Wednesday, January 13, 2010

heading back

Tomorrow we get to head back to that country we love. It is so hard to be there in many ways but it is far deeper, greater joy than it is difficulty for us. What a privilege for us to get to live there.

If you think to pray for an empty seat for us on the plane, we would love that. As it is, the five of us have 3 seats and and the little two (Marian is weighing in around 35 pounds now and John, at 7 months, is about 23!) will be lap infants.

But of course, quazillionly more important is to pray that we would be filled with God's grace and strength in all that we do as we head back to this land that we love.

Thanks friends. Much love to you! We'll miss you so, but we'll be in touch!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

snowy photos


A few more recent favorites- some snowy and some warm and cozy. Thank you Heather for sharing your great talent and your lovely camera and photos with us!

Wyoming winter...

(three cheers for four goofy hats!)


I think this shot of John is yours, Barb. Thank you!!

Babies... and a sister for me

We have lots of friends having babies, but this is an especially wonderfully packed season of little ones. In December, three friends had babies, starting with the long-awaited baby girl, Faith. This first week of January our dear friends the Phillips and the Pays have met their 4th child and their firstborn, and my niece gave birth to twins. Later in January comes #3 for Tony and Allison. Welcome little ones. What a joy you all are!

At Christmas we also got to celebrate with Greg and Heather, the little one that God is knitting in her and we are so excited for her birthday coming this April.

In November, baby Emily Grace was born to very dear friends of ours. Her birthday should have been next spring and she has been a fighter since her first breath- day one when she weighed in just over 1 pound I think. What an inspiration she is.... what a compelling, precious, beautiful life to move us to prayer, to demand our hearts and eyes be lifted up to the Lord and be surrendered. M and B, we love you and love praying with you for your girl, and we are praying for you. Thank you for sharing your journey of faith so vulnerably as you have. You can see their blog here.

And a bit more about “my niece”... This summer I met with my dad (who I met for the first time when I was 22) and we did a DNA test to be sure he is my biological father. Turns out just as we suspected- it’s true. I’m glad to have that squared away and I hope it will mean for a deeper relationship with my dad. He really is an interesting guy, and for as strange as our story is, I am really glad he's my dad. So, when our connection was confirmed, my dad put me in touch with another daughter of his... a (half) sister for me.

We have tried everything we can think of to be able to meet each other around Christmas this year. But the last day we could meet, she was needed in Salt Lake City, to be with her daughter, my niece, who was giving birth to these sweet baby twins.




To my dear sister and your whole beautiful family, Congratulations for these little sweethearts! I hope that our next time in the states we’ll be able to visit and I look forward to being in touch with you till then to see these babies and your whole family grow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Prayer for the New Year

During this time in the states, I have become very aware of some of the great areas of my life so needy of the Lord's transforming grace, continued kind conviction, and patient work of sanctification.

I am convicted to be more self-controlled (largely in communicating with my husband and communicating instruction and discipline for our kids). Don't get so heated, Jill! And don't allow myself to be so darn impatient.

I desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman who is lighthearted in life- laughing at the days to come- and not stressing and obsessing over details that hardly matter and are nothing compared to eternity. Christlike character, I am convinced, is deeply JOYFUL.

I want to grow in virtue, to press hard after Christ, to seek first his kingdom, to consider everything else a loss.... I don't want to be bound to a life that is "ordinary," sinfully weak and unchallenged, unrefined, empty. I want Christ- more of him and less of me. Give me grace to move beyond what binds and defines my natural self, oh True Supernatural God.

I need to pray and I need to speak bold challenges to myself because apart from the great grace of God I would not even be maintaining the status quo... I would for sure be deteriorating fast. Oh Great God, come. Work graciously in me for your glory, and for my joy and the joy of those that I can serve. Give us great, abiding, and deep joy in you, Lord!

And Lord, if you would have us suffer, may we remember that our temporary trials and sufferings here are nothing when compared to what you will reveal. May we, may I, remember that it is a high honor to be refined through sufferings to be made more into of the image of Christ.

In a similar spirit of desire, here is Trevin Wax's good prayer for the new year:


Lord God Almighty,
I understand that I am unable to do anything without your help,
so I ask you to enable me by your grace to fulfill your will.
Give me grace to do whatever brings most glory and honor to you,
pleasure and profit to me,
and life and love to others.
Help me to number my days,
spending my time wisely,
living my life with all my might while I still have breath.
Humble me in the knowledge that I am chief of sinners;
when I hear of the sins of others,
help me to not look upon them with pride,
but to look upon myself with shame,
confessing my own sins to you.
When I go through difficulties and trials,
remind me of the pains of hell
from which you have already delivered me.
Place people in my path who need my help,
and give me a compassionate and generous spirit.
Fill my heart with such love
that I would never do anything out of a spirit of revenge,
nor lose my temper with those around me.
Hold my tongue when I am tempted to speak evil of others.
Thank you for the gospel and for the hope of glory.
Help me to live in light of these truths every day of my life,
so that when the time of my death arrives,
I will rest assuredly in you,
and you will be most glorified in me.
In Christ’s name…
- Trevin Wax (adapted from the first 21 of Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions) www.trevinwax.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

reflecting on the best

In reflecting on the best things I enjoyed and learned and was challenged by in 2009, I have to share one favorite: the biography of Charles Simeon, given by John Piper. You can download it and listen for free at www.desiringgod.org .

I blogged a few thoughts (6/29/09) about this great talk already and how it's impacted me, but I think I could probably share much more impact that this talk has had on me, if I had time...

I love the end of this talk where we hear Piper's exhortation to follow in the steps of Simeon as he raised high his sails to adore Christ and serve his church by deepening his own humility before Christ, never forgetting his own sinful brokenness and need for his Savior.

I hope so much that you can listen and I would love to hear what you think! May you be deeply enriched with more joy of affection and adoration for Christ as you hear this story.

Norwex

I'm surprising myself to post about this.... but, I really like these products!

The company is Norwex and the few items I've used from them are antibacterial cleaning cloths that clean well with only water. Norwex microfiber is interwoven with silver particles to cleanse bacterial, fungal, and viral contaminants. Being able to skip out on using chemicals in our home and polluting the environment with them is a pretty attractive deal... Plus these washing cloths do a great job (mirrors are sparkling) and using them saves me lots of time cleaning.

Now, Norwex is a multi-level marketing company, which I usually avoid at all costs. But what I have respected about them is that the brochure and info I've received from them really does seem focused on the product and not about "this great opportunity for you to sell to your friends and make millions from your home." Come on. A good product is one thing... a get rich quick scam is another.

So, here's how my mother in law cleans almost every single surface in her home: warm water and the cleaning cloth, with the polishing (window) cloth to dry. I'm also really excited to try the body cloths so I can skip out on using facial cleanser. (Again, the women who have recommended it to me are all radiant!) And the dish cloth comes highly recommended as well. The laundry detergent seems to work great and I love the idea of not soaking our clothes in pollutant chemicals to "clean" them.

The Norwex catalog or web site has lots more products I don't know about. These products are not cheap... but I do think they should be paying themselves off soon with less purchases of various chemicals from Wal-mart. I'm so grateful for Norwex Christmas gifts that I'll be cleaning our home with for years to come (they're supposed to last that long.)


You girlfriends of mine, who are busy, green-minded dear homemakers, I really think you'll enjoy these things and I hope you can give it a try!



UPDATE (Aug, 2010) : My sister-in-law who is an all around fun, smart, organized woman has thoroughly researched Norwex and decided at long last (and as a total surprise even to herself) to start selling Norwex. She gets migraines easily from chemical cleansers and she has high standards for cleanliness so finding these products has been such a great help for her in her home. She has set up a nice blog for her norwex business. Please feel free to connect with her for questions, to learn more, or to send in your order!

http://enviroheather.blogspot.com/ 


(Or if you're ready to order, you may also go straight to this site:  http://heatherkasowski.norwex.biz/)

The first person who helped me with Norwex is a great lady named Jennifer who has years of experience with Norwex. You can connect with her via email at jfnorwex(at)ictc.com .