Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why life's "Why's?" are good for us.

Life. Is. Hard

"Why?" -  I am ashamed to admit that this question has become a daily part of my thought process.  Yesterday, after a series of questions all beginning with "Why?...," I started to think over the benefits that come from the moments that bring about this dreadful question.

Easy leaves no room for growth.
Easy gives us the glory.
Hard brings Him glory.
Easy makes us strong.
Hard makes us weak.
Hard makes God strong.

Those things God asks us to do, yeah, the hard stuff, lets find joy in them today!

"For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." - James 1:3-4

 "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." - 2 Cor 4:17-18

Easy is good for today.

Hard is good for eternity.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hope in a Miscarriage - 12 Bible Verses

One of the first things that brought me peace was remembering that our child was never ours to begin with, he/she (one day we will know) had always belonged to God, and always would.  We as parents are given a gift to care for God's children for a short period of eternity.  However "long" that may be for...

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord1 Samuel 1:27-28

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Job 1:21

I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. Philemon 1:12

Knowing the very fact that our child would "skip" so much pain and suffering that this world offers was perhaps the most comforting truth I could rest on!  
We cannot even fathom how much our Lord loves our children.  Yes, he loves them abundantly more than we do, and His love is PERFECT! 

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  Psalm 139:14

So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. 
Matthew 18:14

Our precious gift, given to us for a time, is now in the arms of his/her Creator, being comforted, protected, loved, and adored.  Just as our Lord is taking care of our baby, He is reaching down to us just as well.  

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 

We must take our time to mourn, and we have a Lord who will comfort us through the heartache, pulling us all the closer to Him and His mercy.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

 For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord... Jeremiah 30:17

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:18-19

And most of all, remembering that no matter how much we ache and hurt and mourn today, there is a hope of a tomorrow, when there will be no more tears and all will be well in the presence of our Savior!!! 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

We are still working through this trial, another reminder of how much we need HIM.  I hope that you to can find a peace that only our Father can provide.

He Loves You


Update: months later as I needed these verses again, and knew of so many other tragedies around me, came part 2...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Enjoying the summer harvest!

I love this time of year!  

There is so much to enjoy outside! - and by enjoy, i most definitely mean eat!

I wanted to just share some of what I have "enjoyed" lately...

My in-laws recently took a road trip to Washington state and were so gracious to bring us back some fresh cherries and apricots!  We had a gallon of cherries to consume!  Besides eating them straight out of the fridge our favorite has become sauteed cherries over ice cream!  You must try!

 - Cut cherries in half and remove the seed/pit and stem (the juice is bright red and will stain your clothes!)

 - Melt a tbsp of butter in small skillet

 - Put cherries in skillet and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.

 - Cook cherries until the get soft and they start to put off a syrup.

 - Poor hot cherries over ice cream and ENJOY!!!

The handful of apricots weren't quite enough to make preserves, especially if I intended to take advantage of a fresh juicy apricot!  I had never done it before but decided to dry the remaining apricots before they got too over ripe!

 - Cut apricots in half along the "seam" or indention. (this makes removing the pit easy)

 - Remove the pits

 - Turn the apricot halves inside-out (this is difficult if the apricots are soft, as mine were)

- Arrange cots dome up, or inside up, on drying rack

 - Follow dehydrator instructions for temp and time 
(I did 135 deg for about 10+ hours) 

 - Store dried cots in cool dry place and you just added a couple weeks to their shelf-life!

Perhaps my FAVORITE thing about this time of the year is fresh Blackberries!!!  July 4th weekend was spent in the wild bushes hoping to get enough for a cobbler and some jam! (and yes, I pick one eat 3!)  With the help of good friends and a husband who likes blackberry cobbler almost as much as I do, we came home with a gallon!  -  Not only did I get a bag full of berries, but I also collected a few chiggers and a poison ivy rash that turned out to be the worst I have ever had.  But I still consider it a wonderful time and worth it!

However, my kitchen wasn't as prepared to make cobbler as I was.  Out of Sugar!  So I have picked up a 10# bag of sugar, but I haven't had time to make a cobbler or Jam yet!

Despite not making apricot preserves or blackberry jam, my canner has already been dusted off this year!  In a nearby town there is a produce stand that says "elbow drippin peaches."  This is the first year I have been able to catch someone there when I go by.  (my mom has bragged on these peaches for the last two years)  I wasn't optimistic about my upcoming available free time, so I only got a small basket, but I did get to enjoy an 'elbow drippin snack' and canned 3 quarts of peaches for some future cobblers!

I love getting to take advantage of all creation that God has given us!  Whether that be soaking up the sun, smelling the rain, or enjoying a plump juicy blackberry!

                          The earth has yielded it's produce; God, our God, blesses us.   Psalm 67:6

What are some of your favorite summer harvests!?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Perfect Timing (A Photo Blog) Costa Rica 2015

 Costa Rica Mission Team 2015

This is a month late, but despite having 4 weeks to put this week into words, it cannot be done!

But I have to try...

I cannot tell you about May 23-31 without telling you what led up to this being possible...

April 2014 - While on the World Race (Month 4 in Costa Rica), I felt led to fast and pray about the upcoming "months and countries."  Brett did the fast with me back in the States.  We began Easter 2014.

On Easter the missionaries in Costa Rica invited the team (WR team) to a big Easter dinner with a group of several missionaries serving in Costa Rica.  When it came time to leave, a lady (Holly) at the dinner offered to drive us down the hill to the bus stop.  During the drive down I overheard Holly telling one of my team mates about her ministry and all they did.

The three days following Easter we fasted and prayed; much to our surprise we felt complete peace about me traveling home instead of continuing on the race.  Also in that time Brett and I both felt like God was calling us to open some doors for the people in our community who felt led to step into missions and what God was doing around the world.

Fall 2014 - Brett and I began to pray specifically for our first trip to lead a group on.  We had two places on our hearts and already and been in contact with ministries who could use our help; both were orphanages, one in Africa, one in Asia.  Yet while praying, Brett was brought to remembrance of his trip to Costa Rica several years ago, and I recalled overhearing of a ministry in need of help!

I contacted my teammate who had spoke with Holly that day.  She was in Asia still and I knew it would possibly be weeks before she was able to get back to me and I wasn't even sure she had contact info for Holly. But, she got right back to me and I was able to get in touch with Holly in less than a week!

October 2014 - We Arise Missions scheduled it's first trip to Costa Rica for Spring Break week 2015 to serve with Mission of Hope!

November 2014 - Dates of the trip were changed due to school schedules of some of the team members.  The mission was now set for May 23-31st!

December 2014 - Team members began fundraising, many for their first ever mission trip!!!

January to May 2015 -  To attempt to explain all the ways God worked in these 5 months would be absolutely impossible!  Please if you know anyone who was a part of this group, take time to ask them about the ways God worked not only on the trip but in the months leading up to boarding the first plane!

May 2015 - Just weeks before the trip, Mission of Hope received funding to start a feeding program 5 days a week in a local impoverished community.  The local church had a kitchen, however it was not suitable for serving hundreds of kids.  A new one would need to be built and they did not have enough man power or money to build it...However, A team of 14 was coming with a project budget!!!  Our week schedule was changed to make our main project building a kitchen in a community built out of pallets and scraps.

May 23 - Due to a parking mishap, our team of 14 walked into the Dallas/Fort Worth airport with 8 minutes to get everyone of us checked in, bags checked, through security and on the plane...and it happened!!!
Can we all agree God was in control!

May 24 begins an incredible week, I'll let pictures do the most talking...

This is the church in the community where Mission of Hope would start holding a feeding program 5 days a week...

This is the church's kitchen

This was their stove

And these are some of the kids from the community...

To say we fell in love with them is an understatement!!!

Our team had an amazing time building a new kitchen for the church; a kitchen that would be able to support feeding all these kids all week long!

As well as construction, we all spent time playing with the kids and loving on them! We painted their faces, jump roped, played soccer, and attempted some balloon animals (worms and snakes are EASY!)
Bubbles were also a favorite.  This kid was to...this is Jeremy, his dad helped out with the construction of the kitchen.  Jeremy definitely has a place in everyone of our hearts!!!

Before we could start building, there was some demolition to be done!  The church is made of mostly pallets and tin scraps, so we tore out the back "wall" and cleaned up all the rocks, scraps, and garbage piled around the church!

Some rocks took some extra muscle!

When the guys have all the tools and you have to build a bridge to get into the door of the church...
We call it "God's hammer"  - One less rock they had to carry off!!!

The back half of the church also got a new roof! - The locals all thought Brett was too "grande" to be up there!

It is starting to look like a real building!

The 2015 Costa Rica Mission Team was blessed enough to raise enough funds to also purchase a real sink and a cook stove to be installed in the kitchen!

Constuido con amor por We Arise Missions!
Constructed with love by We Arise Missions!

While in Costa Rica we were given the opportunity to spend some time with a kindergarten class at a local catholic school!  Brett got to tell the kids about the three Hebrew children while the rest of the team acted it out!  Afterwards we played some games, painted some faces, sang some songs, and helped them each make a salvation bracelet and share with them the story of Jesus!

We also had the privilege to join Mission of Hope in their ministry feeding the 
homeless in one of the local parks!

We fed their bellies with pancakes and their hearts with the love of Jesus!

Our last day in Costa Rica we returned to the park with the youth group 
of a local church and helped put on an outreach.

I finally stepped up my game and created a flower!

By the end of the day I was a professional at making flowers, dogs, swords,
and even mastered 2 "mariposas" (Butterflies)

During our activity in the park...

12 people got saved for the first time, four of them are going to the church now!
15 people rededicated their lives
We prayed for 40 people for different necessities
10 people, mostly homeless, got their hair cut
4500 tracks give away
50 new testaments
50 cross necklaces
196 lunches and 53 breakfasts    

May 31st - The group landed in FL with just under a 2 hour layover before boarding time, Customs however, took 2 hours and 10 minutes.  You cant get 14 people on the "next plane!"  In an attempt to get at least some of the group on the plane everyone raced to the gate hoping to catch it at the last minute.  But due to being short staffed the plane was delayed and after a meal and a nap, all 14 of us got on the same plane back to Dallas!

God has perfect timing
Never early, Never Late

It was overwhelming enough to experience it, and remember it all in one week, but to look back at all the ways God's timing was absolutely perfect leaves me speechless and in awe all over again!

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