Thursday, August 30, 2007


What is it about packing for a trip that I find so draining? I have never enjoyed travel, which explains why God has placed us on the other side of the globe from our home country. ;-)

Today, I have been packing for a week in our host country's capital. Packing for 5 for a week is a practical challenge - just finding enough t-shirts for the kids that aren't (very) stained can take quite a while. This time, packing means gathering the basics of our homeschool as we can't afford a whole week off right now. It is also challenging because the trip takes 7-8 hours, so we must plan to keep children busy while in the van. Otherwise, boredom grows to petty fighting. Snacks are a big part of that plan.

No matter how easy or difficult the logistics, however, packing unnerves me. I find myself fatigued, grumpy, and worried. The sad part is that I probably could pack much more quickly and forget less if I was not fatigued, grumpy, and worried.

So, the question is, WHY?

I think some, maybe even most, of it stems from my need to be in control. I like things I can control. It is the unknown that I don't like. Piling into a van for an 8 hour trip with 3 kids in a country where toilets are - well - different, is still unpredictable, even after more than 6 years of doing it. Flat tires or other car trouble can lead to hours in a muddy field that doubles as a repair shop, surrounded by hundreds of onlookers, all craning their necks for a peek at the "foreigners." Even slow traffic inevitably leads to excess gawking. I don't tend to savor this process: endurance is all I'm striving for.

So where does that leave me. We are overseas for the foreseeable future, and these trips will always be a necessity. So I must learn to handle this differently. I must find a way to do more than merely survive, be it the trip, or any given day. Is it possible to find grace, even joy in things that in and of myself, I despise? Lord God, give me grace to travel, tomorrow, and always.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Grace in the Moment

Today, I've been noticing hair. I cut all the hair in our family that gets cut. Princess Grace is still awaiting her first trim, and my husband trims the split ends off my hair once or twice a year. But Bob and the boys all visit Sheri's Hair Salon - a.k.a. a chair, scissors and a trimmer in the living room with the carpet rolled back. Pop in a video for the littles and we are on our way.

Since before we were married, I have cut my husband's hair. At first, it was with great trepidation as I did not come from a home-hair cutting family. But after many years, it is routine. While the boys are squirmier, even cutting their hair is no problem these days.

But today, I was looking at Scholar's recently trimmed head and it reminded me that I needed to give the younger son the same attention: Boy Wonder had been busy playing and his golden locks were sweaty and looking wild. A glance at my husband told me that he is only about a week away from another session in the "itchy chair."

Suddenly, in the midst of my practicality, God broke in. The haircut status monitor faded away as I looked, really looked at the beautiful heads that God has placed in my life to care for. Such a small thing - to cut hair for my family - yet how significant that I have them to minister to in this simple way. And how grateful I am for the privilege.

One of the things that is most difficult for me is finding the grace in each moment. The moments whirl away like dust in a wind, but the beauty, the blessing is still there. I just have to stop being practical long enough to see it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


It is amazing to me how busy life can get sometimes. I worked full time outside the house last week. That is more than rare for me lately. It was an interesting, exhausting week. So Friday came (our Sunday) and I rested, spent time with the family, had church, and so on. Today was spent catching up on clutter and getting organized for the next week of home school. How, in a whole week I wasn't able to blog once is beyond me. Well, I guess having a terrible internet connection for the week also contributed.

Sometimes I look back and wonder where the 13 years since my wedding have gone. How is my oldest nearly 8? How is my baby 3 already? I know that we all feel that way at times, but it seems stronger to me this time. Like busyness itself is a disease that keeps us from living our lives in a meaningful way.

We have some friends who married (each other) in midlife. It was the first marriage for both or them. They have a different life from ours - no children - and they have a few more years of experience on us. What I find interesting, though, is that though they are astonishingly busy, they live life deliberately. They make choices about family, friends, even about their home decor that show that they are living their lives deliberately - and not for selfish reasons, but for the glory of God.

I usually feel as if I'm standing in the middle of a tornado and everything is whirling around me. I am not sure how to make conscious choices that model Christ when I find it difficult to have time to rub two thoughts together. Yet, this is the role God has given me. So His answers must be available. I just have to keep looking, and that is a large part of what my blogging is about.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kids & Worship

In thinking about the idea of authentic worship of God - worship that is our very best - I looked up the words translated as "worship" in Greek & Hebrew to remind myself of the complete meaning. The word worship contains the idea of reverence, but it indicates a voluntary submission. One who worships is ministering to God, and is choosing to perform the "acts of worship". One of the most common words in the New Testament indicates that worship involves prostrating oneself, literally or figuratively before God.

I think we who are parents have to work hard to maintain a balance for our children. We want, rightly, to teach them that Jesus is their friend and brother. We need to model an authentic relationship with God before our children. Yet, at the same time, we must instill in them a sense of awe of God. It seems quite a challenge to me to come boldly before the throne of God, yet do so in humility. But as I sit here puzzling this over, I am aware of a growing sense of wonder at the greatness of our God - how He can be both Creator and Friend, Holy and still Father. Wow!


Friday, August 17, 2007

Worshipping truly

Every week, we listen to a taped church service from back home. This is where we are challenged and encouraged. Today's topic was worship. Drawn from Malachi, the pastor looked at how the Jewish people of the day were offering God less than their very best. He challenged us to think about what we offer when we come to worship. I have to confess that it is often far less than my best. Our time of worship is odd, being at home with no congregation nor "live" pastor, and with the kids sitting in (and often needing to be corrected - they're still small). But I don't think the circumstances excuse us from worshiping with all of our hearts. At the end, dh asked what I thought of our worship. I told him that I thought it was pretty poor. He then asked what it should look like - what we need to change. I did not have an answer for him.

So, this is the question I'm pondering tonight. What should authentic worship look like - for myself personally, and for my family when we worship together? I'll be writing about what I discover in the days to come.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A little more about me . . .

The primary motivation for my beginning this blog was to provide a place for me to mull over the things that come up in life. I am not nearly reflective enough. In fact, lately, I find that I have to actively work to not just float along, never thinking about anything more than is absolutely necessary. For anyone who may run across these thoughts, however, it may be helpful for you to know a little about me. Nearly 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with major depression. Medication has made all the difference, but I am still on it. My family and I live in Asia, though we are from the US. We came in 2001 with our oldest child, and 2 other children have been born here. My dh's work has led us to live in a very rural part of this country, and we are quite isolated from other foreigners. Only 1 other foreign family lives here with us. The culture here is such that I rarely go out. Someone else does the shopping, so I rarely even get to the nearby town. Our major forays are to the larger city, an all-day drive one-way. These trips have become increasingly rare as the children have started homeschool. Interestingly, my personality allows me to live like this. I don't need a great number of friends or social outlets. Others who have lived of visited here have labeled it "a prison". I am sometime insecure about why God has put us in this place. But He has, and so, we remain until He tells us to move on. I pray that I may thrive here, not merely survive.


As I begin this new effort - blogging - I am only beginning to be aware of the huge world that blogs have become. When I left the US more than 6 years ago, I had never heard of them. Now, it seems, everybody has one. I wonder if there is that much to say. I think, however, that no matter how uninteresting it may seem, there is wonder and adventure in even the most mundane of things.

There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy and a tragedy. Mark Twain

Only God knows if anything I write here will be interesting or helpful to anyone else. But I have determined to do it as a way of recording the happenings of my life, whether it be spiritual issues, family, homeschooling, living overseas, or whatever. Perhaps the process will help me grow. That is my prayer.