Thursday, June 25, 2009
I can't wait to see how much the boys have grown! I just hope Kyle isn't too upset if Alayna is a good bit taller than he is...LOL. Check back in a few days, and I'll post pics from this visit. :-) This is Kyle between the girls the last time:
So, tomorrow, we shall see what 2 years have done. :-)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
So, here's what happened last night. A knock sounded at the front door and I figured that it was YET another neighbor kid wanting a playmate. Sporting my goofy rainbow-striped cotton pants and an oversized, faded pink T-shirt, I yanked open the door and discovered not a kid but a smiling, middle-aged man. He introduced himself as the Children's Ministry Leader of the church where our children attended VBS a couple of weeks ago. He was following up on the fact that both Alayna & Abby had prayed the Sinner's Prayer to accept Jesus as their Lord & Savior during VBS. :-)
Now, I know that I haven't mentioned that to any of you yet...perhaps because I didn't really consider it to be the first time that the girls had done this. But, it does seem that their faith has growth this month, so I do think it was a valuable experience for them to raise their hands and publically acknowledge their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins & then to pray with a teacher. It was especially meaningful that they each did this on their own, in their respective classes, not trying to please a parent.
Anyway, back to Darren at the door: Since Roy was home, I invited him into our family circus. And, oh yes, our little performers did not disappoint us. We had flying monkeys, trapeze artists, clowns, and the general chaotic din of 5 assorted circus animals (not naming any names)! But, Darren was super-nice and laid back, not put off by any of their antics. He was thrilled to hear of all the ways we're seeking the Lord as a family, and even said, "Well, ya'll are just Jesus Freaks!" :-D LOL! What a compliment! :-)
Best of all, though, he prayed with us before he left—including a prayer for my safety and effectiveness in Bolivia. What a blessing! And all this just from answering a knock at the door.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
What a cheery little surprise, just before turning in for the night, to discover THIRTEEN g-mails from you....my devoted blog readers. :-D If you wondered why I wasn't responding, it's because I had no idea that you had written! (I never remember to check my gmail acct.) And why the picture of this lovely GA crepe myrtle? Well...just because. :-) I guess because it's a nice cheery reflection of how I feel inside now, thanks to all ya'll. So, for those who asked me questions, I'll try to respond to those tomorrow, OK? And, to make sure that I don't miss your mail anymore, I went ahead and changed my blog email to our Yahoo acct. But, now, it's "pumpkin hour," so I'll be a good little girl and hit the hay. Tomorrow I'll tell ya'll about the visit we received tonight from a leader of the church where the kids attended VBS 2 weeks ago. :-)
Abby had a breakthrough last night. We had just finished a devotional time with the two oldest girls, studying I Corinthians 1 and Romans 8 together, when Abby finally took our exhortations to heart. She took her Bible upstairs, prayed for God to speak to her heart through His Word, and then read a passage that did just that. As she read, the Holy Spirit convicted her of sin and she was moved to tears. In repentance, she asked the Lord to forgive her and thanked Him once again for His sacrifice so she wouldn't have to live with a heart full of guilt. And, when she came downstairs to tell me about this, her face was positively glowing! :-) God is so good!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
What a blast, even if it was WAY too short! After 3 yrs. of getting to know Elysa, from the FiveInARow boards, via hundreds of "Bracelet Babe" emails (that's our little Yahoo prayer/fellowship group of a half dozen FIAR gals), I FINALLY got to meet her IRL, along with her hubby and 6 of her 7 children. They took their oldest daughter to a missions team training camp not far from here and then spent the night (and half of the morning) in our home.
Notice where Elysa is sitting in the next shot. Yes, that is my computer chair, and yes, she was on her Facebook page and the FIAR Forum ...LOL...but only for a minute. :-)
And here's the whole gang, minus the hubbies.
The 4 of us adults yakked and yakked until after midnight, and we cooked about 40,000 pancakes in the morning. LOL! All the kids hit it off with each other immediately, and they've been moaning about missing their new friends from the moment they left. They already want to know when we can get back together again, and I even caught Roy looking up hotels and tourist attractions in Birmingham, AL, which is about halfway between our homes. :-) It's so good to connect with other like-minded believers. And it was fun to compare our experiences as parents and spouses and discover how much we have in common. In every way, it was just a delight to have the "Macs" with us. Come again, ya'll, any time! :-)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Of course, Trevor LOVED the dirt. :-)
My mom and Abby planted about a dozen tomato plants. And now, they're about 3 feet tall and carrying babies. I can't wait for that juicy redness. Mmmm mmm good.
All that was in March. Now, it's June and we're enjoying a steady supply of lettuce, basil and cilantro (although I accidentally let the cilantro go to seed....bummer).
We had our first batch of yummy beans this week, as Abby is proudly displaying. It's just a glorious thing...participating in the creative, life-giving work of God. Yes, I must say, gardens are great!
Another huge change in my Facebook-free life is that I'm now HAPPY to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and often at the same time as Roy, which used to NEVER happen (after taking an evening walk with him, which also never used to happen). And that means that I wake up at 6 or 7 AM, refreshed and able to spend some quality time with Roy in the morning. With my brain and body functioning at that hour, I'm able to serve him by fixing him some breakfast & coffee, making sure he takes his supplements, and packing him a lunch. And, I'm able to do all this without feeling jittery inside, just dying to be done with it and waiting impatiently for him to leave so I could get back to my "real" world. (So sad.) I really think my life on the computer had become more important to me than my life as Roy's wife, not to mention as the mother of 5. And it's just such a relief to have my priorities back where they belong.
In other news, Bolivia is about 3 weeks away now. And since I've come "back online" as wife and mom, I'm feeling a growing sadness about leaving my family...as opposed to leaving my computer. However, I'm excited because it looks like our team is going to have the opportunity to reach out to some prostitutes, and that's a ministry that I feel strongly about. I've already been "talking" to them (in Spanish, of course) in my head, making sure that I remember the words that I'll be wanting to say to them. I consider it a great privilege to tell women in that situation about the merciful love of God that was poured out for them on the cross, and that they don't have to live in shame or bondage anymore...that simply believing that Christ's sacrifice was for THEM personally will free them from their guilt and perhaps even from their drug addictions, which fuel the need for their lives on the street.
Plus, as a bilingual homeschool mom, I'll be in a unique position on this team to come alongside the women who work in the orphanage (in the Amazon jungles of northeastern Bolivia) and encourage them in their tireless work. I can empathize with their feelings of being burnt-out and act like a cheerleader, reminding them of the eternal significance of what they're doing. So, my "job description" there will go far beyond lovin' on little Bolivian children, as much as I'm happy to do that, too.
But, now, I'm going to go love on my own little children. Que Dios les bendiga. (God bless ya'll.) :-)
Friday, June 5, 2009
"I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
"Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality." – Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)
"Anyone can memorize facts and figures. The real way to learn anything is to go experience it and let your curiosity lead you. Who's ready to learn?"...Man in the Big Yellow Hat -- Curious George The Movie 2006
I am a recovering Pharisee. I spent the first half of my life trying to "live a Christian life." Now, I'm learning to enjoy "being" a Christian. Anything good that I do or anything bad that I avoid is now flowing out of an overwhelming gratitude for the amazing grace and mercy that God poured out on me through the sacrifice of His only Son, Christ Jesus. I am no longer trying to EARN my salvation, now that it has finally sunk in that my Lord Jesus already purchased it, PAID IN FULL, on the cross! Now, I'm experiencing the joy of being freed from bondage, one chain at a time, by setting my focus on Him and the good news (Gospel) of what He has done for me. This has been 100% more effective than the vicious cycle of trying harder, failing, numbing the guilt with yet another sinful behavior, and then trying once again to break free. By abandoning this futile pursuit of trying to attain righteousness and instead dwelling on the truth of God's grace, I have found that Jesus Christ TRULY is the answer!
About 20 yrs. ago, in college, I read a newsletter article that my dad thought I might be interested in. It was by Art Robinson, who took charge of homeschooling his 6 children after his wife died. (In fact, that same article is broken down into 9 sections under the Robinson Methodology tab at www.robinsoncurriculum.com .) Well, on that day, the Lord put a burning desire in my heart to homeschool *my* future children.
Fast forward 6 yrs, to 1996 — the year of Roy. I did a crazy thing. I told God that I could not bear the thought of yet another deadend, painful relationship...that I could not bear to continue my friendship with Roy and have it grow into "something more" unless I knew up front that he was to be my future husband.
So, on Aug. 27th, I said this: "God, I'm throwing down a fleece (just as Gideon did in the Old Testament book of Judges, ch. 6). I am vowing to You this day that I will never mention to Roy my desire to homeschool. I am asking YOU to cause HIM to (1) bring the subject up AND (2) inform me that he wants his future kids to be homeschooled." I was so serious about this that I wrote it down and sealed it in an envelope, vowing to never breathe a word of it to anyone.
WELL!!! Are you ready for this? (*I* sure wasn't!!) The VERY NEXT MORNING!!! Roy came over to my parents' house to see me, sat at our kitchen table, and out of the blue, BROUGHT UP THE SUBJECT OF HOMESCHOOLING!!! He then proceeded to tell me that...take one guess...HE wanted his future children to be homeschooled!!! AND...he finished up with the comment that he had been having "these visions" of ME, Angela, up at our church, homeschooling my future kids, along w/ the children of other folks as well. (Yes, like a co-op, which I will finally be participating in this fall at a local church, 13 yrs. after the vision!) EEEEEKKK!!!
Honestly, I almost fell off my seat. I mean, you've gotta' understand. I thought I was making it impossible for God (yeah, right!) because I wasn't particularly sure that I wanted to marry Roy. But, when God, in His infinite mercy, gave me such a wonderful assurance of His perfect will for my life, it wasn't such a stretch to trust Him with Phase Two. I said, "OK, Lord...then it's up to You to make me love him." And, let me tell you, folks, God has answered that prayer a million times over! The hardest part was "pondering those things in my heart" for the next several months as we slowly entered into a courtship.
Well, when God finally made it clear that I was released to tell Roy about the fleece (4 mths. later), Roy told me that God had shown him something about me, too, before he ever met me in person. See, our 1st "encounter" was by phone. Roy's family attended my dad's church & knew that their pastor's daughter (yours truly) had also lived in Va Beach & might be able to recommend a good church for him, since Roy's job had sent HIM there just as I moved back to Ohio. So, I gave my suggestion—a Sovereign Grace Church in Chesapeake that my best friend, Katina, attended...which is a sister church of the one we joined here in Georgia last year.
Then, I got the brilliant idea that maybe, when he came up to visit his folks, he could bring my stuff that was still in a storage unit down there. (Boy, was I a user!!) So, I called him to make the arrangements (after his mom had contacted him and told us he agreed to do the favor). And, the moment Roy heard my voice on the phone, the Lord spoke to his heart and said, "You will be hearing a lot of that voice, and it will be a source of peace and rest to you." Wanna' know something funny? To this day, I often talk Roy to sleep at night.
So, after we each revealed our "advance notice" from the Lord to each other, we were engaged a month later, and married 6 mths. after that—almost one year from the day God had spoken to me. God is SOOOOOOO good! And, on those hard days through the years—when all at once I've had a baby screaming, a toddler taking his poopie diaper off, a preschooler whining and the 2 oldest girls fighting w/ each other and showing no interest in learning anything—I have the firm assurance that I'm doing exactly what the Lord has called me to do, and that our very marriage is based on that fact.