Saturday, May 26, 2012


On Fridays, at thegypsymama, we write with gusto, unselfconscious and flat out.
What can you write in five minutes flat?

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:


The wedding tent is up.  The tent is decorated....beautifully with decorations we made ourselves.  The rehearsal went well and the dinner after was good.  The bridesmaids' dresses are steamed and hung by the bridal gown, also steamed.

Tomorrow my daughter has an opportunity she will never, ever have again.  She will go as a virgin down the aisle to meet the man of her dreams.  He is the man we have prayed for and she is the girl his parents have prayed for.  The man who compliments her, completes her, and loves her. 

They have the opportunity to have and to hold each other forever. 

They have the opportunity to give themselves to each other completely, fully for the first time.

My daughter has the opportunity to dress in her gorgeous wedding gown and to look and feel the most precious princess in the world and then to be treated as a princess by her man.

Together they have the opportunity to magnify the Lord together.

Together they have the opportunity to start their very own family.

So many opportunities, all summed up in a white dress and veil that symbolize purity, and wedding rings that symbolize eternal love.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy Birthday

Dear Suzanne,

 21 years ago today you were born.  I remember it so clearly, it hardly seems possible that that many years have passed.   Labor started right after supper and we left for the hospital around midnight.  Everything progressed well, but when it was nearly time for the delivery, I told the doctor I couldn't do it.  Daniel's birth had been so difficult and I knew I couldn't go through that again.  The doctor brought his stool up to my head, held my hand, and gave me a good pep talk.  He told me the baby was coming no matter what and I might as well work with him and the contractions.  He convinced me, and not much later, you were born.

You were bald, but with a perfectly shaped head.  You were absolutely beautiful.  You started sleeping through the night almost right away.

When you were three months old, we went back to Niger.  Somehow the flight and jet lag messed you up and you quit sleeping through the night.  I don't think you really slept through the night until you were at least a year old.

We've had our moments, and there have been epic mommy fails.  But you have always been a delight. I have even grown spiritually because of who you are and because of the way your faith is so real to you.  I will never forget when you were healed of asthma.  Yes, I doubted a bit....not because I didn't think God could heal you but because I didn't want you to be hurt or your faith to be shaken if you weren't really healed.

Now in just four short days you will walk down the aisle to meet the man of your dreams. Your name will be changed and Theo will now be your protector, your delight, the focus of your attention and of your life.  Your dad and I will miss the role we've always played in your life.  Thankfully, we will still be your parents and we will always be there for you.  But our function will be a bit different from now on out, and that's the way it should be.  "For this reason shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife."

We are so proud of you.  We are so happy that Theo is the man you will be marrying.  We wish you the very best as you celebrate your 21st birthday today and your wedding on Saturday.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Gift from God to get us through the week

We're in the final countdown for wedding week!

Last week we got a lot done.  We worked more on the wedding favors, got the programs printed, and got some items for a kids' table we're going to set up.  I also baked over 200 mini brownies. We got Suz and Theo's stuff moved into their apartment, and their kitchen set up. Best of all, John arrived from England.  We spent one day getting new glasses for him (he won't actually get them until after the wedding),and a new suit, shirt, and shoes.
Friday night we went to a little fair at the Catholic church that can be seen across the fields from my parents' house. On the way back, God treated us to a magnificent sunset. And John was so jet-lagged he just sat in the middle of the road (a cul de sac, really), waiting for me to take these pictures. He's so patient with me sometimes!

This week will be crazy busy with all the last minute details, but it's going to be a gorgeous wedding!

Friday, May 18, 2012

You Might As Well Laugh

On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Your words. This shared feast.
If you have five minutes, we double dog dare you to spend it writing here at TheGypsyMama.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

There are a lot of frustrations where we live.  The power goes off frequently.  The internet is slow and we've recently gone through a period where we don't even have internet for hours and even days at a time.  Interruptions are frequent.  There are no easy fixes and every thing takes more time than you think it should.

At lot of what happens makes for good stories.....later.  While it's happening, though, it is just plain old frustrating.  So I've discovered that how I handle frustrating circumstances depends a lot on my perspective.  I've learned several things.

One is that "If I'm going to laugh about it later, I might as well start laughing now."  If this is going to be a funny story a week from now, I might as well just relax and try to get through it with my sense of humor intact.

The other thing that helps my perspective is to remember that the world doesn't revolve around me and that God is still in charge.  He says, "When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider:  God has made the one as well as the other." (Ecclesiastes 7:14)

And the final thing that helps my perspective is, How important is this going to be an hour from now?  a day from now?  a year from now?  in eternity?  Is it really important that I'm stuck in traffic when I need to go to a meeting?  Is it really important that my bread is ruined because the power went off right when I put the dough in the bread machine?  Does it really matter that I got interrupted when my goal was to finish going through my in-box before the end of the day? 

One of the places in our city where it is easy to lose my perspective! I look at the situation helps my attitude in dealing with it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My First Attempt at Quilting

I just finished my first try at making a quilt. I learned a lot as I went along, but I also realize that I really need to take a class or something!  So many things just weren't right and I didn't know how to make them right....I just knew they were wrong.  But I like the colours! The squares are made from African fabrics, the purple is plain cloth that can be bought in any Nigerien market, and the back is a queen-size sheet.  The quilt is queen-size.
Thankfully, unless you look closely it doesn't look too bad.
The quilt showing the back
And it will keep Suz and Theo warm in their basement apartment on cold winter nights when the Ohio wind blows.
The quilt on my sister's bed

I'm almost ready to put together Daniel and Kelly's, but I think that will have to wait until after Suzanne's wedding.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Five Minute Friday

Joining in with Lisa-Jo for another 5 Minute Friday...On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Your words. This shared feast.
If you have five minutes, we have a writing challenge <—click to tweet this!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

OK, are you ready? Facebook chimed in last night and overwhelmingly voted for a prompt either about mothers or Mother’s Day. This was one of the suggestions and I love that it can apply to any and all, mother or not. So please give me your best five minutes on:


What is my identity?  Personnel coordinator at work, wife to a good and godly husband, mom to two adult children, and in just a few short weeks, mother-in-law.

But I think my identity is more than that.  My identity is in Christ.  Which means that in any given day, I don't know how He will use me, but I need to be ready to be used.

This week a former student of mine posted this on facebook:  I think that's one of the reasons why Mrs Hall is my favorite teacher, because after 3rd grade, I was born anew, so my heart was open for the first time in my life to experience LOVE! Mrs Hall welcomed me into 4rth grade with that BIG smile of hers, and I knew that she was sent into my life to fulfill HIS plan for my transformation! 

My former student who encouraged me this week with his kind words.

 He talked about how he was mean to teachers and dorm parents when he was in 3rd grade, then he gave his life to Christ and was mentored by another staff.  Than, by the grace of God, I was used in his life when he came into my classroom in 4th grade.

But I didn't really know that until this week, almost 30 years later.  How often have I said something mean to a student, to one of my children, to my husband, to a co-worker, something they'll never forget because it hurt them so deeply?  Or have I been there to help them, to encourage them, to say a comforting word?

My precious family

I'm touched that God used me in that young man's life in a positive way and I pray that he will continue to use me with those I come in contact with daily.  I hope and pray that my identity isn't just one of my jobs....personnel coordinator, wife, mom, mother-in-law, missionary....but that my identity is Child of God and an Instrument of Grace and Mercy in His Hands.   

Thursday, May 10, 2012

We Will Shout for Joy When You Are Victorious

Saturday was Theo's graduation from Cedarville University. 

The ceremony was nice with Franklin Graham as the keynote speaker.  What he said was really good, but he only spoke for seven minutes, so I personally felt a little let down.  I guess short is better than way too long anyway.

Theo's dad, mom, two brothers, a sister-in-law, nephew, niece, Suzanne, Suzanne's uncle (my BIL), and I were all there to watch his big moment.  We were so far back that I don't really have a good picture of receiving his diploma.  His aunt teaches at Cedarville, so she is also in these pictures.

Afterwards, the leaders of the Discipleship Council that Suzanne served on this past year, opened their home to all the graduating seniors and their families.  This picture was taken of this year's DC with their special friends, as well as some members of last year's DC.  I was taking to one girl who didn't seem to know Suzanne very well.  I thought it was really strange because they've grown very close as a group.  Later when I was talking to Suzanne, I found out she was in last year's group.  No wonder she seemed so clueless!

I love these celebratory verses from Psalm 20:  "May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.  May the Lord grant all your requests....  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Let the Wedding Preparations Begin

Well, I guess I kind of forgot about the April photo challenge.  Oh well!

Suzanne is finished with all her tests and projects, so now we can get on with wedding preparations.

Last the midst of preparing for finals and final projects....some of Suzanne's friends had a shower for her. It was a surprise, and Theo and a friend of Suz's did all the work for it. She was really surprised as she thought she was going out for supper with that friend. 

Theo is definitely a keeper!

Today we made chai mix which we are going to use as favors for the guests. After mixing all the ingredients, we ran it through the blender to make it a nice consistency that dissolves easily in hot water.  We made a double batch and used all that, so I made one more batch after Suzanne went to work.  We wrote on all the bags and filled them. We'll tie them with ribbons later on, since the ribbon is at Theo's house in Michigan.