Monday, March 17, 2014

Highly Recommend

As a mom of little people and a teenager, I find myself with little time to read deeply these days. In my single days I enjoyed reading four books at a time, different topics, genres, etc. These days I am a lucky girl if I can read one book in a month. I really can't even do that. After I put the babies down at night, cook supper for the bigger people and clean everything up, I just want to get on social media and pin to my hearts to delight, while catching up on series. All things that do not require much brain activity, which any mom can tell you at the end of the day is about all the brain activity we have left. In Lent however, I have given up some social media for the sake of seeing my deeper longing for Jesus and that is opening up my evenings a bit and allowing me to allow Him to refresh my heart and mind.

In that vein, I wanted to share some good books I have read this past year(like January 2013-March 2014). These are books that refueled me or were a sheer delight to read in the midst of children, sabbatical and daily crazy ministry life.  

Desperate by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson

In the beginning of last year I was here. I was desperate to breathe and feel like I could make it to tomorrow. I had just had my second baby and was incredibly overwhelmed with immediate and extended family circumstances, forget all the ministry and church challengs we faced daily. This book became my quiet time and meditation to try to and crawl out of my spiritual pit of despair. There are helpful application sections at the end of each chapter. The book is written by a young mom and an older mom, so there is much wisdom and experience to be gained from these two lovely women. 

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

Wow. This has been a very challenging read. You can be very spiritually mature but lack emotional maturity. I think most of us do. We grow so quickly in our walk with Christ and study our bible and get involved in leadership and we think we are all set, somehow our emotional maturity is easily side lined and we wonder why at +/- 30 we feel burnt out and ready to quit lots of stuff in our lives. This book is super helpful in revealing where you are individually and gives hope that this is not all there as to be in your life, marriage or church experience. For someone like me, who was involved in a great ministry that developed my spiritual walk in incredible ways, I need a book like this. My emotional health and maturity is dwarfed in comparison. From one beggar to another, I commend this to you.

Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

A fun, easy read a good friend of mine lent to me while we were in the states. She tells life stories and how certain meals around their table ministered to her in different seasons of life. Honest and refreshing. Recipes at the end of most chapters, some of which are staples in our family now. Thank you Shauna.

Reading this now and wow! I am being challenged at every turn. I am not a church planting wife, but I am a wife in a college ministry. I was involved as a student and came on staff single right out of college. Being married and now with children, the game has changed dramatically for me. No matter who you are or where you are in church leadership, on a core team, helping pioneer something bigger than yourself; this book is a great help with perspective. 

I hope these are helpful for you as they have been helpful for me. Enjoy and Happy Monday and St. Patricks Day.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

This season of Lent

Growing up in the Lutheran church this was a season I was familiar with each year. We gave up something we loved for forty days to grow deeper in our walks with God. After I became a Christian in highschool I kind of abandoned lots of good practices to just focus on following Jesus and loving Him with all my heart. As I have grown up in my faith, many of those good practices have found their ways back into my heart and life again. God has used them to show me my need for Him daily and I have seen how seasonally they often help me refocus my heart back on Him as I am so easily distracted by any and everything that is not Him. Lent has always been hard for me, as I imagine it is for many of us because it involves a willing sacrifice."Fasting is a tangible, physical activity that points to our spiritual longing to be rooted in Jesus alone and find our true comfort and joy in Him." (Taken from the Gospel Coalition devotional guide for Lent). As a household, we are choosing to participate in Lent this year and are all giving up something near and dear. One of our staff guys, Siyanda, lives on our property and at supper decided he too would join Jeff, Casey and I. So here we go. Forty days to be more aware of my spiritual longing to be rooted in Jesus. I am excited and scared. Lots of refining ahead I am sure of it. Thankfully He is able and He will do it in me. 

Here are some plans that were tossed my way the past few days. All are great, we are doing the one from The Gospel Coalition. Just wanted to resource those

Ann Voskamp:

John & Noel Piper:

You Version Bible reading app also has a bunch of plans for this season. Check them out on your mobile device :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New City life

We have been in Pretoria for about three weeks now and back in South Africa just over a month and life has been busy to say the least. We set up our new house, got Casey into a new high school(which is an adventure all on it's own in South Africa) and have try to get set up for a new year of ministry on a new campus. One of my tasks has been to set up our internet in the new place and as of today we are still without it. We have been waiting on the phone company to change our line from Joburg to Pretoria and as of yesterday it still hadn't happened. I spent an hour on the phone with various people from Telkom until finally a lady who seemed to know how to help us escalated our request to urgent and said a technician would phone us to tell us when they would come out to set up the new line. When I asked if she knew if that phone call would happen in the next week, she of course could give no firm answer. So I am posting this from my phone as we continue to wait. Here are a few fun pictures of our time in PTA so far. 

I am also applying for permanent residency and will share on that experience in the coming weeks(home affairs is a beast all it's own, this should be interesting).

Monday, December 2, 2013

O Christmas Tree

Christmas season is upon us all. Merrily we go along now friends. When parents and I happened to be in the same country recently (crazy reality that we seldom are in the same time zone), my mom was showing Asher one of the ornaments I made as a tiny tot. She loves this piece of my childhood, probably because as we all get older there are very few of those tangible pieces remaining. This got me to thinking on a way to preserve such trinkets. I am not going to throw myself headlong into 500 pinterest projects for myself and the kids this holiday season, mainly thanks to a reminder I read here.

Rather, I decided we can do the Jesse Tree Advent devotionals, including the little ornaments for each day; and we can occasionally make new ornaments are artsy things in light of the season. With two boys, almost 10 months and 2 1/2 years old, I have a very small window of time to do such things and have it be enjoyable and productive, sadly I often focus on the productive instead of the enjoyable. 

With my mom's love for childhood ornaments and this desire to do something fun and seasonal with Asher mainly, I decided to recreate one of my first ornaments made as a little person, the Christmas tree.  The best part is that most of us have the construction paper already laying around somewhere with glue and string of some sort. I had to run to Michael's for the glitter and admit that we walked around for 30 minutes looking at other things before I remembered why we had gone there to begin with. Thankfully, we left with ONLY the glitter and not many other items in tow as well. 

I started with tracing the original tree onto fresh green construction paper. 

Next I cut both trees out and followed that by cutting out the ornaments for the trees.

I applied the glue to spots Asher wanted to hang his ornaments and away he went(you could place the dots where you like if the littles are too little to tell you where they would like them). 

Then I applied the glue for the glittery lights or garland, whichever you imagine and Asher helped me sprinkle the glitter (no picture due to mommy needing to hold the glitter so the whole kitchen didn't wind up sparkly).

Finally he went to town on the stars and I punched a hole in the top for the string(anything you have laying around is usable here).

Here's the finished products. 1983 vs. 2013, thirty years requires updating. Asher did both trees as Mason was napping and would've eaten the ornaments rather than placing them anywhere near his tree. I hope you feel inspired with this easy activilty. Have a great day!