Thursday, December 24, 2015

We have (another) van

We have been looking for a replacement vehicle for a while (since, you know, May of 2013 when the rear subframe of our van snapped on our way up to NY for graduation).

We said goodbye to Winnie (our '02 Ford Windstar) back then but while we were on our graduation trip in a rental we decided to have mechanic our tow driver recommended put a used piece put on her to fix her to sell her. She wasn't fixed exactly right but she got us from point A to point B (she mostly went from home to the hospital). We decided she should be a Metroplex only vehicle because we didn't trust her frame and rented a van for vacation though we have taken her to Louisiana twice to visit Glenn's parents.

God gave us Ghana ('97 Ford Taurus) when our friends moved to Ghana in the spring of '14. She has taken us to New York twice, Wyoming once, Louisiana once (?), up to Ohio in early November, and all over the metroplex. She's been a huge blessing because she sits 6 so we can all fit in her. She started making a funny noise last Thursday and I mentioned it to Glenn. When he mentioned it to his dad his dad recommended not driving it because it might be the rod. He drove it home from work anyway and had a friend who has mechanic training listen and he shouted, "Rod, rod, rod rod rod," so Glenn would turn her back off. I honestly have no idea what that means but, from what I've gathered, it's bad. Like don't drive her again bad. :(

We (really Glenn) had already been looking for vehicles more lately anyway because he wants us to have a reliable vehicle when he's gone next month and I wanted something with at least 8 seats so I can cart all 7 kids legally in a few weeks when the kids and I go up to watch my nephews and niece while my brother and sister-in-love head off to get the little girl they're adopting. The "rod" thing and the fact that Winnie seems to be having possible transmission issues and the fact that Winnie's frame is just bits of rust kind of stuck together made it more of a priority.

On Saturday Caleb had a birthday party up 199 and there are lots of used car lots up that way. While he was paint balling the rest of us used car lot hopped. We met several nice used car salesmen, figured out how to have the kind of conversation we wanted with used car salesmen (after a few mistakes), looked in several vehicles, and made Hannah get in the back of lots of vehicles to check leg room. It was helpful as we were able to cross several types of vehicles off of our possibilities list because there was not enough legroom or not enough storage space for us.

After looking at a minivan at one of the lots we noticed an old conversion van and asked about it. It had been a trade in and he didn't know much about it but let us check it out. The legroom was enormous and the seats were comfy. Hannah was in love.

After picking up Caleb, Winnie choked a bit and we kind of seriously joked about seeing if the guy would give us an even trade for her. Instead we continued to the mall and watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens (a special thanks to our dentist, Dr Tillman, for free tickets).

After church on Sunday, Glenn and I sat on our bed and compared craigslist ads for various vehicles we were considering, most of them being big vans (conversion or other passenger vans) and contacted a few owners.

After looking and talking for quite a while we decided to move to the urgent/ not important quadrant of our to do list and go to Six Flags to use Glenn's pass before it expired (the urgent part) and continue our conversation while in line for rides. It was so nice to just get out and have fun as a family and enjoy the pretty lights of Holiday in the Park.

While there we missed a return call from one of the owners but we got home too late to call him back so we called him on Monday afternoon. The van had 10 seats, which fit our "8 or more" desire so we decided to go check it out. The owners have 7 kids and replaced her with a newer van that seats 15 so they can bring friends along. We totally understand that since we can only fit one extra person in Winnie so if we have more than that someone has to sit illegally. Driving to the northeast corner of the metroplex during rush hour was NOT fun but we got there and checked her out. After checking her out and talking to the owner about the price we decided we would chat about it on the long drive home. Four and a half hours after leaving home we got back to Fort Worth and chatted with friends from our small group about whether we should buy her or not and decided to do so.

Tuesday afternoon we drove back out there and picked her up and, while the dads worked on paperwork and talked about more of the van's idiosyncrasies, I had a great conversation with the wife (another homeschool mom) and our kids had fun playing with each other. I think that our families would be great friends if they didn't live on "the other side of the world."

Welcome to the family, Black Beauty (her given name) or The Beast (what I think we should call her) or something else... we haven't come to an agreement on her name yet. She may not be our forever car but she has room for more than just us and we are grateful for her and I guess I will be getting used to driving a big van. We get to try her out for her first #wanderingmaases adventure today as we go to Lake Charles to visit Glenn's family for Christmas.
It has 4 captain's seats and a bench that sits 4 in the back (that also folds down into a bed). 
We could live in there or at least use it as a play house (which the girls did yesterday with a friend).
Now, to decide what to do with our other 2 vehicles...

Thanks, God, for providing a vehicle for us. Please help us to use it for Your glory.

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's a cold, wet night in Fort Worth.

It's a cold, wet night in Fort Worth. It's been wet for over 24 hours and keeps getting colder and it's not supposed to warm up or dry up for another couple of days and I've been complaining.

In my heart and out loud I've been complaining. I don't like being cold. I don't like being wet. When the weather's like this I just want to hibernate but we're pet sitting for friends while they're out of town so we've made the trek out our doors and between our homes more often than I would of my own volition.

...and all I can think of is the homeless people and I am ashamed of my discontent heart. I leave one home that is dry and warm-ish and has blankets and go to another home that is dry and warm-ish and has blankets. I may drive a car with no heat between the two but the blowing cool air keeps the windshield clear of our breath and the drive isn't that far and I'm dry.

Tonight when I got home from checking on the dogs I had to run Glenn's phone to him at the hospital because he'd forgotten it at home and I was complaining a bit in my heart because I had the cold car and I had to leave the house again and then there, just inside the rotating door way, was a man and a woman bundled up with a few plastic bags a piece. The lady chuckled at me as I walked in, "it's a bit cold out there isn't it." I smiled and said, "yes, ma'am, it is." and my heart broke. I'm not sure how much longer they will be able to sit there in the warm, dry hospital. I don't know at what point they'll be forced out into the cold rain. Glenn told me the man was sitting there when he arrived earlier tonight and he told me of a man that slept for over a week in one part of the hospital in the heat of this past summer. Maybe they'll get to stay inside tonight. Who knows. They didn't really look prepared to handle this rain, or the cold.

As I was walking out the man asked me if I smoked. I told him no. He then asked me my name and how old I was. "Sonja," "36, no, I mean I'm 37." The lady chuckled again saying it's to late to ask such hard questions. He asked me and if I was there with my boyfriend. "I came to bring something to my husband that he left at home, he's working upstairs." The woman told me I'm a better wife than she would be, that she wouldn't come out on a cold, wet night like tonight. I told them he's worth it and wished them a good night and left.

And I can't get them out of my mind.

How I wish I had something to help them. I don't even know what I could give that would make a difference. I'm home now, nursing a cup to tea to warm me up, listening to the rain, feeling the cold seep in through the windows thankful to be inside, out of it for the night, thinking of those who are not as fortunate as I am.

It's a cold, wet night in Fort Worth and I'm a bit more thankful for my circumstances than I was.

Oh Lord, please be with those not as fortunate as me tonight. Help them to find warm, dry places to sleep and help them to be safe and not alone and help me find a way to make a difference in their lives and to be grateful for my circumstances and to trust You with all of this. Amen

Saturday, October 31, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Almost


I chat believe it's already October 31, the 31st day of the write for 5 minutes everyday challenge. I took the write daily in October challenge once before back in 2012 when I did a month of flashbacks but I hadn't written in so long that I was scared to start writing again so I just decided to take it a day at a time, no promises and I did it. Every day. I still can't believe it.

Writing every day has been good for me. It has been healing for me. It has been something I've started to look forward to instead of dread.

I know I won't continue it because I won't have daily prompts and the challenge but I'm hoping that this month will have primed the pump to get me writing more regularly.

My 5 minutes is almost done but I just want to say thanks to whoever started this write every day challenge and to Kate for her list of prompts. I have learned a bit about myself and have grown through it.

PS.... I wrote this earlier today and I almost forgot to post it.

Friday, October 30, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Bacon


So, bacon is the word that gets chosen as favorite when you give a group of women a chance to recommend a one word prompt.


Sometime in the last year or so Glenn shared with me about some article that said you should only eat bacon once a year or something. I'm not sure what it was or where he read it. I'm denying it's existence so I'm not even sure why I'm mentioning it here.

Still he brings home the bacon (literally) sometimes. Sometimes when he has extra money left in his account he'll bring home breakfast from work after a night shift and it often has bacon. Occasionally they'll have some kind of salad at noon conference and a few times he's brought home a partial pan of leftover crumbled bacon and we've stuck it in our freezer to stick in eggs or soup or salad.

I like bacon. Even if you're only supposed to eat it once a year.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Sea


I was struggling with what to write about sea and thought about how our sins are cast into the depths of the sea and had to google the verse. (My concordance doesn't get nearly the workout it used to since google became so helpful at finding the verse I'm looking for though I did pull it out the other day when one of the kids was supposed to find a verse about rest and their little back of the Bible concordance only showed about one verse where Strongs has many more than that.)

I digress. The verse I was looking for was in Micah 7 and I had to include the verse before it:

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. (‭Micah‬ ‭7‬:‭18-19‬)

How grateful I am that He forgives my sins. I don't have to be good enough or try really hard. I am forgiven because of the cross. I watched a great sermon about that this evening. You can check it out here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Hope


I didn't know what to say.

My husband says, "It's in the Lord." Which, of course caused me to start singing:

My hope is in the Lord
Who gave Himself for me
And paid the price for all my sin at Calvary

For me (for me) He died (He died)
For me (for me) He live (He lives)
And everlasting life and light He freely gives.

No merit of my own
His anger to suppress.
My only hope is found in Jesus' righteousness.

And now for me He stands
Before the Father's throne.
He shows His wounded hands and names me as His own.

His grace has planned it all
Tis mine but to believe
And recognize His work of love and Christ receive

Oh, I love that song. It reminds me of singing with my family. You have to sing both parts if the chorus when you sing it, even if it sounds funny. Sometimes it gets really low which makes it sound all growl-ly and fun.

I remembered the first and last verses and the chorus, google helped with the middle 2.

Oh, how grateful I am for that hope that can only be found in Him. It is a sure thing hope not an I sure wish hope. I can trust in that hope in all days and at all times and in all circumstances because He is good.

5 Minutes in October: Perhaps


I recently listened to The Magic Art of Tidying Up and so I am slowly trying to go through my stuff and get rid of things that we don't need. She recommends starting with your clothing so I've done my tops and bottoms and today, because I was frustrated with it I dumped my underwear drawer and sorted through it.

I came across this cute little card (What? Is your underwear drawer not full of sentimental papers??) and it made me smile. I remember loving looking through these little cards when I was a kid at the book store at Word of Life and my mom would often let me buy a few to give to others.
 When I turned it over I saw this and started to cry.
Am I? Am I in their thoughts and prayers? Do people in heaven think and pray about people on earth?


I don't know.

I do know that:

The Holy Spirit prays for me: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." Romans 8:26

and so does Jesus: "Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us" Romans 8:34

That. That is enough.

Monday, October 26, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Whisper


The voices in my head when I am asked "Who am I?" they whisper: 'You're distracted, 
you're disorganized, 
you're a disappointment.' 

I am disappointed and discouraged and discontent with those answers. I am a child of God and I am a disciple of Christ and I long to be a discipler for Him. 

Tonight at small group my friend shared this list of who I am based on Truth found in Scriptures telling me who I am in God's eyes: I am valuable, I am made new, I have the Spirit in me, I am being transformed and I represent Him.  As I listened to that sweet whisper I wondered at the fact that He really sees me that way. He sees me as his child. He sees me as sanctified, set apart for his service. I am His. It was a sweet whisper like the ones I scratched down listing all the blessings in Romans 8 that I heard in a podcast the other day (the following is copy and pasted from this transcript)

8:1 In Christ, you are free from eternal condemnation.
8:2 You are free from the damning curse and power of sin.
8:3 I executed the penalty for your sin in the crucified flesh of my Son.
8:4 The Holy Spirit is fulfilling in you the demands of my law summed up in love.
8:6 The power of the Holy Spirit in your soul gives life and peace.
8:7–8 Apart from the Holy Spirit, you are in bondage to the flesh and cannot please me.
8:9 But you are not in the flesh. My Spirit is in you, and you are the possession of my son Jesus Christ.
8:10–11 My Spirit in you will one day give life to your mortal bodies in the resurrection.
8:12 Your only debt in life is to live by the power of the Holy Spirit.
8:13 That power is the only means by which you can kill your sin.
8:14 All who are thus led by my Spirit to kill sin show that they are my sons.
8:15 My indwelling Spirit is the spirit of adoption, wakening the cry from your heart, "Abba Father."
8:16 This is my witness with your spirit that you are my children.
8:17 As my children, you are my heirs and will share my glory after a life of groaning with me in this fallen world.
8:18 But that groaning is not worth comparing to the glory that you will see and share.
8:19 The whole broken creation waits to receive its glorification when you receive your glorification. Yours will be hers, not the other way around.
8:20 I subjected the creation to its present futility with a hope-filled purpose.
8:21 One day, this entire creation will attain its own freedom and glory after and from and for my glorious children.
8:22 It is as if the whole creation were heaving with the labors of immanent birth.
8:23 Even the Spirit-indwelt followers of my Son groan in your aging, disease-ridden bodies with these same hopeful birth pangs, as you await the fullness of the privileges of your adoption, the resurrection of your glorified bodies.
8:24–25 Since you are saved — not fully already but only in hope — you wait with patience through all of your sufferings.
8:26 When you don't know how to pray in your sufferings, my Spirit prays for you through your very groanings.
8:27 I never mistake my Spirit's meaning, but respond always for your good.
8:28 But one thing you do know: I work everything for the good of those who love me and are called according to my purpose.
8:29 From eternity I took note of you, acknowledged you, chose you, and destined you infallibly to magnify my Son by becoming like him as the great firstborn.
8:30 I forged in eternity the unbreakable links of the chain: predestined, called, justified, glorified so that at no point is any of my elect ever lost.
8:31 Manifestly then, I am for you! No one can successfully oppose us.
8:32 I gave my own Son to save you. And so, with the hardest act behind me, nothing can stop me from giving you everything you need to enjoy me forever.
8:33 When I, the judge of the universe, count you righteous, and acquit you in the court of the universe, no charge, from any adversary, can stick.
8:34 To secure this vindication, Christ Jesus died, rose, reigns, and intercedes for you before me.
8:35 Therefore nothing can separate you from the love of Christ — not tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword.
8:36 You may be slaughtered like sheep — indeed somewhere in this world you are always being killed.
8:37 But no. Even in your slaughter — or any other demise — your loss becomes your gain, and your enemies become your servants.
8:38–39 Therefore you may be sure — you should be sure, how can you not be sure — that "neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [you] from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Thank you God that You have a plan and a purpose in my life, for my life and you aren't giving up on me. Please help me to be faithful follower you.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Crash


I've been in a few no damage fender benders (usually the other person's fault), bumped into a big white building, had our frame break on the interstate, and had several tire blow outs but I've only been in one major crash. That crash was on an icy road in Virginia between Christmas and New Years when my family was taking me down to start college in Tennessee. It was scary. Cars started fishtailing on a bridge that was just starting to get icy and I was sure we were going to run into the semi in front of us which thankfully, somehow was moved out of the way when we were hit from behind by a semi otherwise the results would have really been not pretty. Thankfully we all walked away with slight whiplash and a totaled minivan but nothing else.

Those signs claiming that bridges ice before roads are true. Other warning signs exist that I should pay attention to to protect me from crashes in other areas of my life. The book of Proverbs is full of them.

5 Minutes in October: Silence


When I first saw the word silence I thought of "the silence" from Dr Who. Too creepy.

Then a DC Talk song started in my head, "Silence is golden but these are the words that the world needs to hear..."

Oh, silence is golden. I love silence. Silence doesn't happen a lot in my home. Right now I hear one of my children ranting silliness in voices from Strong Bad and another child singing "Go Tell it on the Mountain" and another child excitedly sharing something learned in a book we picked up today even though it is after midnight.

Oh, silence. My children used to sleep at night. They used to go to bed earlier and I'd get a few golden moments of silence before I went to bed. Those days are gone. Yes, they're usually in bed before now but usually they still want to chat late into the night. My selfish self wants to tell them to JUST BE QUIET AND GO TO BED and often I do but this late at night time is so important. It's when the important talks happen, when I can barely keep my eyes open.

Those words that the world needs to hear according to DC Talk are "I love you" and that is often interpreted at this stage by focused presence more than just words.

So... that needed golden silence must be found in the morning before they arise.

Friday, October 23, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Joy


Jesus and
Others and
What a wonderful way to spell joy.

I remember it in a song or a poem from my childhood. It is simple but oh, so difficult for this selfish soul to live out. It is amazing the difference it makes when my priorities are in order like that though.

YOJ just doesn't cut it. When I put myself first it is always a mess. So why do I put myself first so often?

The "others" in my life are often squeak-y. They make requests and too often I shoot them down, not because I am focusing on Jesus but because I am focusing on me.

Jesus doesn't squeak for my attention. He just waits patiently, longing for that intimate relationship with me that I too often run from. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross for me. He rewards me with joy when I turn to Him so why don't I do it more often?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Value


Tonight I watched a couple of DVDs that I picked up at the Voice of the Martyrs conference 15 months ago trying to find something to show my GA girls as we pray for persecuted Christians next week for International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Most of them are not very child friendly (my kids have watched them with me but I expose my kids to a lot more than your average parent in regards to persecution).

The thing that stuck out to me the most was how much the persecuted Christians valued their Bibles. They went through so much to get them and they were punished for having them. The only comfort many of them had was scriptures they had memorized.

I am very fortunate to have several copies of the Bible but I do not treasure it as those followers of Christ do.

I want to. I need to memorize it more because then it will always be with me, even if/ when I am no longer allowed to have a copy with me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Wave


A couple of weeks ago we went to the beach. When Glenn put in his requests for PTO he requested a week in October so we could go camping because we figured that, by October, it would probably be cool enough to go camping in Texas. We had done it last year and it was really pretty great so we decided to do it again.

Last year we brought Rahab and went to Padre Island National Seashore and had a great time exploring the TX coast, camping, hanging in hammocks, etc. This year they have a red algae bloom down there so we decided to use our TX State Parks Pass and head to Galveston State Park. We had a good time camping a short walk from the gulf, and playing on the beach which we pretty much had to ourselves. Rahab enjoyed the beach more this year. She swam and didn't fear bite the waves quite so much.

I'm thankful for the time we had to get away and enjoy the waves and be together.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Temporary


On days like today I wish we could travel quicker and cheaper to get to far away places.

My nephew was born this afternoon. He lives 15-ish hours away in Ohio. I can't run up there and see him today but the wait to meet him and cuddle him and kiss his cute little cheeks is temporary, way more temporary than the wait we had to endure to meet his big sister. She was about 14 months when we finally got to meet her face to face. We get to meet him when he is a mere 2 weeks old, Lord willing, and I am so excited!

Monday, October 19, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Honor


Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭9‬)

This is totally not where I wanted to go with honor but God kept bringing this verse to mind.

There are lots of things we are supposed to honor God with and our wealth is one of them.

I've not been doing that very well. We're living pretty much within our means, living similar to how we lived on medical school and before when our income was much smaller but we've not formally set a budget since starting residency and we have not been purposeful with the resources we've been entrusted with. Yes, we've tithed and given extra money here and there and we know everything we have is God's and try to live as stewards but without a budget it is hard to be truly purposeful and intentional with what we have. I have not been honoring God with my wealth.

Not just in finances either... the time, talents and testimony He's given me, I need to start honoring Him with them more as well. I don't always give Him the best part but I should. It's all His and He deserves it.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Worth


I got to teach 4th grade Sunday School today. We were talking about Abram and how he had faith and obeyed God in Genesis 12. I love that story and it encourages me and challenges me. It also makes me think of that morning back in 2007 when we overslept and did church at home (hopefully not permanently scarring our children) that I blogged about here:

The one thing I tried to communicate to the kids today was that following and obeying God is worth it. He may ask you to do some really hard things. You may not understand what He is doing or why He is doing it but you can trust Him. He, most likely, won't tell you to pack up and get in your car and go and He'll tell you when to turn left and right and stop but even if He does you can trust Him and He will work it out for His glory and your good and having faith and obeying God is worth it. Even if it costs you everything.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Offer


As I look to the future often I wonder what on earth I can offer. I feel so ill prepared for so many things. I don't know what I can do to be of use.

But God... My two favorite words.

He has a plan and a purpose for my life. He knows, even if I don't how He will use me. He gave me a smile, two ears to listen, hands to touch. I can offer them back to Him to use as He sees fit.

I'm reminded of that old poem "In the Bleak Midwinter"

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

I know that if I'm willing to be used and obedient to His call He will take what He's given me that I offer back to Him for His glory.

Friday, October 16, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Green


Green can have so many meanings I'm not even sure where to begin.

You can be green with envy.
You can look green because you're sick.
You can be considered green because you are young or new.
Plants are green. Grass is green (except mine because we don't water).

When Glenn's relatives would visited us one summer when we lived in NY I was confused over why they exclaimed over how green it was. That's because it's not green in AZ or WY in summer. It's not in TX either...

Green often represents life, growth. My spiritual life has been pretty brown lately. I've not been watering myself with the Word like I should but I've recently started again. Faint green shoots are coming out amidst the brown as I seek Jesus more. I long to look more like the beautiful crepe myrtles that line my yard in mid-summer than the crunchy brown grass that covers my lawn.

Right now small purple flowers are creeping out in my yard, their vines casting their beauty about. Signs of life. Hope. Oh, may that be true of my heart and life as well.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Laugh


It made me laugh today when Timehop reminded me it's that Maas holiday that never officially got a name in which I packed up all flip flops, sandals, shorts and tank tops until Flip Flop Day on April 15 when the winter stuff got packed up and the kids were "finally" allowed to wear shorts and flip flops again. We don't celebrate that holiday anymore (not that it was a celebration we particularly looked forward to when we lived in NY). It was a helpful holiday to me as a parent because everyone knew when they could and couldn't wear summer clothing and it removed the option to fight over clothing that wasn't season appropriate.

I kind of miss it. The idea of packing that stuff up today is absurd and I laughed as I sat here and sweating since it's 95 outside and it's 83 inside (because I'm too cheap/ stubborn to turn our air lower unless we have guests). There would be GREAT protest and uncomfortableness if I attempted to remove the summer stuff at this point. Here in TX my kids even wear flip flops when it's freezing outside and people from church mock us but then give us a bye because we're from NY.

Yes, I'm definitely missing fall this year but I'm continuing to learn contentment in living where I am and, on days like today, I even get a chance to laugh at it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Fly


We don't fly very often as a family because when you figure in plane tickets times six plus renting a van wherever we're going it's just so much cheaper to drive.

Glenn has flown to us a couple of times when we've taken the slow route and he's met up with us somewhere far away for the short time he could escape the clutches of the schospitals he has been associated with.

He and I have flown to conferences without the kids a couple times. Often the flights are the calmest times of those trips and the only time we actually get to connect with each other.

We've flown for a couple of funerals when the kids were fewer and smaller and we did all fly when we visited the other side of the world last April. The kids especially enjoyed the endless amounts of in-flight movies they could watch.

In a couple of months Glenn's going to fly without us again. Tickets were purchased last night. This time it's not to come meet up with us in a far away place that we've taken the slow road to but back to the other side of the world. I'm sad we don't all get to join him this time and I'm sure going to miss him but I know our Father is going to teach us all lots during that month as we continue to seek Him in what He has next for us.

5 Minutes in October: Patience


My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭2-4‬

I am not naturally a very patient person but I have learned patience through some of my life experiences. Verse 3 says the testing of your faith produces patience and it's true, I'm more patient than I once was.

That is part of the reason I don't get as upset as I used to when trials come my way. It's a choice to choose joy in your trials. It's not because your trials are particularly joyful but because you know that God is going to teach you something through them.

What is the result of choosing joy in trials? Faith tested and patience developed in its perfecting work which causes you to mature and be complete and realize you lack nothing because you know He is your supply.

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭10‬

Monday, October 12, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Storm


I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Storms come. Sometimes they are predicted long in advance and we wait and watch them with trepidation wondering when they will hit, where they will hit, how badly we'll be hurt, how much we'll lose, how long it will last. Sometimes they come up suddenly out of no where and seem to destroy everything.

Last month in GAs we read the story of a storm that came up in the middle of the sea and the bunch of experienced fishermen on the ship were afraid. They went and woke Jesus who told the storm to stop and His followers were amazed, "Who is this guy?? Even the wind and waves obey Him!"

Often it's not weather related storms that affect us but storms of trials of various kinds. I've often felt like the writer of that song talks about wondering why God hasn't come through yet. At that point I get to make a choice to get angry and all bent out of shape or to trust Him in my storms knowing that storms are allowed into my life by an all knowing God who loves me, is with me, and knows what is best for me. I'm getting quicker at choosing the later but it's still not easy.

One thing that has helped with my perspective is this quote I first read in a Calm my Anxious Heart.
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.

It's my signature line so I get to see it often as a reminder that God is good and He is in control. Even in the storms. For His glory and my good.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Rest


"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (‭Matthew‬ ‭11‬:‭28-30‬)

Taking time to rest is not something necessarily looked favorably upon in our culture.

If someone says they are going to take a nap often they are met with a "must be nice" response implying that there is no way for the hearer to conceive of having a nap because they are way too busy. We fill our lives and our schedules to overflowing because that us what is expected of us but is it necessary?

A couple of months ago we had a discussion about this idea of rest and the importance of it at small group. Talking about it was freeing and I've taken more Sunday afternoon naps over the weeks since than I have over many of the previous years combined. I do not need to fill every waking hour. It is good and healthy to stop, take a break, reflect, and rest.

I'm slowly trying to put it into practice. Speaking of which, I should go take a nap. It is Sunday after all. Lesson plans can wait.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Ready


"People, get ready, Jesus is coming, soon we'll be going home."

I'm not ready for Jesus's return. Not because I don't know Him as my personal Savior. I do. It's just that there are so many that don't. 

As I stand in church and sing songs of how wonderful my Jesus is and how thankful I am that my sins are forgiven, that the wrong things I do won't count against me because of Jesus I think of all the people that don't know that truth. I think of all the people who have never experienced His forgiveness, all the people who have never even heard the name of Jesus and who don't even have a word of scripture in their language and the people who live on my street that I haven't taken the chance to get to know and share with them of the Hope I have. 

How can I be so selfish to keep the Good News to myself? Forgive me, Lord.

Friday, October 09, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Trust


"Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness." ‭Psalms‬ ‭37‬:‭3‬

I started reading Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity before we left but I started reading it aloud on our trip to whoever could hear me over the wind blowing through Winnie's a/c (aka our open windows- thank God highs have been under 90 this week). It's been challenging to me reading the Hatmaker's story of how God asked them to trust Him and how He challenged them and changed them and came through in ways only He could.

It made me think of the many times He's left us with lots of questions and no answers but "trust Me" - stepping out in faith like Abraham "not knowing where he was going."

It's amazing when God asks you to step out and trust Him, He always comes through.

We don't know what our future holds but we know He wants us to trust Him and to be faithful to obey Him.

"You've never failed and You won't start now..."

Thursday, October 08, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Purple


Purple always makes me think of Lydia. Our Lydia was named after a lady from the book of Acts who was known as a seller of purple and who hosted a church in her home.

We tried to give all of our kids first and middle names after people from the Bible that we'd like them to emulate their lives after. Well, I guess Eve is most known for being the first sinner. Not a lot of people probably look back at her with fondness but she was the mother of all of us.

Caleb was one of the men who chose to trust God would keep His promise, Hannah was the faithful barren woman who became the mother of Samuel and Abigail was a wise woman who became the wife of King David.

I pray that each of my kids will seek to live their lives for God and that their names will remind them of His faithfulness.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Love


"But God demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

That's radical love.

That's love that doesn't make sense to me.

I have a hard time loving my family some days.

I have a hard time stopping for 2 minutes to listen most days.

I do not love like Jesus does...

...but I want to. I want to love sacrificially. I want to love those who are hard to love. I want to love without conditions.

I've noticed that you become like who you hang out with. I guess I need to hang out with Jesus more.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Possible


Romans 12:18 "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men."

Oh, is that hard to live out. It is possible but it involves a lot of hard conversations and confrontation and, mostly, in my case, dying to myself.

My sinful self wants my own way.
My sinful self wants my family to behave in ways that please me.
My sinful self wants life to be easy and comfortable.

Living at peace with others is difficult but it is worth it.

As I write this we are on the road heading south for our next adventure. The worst of it, Lord willing, is over: the packing, the sorting, the organizing. We've all had plenty of opportunities so far today to chose to live at peace with those we live with, those we love. We have made choices to live at peace. We have also made choices to cause conflict. There were some not so pretty or proud moments in our home.

I'm so thankful for God's grace that is the only way we can make the impossible possible and that forgives us when we sin against each other and Him.

Monday, October 05, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Home


You've heard it said, "There's no place like home," or, "Home is where you hang your hat," or, as a towel we got as a wedding gift says, "Home is where your honey is."

Many different things have come to my mind as I've thought of "home" over the years: that big yellow farm house built in the late 1800s where I spent most of my growing up years, various cabins and dorm rooms where I spent summers and semesters, various apartments and houses that we've rented in our 16 years of marriage, the homes of friends who've let us crash at their places for seasons when we had no place of our own to call home, and now this place where we've lived for a Maas record of 29 months (plus a few days).

That line on forms where you're supposed to put your "permanent address" makes me laugh. "Permanent address?" That is a joke and a half . I'm always tempted to put "Heaven."

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. ((Philippians 3:20-21)

Then. Then I'll truly be home. Until then I will be a wanderer in this world inviting others to join me in my true, permanent, forever home.

5 Minutes in October:Embrace


I don't like change. Well, sometimes I do. Sometimes I long for it and am excited about it, especially when I have chosen it but, when it is forced on me, in my pride I often balk.

While at church God was at work in my heart, pursuing me. We talked about suffering and how God has a purpose in it and God challenged me to embrace Him and embrace my seasons of sufferings as He did.

The songs at the end of the service just tore me up:
-It is Well: "Let go, my soul, and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His name..."
-Oceans "I will call upon Your Name, keep my eyes above the waves. My soul will rest in Your embrace I am Yours and You are mine"
- Man of Sorrows: "Man of sorrows Lamb of God, by His own betrayed.
The sin of man and wrath of God has been on Jesus laid
"Silent as He stood accused, beaten mocked and scorned. Bowing to the Father's will he took a crown of thorn."
This song really made me think about how greatly He suffered unjustly, on the cross for me.
-Jesus, Only Jesus: "Who has the power to raise the dead? Who can save us from our sin? He is our hope, our righteousness, Jesus, only Jesus
"Who can make the blind to see? Who holds the keys that set us free?He paid it all to bring us peace. Jesus, only Jesus."

This. This is why I don't wear makeup to church. I'm sure my face looks bad enough after crying without mascara running everywhere.

Thanks, God for calling me to embrace You in this season and every season. I love you. Thanks for loving me.

Emailed over this quote from my phone this quote showed up again and, of course, needs to stay.
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.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Capture


We have mice in our house. More than one. We have a "tin cat" that I think we bought when we lived above Palermo's. It helped us catch mice there. We haven't used it since.

While I was gone on our OH/NY road trip the tin cat captured a mouse but Glenn didn't have time to deal with it before work so Rahab played with the trap, opened it and set it free while he was gone.

Since then I think our mouse has had babies, which is why I say we have mice. I recently moved the tin cat over beside Rahab's food dish, figuring that is a likely place to catch a mouse and today one of the babies got captured in it which was obvious because Rahab was suddenly very interested in that metal contraption. Thankfully Glenn was home (he was supposed to be sleeping but I digress) and took care of it for us. My hero. Yay. One less mouse.

Which reminds me of the last mouse we captured, under a door in the guesthouse in India. Thanks, dear daughter, for stopping that one in it's tracks!

Friday, October 02, 2015

5 Minutes in October: Family

am often asked, "Is it difficult living so far away from family?"

It is an interesting question. In many senses I don't live far from my family - Glenn usually sleeps in my bedroom (when he's not at work) and my kids live with me just about 24-7 and sleep just a short walk away. They are my family. For the good, the bad, the ugly and all the adventures.

I know what people mean. Living a bazillion miles away from extended family definitely has it's good and bad. I love the time I get to spend with our extended families once-ish a year but, since we weren't really planning on living in the US this long, I just always assumed we'd be far from our families. Maybe that makes it easier though I'm sad my kids don't get to hang out with their cousins or grandparents nearly as often as I did growing up.

5 minutes isn't very long but another post done. 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

5 minutes in October: Calling

I've decided to re-start my too-long silent blog by joining in some 5 minute prompts this month. I may not write every day but I'm writing today on:


As I've thought of this word today I've had several thoughts:

1. Calling others on the phone does not come easy for me. There are so many people from my past and present that I would love to call and connect/ reconnect with but I just don't do it.

2. This verse from 2 Peter 1:10: "Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;" Looking at it and reading the context just makes me want to grow in my relationship with God but too often I run from Him. Why is that?

3. What is my calling? So often I wonder what I should be when I grow up. How I should spend my life? Do I need additional training of some sort to fulfill the role God has for me? My current calling as a full time mom and homeschool teacher will end before I know it. What does God have for me after that? We'll finally be adults in less than 2 years what Glenn is done with training. What's after that? The answer I always hear is, "be faithful today." I guess that is and always will be my calling.

5 minutes is up. That wasn't too bad. Maybe I'll do it again tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Not really an orphan

Seven years ago I got a phone call shortly after I woke up informing me that my father had woken up in heaven that morning. I had known it was coming for a long time. Neither of my parents were healthy people. They both suffered from chronic illnesses: dad had diabetes, mom had lupus. We knew they wouldn't live forever but I was surprised when mom went first, passing over 5 years before he did. Dad had always been the sicker of the two in my mind. At least he spent more time in the hospital over the years and I definitely got more "I think this is the end," "please pray," or "you should come" calls about him. When I'd get there he'd be sitting up joking with the nurses over how he'd been an RN longer than they had been (he had no nursing degree but he had had the initials RN for his whole life). I like to say that he had way more lives than a cat.

That morning I posted on my facebook that I am "an orphan." It was hard to believe he was actually gone this time. The end had come, but really it was just the beginning for him of his new life forever, praising in the presence of his Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

As I was remembering that day this morning these words starting running through my mind:
Standing on this mountaintop,
seeing just how far we've come,
knowing that for every step
You were with us...

Scars and struggles on the way
but with hope our hearts can say
yes, our hearts can say:

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful (from Never Once by Matt Redman)
Looking back I am amazed at how far we've come. God has been so faithful. I have been "carried by His constant grace and held within His perfect love." I never would have asked to lose both of my parents before I turned 30 but if I hadn't lost them I would not have had this opportunity to see God's glorious, gracious, generous hand and feel His comfort. Dad would have been 65 on this past Saturday but I often wonder if 5/30 or 6/3 is his birthday in heaven or if it's that date when he was 8 when he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and be his Savior and Lord. I miss both of my parents so much. They were far from perfect but they were great parents and I am so glad I was able to have them for all of my growing up years in their home and even the first few of my adult ones.

I was looking for a verse about how God is a father to the fatherless (I knew there are verses about that somewhere, probably in the Psalms) and I came across this verse in Deuteronomy 1:31 "And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’" I smiled as I thought about how He has cared for us all along the way as we have traveled through the "wilderness" of medical school and residency as a father cares for his child and has brought us to this place where we are now. He has been so faithful. 

As I read the context of that verse I saw that Moses was reminding the Israelites about what God had done for them and how, even though He had cared for them and guided them so faithfully, they refused to trust Him and, as a result, were denied the blessing of entering the promised land. I don't want that to be the story of my life. I want to tell of His goodness and faithfulness, His grace and mercy and I want to always trust Him in the big things and the little things in my life and to obey Him.

God is good. All the time. I am thankful that He cares for this mother-less and father-less one. I am not really an orphan, I am a child of the King of kings and I will never walk alone.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

That funny piece of paper

Last week we got that funny piece of paper that comes in the mail this time of the year- Glenn's Social Security Statement.

Looking at our annual income over the past 16 years the four digit numbers outnumber the five digit ones and there are a couple of zeros and it makes me shake my head in wonder. How on earth did we eat? Or pay rent? When I asked Caleb he said, "I'm gonna guess God." :)

He's right. I love looking at those numbers and chatting with Glenn about where we were when and what we were doing and how God provided for us. He has been so generous to us - through all the years of school and working and waiting.

When we headed off to Houghton pregnant with baby number three I asked God how we were going to make it in the middle of no where with no job prospects and a family with two, going on three kids to house and feed while Glenn was in school full time. He said, "Trust Me." And we did. And He provided. Seeing Him faithfully provide through those years made it much easier to look ahead at the 4 paycheck-less years of med school when they finally came. He provided through those years too.

Looking at that piece of paper I did some quick addition with the calculator and discovered that he will earn about the same amount in his first two years of residency as he did in our first 13 years of marriage. Craziness. And people say residents don't make much money. Compared to where we've been we are rich.

We aren't rich because of our amazingly large net worth- our financial net worth is actually a quite a large negative number thanks to student loans. We aren't rich because of the huge paychecks Glenn gets. We are rich because we have an amazing Provider who knows our needs and meets them and is so generous to give us above and beyond.

Everything we have is from Him and is His that He's given us to steward and it's amazing how much He stretches what's left when you give Him the first line in your budget. I think tithing and giving generously when He asks us to is part of the key to the financial freedom we enjoy.

We're going on a trip at the end of the month. It is costing far more than I ever dreamed it would. Every time I log on and check our bank account I wonder, "Why is there still money in there??" I know it is because my God continues to provide for our needs.
You brought me this far
So why would I question You now
You have provided
So why would I start to doubt
I’ve never been stranded, abandoned
Or left here to fight alone
So I’m giving You control (Lift My Life Up by Unspoken)
 He is faithful. You can trust Him.

So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide. 
And it is said to this day, On the mount of the Lord it will be provided. (Genesis 22:14)

Monday, February 09, 2015

A couple of funnies

Sometimes you just need to laugh. Here are a couple of things that made me laugh the last couple of days.

"I Can't Believe it's STILL Winter"
Yesterday I helped in worship care during church with the 4-5 year olds. One of the little boys turned to me with so much disgust in his voice and said, "I can't believe it is STILL winter." You'd think he lived somewhere other than Texas. I can understand hearing that from friends in New York who just got another dumping of snow but to hear it from this little boy cracked me up. Last night it was 72 when two of my girls wore shorts, t-shirts and flip flops over to church for their kids program. I just took a quick walk outside and really didn't need the light sweater I had on. This is not really winter, kid.

You Know Your Husband Doesn't Make it to Church Very Often When...
We go to the church across the street from our house. We had a couple of movies overdue from the church library so we walked them over this morning. While I was there a guy who works for facilities stopped me and asked what my husband looked like and if he wore glasses. I told him, "yes, he wears glasses." He told me that security was tracking him on Wednesday night. Wednesday night there was a parent meeting after youth group and Glenn went because he was home in time and I was helping with younger kids in another part of the church. Security saw Glenn walking across the parking lot and walk right into the student center. They got concerned because they didn't know who he was so they called police for back up. My kids said a lot of the teens (including them) were wondering why there were cops there. I guess when Glenn shows up at church you just need to call the police. It cracked me up. I guess residency keeps him from church more than I thought.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

My Happiness is Not God's Biggest Priority

It's February 7th once again. It's been 12 years since my mom passed from this life to the next. I'm thankful for Timehop because it linked to many of my old blog posts from this date over the years. It was so good to read over those posts from 6 years ago, 2 from 3 years ago here and here, one from 2 years ago and one from last year. It was fun to look at the pictures I scanned and posted to facebook of my mom and myself six years ago. I guess, in posting today I'm keeping with tradition.

I read the posts through some tears to the kids tonight and as I was reading them Caleb insisted that I should really make eclair cake and I could just run over to WalMart if I need something because it is just across the street. We did have Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream for Ice Cream for Breakfast Day this morning, one of my mom's favorites, isn't that enough? It was even "half the fat" - something she totally would have purchased. No? OK, so I had him pull the cool whip out of the freezer so we could make eclair cake tomorrow.

Tonight the kids and I went down to for their Saturday night service. They are starting a series called "God Didn't Say That" and today's sermon was on "God Wants You to be Happy." In our culture so many people think that God's goal is to make us happy and if we're not happy then God failed.

Losing my mom did not make me happy. Does that mean God failed me? Absolutely not! Losing my mom has taught me so much about life and who God is and, though I'm not exactly grateful my mom is gone in so many ways I am thankful because without experiencing my mom's death I would have much less of an idea of the peace, comfort and joy that can be found only in Jesus.

God's goal is not my happiness. God's goal in allowing my mom to die is the same as His goal in every circumstance - that I will be make more like Him and to prove to me once again that He is enough. He is sufficient for my every need.

God's goal is not my happiness. The pastor tonight said instead God wants you blessed, more than happy. I'm not so sure I like the word blessed, probably because of some article I read on the internet but I know that God has used trials in my life for my good. It reminds me of a line in that "Blessings" song by Laura Story:
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things
 I love that. He hears us. He heard my prayers about my mom. Healing my mom on this earth, though incredibly miraculous, would have been a lesser thing. Losing my parents has shown me to an even greater extent that "this is not our home" and it has been "the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy." It has indeed been His "mercies in disguise."

Sure, God's primary goal is not my happiness but for me to know Him. I have known joy, peace, and strength that are only from Him. My goal is not my happiness. My goal is Him. He is enough.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Financial Freedom

I just found this in notes on my phone from last February. I was thinking about it this morning and went looking for it. I never posted it to my blog and it is something I needed to re-read today so I'm posting it now.

I was recently asked what I thought the definition of financial freedom was or what financial freedom looks like. It is a question that has kept me thinking ever since. I asked Glenn the other day what he thought and he answered like I did when I was asked that he thinks that we are in a position of financial freedom right now. It is not because we are debt free. We aren't. We owe over $100K in loans from medical school. It's not because we are making the big bucks. Yes, our W-2 is the biggest it's ever been and Glenn only worked half of last year (though most people would laugh at or at least shake their heads in wonder at our previous 14 tax statements - some of them were for 4 figures), but our financial freedom didn't start this summer when Glenn started residency. No. It started before then.

For the past couple weeks we've been reading George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans. We've read it before. It's one of our favorites. Glenn had the day off one day last week and so we used that as a special opportunity to let him in on the end if the book with us as we finished the last several chapters. If you aren't familiar with George Muller he was a man who lived in the 1800s and lived by faith. He ran orphanages housing over 2000 children that were completely provided for by faith alone. It's an amazing story. I highly recommend this book! At one point he was faced with the great need for housing for orphans and the need to open another orphanage at a huge cost. Here's what it said about him: "Many people might have felt burdened having to believe God for such a large sum of money, but not George Muller. George wrote in his journal, 'The greatness of the sum required affords me a kind of secret joy; for the greater the difficulty to be overcome, the more will it be seen to the glory of God how much can be done by prayer and faith.'"

Now, that. THAT, in my mind, is financial freedom. He had no concern for his finances. He never worried how God was going to provide, he just knew that He would. He knew. He really knew the One who knew what his needs were and he was just excited to get a front row seat to see what God was going to do.

I love those front row seats that God has given us time and time again. He has been so faithful to take care of us and He is so generous to provide for us. We can trust Him. Our source of financial freedom has never been based on our the income we've gotten from jobs. It has always been Jehovah Jireh - our Provider.

Friday, January 09, 2015

One night at a nursing home

This post was written one night a little before Christmas but I hadn't pushed publish. I found it in my drafts list today so here it is.

Tonight I was faced once again with the fact that I have no idea what need really is. 

This evening we went with our GAs and RAs to a nursing home/ rehab center a couple miles north of the church. I've been in nursing homes tons of times. We used to carol at nursing homes on Christmas day growing up, we would sometimes go and sing or give gifts at other times of the year, and my mom and my grandma each spent their final months in nursing homes where we would visit them often. Nursing homes are familiar places to me.

 This place was different. It wasn't like the rural NY nursing homes I was familiar with. It was run down. You could tell the patients were poor. I'm not sure if those there for rehab actually have homes to go home to when/ if they are released. We brought gifts to the people who lived there - lap blankets the kids had helped to make and bananas and we sang them Christmas carols. 

When I first heard that we were bringing lap blankets to the nursing home residents I envisioned going to a nursing home like the ones I frequented growing up and thought how many of those people definitely had no need for another blanket. These people though, these people could benefit from one. You should have seen the surprise and gratitude on the faces of the people there.

One visit in particular stuck out to me. I went into one room with a couple of bags to give to the ladies that lived there. One of the women was out of the room but R, a woman too young to be in a nursing home dressed only in a hospital gown, was there on the far side behind the curtain. I'm used to seeing people in the hospital in hospital gowns, in most nursing homes I've visited before the people usually have on clothing. I said hi to her and told her we had come to give her a Christmas gift. She was shocked. I showed her the blanket and she was so grateful and surprised that she started to cry. She told me they were happy tears because she couldn't get over the fact that we'd brought her that beautiful blanket. When she saw the bananas she exclaimed in wonder because she said she never gets fresh fruit. I took a minute and prayed with her before I headed back out into the hallway and, as I went, she thanked me and told me to keep doing my mission like this and that she wanted to give me a confirmation that I was doing the right thing. R speaking into my life made me cry. Sometimes I wonder what difference I can ever make but I realized, once again, that it doesn't take much: a minute, a smile, a touch, a prayer, a piece of fruit, a listening ear.

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40