22 April 2009

Surrendering My Mouth

I like writing. I like being able to revise, delete, expand, re-word, and all such great things I learned to do in English class. I like being sure that I can convey my feelings as best I can after perfecting my thoughts in writing.

I (Heather) am not nearly as fond of speaking. I try to be careful about what I say when I want to be clearly understood. I don't want to flub...I might change some one's perception of me! Mostly, I don't want to be wrong.

But God is teaching me something this week. My audience, small or large, hears what God wants them to hear, and I have to trust Him in that.

For the last two years, I have been running the creative activities program for our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group here in Woodland Park. I enjoy using my creative talents to come up with things that most of the moms will enjoy during a given meeting. (Lesson already learned: you can't please everyone!) This includes getting on stage with the microphone and explaining what they will be doing, hearing, or learning that day. I introduce people, I give the order of operations, I give instructions, and I always forget to say something. This really bothered me last year. I would feel like I failed because in my mind, I didn't do a sufficient job of explaining. So I tried writing down a list of what I needed to say. That helped some, but it never went as perfectly as I wanted. (Imagine that!) This year was a bit better...I didn't lose sleep over it, at least. (Literally...it was that bad.) It wasn't the being in front of people that I didn't like, it was the feeling like I never did well enough that got me down.

Now Jim and I are in this support raising process and our goal is to be able to sit down with others one-on-one and explain our passion, our call, our work, and our needs to help others understand better what we are taking off to do in 2010. It's pretty enormous pressure to convey exactly what is going on in our hearts to others on our own, without God's help. We were with another couple on Monday night and I was asked a question about my experience in Kenya in 2003 that I was totally not prepared for. In my mind, it was a pretty bad answer...I felt like nothing concise came out of my mouth. I stewed on it after we went home. I wondered what I should do. My perfectionist nature makes me want to sit down, really write out a good answer to the question and somehow make sure they knew my "real" answer. But that's a lot of work, and maybe a little awkward, and just not the thing to do! I felt God reminding me that he speaks through us, and I have to trust that no matter how uncontrolled I feel my words are, others hear what he guides into their ears. He doesn't necessarily perfect what I am trying to convey, but I must trust that my passion and our goals are clearly understood by those He has chosen to understand. And then I can say I did my best.

I'll be on the spot much more that I want to be in the next year, but it isn't about what I'm doing. It's about His work in Africa and how he has made a place for us at RVA so that the parents of the students we will teach and love can reach all corners of Africa and spread the good news. And when it's about God, I should just be jumping out of my shoes to spread the news about his work across the globe.

18 April 2009

Faith Funnies of the Day

We have really enjoyed being "snowed in" this weekend. The snow still came down all day!

Faith has brought us some laughter today...here's a glimpse into her personality...

She is walking around right now with a cloth napkin on her head telling us she's the wife and Joel's the daddy. Then she says to Joel: "You're very handsome, why don't you go fishing with your cracker?" (Jim says I need to learn from that...hmmmm)

After her nap time, she was dancing to the radio that was playing. She also listens to the radio during nap, so she is learning the songs pretty well. There's a Toby Mac song that goes "I don't want to gain the whole world and lose my soul." She was dancing quite enthusiastically not knowing we were watching and smiling, but then she saw us and says "But mom, it says 'I don't want to game the whole world and lose my soap!'" Oh we just couldn't hold in the giggles!

So maybe she's learning some Biblical lessons from those songs...maybe not.

Just don't lose your soap!

17 April 2009

Snow Day!!

Today we got the first snow day of the year! God has great timing. I (Jim) really needed the break. It was great to spend some time at home with the kids after having been either away from home or taking care of sick family for the past 4... maybe more weekends... I suppose the worst of it was that two of those weekends were spent away from home WHILE taking care of sick family. But, this morning at 5:00 the call came. The unplanned day off has been a real treat and has really allowed me to refocus on some of the more important things in life in the midst of a really hectic (and long) closing stretch of the school year. I was able to take a couple of Bible classes, spend time playing with the kids, catch up on some house-work and (of course) shovel lots of really heavy slush-snow. Now Joel who didn't nap today because of a little too much excitement over the move to a toddler bed yesterday is sleeping in one arm and I'm typing one handed! I doubt we'll have any timely snow days in Kijabe, but God WILL provide one way or another. (just for kicks... you can see what it looks like at RVA right now)

Joel after the hand-off.

14 April 2009

Has it Really Been Four Years?!

Our little four-pound miracle is four years old now! And as it has in the past and will in the future, Faith's birthday was close to Easter, so we had a blast celebrating her life this weekend as well.

We gave Faith a fishing pole, here she is practicing in Grandma's yard. We were amazed at how well she could use it! Summer fun, here we come!We had a beautiful picnic for her birthday on Monday at Crawford Reservoir
Daddy at work!
We have been so blessed since Faith joined our family. We are amazed at what we have learned as her parents and grateful for her being a part of our lives.

Happy Easter!

We hope you had a meaningful time celebrating Easter with your friends and family this year.

A few of our highlights...
Hunting for eggs!

Getting all dressed up!And hanging out with cousin Natalie

He is risen!

10 April 2009

A Day of Suffering

One of my favorite holy week memories is from college. Jim and I (dating at the time) spent spring break at a cabin in Western Colorado with eight or so other college friends. We took a break from our game playing, boat rowing, hiking, and other fun to spend Thursday evening together meditating together on the suffering of Christ. Jim played a few songs, we read scripture and prayed. It was so simple, yet powerful.

I look forward each year to being able to meditate on the suffering of Christ that was meant for me. I suppose it's easier today, knowing the whole story, the glory that was revealed. It would be incredible to see the faith that some had during Jesus' time on Earth. We aren't able to have the same feeling, anticipation or struggle that was present leading up to the first Easter. It's hard to spend the full three days in meditation and realize the depth of all that was planned for each of us when we don't exactly cut it out of our schedules. But that's going to be my challenge to myself this year, to turn my mind to that when I can.

Scripture is the most powerful thing to meditate upon, so I will leave you with this:

"And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, 'The King of the Jews.' And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, waging their heads and saying, 'Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!' So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another saying, 'He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the Kind of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.' Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?' which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' And some of the bystanders hearing it said, 'Behold, he is calling Elijah.' And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, 'Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.' And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, 'Truly this man was the Son of God!'"
(Mark 15:24-39 ESV)

Truly this man was the Son of God.

08 April 2009

Funny Girl

Faith usually takes her nap in our room because it helps her rest a little better than if she were in with Joel, especially because she sometimes doesn't sleep anymore during the day. After she got up today, she said "Momma, I just slept in the bathroom because my babies [her stuffed animals] were sleeping in the bed and I didn't want to wake them." Then she shrugged, did her little nose wrinkle, and went about her business.

That rug must be more comfortable than I thought...

06 April 2009

A Blessed Week

Jim and I had a busy past seven days. Maybe God was giving us a taste of activity-filled life we hear we will have at RVA. (It's a boarding school, so the kids are kept out of trouble by filling their time with constructive activities, so therefore the teachers are kept out of trouble too!)

We spent a few days getting Faith better from a second bout of illness, then Jim had two evenings spent interviewing next year's student council prospects. There were a large number of applicants, which meant more time was needed to be spent on this task, but the interest the students have for this is very exciting, and Jim is looking forward to working with these kids next year.
Thursday we closed on our home refinancing, which we are very excited about. We are now in an even better financial place to be able to head to the mission field in a little more than a year.

Friday I spent the morning at Sam's Club buying 60 onions, 120 potatoes, 60 cans of tomatoes, 30 pounds of ground turkey, lots of celery, and a few other things, to prepare for MOPS this week. (More on this later.) Luckily I had some wonderful help with the kids and the carts!

Jim had a "Professor Panther" contest Friday night. Like a pageant for teachers... I learned afterward that his talent was imitating Miley Cyrus. I don't even know what to say! I've been told by some people that they will never think of my husband the same again. I will try to get my hands on a picture for you...I want to see it too!

Saturday the kids were so excited to get their daddy back! They got to play all day at home, while a friend and I spent the day in the kitchen doing some bulk cooking. We cooked up 8 whole chickens, made some great broth and some yummy dishes. I feel blessed with a freezer full of go-to meals for the next month or two. That evening we attended a potluck at church where three of Jim's former students shared about their seven-month mission trip they just returned from. This is their blog if you are interested. They traveled to Haiti, Brazil, Germany, Uganda, India, Thailand, and New Zealand. What an adventure! We were thrilled to welcome them home and hear their stories.

Sunday afternoon we had a little 4th birthday party for Faith. Can you believe it?! She's not officially four until the 13th (and she'll let you know that!) but we decided to have three of her friends over to decorate eggs, hunt for eggs, and have some supper and cake. We had a nice laid-back time with these families and little girls, and it was a blessing to celebrate Faith.

Today Jim finally had a "normal" day at school, and I've been home peeling and chopping carrots. I had some help cooking up 30 lbs of ground turkey this afternoon and I'm expecting a few moms shortly to help with the final preparations. But I suppose I should tell you what we are doing. Each mom at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) will be taking home dinner tomorrow. We have 60 moms, so essentially I have food for 300 people in my house! They are making a soup to compliment a talk on nutrition they will be listening to tomorrow. I'm excited to be able to do this for the moms, and it has been fun to spend time with the people that have pitched in to make this project work.

Needless to say, we will be crashing on the couch tomorrow night. Last week was overwhelming at times, and there have been tears, but we have also felt blessed to be a part of the lives of others in this community, in the "jobs" God has created for us. We pray that he continues to work in us during weeks like this and mold and shape us to better serve the RVA community in Kenya.