Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Weddings

Weddings are beautiful events!  This morning I was up at six so I turned on the TV just in time to see K*te Middl*t*n arriving at Westminster Abbey.  She was so beautiful in her modest, yet it showed off her figure nicely. The ceremony was good.  And I loved the way they decorated the Abbey with trees.  I dare say that will become a trend for weddings!  

The priest said something I liked....that on any man and woman's wedding day they are royalty for the day.  That is so true!  Little girls dream of the day they will walk down the aisle to meet their handsome prince.  For one day they get to wear the most gorgeous dress they will probably ever own, throw a party just the way they want it, and show the world how much they love each other.

We went to a wedding last weekend.  No, the bride and groom weren't royalty, but they were for a day.  The couple were just as radiant as today's royal couple were.  Their ceremony was special and their reception was fun. Their family and friends got to share the day with them.  Food was shared.  There was dancing and having fun with friends.

And just think....some day the best wedding of all will take place.  That will be in heaven.  It will be the marriage supper of the Lamb to His Bride, the Church.  There will be food like we've never tasted, singing and dancing, and seeing Jesus face to face as well as all our loved ones who have gone before us and others that we just haven't seen for years and years.   The invitations have been sent out and all are invited. Will you be there?

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Colors of Spring

I LOVE spring!  I think it's because I don't really like winter.  I think snow storms are fun and snow is beautiful.  But I get so tired of the short, dark days and the cold.  So when spring comes with its warmer, longer, brighter days, I feel like I've been given new life.

I love how spring and Easter come at the same time.  It's easy to think Easter is all about the pretty spring colors, candy, bunnies, and Easter eggs.  But it's Christ's resurrection from the dead.  It's new life for the plants around us, but more importantly, new life for all who put their trust in Jesus.

Last Sunday I went for a walk on the campus and these are some of the pictures I took that show the colors of spring.....purple, pink, coral, red, yellow, not to mention all the shades of green.

That's why I love spring!

 This weekend I want to focus on leaving behind my old, dead life and concentrate on living a new life.  "Create in me a pure heart, oh Lord, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."  The word "create" here is the same word used of creation at the beginning of time.  It is starting from nothing.  So God does not even have to fix up the mess of my life...he starts fresh from nothing.  It is a brand new thing He does in my life.  Hallelujah!  Have a blessed Easter! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Sightseeing

A few weeks ago, Al and Judy came to visit.  Al and Judy were John's youth leaders back when he was in high school and had a huge impact on John, contributing to making him the man of God that he is.  They have their own motor home, so they stayed at a park, but came over for supper one night.  Then the next day we went sight-seeing in DC.

We went to some places where we'd never been.  First we went to the National Gallery of Art.  The museum is actually two buildings connected with tunnels.  We went down this moving sidewalk that was really cool with the lights surrounding it.  At the end there was a dispay with a gondola.  This picture was taken right before Al and I got in trouble for touching it. I've long known I'm a visual learning, but I didn't know what a tactile learner I was until recently.  It seems I have to touch things to see how they feel to really get a full sense of the thing being examined.  I didn't know this until I've gotten in trouble twice in museums for touching something I shouldn't have.  We went to a exhibit of Gauguin's work.  Can't say I was a fan.  Then we saw some impressionistic paintings which I really liked.  This museum had a lot of pretty spots....fountains, statues, nooks, etc. where you could just sit and enjoy.  This lady was painting in one room. I supposed she had to ask permission first?

Our next spot was the National Museum of the American Indians.  The outside of this building is pretty impressive, looking like a rock formation or a waterfall.  We spent quite a lot of time in there....a good place to be as it was pouring rain outside.  We went to the cafeteria for a break and I had an amazing cup of hot chocolate with chili pepper.  First you tasted the chocolate and then when you swallowed, just a zing of pepper.  It wasn't hot enough to make your nose run, but just enough to give the chocolate an extra layer of flavor.

Washington Bible College is literally one street over from the beginning of Greenbelt, Maryland.  Historic Greenbelt was established by the government back in the 1930's as part of FDR's New Deal.  It was a planned community, intended to be a green place for people to live and to commute to DC for work.  John and I drove into historic Greenbelt to see what it was all about.  The houses are town houses or condos and they all have an awful sameness to them.  They were built with little or no imagination or originality.  There are block after block of these buildings.  Greenbelt had it's own shopping area, it's own schools, it's own churches, and it's own library and municipal buildings.  Whereas most towns develop gradually over time, this was built all at once around a purposeful plan.  We drove through the shopping area....probably one of America's first strip malls.  I got a kick out of these shops...Curves next to the Dessert store!  So, do you eat dessert first, then go work out?  Or work out, then reward yourself with dessert?

All I can say is, I don't think I'd like living in that part of Greenbelt, MD.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just Ordinary People

I've been using a devotional book called Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda.  Last week the study was about Rahab.  When you think of it, it's pretty amazing how God uses ordinary, un-likely people like Rahab.  She was a prostitute, yet she manifested great faith in God.  God saved her life in the defeat of Jericho and she even ends up in Jesus' genealogy.  I loved this quote:

"The story of Rahab reveals ....God's willingness to use the less than perfect, the outcast, what we might see as the unsuitable to accomplish his holy purposes. Throughout Scripture, with what can almost be seen as divine humor, God chooses a stutterer to speak for him (Moses), and infertile woman to be the mother of a nation (Sarah), a weakling to defend him (Gideon), a forgettable youngest son to be the most unforgettable king of his people (David), an unknown youngster to be the mother of his son (Mary), and a persecutor to take the gospel to the nations (Paul)."

Here's a great verse:  "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."  Acts 4:13

Am I so obedient, so in love with Jesus, so involved in service to Him that when people look at me they say, "She's just an ordinary person.  It must be Jesus giving her the ability to do that!"

Last night we spoke at a supporting church in Baltimore.  As we were getting ready to leave we asked a church member in the parking lot where was a good place to buy gas.  He told us and we went our separate ways.  We found the gas station and John got out to pump the gas.  Just then, this same man arrived on the scene.  He had followed us to the gas station.  He told us that God had told him to fill our tank and he proceeded to buy $50.00 worth of gas for us!  This guy certainly appeared to be a very normal average kind of guy (he might be a brain surgeon for all I know).  But he obeyed God.  It was obvious to me that even though he was ordinary, he had been with Jesus!  And a tank of gas at today's gas prices was a huge blessing!!
Lord, let me listen to your voice and obey you so that the glory goes to you! 

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

One off the Bucket List

One of the things I've always wanted to see is the cherry blossom time in Washington DC. So, when we heard our friends, Sharon and Ed, were coming for a visit, we told them to try to come during the cherry blossom time.  Ed had heart surgery in January, but thankfully he was recovered enough to make the trip down here from PA.

It seems like we have always known Ed and Sharon. Their two sons are close in age to our two kids.  In fact, my first memory of Sharon is talking with her while we nursed our babies in the church nursery.  Ed and John have spent time praying with each other and being accountable to each other.  Sharon's home is always open and she is a GOOD cook!  They live about a mile from Missionary Retreat Fellowship where we spend our home assignments, so our kids were often over there or theirs were at our place.  They have become such good friends that they seem like family.  We are that comfortable with them.

This past Saturday we spent the day together in DC.  It seems like everybody else also wanted to see the cherry blossoms!  I've never seen so many people on the metro on a Saturday morning or that many crowds in the museums.  We went first to the Portrait Gallery.  We wanted to see Ford's Theater, but we were too late to get in on a tour (like I said, there were a LOT of tourists!).  We ate lunch there in the arboretum.

We took a short Metro ride over to where the Smithsonian Museums are and went to the Museum of American History.  There Sharon and I stuck together and John and Luke went their separate ways. Ed wanted to go to the Museum of Natural History, so he went there. Ed is due for knee surgery, so he wasn't up to walking all over the place to see the cherry blossoms.  It was a nice afternoon, so he sat outside on a park bench while John, Sharon, and I went to see the blossoms.  Luke went off to see the Air and Space Museum.

The cherry blossoms were gorgeous. They were a gift to the USA from Japan, so it wasn't surprising to see a lot of Japanese tourists there (as well as tourists from everywhere....we saw every color of skin and heard all sorts of languages). It was hard to get to a good place to take pictures because of the people everywhere.  Seeing hundreds of trees all with white and pink-ish blossoms on them was a truly beautiful sight!  What could be better than seeing something so beautiful with such great friends?!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Updating my kitchen

This time returning to Niger we are going to ship as much as possible on a container.  Everything I am putting on the container needs to be in Florida by May 1st.  That means I have this month to pack and finish shopping.  And I really need to get it done by April 22 when we go to GA for a wedding.  Then I can ship it off to FL when we get back from the wedding.

For years I have had a wreath in my kitchen in Niger.  My decorating colors are red, so this wreath fit in nicely.  I had it above my kitchen desk in can see it there behind me.  Then when we moved to Niamey it found its home above the stove.  You can barely see it there behind the fridge.  Well, you know how kitchen decorations get kind of cruddy after awhile with kitchen grease and all, not to mention the extra layer of dust that settles on everything in Niger.  So, since I've had it for about 15 years and it has passed its prime, I've decided it's time for a new look.
So, you get to help me decide.  Which of the following pictures do you like best? Remember, red is the color!  The curtains are red plaid (almost a check pattern) and I'm going to keep the white walls.  The counters and back splash are white subway tiles.