Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Maybe Jesus likes Chocolate

I just want to take a minute to brag on my Jesus.

First, a bit of a back story: Halloween is this week. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with Halloween this year. We never go out and buy costumes but my kids do like to dress up. Each year we have done different things for Halloween depending on where we live, what's going on in the area, etc.

Glenn is on nights this week so I was tempted to just stay home with the lights out and watch a movie with the kids until I read a blog post. Glenn had already told me about it and had Caleb read it before I read it.

These words stuck out to me:
"This is the only night of the entire year that most of your neighbors and mine are going to come knocking on our doors. The only night."

I haven't met many of my neighbors but that post made me realize that my neighbors may be coming to my door on Thursday. I say may because I'm not sure if people actually trick or treat in my predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. I'll let you know after Thursday.

Ok, that was a lot of back story before getting to what I actually want to share. I want to have good candy to share with the people who come to my door but I didn't have any so we went to the store today. My printer is out of toner so I couldn't print any coupons but I could upload a few candy coupons to my Kroger card so to Kroger we went.

When we got there I searched through the candy checking bags for candy count to find out which was the cheapest per item from the chocolate section. My coupons were all for Mars so that's what I was looking at mostly. I grabbed a bag of Twix to see how many were in the bag and discovered the bag was popped open. I put it back to grab another one and it was open too. It didn't look like the bags sealed properly from the factory because all of the bags were popped open and wrapped Twix bars filled the box. Two of my girls ran off together to find a store employee to tell them about it. The ladies in floral told them that they didn't know what to tell the girls to do but that the girls should make sure they each took at least one. When they told me my girls were offended... We can't take candy we haven't paid for!!

I found a man stocking shelves and pointed out the box of open candy bags and I explained that I'd found the box and just wanted the store to know so that it could be taken care of and not just sit there like that tempting people. The man seemed surprised and asked me if I would like to buy them for a discount. I wasn't expecting that question but I said, "Sure. I guess. Maybe." He went off to talk to the store manager and I went back to the candy aisle in my quest to figure out which candy was the best price per item. The manager came to talk to me. He told me that it was about 12 bags of Twix in there and that he would give it to me for $10. I was kind of shocked but I said sure and he proceeded to find a SKU that I could use at the checkout. The girls each ate one on the way home and then, when we got home, the guys helped count them. There were 236 Fun Size Twix bars in there that we got for $9.99. Thanks God.
 Now I just hope we get trick-or-treaters who like Twix tomorrow or I am going to have to find some other way to get rid of all the chocolate we now have in our house!

So that is why I think that Jesus may like chocolate. Or at least Twix. Or at least for some reason in His infinite wisdom He chose to bless me because I want to bless my neighbors. I don't know why He did it but I know I love Him.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's Working Wednesday: Learning Geography and Trying to Gain a Love for the Lost

What's Working Wednesday is my weekly post to showcase something that is working for me or my family at the moment. It may not work for us forever and it may or may not work for you.



I listened to Radical recently. I had borrowed it from the library on Overdrive. One of Platt's challenges at the end of the book was to pray through the nations of the world so we've started doing that in the mornings this fall.

We have a World map and a US map that hang on the walls in our dining room. On the maps there are flags for people that we know that live around the country and around the world. It gives my kids a personal connection to various places that they may never visit knowing the people that live there and having the opportunity to hear the stories that happen there. It's also handy having maps on the wall because whenever we hear news about some place in the world we can go to the map and look at it to see where that place is. (I really missed my maps when we were living out of our van.) My kids are being raised in the US (which was not my original plan, though it has been God's plan so far) but I want them to realize that the US is not the center of the universe.

There are three different apps or websites that we visit daily to help us learn geography and pray for people around the world:

1. VOM Pray Today App
This app (links to the app are on the bottom of the above linked website) gives one prayer request each day for persecuted followers of Jesus in restricted nations around the world. The prayer requests focus on one country for several days in a row. There is also a link to information about the country we are currently praying for and some news updates. Praying for these requests has made me very grateful for the freedom that we have in this country.

2. Joshua Project's Unreached People Groups
Caleb used this website often in doing research about various countries we studied a couple of years ago. They have an app that features one people group that is unreached with the gospel each day. You can also sign up to get the information emailed to you daily. There is information about the people groups giving a bit of their history, some of their struggles and a recommended prayer request. Praying for these requests has burdened me for people who don't have the gospel in their language and has made me so grateful for my Bible in my heart language.

3. Operation World Pray Today
If you go to this website daily and click on "Pray Today" you will learn about and pray for every nation in the world over the course of a year. This website has maps, flags, and statistics as well as challenges for prayer.

Every morning we read through the information, jot the countries' names down on a white board, find them on our map or globe and then pray over the requests. I know it has opened my eyes to the needs of the world and how blessed I am to have been born in the US and I'm praying it will impact our kids as well.

Bonus, non-religious, resources:
We are getting quicker at finding various countries on the map which is fun. A couple of other resources to help with learning geography that we enjoy are:

- World Geography Challenge - This is an app. You can look it up on your app store. I'm not sure how to link it. We have also used map puzzles on this website which has similar fun geography games. I am using these to try to help me know where countries are located. I really struggle with finding African and Eastern European countries and this app has helped.
Geography Songs
We LOVE these songs. We got this book and CD the year we tried Sonlight. We haven't found the CD since our move so we haven't listened to them in a while but they are great for helping to memorize country names and, using the maps in the book, the locations of said countries. We still sing many of the songs when we are looking for countries on our world map to give us a clue as to what part of the world we should be looking in.

What resources do you use to help learn about the world?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Family Fun at Day in the District

A couple of weeks ago was "Day in the District" where a bunch of the museums downtown in the art/ museum district were free for the day. We went to a few of the museums to check them out. 

We went to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History to check it out and see if we wanted to get a membership there. We had a good time there but because of the ages of the kids, our busy schedule, having only one vehicle and the cost of parking downtown we decided it probably wouldn't be worth it for us to get a membership. We did have fun though

making a snowman on a giant Light Bright,
 laying on a bed of nails,
 making and testing paper airplanes with Dad,
and then trying to corral cattle at the Cattle Raisers Museum upstairs.
We then got to go to "Energy Blast" a 4-D theater "Journey to the Center of the Barnett Shale" and then learned about fracking in Texas. The opinions about fracking here are much different than the ones I heard in upstate NY.
 Another one of the museums that was free for the day was the National Cowgirl Museum. While there the kids all had a chance to "ride the bronc." The printer wasn't working for the two younger girls so we weren't able to get the video codes for them but below are the videos of my two older bronc riders for your viewing pleasure. One of them did better than the other as you will see but neither of them had very good form. I think we need to take them to a rodeo so they can get a better idea of what they were supposed to be doing. Maybe next year their form will be better.

  video

video
Here's Lydia on video that I secretly took with my phone. I wish I would have taken one of Abigail.
video

Day in the District was fun and it was especially enjoyable because Glenn had a rare day off and could come with us. I look forward to doing it again next year if they have it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

I'm not ordinary. At least I think I'm not.

Some days I do long to be ordinary.

When it comes down to it I don't think I really have ever wanted to be ordinary. To be honest I'm jealous of the friends whose blogs I follow raising their families overseas whose lives are way less ordinary than mine. I always thought I would be doing that and the idea that I may always be here in the States living an ordinary life has been a hard pill for me to swallow. I know that if that is what God has for me He will give me the grace everyday to live this ordinary life for Him here. I know we'll be here for at least the next 3-4 years of residency living the ordinary lives of a resident physician and homeschooling momma of four. God calls us to obedience to Him in the every moment of every day not just in the extraordinary.

I long to be obedient to Jesus and to bring glory to Him in this ordinary. If, someday, He calls me to something different I pray that I will be obedient to Him and bring glory to Him then as well.

For now I'll be be an ordinary servant of the Most High God and a life spent chasing after Him is never ordinary.

Linking up for Five Minute Friday.
Five Minute Friday

Saturday, October 05, 2013

It's a cold wet night in Fort Worth. I'm glad I'm not homeless.

Normally, being from NY, I would be grateful for this change in the weather and today I was but...

It was about 80 when I took my run this morning and in the low 70s when I picked Glenn up from the hospital at about 9. As the day progressed the temps kept dropping. I was loving the day that felt so much like fall to this New Yorker. By about 4 when we met up with our Sunday School class it was in the low 60s. We ate a quick supper, did a quick Bible study then packed up to head back to Fort Worth.

This is "Love Fort Worth" weekend at our church and each class was supposed to do a service project somewhere in the city. Our class decided to do a "dog drop." We grilled a bunch of hot dogs, wrapped them in foil and stored them in coolers to keep them warm. We then drove to the part of the city where the homeless shelters are and set up tables to give out hot dogs, chips and bottles of water. People came over and grabbed some food and we got a chance to talk to some of them.

With the sudden cold some people asked if we had any blankets. We didn't. Some people asked if we had any coats - one guy gave his away. Some people asked if we had any hot cocoa. We didn't. It was in the nineties when we planned this event. In fact it was in the 90s all week.

Then it started raining. It started with sprinkles then on came a full downpour. We escaped to our vans and the bus. The people out there had no place to go. The impact on us was great. Yes, we're wet but we have dry clothes to change into, we have warm dry homes with beds that we'll sleep in tonight. The people we were "out there to minister to" didn't. The temperature dropped but the rain eased up a bit and we got out to give out more food. We were directed to another area where more people were and went there and passed out the rest of our hotdogs and some more chips and water, chatted and prayed with a few more people. Then we headed back to our cars.

The impact on my crew was strong. We've been "homeless" before but to us that just means we didn't have a place to call home. Every night of our homeless times God has provided a place for us to stay often through great friends and strangers who became friends and if we stayed outside it was in a tent and it was because we CHOSE to sleep in a tent because we like camping not because we had no other option. Seeing these people and realizing we're cold and wet but it's temporary, a problem quickly fixed in an hour when we get home with a change of clothes and a cup of hot chocolate. We've never been homeless like those people we saw and talked to are.

It was interesting to hear some of the kids thoughts afterwards. I'm sure it will be a topic of discussion for the rest of our lives. Here are some things they said:

- "some of the people kind of scared me that toddlers were there."
- "it was kind of sad to see all those people out there homeless but I'm happy that we could give them hotdogs and chips and stuff"
- "I thought we did good. We gave out all the hot dogs"
- "sad. There was a bunch of people we passed driving there that we didn't have hot dogs out to give them"
- "I'm so thankful that we have a home to sleep in on this cold wet night. We have dry clothes, blankets."
- "We are sooooo blessed." (Stated many times by everyone.)
- (with sadness) "They must have no friends to help them. Whenever we were homeless friends helped us."

I'm not sure that we'll ever think of a chilly, rainy night the same again. The kids have plans to go to Town Talk and buy a bunch of hot chocolate mix and styrofoam cups so we'll be ready next time it's cold. In our debrief we discussed how to collect coats and blankets for these people because winter is coming. Yes, it won't be a NY winter but it will be cold, especially to bodies that have been out in the 100 degree days of Texas all summer long.

So tonight I'm grateful. More grateful than usual that I'm not homeless. Grateful that I have dry clothes, a warm dry house, and a bed to sleep in. I have a pantry full of food and enough stuff to fill 15' of a semi trailer - too much stuff. I need to be listening. I don't know what God wants us as a family to do with regard to the homeless but I'm praying for guidance and longing to be obedient to what He asks us to do.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Write

Yesterday as I was scanning my email I saw a blog post something about 31 days of something. I thought to myself, "Someone else was doing a 31 days of something else. Huh. That's interesting." A few minutes later I realized: Oh, it's October! Nester does a blog for 31 days challenge in October. Last year I did 31 days of flashbacks. When our computer was stolen in June I was so thankful I had done that because it gave me at least a few of the pictures of the last year that I'd lost.

My next thought was, "I am no longer a blogger since I'm not doing that challenge." Last year when I was doing that blogging challenge I thought "Next year we'll be all settled into residency life being normal people who live on a paycheck and I'll have my world all straightened out and I'll pre-plan and make a great 31 days of something blog series."

Um. That didn't happen. Glenn starting residency and me homeschooling older kids and volunteering has thrown me for a loop this year and I just haven't blogged like I've wanted to. I miss blogging. There are scads of started blog posts on my phone that I've jotted ideas down and started but never finished, often covering me with guilt and regret.

Today when I saw the writing prompt was "write" I felt like it was a message from God for me. No, I'll never be a perfect blogger (there probably isn't such a thing) but I still need to write. I have no challenging, meaningful, life changing 31 day series with a cute button but I'll still try to blog more this month. I may never be "one of those bloggers" with the cute blogs and buttons but God says that's Ok. I just need to be obedient to Him and be what He's called me to be: child of the King, wife of an FM intern, homeschooling mom to 4 great kids - me. For this season that is enough.

PS- Yes, I wrote this on my phone and, emailing it to my blog, my signature came with it including my favorite quote. I needed to read it again (when do I not) and thought it might bless some other reader as well:

In time of trouble, say, "First, he brought me here. It is by his will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest." Next, "He will keep me here in his love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as his child." Then say, "He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons he intends me to learn, and working in me the grace he means to bestow." And last, say, "In his good time he can bring me out again. How and when, he knows." Therefore, say, "I am here (1) by God's appointment, (2) in his keeping, (3) under his training, (4) for his time." ~Andrew Murray.

Linking up with Lisa Jo for Five Minute Friday. Join me?
Five Minute Friday