Thursday, 28 February 2008

Stolen Post and A Good Laugh

It's really awesome that my husband and my daughters all have a blog - most of the time. But yesterday James hijacked my post!!! AnnaClaire had done something hilarious and I told him about it as I was writing the entry in my head (where they are so brilliant but vanish into thin air.) Next thing I knew it showed up on HIS blog! I think it's sad that he has to steal my posts to make his blog look good. (However he did write it very well, so check it out here.)

And first thing this morning I read my daughter Kara's blog and laughed out loud. She's too funny like her father. Cheer yourself up and read it here!

And if you have time, go over to Julie's blog and tell her Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

My Bags are Packed (not at all yet)

James and I are celebrating the wedding of my best friends' son Lucas this weekend. I met Lucas when he was just a really large bump in his mom's shirt. Anita has six kids, but Lucas is the boy of my heart. He's 26 now, an officer in the Air Force, and stationed in Colorado. He met his soon to be wife there and that's where they're getting married.
So...James and I are off to Colorado and we're taking some extra time away. I've written lists and arranged rides and divided up chores and I think everything is in place. We have a friend whose even willing to give up his own bed for a few days to stay with the zoo, I mean kids here. My mom has volunteered to come teach for me, and although she's 85, I'm sure she'll wear the kids out with her energy. Grace has learned to set up and hook herself up to the dialysis machine and will be flying solo while we're gone.
Every once in awhile I get a little panicky about leaving this crew but I also asked God to be the final back up and He's got it handled.
What's the worse that could happen? Rhetorical question only please.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Baby of Mine


AnnaClaire came down for church this morning dressed extra cute with a huge grin.
She said, "Mom!! It's 2!"

"Two what?"

"It's my 2 year anniversary."

(Still with no clue)
"Anniversary of what sweetie?"

"I've been here for two years today. I came at 3:15 in the afternoon and I wanted to go home so bad. But now I never have to leave and I'm so happy."

We let AnnaClaire pick where we went to eat after church to celebrate her anniversary.

I think she's the first kid to ever know the date they got here.

The only thing I know about that day is that I met my newest daughter and I've been blessed ever since.

Happy Anniversary AnneClaire.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Homeschooling in South Korea

Last night we had our visiting Korean pastors, Jay Sanjoon and Joo-Yun Lee, from Global Mission Church here for dinner and a time of prayer. They shared their ministry with us and it was exciting.
Their church has a vision of starting a homeschooling movement in Seoul. They explained that when families come to know the Lord, the public school system there contradicts the things of God. They feel that they are losing the next generation of believers because of this. They also explained that the normal Korean family is disjointed. The fathers work long hours, the kids have a long school day and then spend all their time with friends. Mothers work and have their own social circles. (Sounds familiar!) They see homeschooling as a way to reunite the family. They have an ultimate vision of raising up homeschool families to be missionaries, where the entire family, including the kids, is trained to go on the mission field. (South Korea is the largest missionary sending country per capita in the world.) They are accepted into many countries where Americans aren't welcome.

After dinner and prayer the two men went into our "classroom" and asked me question after question. They were blown away by our text books that our Christ centered. (They would never believe a vendor hall at a Homeschool Convention!) There is so much available to us, but nothing for Korean speaking homeschoolers. They took pictures of my planning book and our shelves and the projects hanging on the wall. They wanted to know everything.

Seeing their hunger for the things that we have so readily available was humbling. Their vision was inspiring and made me realize how we often squander the incredible resources we have.

Pray for homeschoolers in Korea as they get started on their vision to witness to the world, starting with the family.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The Green House

Around a year and a half ago, the Lord provided an opportunity for us to purchase the home next to ours to be used for a "missionary house". We named it The Green House because it's a place where people in ministry can come and relax, enjoy some time away and be nurtured. We were excited to be able to provide a place for our daughter Kirsten and her family to stay while home on furlough from Chad every 3 years. Right next to us!!
While we were setting it up, we thought about all the ways we could bless people who have given up so much to serve the Lord.
As with most things that you do for God, the return to our family has far exceeded the output. We have had missionaries from all over the world stay at our Green House. Each one has given us a peek into the spiritual and physical needs of the people they serve. Our kids have helped clean the house, bake goodies and baby-sit for our visitors and it has given them all a love for missions. There is nothing more exciting than when we get the call that someone needs the house.
Today we are expecting two pastors from Korea to come and stay for the week. We can't wait!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Counting Mid Winter Blessings, Yes there are some

February can be a looong month, especially when you homeschool.
Marsha, over at Heart of the Matter, had a great idea. She encouraged everyone to write a list of the cool things about Homeschooling.
.............You know, a little like brainwashing ourselves to keep on going. Because by this time of the year, I'm bored with every single thing we've been doing and I'm ready to buy next years curriculum.
So here's my list of why "home is cool":
1. I get to pretend I'm a real teacher. (Which I've been pretending since I was around 8 years old and made my sisters call me Mrs. Hittlebittle.)
2. I have an excuse to buy and read children's literature.
3. I know who are influencing my kids and when it's negative influence, I just have to change MY behavior.
4. I was the first one to know that my daughter is fascinated with the study of bones.
5. There's always someone home to meet the UPS guy who is hopefully bringing me kids books from Amazon.com. (see #2)
6. I finally learned 6th grade math including fractions and equations. (Okay, so I knew it once but it had long ago disappeared.)
7. There's always a reason to buy school supplies. Staples has miles of enticing pencils and clips and every other cool imaginable thing but I really don't get that red "Easy" button thing they sell, do you?
8. When you have to take 3 days to understand your math lesson, you aren't left in the dust. I have great patience when someone doesn't get their math right away. (See #6)
9. Bad attitudes can be corrected immediately. Theirs and mine.
10. Teaching is more fun than cleaning. (read good excuse here)

I may just survive this winter. How about you?



Update on the McKenzies

I wanted to update those who have asked about my daughter and family who were evacuated from Chad.
They are living in France at the home of another team member and will need to find a new place near public transportation by the end of next week. Most of their belongings that were left behind in Chad may be recoverable. They are making plans to move back into the country as soon as possible.
One of the things that they asked prayer for was what to do about schooling while in France. All of their homeschooling material was left in Chad. My favorite statement they made was that they didn't, of course, have school during the days that were waiting for evacuation from the fighting. They called them "rebel days" and counted them like our "snow days." (My grandchildren will most certainly have a unique education!)
One of the nice benefits of their evacuation to France is that we can actually talk to them on the phone. It was especially sweet to hear their voices that first phone call.
They still need prayer for wisdom on how to get back to the people of Chad.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Alls Fair in Love and War

Yesterday could have been bad. One of the boys neglected to call in the night before about his curfew and he didn't handle the correction very graciously. ( he acted like a brat) I wasn't in the best mood.
Then I came down to make coffee and found this poem from my husband on a paper heart stuck to the coffee maker.
Everything looks better when your in love with your husband and hes in love with you.
(But the kids still in trouble.)

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

This Weeks Trash Jack-Pot

Today's trash find was so excellent. And we got it right before the snow ruined it all. Why do people get rid of all this great stuff?
The only embarrassing moment was when a neighbor drove by and beeped her horn at us digging through the junk.
*and to set Emily's mind at ease....I NEVER dive for trash, I very carefully pick through it. Very sanitary.

There was this awesome picnic basket in perfect shape. Can't wait to use it this summer.













These bread baskets will come in handy!




And I love these colorful hot plates.






This 70's wood burning set has all the parts. So retro and cool. This is all just great stuff!!

Monday, 11 February 2008

A Perfect Surprise

Lane and Layla came over to visit a few days ago which makes it a good day. After our kisses and hugs Lane asked me to get out the calendar to see if we were free to watch Layla sometime in October. I flipped the pages and assured her that there was nothing going on and we would LOVE to watch Layla. I asked what she was doing and she told me in her serious voice that she would be in the hospital. I was worried immediately and asked her why.
She just stood there grinning.
LANE'S HAVING A BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is one happy Grandma Kate.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Acting Like a Grown Up




I've had really long, really curly hair for years.
So long that it takes every ounce in the bottle to cover the gray.
And it was getting to that stage where people would think..."Why does that old lady have long hair?" And I do go to a Pentecostal church but not the kind with a long hair requirement, so I decided to have my friend Anita cut it short.














A few snips and I'm no longer a hippie chic.

Friday, 8 February 2008

I Can't Help Loving You

One of the hardest parts of foster care for me is the transition. I've always believed that although the kids are with us temporarily, I should love them like they'll never leave.
It's like playing in the snow without gloves.
It sometimes hurts. But better me than them.
As I'm excited to see a family reunited it promises a whole in mine.
I've decided to keep on at one hundred percent instead of pulling away.
This time I'm in for some frostbite.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Life Imitates Art

We sat down to school yesterday and I looked at Grace.

The hair.....that smile and I knew.

I went and got the book and sure enough.

The most famous art mystery has been solved.

That's the look you get on your face when someone is telling you that you really will understand equations if you keep working at them.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

We finally got this email from the McKenzies this morning.

MAJESTY IN MEEKNESS
The McKenzie Family
February 6, 2008

Somewhere In-Between

I will keep this brief because our life still feels surreal. We have safely arrived in Paris after being evacuated from N'Djamena. In the last 24 hours we have traveled by helicopter, armored truck/tank, bus, van, C130, Boeing 777 and now we wait for our high-speed train. This is our third country with only 2 bags of belongings to our name. We are very thankful for the French Military and Red Cross that have provided us with some warm clothing and we look forward to seeing our team again in Chambery.

God was amazingly merciful to our family during the intense fighting but many within the missions community endured great hardships. Please continue to pray for our family and the missions community that have faithfully served in Chad. Many are leaving with only the clothes on their backs. Please pray that God will use these coming days to bring healing to the brokenness and joy in our loss.

Please be patient as communication will continue to be slow in the coming days. Thank you again for everyone that has steadfastly prayed for us over the past week.

For His Name's Sake,
Stephen McKenzie

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Rejoice!

I just received this email from Kirsten and Stephen's area supervisor in Africa. I join him in giving thanks for their safety.

"I say it again, REJOICE!

The Mckenzies and their compound mates were picked up by the French military at 10:30 AM. Praise God! He is worthy!

I am so grateful that the Lord answered our prayers for their safety and deliverance, as we prayed from Psalm 34:

'For the angel of the LORD guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.'

It was a bit of a harrowing rescue by the French military including two helicopters.

'Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy.'

I had the pleasure, er, rather, joyful dread, of being on the phone when the troops arrived. While on a call to Stephen he said that a helicopter was circling overhead. It then began hovering but then backed off, and came back moments later, with a second chopper. He said, "I'll call you back in a minute."

'I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears.'

He called me back three minutes later saying, "a helicopter just landed behind the house." I could barely hear him through the blades chopping up the air. "Man, they are heavily armed." I wondered who "they" were.

'Those who honor him will have all they need.'

"I gotta go." Click. Incredulous, I screamed back into my Siemens silver and gray, "can you say that again?" No chance.

My mind was racing and wondering what was really happening. Surely I thought the French military had finally arrived after two days of promises! But what if...

The next 20 minutes for me were a complex mixture of fear and joy, dread contrasted with elation. It must have been the French...but I couldn't be sure. My extreme emotions, simultaneously held, were sprinkled with prayers for their protection. Images ran through my mind ranging from seeing these servants of God soaring into the sky praising the Lord and a hostile hostage situation.

'Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD.'

I wasn't sure which of the two contrasting emotions to give in to, nor did I know to which sensation to attach my tears.

Then I snapped out of it and called the State Department again to confirm their rescue. They could not confirm anything beyond the standing evacuation request, but did reassure me that this event surely was the French military.

Ninety minutes after Stephen said, "I gotta go," he called me safely from the military base at the airport. He and Kirsten were so elated and for the next 15 minutes told me of the harrowing rescue, the fear the children experienced when the troops barged in, and the thrilling 10 minute ride in the sky under His everlasting arms.

'The righteous face many troubles, but the Lord rescues them from each and every one.'

My heart was praying for a secure ending but I was resigned to God's will. Once leaving their compound, the Mckenzies began to realize what an absolute disaster N'jdamena is now with prospects of continued fighting and regional destabilization.

They are scheduled to leave today on a flight to Gabon then anticipate a quick changeover to a plane heading to Paris. The Chad Team is preparing to pick them up and have a joyful and teary reunion. We are arranging debriefing for them soon after their arrival and then I anticipate heading to France within the week to see them and help them and the team sort through their next steps.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PRAYERS! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP IN COMMUNICATION, STRATEGIZING, CREATIVE THINKING, AND STANDING WITH THIS PRECIOUS FAMILY. Fall to your knees and give thanks.

PRAISE GOD ALONG WITH ME FOR HIS PROVISION AND...REJOICE! I say it again, rejoice!

'The LORD will redeem those who serve him.'

Grateful,"

Monday, 4 February 2008

Situation in Chad

Just got a call from my daughter Kirsten and their family is sitting tight in N'Djamena waiting for the French to come evacuate them. They didn't sound at all fearful but basically bored and anxious to get out. I can imagine having to stay in the house for 3 days now with the 5 kids!
But they are safe and thank you so much for all your prayers. I'll update when they get out of the country.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Prayer Need

Early this morning I got a call from my daughter Kirsten and her family who are missionaries in Chad. There has been a threat of rebel take over in the capital of N'Djamena for the past few days, and now they hear fighting. She called to tell us to pray as they are evacuating.

We talked about all they would have to do and I told her that we would all be praying and then I told her to make it an adventure for the kids. She laughed and said, "Oh yes, they're already so excited."
Please pray for their safety and that they can- even in this dangerous situation be a witness.

Kirsten also said to give Pastor Tim a big hug and thank everyone at the Bridge church for the Satellite phone. It has been a life saver.