Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My heart is full this morning. 

My Facebook feed included a picture of tulips. Soul food, yes. 
And I read this verse this morning: 

"For freedom Christ has set us free: stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

That is soul food waaaay more than tulips. 

Christ has set us free. Why? For freedom. 

This is freedom from the overwhelming pressure and burden to keep the law, to be enough, yet never succeeding. I feel the weight rising off my chest. I can breathe again. 

This is freedom to acknowledge that I'm not enough; oh, but Jesus is more than enough. I don't have to be everything, HE IS. When He is the foundation of my life, there is peace. I can be secure in WHO HE IS, not uneasily waiting for my less than perfect identity to crumble.

This is freedom to relinquish my accomplishments, status, the prizes that I cling to so desperately. I (we) carefully construct identities to portray all the best; to protect and hide the inner ugly. Will I even admit the ugly? In Christ, I can rest in his accomplishment, his status. I live faithfully where God has placed me, but know that ultimately who I am is not about me. That is very good news. 

This is freedom to love freely, serve without recognition, sacrifice willingly, suffer without fear. I am guilty of loving only for something in return; of serving only when I will be noticed (or serving with a grumpy heart when no one notices); "sacrificing" grudgingly; suffering with the fear that somehow I messed up, I didn't do (whatever) good enough and this is punishment. When who I am is found in Christ, life changes. It's not about me. 

This is freedom to rest knowing that as I focus on Jesus, He will guide me. He will correct me. Is correction fun? No. But how good of God to convict me, to call me to repentance, to turn me around! Will I rest in God's love for me, his acceptance of me because of Jesus, his desire for me to walk in obedience? When I can rest in that knowledge, there is great peace and great desire to hear, follow, obey. 

Yes, soul food. 
So, what are you doing today? 
Zane and I are hanging out in our pjs and contemplating washing the dishes and trying to decide what we should make for supper. 
I hope you are blessed, encouraged, and at rest in Christ today. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Planning Menus

What's on your dinner menu for this week? 

[I might need ideas.]

Actually, I just sat down last night and wrote down 5 ideas for suppers this week. Yes, I know, there are 7 days in a week, not only 5. But Sunday nights are grab-and-growl [get/fix/make your own] and I'm sure we'll have leftovers for at least one night, so there we go: 5 meals. 

I like to try to use things I have on hand so I don't have to buy tons of groceries. 
So, here goes: 

#1: Spaghetti and meatballs (lots of meat, peppers, onion and mushrooms per the husband's request) 

-venison from the freezer
-homemade sauce (yay for canning!)
-fire roasted peppers and onions (hanging out in the freezer for a few weeks now)
-canned mushrooms (a staple at this house)

#2: Sausage gravy and biscuits (comfort food at its finest, yes please!) 

-sausage from the freezer
-milk and flour to make gravy
-flour,salt,baking powder,milk and oil for biscuits (already in my cupboard!)
My personal touch to this menu is to drizzle with syrup (yummmmm)

#3: Meatloaf and potatoes (easy enough and my husband is a meat and potatoes man)

-meatloaf from the freezer (I made a big batch of mini meatloaves [not sure why?] but it's time to use them)
-potatoes (mash,bake,whatever…probably depends on Zane's nap for the day)

#4: Chicken, broccoli, and carrot stirfry (and any other vegetable I find laying around)

-Frozen chicken breast 
-Frozen broccoli
-Big bag of carrots that need to be used
-Season with butter, garlic, and/or any other spices in my cupboard

#5: Pizza (this is the go-to meal here) 

-homemade crust (easy,peasy)
-homemade sauce (Mom's recipe is the best)
-peppers/onions/mushrooms/bacon bits 

-and the only item I had to buy to complete this weeks menu: CHEESE. for the pizza. (it's pretty much a staple) 

I did buy a few other things: milk, eggs, coffee, oatmeal, bananas, Wheat Thins (if you care to know). I strongly dislike grocery shopping more than once a week so if I'm running low on things we eat a lot, I buy it and it can wait in the pantry or fridge for a few days. 
I'm finding that when I take a few minutes to write down ideas, my grocery shopping is much more organized and I actually get what we need, not just what looks good as I meander down the aisles. 

Share the love. Share your menus. :) 
Happy Monday. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Learning to Live

Do you ever think about what would happen if all your worst fears came true? 
If today was the day your life changed forever? 

I do. 
I'm typically not a morbid person. Honestly. 
But I do struggle with fear. 

"What if, what if, what if".. like a drumbeat in my head. 
I can put myself in tears in seconds with these "what if" thoughts.  
(Maybe I am morbid.)

I'm learning something though. 
Thinking about my worst fears happening and contemplating how I would respond reveals idols in my heart, that fierce grasp on people and things. 

I'm thinking of that phrase I hear often at church:
"When good things become God-things, it's a bad thing." 

Like my husband and our marriage. What a good, good thing.
 (Sure, we have our moments, who doesn't?)
But when I fiercely cling to him or our marriage (for security, identity, purpose), it's hard to breathe. And that breathing,ya know,it's pretty essential for life. 

God could take this. And He would still be good

And our son. Another precious blessing. We could do everything right as parents, everything...and God could still take him. 

And God would still be good
Because God's goodness isn't dependent on whether I feel/think/admit it. 
Thank God for that. 

If these good things were taken from me, 
would my identity be destroyed, 
my security wiped away? 
Would I rest in God's goodness even then? 

I'm learning to live, not in fear, but with joy, gratitude, intent. 
I'm learning to live, not fiercely clinging to these gifts, but with openhanded wonder, grateful for every moment. 

photo credit:

so many gifts. every moment.

Friday, October 4, 2013

To Write or Not To Write?

That is the question. 

What's my motive in writing? To encourage and bless others, to honor God? Or do I want others to hear ME, see ME, like ME, blah, blah, blah? 

Does the selfish desire for recognition or approval disqualify me from speaking truth? From sharing about the work God is doing in me? 

When I know that my heart and its motives are quite human, should I refuse to push through, to do the hard work [whatever that work might be] until my motives are perfectly pure [which is never]? 

Should I not write in fear that others might perceive me wrongly? 
Should I write with the attitude of "I'm just saying..."? 

I sense that even in my questions, I'm making myself the point. 

I do know this: My new heart desires that Jesus is exalted in my life; that HE is number one. 

I know this too: As a follower of Jesus, there is no time for sloppy living, for haphazard faith and love. 
I must be intentional. 
I will seek after, love, and worship Jesus with intent. 
I will faithfully love and respect my husband with intent. 
I will mother with intent. 
I will be in relationship with intent. 
I will write with intent. 
I will live with intent. 

After all, as that new song says: 
"We are his church. We are the hope on earth." ["Build Your Kingdom Here",Rend Collective Experiment, emphasis mine.]

That is weighty. Really weighty. There are a lot of people without hope these days. Which is a subject for a different day. 

So to write or not to write? 
In good timing, with intent. 
To give hope, to be hope. 
For His glory, not my own. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Since the last post on here left us in Guatemala, I think it's fair to let you know that we did actually arrive back home safe and sound in October. And for some odd reason, it bothers me that the blog was just left hanging in limbo. So I decided a few nights ago, while I was up in the middle of the night with our newborn son, that I have to transition the blog back to the States. If I never post again, at least the last blog post and our current life is in the same country.

I also decided in the middle of the night that I don't like the word transitions. Part of the dislike is due to a required class in nursing school called Transitions in Nursing. It was an awful class; incredibly boring but with required projects that involved public speaking. I don't enjoy public speaking. At all. The other part of the dislike of this word is probably related to this question:
 "How has the transition been back to the States?" 

My mind always blanks and I frantically wonder what I should say. I'll try to answer that here, because here I can sit and think and type and then backspace until I actually write what I feel about this transitioning period in our life. (I don't mind the word transitioning. Chalk it up to a weird quirk.)

Some wise people who visited us in Guatemala said this: "If you are simply aware that life will be different: you have changed, your family and friends have changed, your church has changed; life has moved on in your absence....the transition will be easier."

They were right.
So here are some of the thoughts that run through my brain quite rapidly when asked about transition.

Sometimes I still can't believe that our parents live only 15 minutes away. That we can drive over and spend the evening with them, enjoy a cup of coffee together. I remember fighting back tears when we first came home and would get together with our families. I was overjoyed to be with them again, and yet I wondered where I belonged. I remember being desperately ready to go home, to just be me and Josh, to be quiet. And I am thankful now for a gracious family who gave us space while surrounding us with love; and certainly we have found our niche again.

And quietness. Blessed, blissful quietness. I learned to appreciate that like never before in Guatemala. Since coming back to the States, I have really noticed our lack of quietness. I get very tired thinking of all the podcasts, sermons, radio this or that, blogs, books that I should listen to or read. And they are good things. I admit, I have this thing about things that everyone is listening to or reading or watching. Like reading Karen Kingsbury novels or watching Duck Dynasty or reading the book "Jesus Calling". I tend to shy away (thats probably putting it mildly; ask my women's group) from a thing, even if its good, if everyone and their neighbor is talking about it. And yes, I realize this says something about my heart. Probably something not nice. I suppose the rambling point I'm trying to make is that I still haven't figured out how to balance quietness, all the voices, and the good, good things God has laid on much, much wiser people's hearts to share with his Church.

I don't even know if that makes sense in my own head. gah.

I appreciate church like never before. Corporate worship. The Gospel in my own language. Quite frequently, my throat closes and my eyes swim at the overwhelming goodness of God in blessing us with church, with community. This is not to say that the overwhelming goodness of God is not present in services where my language is not spoken, because I have also experienced that. But Josh and I didn't regularly attend church in Guatemala, for various reasons; and it has been delightful and soul-feeding to be home and be a part of the church here.

Then there is the hardest one of all. The part that makes the screen blur in front of me even now.
The kids in Guatemala.
I miss them so much. Sometimes they made me want to pull my hair out and say bad words. But they are forever a part of my life. Some days it's worse. I can feel Josue's chubby cheeks and hear Isaac beller and see Jacob come running. I can hear the insanely ridiculous arguments about which cup belongs to who and who didn't empty the dishwasher and who left the toy truck outside and who found out and who it belongs to now. I want to pass out more hugs and tell them more how amazingly special and precious each one is.
And with the very recent arrival of our son, my heart aches even more for those babies and children who are uncelebrated, uncherished; and for those babies who never even have the chance to be born. It takes my breath away and I want to be a part of bringing God's love and mercy to these with no voice. I wonder how God will use us, our family in "setting the solitary in families." (Psalm 68:6)

So, how has the transition back to the States been?
Good, hard, and gracious.
And I've decided that transitioning will never end. It's a good thing. Hard, but good.
I want to gracefully embrace transitioning; allow it to constantly drive me to the Gospel, to the heart of God.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kitchen Cupboards

Once upon a time, there was a kitchen.
And in this kitchen, some wire racks lived. They were sad racks, frequently cluttered and in disarray.
(with 30 kids in a house, the racks were quite busy)
But a rescue was coming.
Plans were drawn.

Wood was cut.

And then there was a great day off of school when Thing 1 and Thing 2 were constructed. Well, started anyway.

And after much hard work by the handsome man, the wire racks were allowed to retire to the laundry room and sturdy Thing 1 and strong Thing 2 stand proudly, with space available for all. (All the dishes, that is)

And the kitchen felt better. (Well, I did anyway.) ha.
They might get doors yet, in case you wondered.

And a few more snapshots of what's been happening here:
Mudslide! No more canyon road! yesssss. (just pleased stay closed until after October 9!)

Making bread...

and cupcakes. (There are about 20 up close and personal cupcake shots on the camera; the girls were a little picture happy) 

Here's one for proof. 

Moto rides...

And the adorable (now that they aren't barking in the house in the middle of the night) dogs who dig holes under the fence and rip the laundry off the line and destroy my attempts at potted plants.

We officially are under a month til takeoff.
And we are excited about that!
Please keep us in your prayers as we say goodbye here and transition back to life at home.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Big Kids" 

Verrrry proud of my students this past month. They achieved 125 grades over 80% so we celebrated with a campfire and marshmallows and games. It was a good time, followed by star gazing at the pista(runway).

Suly, Vidalia, Yelsi and me

 Lucia and Maria

Jeamy and Saul


Angelito reading to Rosa

 4th graders doing Art! Lucia, Vidalia, Maria and Jhostin
These four have improved tremendously since last year and I am so proud of them! They have a pretty big workload and are consistently doing well with their homework! 

Jeamy, Angel and Saul
(really enjoying teaching these three this year! Jeamy and I spend lots of time discussing touring Europe, Russian orphanages, Hinduism, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and other important topics. Saul and Angel mostly teach me about the Gospel. (translation: test my patience) Angel would tell you that he enjoys pushing "big red buttons." Their expanding knowledge is very rewarding.)

He just finished studying the heart and lungs in Science. After a fun, detailed explanation of the amazing way the heart works, his only question was: "Miss Donna, do bees have bones?" 
Me: "Did you hear anything I just said?"
Isai: *blank look* "ummm....." 

These are the kiddos I spend most of my time with Monday through Friday. I will miss them incredibly when we leave. Per Saul: "My heart will break in two when Mr. Josh and Miss Donna leave." 
Yes, child, probably mine too. 

Pray for us that we would finish well. We are excited and scared and all that about coming home in October, but we also want to BE here while we are here. Pray that we would pour Jesus into all the teaching moments we have with the kiddos. Pray that THEY could begin to understand that regardless of who comes into their lives and who leaves that they have a Faithful Father. 

"Faithful, forever you are faithful....Father to the fatherless" 
That's our prayer."