Life Around Here

December 5

Life around here is full. Isn’t it always?

A few updates and quick comments:

1. We recently sent out our first Wycliffe ministry newsletter. If you signed up to receive one and didn’t, check your spam folder. If you would like to sign up to receive our updates, you can do so HERE.

2. It’s been a busy month since we returned from our Wycliffe training. Homeschool, Jason working, me with photo shoots and a number of other projects I am involved in. I don’t do busy very well and at times it has all seemed too much, but I just keep reminding myself that this is for a season. The goal is to get us to Papua New Guinea, to support Bible translation. If we have to work a bit harder and longer than normal, God’s grace and strength will sustain us.

3. I restarted my photography blog. It will mostly be for my own personal photography work, but lately I have been sharing a lot of shoots I have been doing. You can visit it HERE.  Feel free to subscribe in a blog reader (I use Feedly).

4. If you don’t follow me on Facebook (or just don’t spend much time there), you can now see my photo a day project HERE. The captions aren’t there, but at least you can see the photos. There is also a direct link in the sidebar —->

5. Over the next few weeks I hope to get this little blog of mine spruced up a bit. Forgive any oddities while I am in the process.

Saying Yes to Our Kids

Saying Yes

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know we did! In fact, it was one of the best Thanksgivings we have ever had. It was such a joy to see the fruit of the hard work and training we have done with our kids come out in ways that made our holiday so enjoyable. In this fifteen minute post, I share more about our day and some lessons about saying yes to our kids. You can listen here or download below.


Through Their Eyes

Last week, as I watched the weather forecast predict plummeting temperatures in the near future, I decided to take the kids out for what might be one of the last nice days of fall. I had just done a senior shoot the day before and the senior’s mom had recommended visiting Duke Gardens as a potential photo location in the future. I decided I should check it out before I go into hibernation.

One of my old cameras is still in fairly decent shape and I love to let the kids use it. We affectionately call it the “kid camera.” It’s a DSLR, and I love that the individual kids can use it on a setting they are comfortable with. Some use it an auto, some on a semi-auto mode and Alaina, my oldest, loves to practice shooting in manual. It’s fun for me to see them get excited about something I love so much. Even more so, however, I love to see the world through their eyes. Photography has done amazing things in my life. Primarily, it has taught me to be thankful. When you look at the world in front of you and stop long enough to see the beauty, gratitude grows. And gratitude is something I want to pass on to my kids. The world is filled with so much goodness, so much beauty, so many gifts from the Lord. Unfortunately, most people are too busy to even notice. Seeing, stopping, clicking: It makes the heart swell.

As I downloaded their images, I couldn’t help but smile at how they see the world. It was even more fun to try to guess who took each photo (they took turns for the afternoon). When I see the things that excite them enough to capture it on the camera, it gives me insight into who they are and what they find beautiful. And I hope when they look through my photos of their childhood, they will learn about what I find beautiful.

All images taken by Alaina (11), Caleb (10), Levi (8) and Katie (6) and edited by me.

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I Don’t Know How You Do It

I Don't Know How You Do It

I hear it often: “I don’t know how you do it.”

I hear it almost as often as “Oh, you’ve got your hands full.”

In this 28 minute audio post, I share my thoughts on the comment and what I share with those who make it.

Please excuse my still-raspy voice and the occasional sniffle. I think my body is revolting against the temperatures that drop below 50˚. Living near the equator for years will do that to you.

 

As always, you can listen to it here or download below.


Treasure This Moment

We were waiting for our friends to come for dinner and a photo shoot. The sun was starting it’s late afternoon descent, but the air was still warm. Convinced her friends would come sooner if she waited outside, my sweet Bethany eagerly watched in the driveway. I’ve said it before: I love three. I love this girl and all her amazing three-ness. I love her still-fine baby hair that she loves to wear in braids. I love her sweet smile and her too-big-for-a-three-year-old-words. I want to remember this. I want to treasure today. I want to stop my busy life of laundry and dishes and school and ministry and truly embrace each moment. I spend a lot of time thinking on what Jesus meant when he said we are to have faith as a child. What does it look like? I think it looks a lot like this: eager with anticipation, not worried about tomorrow, wanting to just be. Bethany isn’t concerned about what others think of her. She isn’t fretting over what she will wear. She isn’t focused on where we’ll live or what we’ll be doing. She just is. She’s happy. She’s healthy. And she’s mine. I want to treasure this moment, and all the ones like it.

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An Attitude of Thanksgiving

An Attitude of Thanksgiving

 

Our words reflect the attitude of our hearts. The things we think and dwell on have a profound effect on the words we speak. In this 16 minute recording, I share some thoughts on giving thanks and dwelling on all that is good and right and lovely. In addition, I share some concerns about popular attitudes toward those who do practice thanksgiving.

My apologies in advance for the audio quality. Unknowingly, I had my headset turned off and my computers internal mike was on. The audio plays just fine, but there is more of an echo/empty room type sound than I would prefer.

You can listen here on the site or download below. Thanks for listening!


The Fruit of Our Lives

November 5 2014_2

 

This audio post is a little longer than most — about 20 minutes — but I pray that it will give you something to think on deeply and to go to the Lord with. He’s so loving and gentle and gracious. I love that He gives us ways to check ourselves and our spiritual health and I love that he often uses our own family to do so.

You can play it from right here or you can download below. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments!

 

To Be Your Mama

To Be Your Mama

“I’m so glad I get to be your mama.”

It’s a phrase I use often. It’s true. It’s intentional.

Of the things I want most for my children, nearing the top of the list is a feeling — a knowledge — that they are delighted in. That they loved, that they are cherished.

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“Preparing the Soil” wasn’t a name pulled out of nowhere. When I read the parable of the sower with fresh eyes and realized that the seed thrown (the Word) was the same in each of the four stories, I sat staring…realizing even more the incredible power in parenting.

We can throw the Word at our children. We can bring them to church, put them in Christian schools or teach Christian curriculum at home, we can buy them Christian books, send them to Christian camps, and pray for Christian friends.

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But if their hearts (the soil) has not been tended to and is not ready to receive the truth of the gospel’s great love and freedom, our attempts at growing our children up in the Lord will be in vain.

A farmer tends his soil. He waters it. He plows it. He prepares it. Before the first seed is planted, the ground is made ready to receive.

In the same way, we must tend to our children’s hearts.

“I’m so glad I get to be your mama.”

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I say it with words. I say it with actions. I say it with the things I say yes to and the things I say no to. I say it with the food I make, the trips we take, the choices we make. I say it with the tone of my voice and the feel of my touch.

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“You are loved. You are delighted in. You are a blessing in my life. You are not a distraction or a hindrance to my life. You are part of the abundant life God has given me and I’m so glad I get to be your mama.”

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A Colorful Life

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Sometimes even I don’t believe it.

In our short fifteen years of marriage, we’ve done a lot of things.

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  • We moved to India having been married only six months.
  • On our first anniversary we spent 7 weeks traveling around North India, including a three day camel trek in the desert.
  • We dorm-parented 19 11th grade girls (and had a blast) the same year we welcomed our first child into the world.
  • We’ve welcomed five more children into the world in three other countries.
  • We’ve worked with children (and adults) from all over the world and have seen the beauty in the diversity of culture and country.
  • We’ve had adventures in India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Japan, Netherlands, America, Thailand, and more.

We’ve done a lot. Seen a lot. Lived a lot.

And yet, in all the color we’ve seen — from the streets of Mumbai to the color of fall in the US —we’ve never seen this before.

And what is this you ask?

The dream of seeing translated Bibles for each and every one of the approximately 2000 languages that are still waiting for their FIRST WORD of Scripture.

We’ve never seen something we believe in so deeply, something we are committed to so whole-heartedly, and something that makes us want to focus so intently.

My greatest source of blessing, encouragement, and hope in my life has been through the powerful words of the Bible. From the time as I child I wept reading, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed your transgressions from you” to the time this week I spent smiling and snuggling my three year old as I read, He makes the barren woman abide in the house As a joyful mother of children,” my Bible has been my nourishment, my sustenance, and my refreshment. 

As we spend our days in training as part of the newest class of members of Wycliffe Bible Translators, we become more and more excited (and more and more humbled) to be part of a group who long to use their individual personalities, passions, and plans to see a vision come alive. Vision 2025 is a dream Wycliffe and its partners around the world have to see a Bible translation project started for every language that needs one by the year 2025. And each of the people with us this week, as well as each of you, has a unique role to play. God has equipped each and every one of us to be part of Vision 2025. It’s Wycliffe’s vision and it is our vision. It still amazes me that Jason and I can use our particular skills and passions to accomplish something so beautiful.

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Can you imagine something more amazing? More astounding? More colorful?

Revelation 7:9 & 10 give us a glimpse into the colorful beauty we have to look forward to:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

What a celebration that will be!

I cannot think of anything I would rather give my life to and I can think of no other dream I could have in my heart that would compare to the joy of seeing people with the word of God in their own language for the first time.

We’ve lived a colorful life, but it pales in comparison to the color we’ll see on that glorious day.

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And in case you couldn’t tell, my kids live a colorful life as well ;)