Friday, August 8, 2014


So I've been fussy lately.  Had a few down days where motherhood beat me.  I've been tired in the heat and climbing all these stairs all day long. And it's been a great summer but I've complained  about dumb stuff in the midst of all my lavish comforts, joys, blessings....

And thousands are being killed in Palestine and Israel and Iraqi Christians and minorities are being hunted down and slaughtered in their streets.  Children beheaded in public squares.  Homes in Iraq being marked with the "N" letter (in Arabic) to show where Nazarenes, Christians, live so if they return to their homes they can be executed too.  Father, forgive my loathsome self-centeredness!

I want to stand with my brothers and sisters in Iraq.  And remember too, the victims in both Palestine and Israel.  The humbling conviction and wisdom needed for all these leaders.

And India...  where the most gruesome, horrifically violent rapes imaginable are happen repeatedly.  Two girls hung from a tree when a group of three brothers is done with them.  And the girl who was gang raped on a moving bus a few months ago?  The one who had an iron rod jabbed up her, wrecking all her organs?  She died after 13 days of expert hospital care.  And... oh well?

No way.  

Move us to action, Lord!  Move your people to prayer and fasting for those we've never met.  And move, Lord, in your peer and mercy, rescue these sufferers!  Move your people to giving and going.  To sacrificing and serving and humbly loving.  Move us beyond ourselves Lord.  Bring your kingdom!

(Broken and grateful for stirring leads in the sidebar and this post from Ann V.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Books.... so many good words!

Happily, we got some great reads that took no space in our travels and move this past spring.  I "bought" Teddy's Button for free on kindle and then followed it up with several more books that "readers who liked this one, also read..." We found some absolute gems!!  What a great rabbit trail to chase!

Here's the books we've been enjoying lately as read alouds together... 

Teddy's Button.  A super sweet book, probably especially for boys. 

A Golden Thread.  A helpful and capturing allegory to help kiddos connect obeying and blessing.  John remembered this story weeks after we read it and wanted to "keep holding onto the string that the Father gave to Eric."

A Basket of Flowers.  Needful.  Such a good showing of God's sovereignty in our lives even through suffering... and of His worth to follow Him still, even when it isn't easy.

A Peep Behind the Scenes.  (O.F. Walton.)  I recognized this author's name since a friend recommended Christie's Old Organ, by the same writer.  We've read both Walton books now, and while Christie's Organ was good, A Peep Behind the Scenes was outstanding.  This book is especially dear to me because I saw so many parallels to my own life, to my mother's life.  Oh such grace to be found by the Good Shepherd "who searches for His own until he finds them."  This one, more than all the others above, is worthy adult reading.  Prepare your soul for the weight of God's grace and glory as you read....   (which for me, means prepare for a lot of snot and tears.)  Even though this book was about a girl and her mother, it is one of Isaiah's top favorites that I've ever read to him.  (He's got a list of favorite books from mom and a list from dad b/c we read fairly different genres.)  

Black Beauty.   It was free and it took a lot of convincing but I think by about half way in, all the kids were hooked well enough to finish well.  It brought up some great conversations about caring for animals... especially since our area has been notorious for generations as a place where animals are not cared for well.  It also linked well to a tiny, fun mini-unit on horses for the end of homeschool in June.  

Most the books above were free or 99 cents on kindle.  Yummy for the budget, eh?!  And even better for the heart and soul and for relationships in our home.  I love reading together!!

Now we're into our third Patricia St. John book....  She might just be my favorite author... at least one of my top five.  I love this woman.  Love her writing- her substance and her stories.  Tanglewood Secret and Treasures in the Snow and now Star of Light....  all Five (thousand) Stars.  I don't imagine I'll find a book by her that doesn't stir my soul with beauty and excellence and love.  What a gift to unfold and enjoy these stories together with our children!

an ipod hand-me-down?.... Anyone?

Just wondering if any of you have an old, iPod sitting in a drawer, collecting dust?


We mentioned it here and can't believe the lavish kindness of dear friends....  Thanks R&J for your sweet sweet gift!  I'm so excited to get to listen and learn....

Thank you, Thank you!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

summer days...

we love you Bart and Pam....what a gift it was to spend these few days with you!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

a little local

Rumor has it that the average resident around here consumes 500 KG of fruit a year...
I don't doubt it a minute.  Watermelons are selling for 1Y (about 17 pennies) per kilo right
now and they couldn't be sweeter.

A normal restaurant will always serve this rice dish and a spicier noodle option.
That's it.  Every restaurant.  Everywhere.
In the wildest stretches of local cuisine, there are about 5 - 6 total possible meals and there are occasionally a few variations in side items.  A few non traditional meals are popping up on some menus but with these two standard dishes, how could anyone ever want or need anything else!?

He wanted his pic with all the animals... dried turtles and rats and lizards and a ram skull and horns
in front of the local pharmacy.  How's that for natural medicine?

Over the weekend we visited this street market with two precious friends of ours that came from the states to visit us.  In order to get any good local food we've had to wait til dark (for Ramadan) so the kiddos were especially hungry by the time we found those plates of rice or noodles.

What an encouragement it was to share our new home land, new neighbors with you....  We are so grateful for our time with you Bart and Pam!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July... so far

Evening reading with Daddio

Argh... this blogging slump!  I don't know if I've had such a slow blogging stretch anytime in the past five years or more!?  It's been busy lately and I'm still just getting in the groove with new things in our new place, new town...  I do smile and dream of getting to share more here again in not too much more time.  I miss sharing and recording our family journey and processing things here...  Hopefully there will be more chance to post soon!
We got a sweet visit with these dear friends...  

Perfect Ten.... (in synchronized downhill hiking.)

These two are so super cute together!  Their goofy humors are so similar and they bring out the silly best in each other.  

This guy went from "I only love baseball" to "dad, could we just kick the soccer ball around instead of playing catch this time?" in just the past few weeks.  Thanks to FIFA, Germany, and inspiring local and Tennessean friends!  
And then there's this bunny....  "Cloudy" has taken over in our hearts and home this week.  Pictures next post, hopefully.  Matt and I count it as the ideal pet experience that we get to watch our friends' bunny for a week while they're gone to impress on our kiddos how very much work pets are!  We really could be pet people.  We are animal lovers.  But it's just the limited space, no yard, 4 kids to clean up after already stuff that gets in the way of us having big pets.   Still,  there is a turtle buying outing that still needs to happen somewhere in our future since we left John's two turtles in our last city.  (But you know, it still might be a while...)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Reading in the Sun...

A super spectacular friend of mine managed to load just three little paragraphs with precision brilliance for this mama season, this fight for joy, this marathon of endurance and contentment, promise-clinging, glory-seeking...

I love you dear friend!  Thank you for this....

Friday, June 27, 2014


I'm really hungry and so needy for this all lived real and happening in me.  Praying for patterns in my own heart and home to grow strong to bless... 
I long for a life, a marriage, a home...  I long to train my children for life, that is not filled with the easiest things, the quickest clicks and only instant gratification, the cheapest thrills, the everyone-can-do-that skills, the bag/bucket/box meal nutrition, the mud-puddle joys.  This little bit here is going to hit the fridge in our house....  a battle cry for endurance and glory and joy!

(Excerpt below from Jon Bloom's post "How to Stop Procrastinating:  What to Do When You Don't Feel Like Doing It," at  (June 25, 2014).
The pattern in everything is this: the greater joys are obtained through struggle and difficulty and pain—things you must force yourself to do when you don’t feel like it—while brief, unsatisfying, and often destructive joys are as inviting as couch cushions.
Why is this?
Why the Struggle and Difficulty and Pain?
Because God, in great mercy, is showing us everywhere, in things that are just shadows of heavenly realities,that there is great reward for those who struggle through and persevere (Hebrews 10:32–35).
He is reminding us almost everywhere to walk by faith in a promised future and not by the sight of immediate gratification (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Understood this way, each thing we don’t feel like doing, great or small, becomes an invitation from God to follow in the faithful footsteps of his Son, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Those who are spiritually blind only see futility in these struggles.
But for those who have eyes to see, God has woven gospel hope right into the futility of creation (Romans 8:20–21). Each struggle to overcome becomes a pointer saying, “Look ahead, past the struggle itself, past the temptation of the puny, vapor joys to the great, sustained, substantial Joy set before you!”
Endurance, Not Indulgence
So, back to that thing you don’t want to do today.
Don’t let “not feeling like it” reign as lord (Romans 6:12). It’s not your master; you don’t have to obey it.
And even though it’s counseling comfort for you, it’s not your friend either. It’s a whiny, lying joy-stealer. It’s pointing you to feeble joys and away from deep delights.
Instead, through this feeling see your Father pointing you to the reward he has planned for all who endure to the end (Matthew 24:13). Transpose it from reluctance to a reminder that God is calling you not to indulgence butendurance.
Then lay this weight aside and run with faith the race he has set before you. God will meet you with the grace you need (2 Corinthians 9:8).
And the thing is:
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 Corinthians 4:17–18)
Do it for the joy!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

our birthdays

It’s been two weeks since I said goodbye to my four year old boy.  We sure are smitten with this guy.  He has the funniest expressions, and a big tender heart.  Yea, there is also that (loathsome) propensity for fussiness unmatched among any I’ve personally ever witnessed., but we love him endlessly still and we. are. working. on. it!  He started reading lessons and is doing great!  I love seeing his excitement and eagerness to catch up to the big kids… We are so proud of this fantastic son…. our son whom we love, who we pray will be faithful, fruitful in the Lord…  

For his birthday, we had super cool friends visiting and once again, I neglected my camera.  Even missed shots of the bday boy and his cake (actually, brownies).  But he did have a pretty fun party, thanks to Daddio.  Matt planned a fun game of dodge ball and then, once all the kids understood the game- in one of the three languages spoken- then he brought out the water balloons to bring dodge ball to a better level…. It was especially fun because it was a hot day (we haven’t had much super heat here yet- it's been beautiful) and I loved watching all our neighbors behold a water balloon fight for the first time….  shoulda got some pictures of them too!

Here’s  a sweet pose of him and the little sis (who was eagerly guarding her balloon.)

And for my bday too…  We went with some friends to a mountain spot nearby but they closed the road out to the trailhead so we had to hike a long way down the road to begin.  That’s when I hitched us a ride with these guys- who were for some reason, allowed on the road.  The back of the van had two seats and a large space with a fresh and bloody lamb skin (it's so normal... with intestines and lungs too, delicacies here).  If only this shot could be a scratch and sniff, then you'd get the full effect.  

I'm pretty sure 7 kids and 1 dad made it into/ on top of those 2 seats just to stay as close to the front of the van as possible.  

It was beautiful but we were cold (it's not much higher in elevation than the city, but man, it was a lot cooler there!  So nice!!)  It was a bit of an adventure to hike and hitchhike our way back to the cars at the end of the day too!  Finally, Matt paid for a ride on a motorcycle once we thought we should surely be allowed to drive in, since so many other cars were.  And then it started to rain.  And then the girls all jumped in another van- a comfy one this time and, in the end, Matt brought 5 local ladies who needed a ride and all the boys in our crew (6 of them total) (in our 7 seater-van) back to meet us at the front....  a funny little ending to our funny-hike day.