Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Time Flies

Wow

More than a year since I posted last? How does that happen?

My intentions have been good, especially as I read and am encouraged by friends blogs. I read and think, hmm, I shuld post. But then I get distracted by life in general.

So here I sit, another year gone, another summer fading fast and feeling a bit melancholy.

It has been a phenomenal summer. I finished a painting project and replaced a horribly worn out family room set with a comfy cozy sectional; I travelled with my husband and my church to Mexico to share God's love by building a house for a precious family; I visited with different friends, relaxing and chatting by the pool; I watched several seasons of a TV show with my family (thanks to the comfy coxy sectional and netflix!); I've gone with my family to some of our favorite places -- Hershey Park and Ocean City -- simple day trips where we were able to re-live some great memories; I played with my daughter's new pet, a black, mini-lop bunny -- the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Yeah, it's been a good summer. But today daughter 2 got up early for pre-season soccer. I've taken a couple hours each day over the past week to plan for next year. I've begun to collect school supplies and inventory school uniforms, and I know there is lots to do in the next few weeks. Next week daughter 1 and I go on a road trip to visit colleges. She has but one year of high school left and then, oh my, college.

Perhaps that where the melancholy is coming from. Starting this school year means the end of an era. So many changes are coming and I feel it in my bones! Honestly, I DO enjoy change -- I like new things and I like the adventure. However, as summer fades and I am beginning to feel the stress of the school year mounting (so much to do before it starts), I am longing to hang on to this relaxed, peaceful summer of enjoying my family.

I wish I could find the balance -- to keep this peaceful, relaxed pace even when school starts. But once school starts and soccre season and 3 kids in middle / high school and youth groups and ... and ... and ... Life takes on a frenzied pace.

Somehow, I need to re-capture the rest that I find in the summer and hold on to it all year long.

Hopefully I won't let anther year slip by without stopping to think with my fingers again!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Wings

I haven't done much blogging -- just haven't made the time for it. But it is finally summer, and I can finally take some time to think.

Today my 16 year old daughter flew from the nest -- literally! We dropped her off at the airport about an hour ago, and I believe she is sitting on the plane getting ready to take off as I type. She is going to Guatamala for the second time on the "Never the Same" mission trip. She's joining with about 300 other teens for 3 days of training in Miami, FL before they begin their 10-day mission trip. They will spend their days sharing the gospel of Jesus through drama and through service.

Last year both of my daughters went together, and this year they go their separate ways. Daughter #2 (15 year old)leaves next Monday for a 1 week youth convention in Kentucky with her friends from church; later in the summer, she and I will spend a week in Mexico with our church mission teem. My son (11 1/2) leaves in two weeks to spend a week at camp.

As a teen, I loved going to camp, going on youth group trips, and doing missions work. I am thrilled that my Dad allowed me to have wings to fly. Now as a parent, I am thrilled to give my kids the wings to fly. However, now I realize that letting my kids fly is a hard thing, a good thing, but a hard thing. I can easily say I trust God with my kids, but this is where I put my words to the test!

One of my favorite verses is in III John, "I have no greater joy than to know that my children are walking in the truth." These trips -- whether to another town (B's camp is only 15 minutes away,) another state (Kentucky), or another country (like Guatemala) -- allow my children to walk in the truth.

Letting them go is easy and hard at the same time. I know that they will come home to me (at least for a while), and I am so excited to hear how God is going to change them!

PS: If you want to follow my Guatemala baby, you can check out her blog, "Giving in to your Gravity" @ http://joybug93.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guess I've been distracted . . . so little time, and yet so much to say.

Some day, hopefully soon, I'll get back to blogging!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thoughts on I Samuel

I am going though a Bible study on the book of I Samuel using Desiring God's Own Heart by Kay Arthur and David Arthur, part of the New Inductive Study series.


After studying the first three chapters of the book, I was reminded of my own responsibility as a parent. Hannah longed for a child -- but it seemed her desire was not a selfish one. Her desire was for a child who would make a difference. When God answered her prayer, she gave her child to God -- not figuratively like many of us have done, but literally. She sent her to be raised at the tabernacle. Again, it's not like sending my kids to a Christian school. She sent her son to live in the tabernacle even though she had to know that the leadership was corrupt. She made a commitment to God and she followed through, even when it was not an easy and probably not a popular thing to do. I'm thinking her husband must have thought she was crazy!

Then there's Eli. He is an old man, a priest over Israel, and he has two grown sons. His sons are corrupt, selfish, greedy, womanizing men. At one point Eli reprimands his sons, but they ignore him and continue in their sinful way. From all indications, it's not like Eli didn't know what was going on. In fact it's strongly implied that he gained from his sons practices. Vs 29 of chapter 2 says "Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves . . ."

Hannah honored God more than she honored her son and more than she honored herself. The result was that she received more blessings than she could have imagined. Yes, she had more children, but I believe her greatest blessing was having a child who was used by God.

Eli on the other hand, the priest who really should have known better, honored himself and his sons. He wanted his sons to be happy and allowed them to break God's commandments. The result was a curse on his entire line: His sons both died, the Ark of the Lord was captured, and God's glory departed from Israel, a pretty hefty price to pay.

I want my kids to be happy, and I want my students to be happy. But more than that I want them to honor God. My greatest blessing is when I see my kids (my own flesh and blood AND my students) being used by God.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mentoring

So, yes, it has been a while since I've taken the time to blog -- more than 2 months.

Why, you ask? Normally in September I blame it (and every other flaw in my life) on the opening of school. My schedules goes from the slow and easy, relaxed pace of summer to the non stop flurry of activity!

In the midst of the school rush though, I've noticed that mentoring has become a recurring theme in my life. Last spring, one of the teens at my church asked me to be one of her "life coaches." Her parents encouraged her and her brother to select adults that they trusted to become life coaches / mentors as they moved from teens to young adults. She and I met once over the summer, and then recently all of her "coaches" joined together with her, her mom, and one friend (who happens to be my daughter) for a special over-night camp out. It was a special evening for Megan and for all of us who were able to share the memory with her.

As school started this year, I had the joy of working with a student teacher. The young lady is a senior at Philadelphia Biblical University who is finishing her program in English, Secondary Education. She spent the first week or so observing, and then gradually took over each of my classes. It was fun for me to feed her ideas, give her advise, encourage, and even when necessary give suggestions for improvement. In one sense, it made my own work load a little easier, but in another sense, it changed how I planned everything. My focus was not only on where my students needed to be, but how the student teacher would fit into the plan. Katie's last day was Friday, and I am really going to miss her. I am praying for her as she moves into a new student teaching assignment in a public school.

Along with having a student teacher, my principal asked me to help out two of our new teachers. Both are brand new teachers -- one has about 6 months of experience and the other graduated in June and started with us in September. Both are in the music department are delightful to work with.

Somewhere in the middle of all this mentoring and coaching, a verse came into my mind:

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they
can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3 - 5.


So I guess that means I have crossed into the assembly of "older women." Ironically, I still value my own mentors. I have a few women who are older than me whose opinions I value dearly. I look to them for advise, for guidance, and sometimes just for a shoulder to cry. But now it's time to take what God has given me and share it with those following behind.

I don't ever want to take the attitude of a know-it-all. Another verse that has shown up several times to me recently is 2 Corinthians 3:4-5:
Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes
from God.

I don't claim anything for myself -- I give all credit to God. And the funny thing, like most people, many of the lessons I've learned are lessons I "failed." It seems like when I mess up, I learn how NOT to do that again. So hopefully, I can share with others these lessons!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ensenada Report

How do I summarize an amazing week? So many things happened. I made sure to spend time each day journaling, and filled nearly 25 pages! I guess the best way to attack is in small chunks.

So let's start by where I was: Ensenada is located in the Baja California "state" of Mexico. It's on the Baja peninsula about 2 hours south of San Diego. The landscape between San Diego and Ensenada is filled with dry, dusty, rugged mountains and hills on the one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The road we drove followed the coast and provided some amazing views of Mountain and ocean. The contrasts struck me almost immediately: Steep mountains and flat beaches butting up to one another; the cool blue of the ocean and the hot, dry, brown rocks. Homes were either large colorful stucco haciendas and vacation homes, or they were small shacks made of scraps of wood, bricks or whatever else was available.

Ensenada itself is a large tourist port, and so there were things like Walmart and Costco and Burger King's. We stayed in the southern part of the city though where it was much poorer and more barren.
Our hosts, Rick and Tammy Romano, have it as their goal to provide short term mission opportunities for Americans and to make a long term impact in the lives of the Mexican people. They work with 7 pastors of small churches in the Ensenada area. During their busy season Rick and Tammy have groups come in to do construction projects (building churches and homes) and to work with children at Vacation Bible Schools at the different churches.


We stayed in small dorm style apartments right off the main road that runs through Ensenada. The dorms I was in had 3 or 4 rooms that held 8 people each (4 sets of bunk beds). The men from our team stayed in apartments across the street -- apparently ours were quite luxurious compared to theirs! :)




Our meeting room, lunch room, and "hang out" spot was about a block away in the 2nd story of a building. The space included a rather large open air porch area, a large main room / kitchen / dining room, and three smaller rooms used for offices, housing for the interns and storage.

The weather all week was perfect. Every morning we woke to clouds, but by 11 AM each day the sky was bright blue. During the day temps may have topped out in the 80's, but because it was so dry it was pleasant. Working in the sun was hot, but breezes usually cooled things down. At night the temps went down to the 60's -- again, very pleasant.

I'll add more later about what our team actually DID while we were there.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Impact 09


In less than two days I will be on my way to Mexico as a part of the "Impact Team" from my church.

Our pastors shared a vision earlier this year that our church would make an impact on the world around us by following the Acts 1:8 plan:

...you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to
the ends of the earth.
The idea was that members of our church would participate in a a series of local service projects and an international trip. People prayed about their involvement whether it would be by helping with one or more of the local projects, or by committing to serve at all (or most) of the local projects as well as the international trip. I spent time praying and really believed God was calling me to go.

The local projects started back in the spring: We started in our Jerusalem, in our own home town, by picking up trash on the sides of the road. We then moved into "Judea", the city of Camden with a service project aimed at helping the homeless by providing for their physical needs and by spending time listening to their stories and showing them some love. "Samaria" for us is the city of Philadelphia where we spent two different days working with a church plant. One day we cleaned up the old church building, filling a huge dumpster with flood damaged debris, tearing out carpet, knocking down walls, etc. On the second trip, we helped them throw a huge free carnival for the neighborhood. More than 800 people were treated to lunch, games, a moon bounce, face painting, a dunk tank, and more.

On Saturday, the 25 member team will head to Ensenada, Mexico. While there we will be partnering with "The Ensenada Project" (http://theensenadaproject.blogspot.com/), lead by missionaries Rick and Tammie Romano. They are working with a group of local pastors who are reaching the people in the Ensenada area. Our team will have three major "projects" while we are there. The construction team we will be building a home or a church for one of the pastors; the children's ministry team will be leading a vacation Bible School at the local churches; and the prayer team will be going with a local pastor / missionary into homes of local believers to pray and build relationships with them.

I didn't sign up for one particular part of the project. Instead, I am going to "floater" who will fill in wherever I am needed. I am going with an open heart to serve in whatever capacity God wants to put me in.

One of the aspects of this trip that I like the most is that so many are involved. Yes there are 25 people who are GOING. In addition, there are another 50 people (maybe more) who have participated in one or more of the local projects -- and so they are part of the team. And of course there are many who could not physically participate, but have financially supported us. But most important of all are our prayer supporters, for none of this can happen without prayer support.

And so, if you would like to be a part of this great endeavor: Please hold us up in prayer this week! Pray for our safety and health, for team unity and healthy conflict resolution, for our partnership with the Ensenada missionaries and pastors, for unbelievers to come to know God because of our efforts, and for believers to be encouraged in their commitment. In addition, please pray specifically for me that I would rely on God and not myself, that I would be an encouragement to others on the team, and that I would be used to make an impact on the people in Ensenada.