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Showing posts from June, 2006

Creation

Creation has been cancelled!!! This is in blue because I'm so blue, I don't know what to do! Mostly I feel bad for Suzanne. She has looked forward to this for a long time. Our tickets will be honored next year and we'll be home during that time for the DeValve's 50th anniversary and to get Daniel settled, so maybe, just maybe, we can go next year then John could go too. We'll try to make a decision when we're in CT or else we need to try to get a refund or sell our tickets. These pictures show the rain in our back yard. That is the reason Creation was cancelled. There is no way anybody could camp out if the ground is this wet at the Agape Farm. I don't believe I've ever seen this much rain here (not that I've had many summers here!) This reminds me of the Jos Plateau in August. Make sure you read Suzanne's blog at www.xanga.com/barefoot_bushkid. I'm so proud of her attitude and Daniel's too (He was supposed to go to King's Island Amusem…

Graduation

This past weekend Suzanne and I were able to go out to New York to help celebrate my niece's graduation. We had a full and busy weekend, with 13 people squished into a house that isn't very big. Fortunately there are two bathrooms! We arrived on Thursday, June 22 and that evening my niece, Erika, my sister, Natalie, my Mom and Dad, and I went to her baccalaureate (a voluntary religious service for the graduates). It was nice and I guess it was the first time this school had had one. Meanwhile, Duane had taken Jeremiah, Suzanne, and a friend of Erika's that spent the weekend with us, to Civil Air Patrol. Later that evening there was a call from my niece, Alesha. She is a wrangler at a Christian camp and had been thrown from her horse. She had planned on coming home the next day, but wanted somebody to come get her that night. So her dad and I, Suzanne, Erika, and Jeremiah all went to get her. Her dad and Jeremiah drove her truck home and she rode in comfort in my van (she w…

Flannelgraph

Flannelgraph is thought by many to be old and out-dated, but I would have to disagree. One furlough when we were home for an extended time while John worked on his Masters degree, we lived in an apartment in Columbia, SC. I had a Good News Club in our home for kids that lived in the apartment complex and I used the CEF flannelgraph. The kids were fascinated and one boy thought I had some kind of magic trick exclaiming, "How'd you get that to stick up there?!" I use the same flannelgraph and CEF lessons in Niger. We've translated them into Songhai and it works well with the kids who haven't been spoiled by high-tec entertainment.

When I started teaching the women, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Because they are illiterate, I decided to take pretty much the same approach I do with kids. I tell stories while stressing a particular biblical truth, use lots of repitition, and illustrate with pictures. The women love it just as much as the kids do! By the way…

A New Driver

I guess one could say Daniel has wanted to drive for a long time! This push car was his favorite toy until somebody too big for the toy sat on the steering wheel part. That was the end of that car! And all little boys love sitting in Daddy's seat, pretending to drive.

Well, he need pretend no longer. Daniel is now an official licensed driver! He got his permit in October and has logged the required 50 hours of supervised driving. So, on June 14, the day school officially let out, I took him down to the local DMV for his road test. He passed with flying colors and is now the proud owner of a Pennsylvania license. He says his only worry is that I'm going to make him run errands for me now!

He does a good job driving. Things are still a bit mechanical for him rather than automatic, but that will come with experience. Still, it's a bit scary handing him the keys and letting him go off by himself. He went over to his friend's house last night and got home safely. Here in Pen…

The REAL Football

The main thing the kids have enjoyed about our home assignment has been the youth group at church. The kids there have welcomed them with open arms and really made them feel at home and accepted. The other thing that has been good for all of us is our Life Group. They were the only kids in the group, but they really opened up and shared things that they might not have with just their parents. We really saw some spiritual maturity in their lives that we are excited about.

We've also been blessed this time around staying at MRF (Missionary Retreat Fellowship) because there have been a good number of teens staying here or nearby. One of their favorite activities now that it's warm is soccer. Before they got busy studying for finals, most evenings would find a group of them in the field playing soccer.

Soccer, known as football in every country in the rest of the world, is a great game involving endurance and skill. It is a game truly played with the feet and not with the hands as t…

Old Things

I love old things: old houses, old furniture, old books, old towns. There is an old, abandoned house out on Rt. 348 that is being torn down. Granted, it was beyond repair, but it is so sad to me that it got to that point in the first place. It is especially sad because it is being replaced with new, unimaginative cookie-cutter style houses. As I drive by, I think of how all the land the new houses are being built on was once part of a large farm ruled by the farmer and his wife who lived in that house. I wonder why it was left to fall into ruin. "I arrived at home, and found not a house, but a ruin -- the walls bare, stripped of everything, almost weeping in their nakedness." (Shalom Aleichem in Tevye's Daughters)

We spent a week in England last summer, and I dare say that old buildings are never, or at least seldom, abandoned and torn down there. They are constantly kept in good repair. Do you know the difference between an American and a Brit? An American thinks that an…

Do I Complain THAT Much?

God has been speaking to me ever since yesterday morning when I read Philippians 2:14. I tend to think, "I don't complain THAT much." So I decided to think over the weekend and through today and take a little inventory. Here are some thoughts I remember thinking and some were even voiced rather vocally.....

It's too cold.
When is it going to stop raining?
Why is there so much traffic?
Why did everybody come to Walmart on the day I decided to come?
Who left that cart in the parking spot I was aiming for?
Why did you bump into me with your cart? Who do you think you are? Why don't they make these aisles wider?
Why did these people bring all these screaming kids to Walmart with them?
I don't know this song. I'd rather sing ones I know.
Why does it have to rain on the night we host the youth group?
Quit driving so slow! You don't have to use your brakes that much!
We have to have the exercise class in the lap pool? It's cold in there! It's too crowded in thi…

Complaining and Arguing

I've been studying the book of Philippians in my devos. I'm in chapter 2 now and the main idea of the chapter so far is that we should live humbly with each other. Paul then shows how Jesus was the ultimate example of humbleness. After the description of our Perfect Example, Paul reminds us to live blameless lives, but he reasurres us that God is "working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." It's a good thing He gives us the power to please Him, because the next verse would be nearly impossible without that power: "Do everything without complaining and arguing."

WHAT?!!! That seems nearly impossible! Without even thinking, I start to complain or to argue. And how does this tie into being humble, anyway? Well, if I am humbly putting others first, then I'm not complaining when the situation isn't the way I'd like it. If I'm humbly putting you first, I can choose to not argue with you when we don't agree.

A…

Other Spring Flowers

This is blog is really part of the blog about lilacs, a sort of P.S.

I like other flowers of spring, too. I believe this is a rhododendron. It is growing in front of our house and I wake up every morning, now that we have the windows open, to hear bees buzzing in the flowers just beyond our bed. It's a nice sound as long as the bees stay in the flowers and away from John who is allergic to bee stings!

I'm going to look at this picture next May when I'm so hot I can hardly stand it! May when we've had eight solid months with absolutely no rain and there are no flowers to be found...May when we're all covered with heat rash....May when we can't stand to touch any body or be touched by any body....May when every body is short-tempered because they're so hot. Oh yes! I will definitely look at these pictures and think of more pleasant things than the heat.

Lilacs

I know I've mentioned several times that my favorite season is spring. But I haven't told you my absolute most favorite thing about spring, and that is LILACS.

I love lilacs because they are so beautiful. Purple, any shade, is my favorite color. Because lilacs come in every shade of purple, I can't help but think they look gorgeous.

And I love them for what one person described as their heady, intoxicating, and addictive scent. On Mother's Day John brought me a bouquet of lilacs. Every time I went past the table where they had been given a place of honor, I inhaled deeply trying to get as much of the scent as possible.

I did a little internet research on lilacs and found out that it is a very durable and long-cherished garden plant that first found its way to the United States in the early 17th century, enduring long sea voyages. The immigrants carefully wrapped roots and shoots in moist burlap or bundled in straw. Early settlers found that lilacs thrived in the cooler p…