Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tour de Wausau

I was reading in John 10 about Jesus being the Good Shepherd, and a familiar verse kind of took me by surprise. "The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." I understand that Jesus was the unblemished Lamb, and willingly lay down His life for us, but is it true that shepherds in those days, good ones, were really expected to lay down their lives for their sheep? Did masters honestly expect that when push came to shove, if it was escape with your life, or protect my dumb herd, a good shepherd was expected to sacrifice his life? And with his dying breath know that a few sheep were unharmed? That is crazy! Are the lives of sheep more important than the life of man? Anyhow not a very useful meditation for the day, probably. :-)

Jason and I love our new chariot that attaches to our bikes! What newfound freedom! This last weekend we took a couple long bike rides with the kids, and felt like we were dating! The boys do well in back with a few snacks, and we don't have to hear them bicker! :-) What a pity that fall is very promptly upon us and getting almost too cold to ride, but come spring we will be out every day! The fall colors are becoming more vibrant daily! And crisp days are so refreshing!


I also made one friend here, Stefanie! She invited me to the farmer's market, then to the mall to let our kids play. How grateful I am for little kindnesses in this foreign land! :-) Have a great week!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

video

I can't imagine being more proud of my kids than when they tuck scripture into their memories!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Churching

This will be a tale of our church hunting, and other thoughts on churches:

When we moved to WI we were excited to start the process of finding a church family, especially to meet people who think like us and develop lifelong friendships. We are definitely still in that process!

We have visited 8 or 9 churches so far and have enjoyed worshipping with each group of people. I would say there are at least 4 that we would joyfully adopt as our home. I am finding that I was very wrong in my assumption that it would be easy to find the one small group of people in Wausau that knows Christ and fellowships together. Turns out there are MANY excellent churches in the area! We find ourselves in the best kind of bind, how to pick "the" church?

Jason and I have been completely in unity so far in our opinions about the churches we have visited. We are so hesitant to criticize any of the churches, because they are accomplishing a purpose for some believers and seekers. They are what they are, whether they are our preferences or not, every church has had its strengths! I am amazed at the diversity of bodies of people, preaching, music, and philosophies on witnessing in this one city! I feel like I have a small glimpse of how heaven will be, only there will be no divided churches! I am so comforted that God showed me that a LOT of people love Jesus around here and we won't just be like Lot and his family among heathens.

Music is obviously very deeply in Jason's and my souls, so it is hard to ignore the musical aspects of each church. We really don't want to only consider churches with our favorite kind of music, though. To make things more complex, the churches where we LOVED the excellent music, we also felt like we weren't necessarily as needed at those churches, and may be led somewhere else where God could allow us to get involved in music again. Other factors we have considered are location, friendliness, theology, kids' programs, places we could see ourselves immediately plugging in.

So what is the role of the church? I have always thought one duty of the church is to effectively minister to the community, especially widows, orphans, the needy, and homeless. I believe if the CHURCH were doing it's job effectively, we would have a MUCH smaller government picking up the slack of the needs the church isn't meeting! Do we pick a church based on where we can best serve according to our perceived gifts? Should we look for a church where we can serve in capacities we're not as familiar with to stretch us and let Christ's power be made perfect in our weaknesses? Does God even care where we worship, or only that our hearts are right WHEN we worship and that we are content in every situation? I welcome anyone's thoughts on this.

In the meantime we will continue on our journey, hoping to find peace as we go, and a new set of friends to play Settlers and pinnocle with!

And what is a blog post without a picture of my boys? :-) Caedmon is protectively holding Jonas' hand when they cross the street, so he won't get hit by cars. He is 16 months older and wiser, you know.




Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Weekend in Carney


AND This next one is for my sisters. Doesn't he look like PeeKay? [So you want to be a boxah? I think I am too little.]

Grandpa and Jonas picking the beans and bean leaves.



The bountiful harvest-not including the potatoes, onions, beets, and radishes!





We went to see Green Bay for the first time! The boys loved the beach and they were quite cute.


Mmmm sand. My favorite. Sand in the diaper, sand in the mouth. Caedmon always took care not to get dirty. This one?-not so much.






Jason and his dad enjoying the sunshine.








Grandma and Caedmon contemplating life, love, and other mysteries. It was a great trip!












Friday, September 11, 2009

driving, driving, driving!

WOAH Beth changed her blog!!! I don't think I can navigate it myself! I am somewhat handicapped on the blogging.

On this historic day, I achieved a newsworthy feat: PASSING THE RIGOROUS INSPECTION FOR A WISCONSIN DRIVER LICENSE AND MARATHON COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY CARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What? That doesn't sound newsworthy? Trust me, if you are born in Africa and apply to drive in WI, it takes an Act of Congress to be declared American! I chuckled at the counter when the lady said she felt like she knows me from somewhere-I wanted to shout, "IT'S FROM HERE! I HOPE TO NOT COME BACK!" We enjoyed browsing the library as bonified members. I will not take those rights for granted again.

In celebration, the Andersons are hosting a party this evening, inviting all Wisconsin legal drivers to attend. I know for sure one hot FedEx legal driver will be attending. We are having homemade twinkies.

I would post a picture of my new license, but for obvious reasons, I will not. You think it's so no one will steal my identity. Oh, no, it's because I don't actually have the card in my possession. That's right: Wisconsin prints them elsewhere and mails them allegedly in a timely manner. I will believe that when I see it! Cheers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

mpo na Jason

In response to acquaintances continually complaining about their significant others, I am dedicating this post to listing why I APPRECIATE and LOVE my husband!

1. He loves God. What more could I ask for?

2. He is faithful to me. He comes home every evening to spend time with us. I never wonder where he is.

3. Jason is hilarious and always lifts my spirits when I least expect it.

4. He seems to sense my fatigue and takes over with the kids.

5. He eats everything I cook, without complaint!

6. He loves music with a passion matching mine!

7. Jason is an excellent driver, obviously.

8. He puts family before TV or sports games [if needed :-)]

9. If I blurt out feelings while Jason is reading something, he will mark his place, look up, and listen so he can pay attention.

10. Back Scratches!!

11. He loves our two boys and is careful to discipline them, teach them, and play with them like a father should.

12. If I am into a hobby he will research online and buy me gifts to further that hobby and help maintain, for instance, my bike.

13. He always changes the oil and inflates the tires on our vehicles!

14. Jason doesn't spend big money on big toys (although I am sure he would like to).

15. He doesn't pick fights.

16. He is a family man I love and can trust.

Plus he is hot and rocks on the bass. I am so thankful to God for my studly husband Jason!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Faith like a child

I have a new favorite song almost every week. If you asked me today what it is, I would say "Praise Him," a song I have been meditating on for about a month. Not many words, but oh how deep and meaningful it is to live like this:

Praise Him, Praise Him, all ye little children!
God is love,
God is love,
Praise Him, Praise Him, all ye little children!
God is love,
God is love.

THANK HIM, thank Him, all ye little children. . .

SERVE HIM, serve Him, all ye little children. . .

LOVE HIM, love Him, all ye little children. . .


If we praise, thank, serve, and love Him, our joy is complete!

I love the Bible story book I just finished with the boys, "The Jesus Storybook Bible-Every story whispers his name." I have gotten choked up often as I read the tender words of God's plan for humanity-to restore us to Him. I want to share the last story we read today, in the hopeful words designed for children-and adults.

A dream of heaven:

John was one of Jesus' helpers. He was old now and living on an island, which might sound nice except it was a prison. (The Leaders put him there to stop him from talking about Jesus, but I'm sure you don't think a little thing like being in a cell, in a prison, on an island, in the middle of an ocean, could stop God's Plan, do you?)

One morning, Jesus appeared-right there, in John's cell. Jesus' eyes were bright, shining like the sun. "I am going to show you a secret, John," Jesus said, "about when I come back." His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. "Write down what you see so God's children can read it, and wait with happy excitement."

Then Jesus gave John a beautiful dream-except John was wide awake and what he saw was real and one day it would all come true. . .

I see a throne. And on the throne is a king. And the King is Jesus. All around the throne people are bowing down. They are giving him their treasures.

There are loud cheers and clapping, clapping and bright laughter like a thousand waterfalls and everyone bursts out singing a new song. . .

"This is our King! The Lamb who died, so we don't have to-our Rescuer. All Honor and Glory! Forever and ever." And every creature everywhere, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, joins in.

And then
From all around
A wide
Immense
Beautiful
S i l e n c e

And I see Satan-God's horrible enemy-thrown down, defeated.

I see a sparkling city shimmering in the sky: glittering, glowing-coming down!
From heaven.
And from the sky.
Heaven is coming down to earth!

God's city is beautiful. Walls of topaz, jasper, sapphire. Wide streets paved with gold. Gleaming pearl gates that are never locked shut.

Where is the sun? Where is the moon? They aren't needed anymore. God is all the Light people need. No more darkness! No more night!

And the King says, "Look! God and his children are together again.
No more crying or being lonely or afraid.
No more being sick or dying.
Because all those things are gone.
Yes, they're gone forever.
Everything sad has come untrue. And see-I have wiped away every tear from every eye!"

And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, "Look, I am making everything new!"

It was hard to squeeze all John saw into words. And fit it onto a page. And cram it into a book. All the words on all the pages of all the books in all the world would never be enough.

"I am the Beginning," Jesus said, "and the Ending!"

One day, John knew, Heaven would come down and mend God's broken world and make it our true, perfect home once again.

And he knew, in some mysterious way that would be hard to explain, that everything was going to be more wonderful for once having been so sad.

And he knew then that the ending of The Story was going to be so great, it would make all the sadness and tears and everything seem like just a shadow that is chased away by the morning sun.

"I'm on my way," said Jesus. "I'll be there soon!"

John came to the end of his book. But he didn't write "The End." Because, of course, that's how stories finish. (And this one's not over yet.)

So instead, he wrote: "Come quickly, Jesus!"

Which, perhaps, is really just another way of saying. . .To Be Continued. . .

May you wait with happy excitement as I am! :-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trusting

Have you ever cried at the Department of Motor Vehicles? That was a first for me. I had a day yesterday that I hope to not repeat anytime soon. On my 5th trip to try to get my WI license, toting 2 kids and enough toys and snacks for a weekend campout, after a good wait the very knowledgable staff informed me that without proof of my citizenship, I could not get a license. Bear in mind I couldn't care less about the license, but I have been drooling over a Wausau area library card for almost 3 months, which requires a license. It was the last straw. In my logical mind, I couldn't conceive how having an original birth certificate from Africa, a valid MT driver's license, a SS card, an expired passport, and 11 years legal driving experience wasn't enough! Apparently Wisconsin does not recognize me as an American. Haha, I can laugh about it now! I'm not sure what the next step is, but it involves a green card (which I failed to keep when I was smuggled in to the US in a drug suitcase). They were very helpful in giving me the immigration hotline though.


That was the morning. Then I broke a jar of applesauce all over the clean floors and cut my hand, the kids got into some grease and smeared it all over their new fall clothing, got two more medical bills from Montana, the boys refused to nap, and we got word that cousin Anna was in the hospital possibly with appendicitus.


All that to say, GOD IS GOOD. After my meltdown at the DMV, God gave me a strange peace and I saw "one of those bad days" in a whole new light. How privileged I am to live in a free country! What a blessing to have free libraries that I will eventually get to use. How arrogant of me to assume a library card and driver's license is my "right!" I am thankful for laughter-what a gift to get us through those compoundedly awful days. Then Jason's parents arrived with our beautiful new furniture from Jason's brother, and lots of fresh vegetables! God knew when the sun came up, that yesterday was going to be a character-building day He would faithfully see me through. I am still chosen, adopted, redeemed, and cherished by the Almighty God.


When He has purified me with fire, I shall come forth as pure gold. What a treasure! To add to that, I love my beautiful family! Here is a short photoshoot after church on Sunday.

My most handsome groom. Yep, he still does it for me!


I sure do love these boys!!!







Thanks for reading. Hope this week was strangely peaceful for you as well.