honey corn biscuits.  Dinner will be here in no time. 
 
I am hoping... to write a few letters this week and order a few prints for a photo album I'm working on.
 
I am looking forward to... celebrating Easter!
 
I am still learning... French.  I hope to get through the first of five cd's this week.
 
Around the house... the radio is providing background music while the kids are working on some schoolwork, the dog is napping at my feet and I'm here, just typing away.
 
I am pondering... making love a verb.  Pastor Brian says that love is others focused without giving attention to what might come back to me.  So true!
 
A favorite quote for today... "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" ~Dr. Seuss
 
One of my favorite things... walking away from coffee with a girlfriend with a full heart because she knows just how to encourage you.
 
A few plans for the rest of the week: enjoy spring by building a snowman! :)

A peek into my day... 

 
If you enjoyed reading my daybook, I would encourage you to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.  As Peggy says, "Wherever you live and whatever you are doing, I hope you will join us this month as we change seasons and pause to remember the details!"

Monday, April 7, 2014

simple woman's daybook

FOR TODAY April 7, 2014

Outside my window... spring is s l o w l y making it's way into the area.  We still have patches of snow here and there but the robins are back as are the redwing blackbirds. 

I am thinking... about replacing my shoes that literally fell apart while I was shopping the other day.  Pretty much limped back to the car because a large chunk of the sole fell right off.

I am thankful... for the abundance of encouragement and support that my friends and family give to me.

In the kitchen... some oatmeal bars and a lonely donut.  Guess I'll have to keep the donut company with a cup of coffee.  :)

I am wearing... a positive attitude for the day with motivation for a hat and efficiency on my feet.

I am creating... a letter for support because.....

I am going... to Burkina Faso on a short term mission trip!

I am wondering... how the building process is going for my in-laws new house?

I am reading... When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

I am hoping... the sun will come out tomorrow.

I am looking forward to... working in dirt.  Going to plant seeds this week and get the vegetable garden planned.  I have high hopes for our garden this year.

I am learning... about the first battles for independence of the United States way back when.

Around the house... lots of stuffed animals are engaged in battles, some are going through car washes and others are collecting herbs for healing.

I am pondering... four foundational relationships.  Relationship with God, with self, with others and with the rest of creation.

A favorite quote for today of all time...  "I love you mom."  ~Said spontaneously at one time or another by my children. ♥

One of my favorite things... the joy that comes from doing the right thing.

A few plans for the rest of the week: say goodbye to my honey for a few days as he heads out on a business trip, make a menu plan for Friday dinner, Awana, Royal Rangers derby car race, write my support letter, make the last few lesson plans for the year, host our small group on Friday and enjoy the spring weather for most of the week by opening some windows.
 
A peek into my daydreams...
 
 
Thanks for stopping by.  As Peggy says, "Wherever you live and whatever you are doing, I hope you will join us this month as we pause to remember the details."  To join or read other entries, stop over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, March 31, 2014

the simple woman's daybook

For Today March 31, 2014

Outside my window... the sky is white, reflecting the patches of snow on the ground and charcoal gray clouds are moving in.

I am thinking... of my neighbor who is going through a difficult time.

I am thankful... for a taste of spring over the weekend.  The forecast looks wintry for the next few days.

In the kitchen... the oven is clean, fingerprints have been wiped from the refrigerator and there is Parmesan cheese on the cheese board.

I am wearing... a red Wisconsin t-shirt in honor of my pick to win the college basketball championship.

I am creating... a photo album for Clinton and Assana.

I am going...  from there to here and here to there....

I am wondering... what tomorrow will bring.

I am reading... Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I am hoping... winter will hurry up and leave this part of the country.  I am ready for spring!

I am looking forward to... being caught up with my work.  I have various projects that need to be completed. 

I am learning... French.  Parlez-vous francais?

Around the house... the window blinds in the family room are clean thanks to my handsome husband, laundry is almost finished for the day and the vacuum cleaner is waiting for me to finish this post.

I am pondering... whether or not I should go to Burkina Faso on a short term relationship building/mission trip.  I would be grateful if you would lift me in prayer so I will make the right decision.  I have one week before I need to commit one way or the other.

A favorite quote for today... "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." ~Dr. Seuss

One of my favorite things... reading books with my children.

A few plans for the rest of the week: enjoy one day at a time, bake cookies, Awana and Royal Rangers.

A peek into my day...
 
 
Thanks for stopping by.  If you would like to read other daybook entries or join the fun with an entry of your own, please visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Consequences Can

What do you get when you take an empty baked bean can, some snazzy craft paper and a lot of chores written on small slips of paper?

You get another something sitting on your counter, a bunch of chores done, children who might think about the consequences of their actions and a mom who is more emotionally stable!

I made a 'Consequences can' and it has worked wonders for our relationships.

 
Before the consequences can, the kids would misbehave, I'd yell, hurt their feelings and we'd all be upset for a while simply because I yelled.  Not because they had misbehaved.
 
This can filled with consequences has allowed me to remove my emotions from the equation by being the immediate punishment for the offense.  Now when transgressions are made I can simply say, "Pull a consequence".  While the child is carrying out the consequence it gives me a much needed time-out to sort through my initial emotions and gather my thoughts for a constructive teaching moment.
 
I got this idea from an online source that I do not remember.  I believe however, that the online source was taking the idea from Lisa Whelchel's book Creative Correction.  I have not read the book due to time constraints but it is on my bookshelf for future reading enjoyment.
 
Some of our consequences include:
 
Clean and refill birdbath
Vacuum stairs
Do 25 push-ups
Organize shoe closet
Clean out van
Clean mirrors and the all important 'Mercy ticket'.
 
The mercy ticket works in many ways.  It allows me to explain God's mercy.  The person drawing the ticket gets an exemption from the consequence.  And, it eliminates the kids whining or complaining about having to draw a consequence, because they are hopeful they'll draw a mercy ticket.
 
If you want to raise your children with love and creative discipline, this might just be the ticket.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fish Out of Water

We recently enjoyed a tropical vacation in the Dominican Republic.  The sky was blue, the water was turquoise and the sand was white.  It was beautiful.


On one of our days spent at the beach, a small white fish with blue spots washed up on shore.  It was rather a surprise to us.  One minute we are alone on the beach with the waves crashing at our feet.  When the next wave left the shore, it also left behind this fish.  As we approached the fish to get a closer look, it began to struggle.  We attempted to help it, to no avail.  Every time we bent to redirect the fish toward the water, it would flip and flop so quickly it escaped our assistance.  This poor little fish was stuck on this sandy beach with only the wind in its gills.  Not a good place for a fish.

The waves kept coming in but none reached high enough to save the struggling fish.  We thought this fish was a goner.  And then it happened.  A wave, higher than all the rest crashed onto shore and reached that spotted fish.  As quickly as the fish appeared on shore, it righted itself and zipped back into the sea.  Certainly with a huge sigh of relief and a look of shock on his little fishy face.

Sometimes I'm like that fish.  Swimming happily through the water when a wave takes me and unceremoniously dumps me on shore.  I can't breathe and I struggle to figure out what just happened.  It could be a challenging parenting moment that I wonder if all those years spent guiding and mentoring were for naught.  It might be a phone call carrying the news that my father died.  Maybe it was the time my husband came home in the middle of the day to inform me he was let go from his job.  A fish out of water and stuck on shore.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6, ESV)

When I'm in the moment, flipping and flopping on that shore with the sun beating down on me and the wind drying me out, I sometimes forget that it is all meant for a good purpose.  That the One who created me also allowed this moment to refine me and make me stronger.  If I would only stop my exertions that are making me gasp for air.  If I would only rest in Him and know that there will be another wave big enough to take me back out to sea.

 “Be still, and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10)

And when that wave comes to shore and reaches me, I'll zip back into the sea with a huge sigh of relief and a smile on my face because I made it!  I am refined and stronger.  The next wave that catches me will have to be bigger than the last one because I've learned that being a fish out of water is just another day at the beach.

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Overheard

Megan and Mason were enjoying some candy hearts together at the kitchen table.  Megan was reading all Mason's hearts to him one by one.  He would ask, "What does this one say?" Megan would respond appropriately.  Then Mason would share with me and Patrick what the heart said before popping it in his mouth.

This went on for quite a while.  (Megan certainly has a lot more patience than I do.)  Her patience does have a limit though.  Mason asked again, "Megan, What does this one say?"  To which Megan replied, "Be Mine, now stop asking me."

Mason turned to me and Patrick and said, "This one says, Be Mine now stop asking me."  Too cute!