Friday, October 26, 2012

Profiles: Mrs. P and Her Beautiful Feet

Mrs. P's beautiful feet, bringing the best news of all...

"How will they hear, Alina?"

"How will they hear if I do not go and tell them myself?"

"I have to share!"

Mrs. P and I share this one-sided conversation in the kitchen of my home.  It is one-sided because I am in awe and have no need to add to her words.

I am in awe at how my dear friend, a new believer of only about 6 months, has the Truth and the love of God burning within her at a degree that makes even me uncomfortable, but still excited all at the same time.  I am in full agreement, and also in full conviction.  She is quoting Romans 10:14 almost unintentionally:

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"

I listen, and all I can think of is how beautiful her feet are.  Sure, they have the same tell-tale flip flop tan line that most Thais have.  They are darkened by the sun, bear a scar here and there and they are, generally, seemingly-ordinary feet.

But, they are beautiful feet.  I know.  And, it comes on good authority:

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
Romans 10:15

I tell her that she has beautiful feet.  She laughs and brushes me off!


"My feet are nothing special, and definitely not beautiful!"

But, God's word is true

Today, she shared about how the love of God is so full within her that it propels her to do everything.  People around her question her and, sometimes, make fun of and malign her life that has changed for good...but she still proclaims the love of God over the love of a "free" life without Him.  She told me today of how she shares because how can she not?  How can she not let others know of the same Love she possesses? 

God has called our family here to love Him wildly and to pass it around.  Some days, we feel like we are just spinning our wheels, and that the Gospel is not advancing...but then I remember Mrs. P and her beautiful feet.  I remember about how, years ago, we were sent out with beautiful feet.  We were sent to share with those who had never heard, like Paul spoke about in Romans, and now we are training our new friends to beautify their own feet. 

Will you pray for us, for Mrs. P and for others here to keep walking, and not to stumble from fatigue or bumps in the road?  Thank you!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Confessions of a Running-Hater

My new running shoes laden with magnolia blooms I find on my runs around my neighborhood.  Maybe if I actually stuff them with flowers, they might smell better than sweaty socks?

Alarm beeps...

Snooze button hit...

Alarm beeps again, this time, in a more annoying tone...

Ugh...I roll out of bed...stumble downstairs...

The coffee pot that leaks starts up while I do my morning stretches (aka: the things I do simply not to fall over because I have yet to ingest caffeine)...

After fixing my cup, I meet with Jesus...and hey, to be honest, I check my Facebook feed for the first of many times each day...

Then...I run.

*Cough, sputter*  What?

Yes, the pigs have flown, and the bullet has been bitten...I started running.  I am currently in denial that it is actually happening.  I don't like running!

But...I have a friend, Wendy, who is a self-proclaimed running-hater that is currently training to run a marathon this December.  She brought up running last year during a time of fellowship at the S-clan's house and I was like, "What?  Whatever!  No thank you!..."  So mature, I know.

She claimed that her walk-to-run program made her into a running convert and I was skeptical.  I hate running, after all, but not walking.  Hey, I can walk the neighborhood with my kids like any other mom.  Walk up hill?  Sure!  But, I'll fake that I am not actually huffing and puffing the whole way up. 

After actually starting a push-up regimen that hasn't left me feeling like a complete exercise loser, I started opening up to doing some kind of regular aerobic exercise.  As long as it did not involve me trying to emulate Jillian Michaels in front of my living room TV, I was up for it.  Hey, she's got great abs and everything else, but I think I might have a serious heart attack if I try to move at her speed. 

So, a few weeks ago, I actually started it.  The 8-week program starts off slow, and the end goal is to be able to run for 30 minutes straight with no walking (or falling on the ground in sheer exhaustion) breaks.  So far, I am in week two and I feel like I am going to die every day...but it is getting better. 

For more seasoned runners, it may seem like a piece of fat-free angel food cake, but for me, I am getting my rear-end kicked around the block.  This is all proving one thing that I have been seriously dreading owning up to: being in shape doesn't just "happen" actually have to do something about it.  I may seem like I can do my day-to-day tasks with no problem physically, but in twenty years, will I be able to keep up this same endurance? 

And, most importantly, if I ever do actually get to be on the Amazing Race (a fake dream I only have between me, myself and I, and - will I be that girl who is huffing and puffing on the side of the road while her husband tells her "This is for a million dollars, baby!  Why are you resting NOW?" 

Yes, these are the thoughts that run through my head.

I may never be a marathon-runner or an Amazing Race contestant (I'll skip the drama, thank you!), but I want to run around with my grand kids and also having a fighting chance at raising this metabolic-rate that is slowing with. every. stinkin'. year.  I am not 15 anymore.  When did I miss that memo?

Want to join the program with me? (Click here to read more)  Want to cheer me on?  Or, want to tell me how I am going to ruin my knees and you're gonna send me Bengay in the mail and a note telling me I am a crazy loon?  Leave a comment below:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Building Men


Every moment of every day is a chance for me to build my little boys into little men.  I don't aspire for them to be passable...just fine...ordinary...self-aware (but selfish)...positively affirmed but not internally confident...male adults but 

I aspire for them to be bridge-builders...mountain climbers...inventors of new technology...bold...confident...reaching for goals and not-being-content-with-just-O.K. kind of men.  They can be this kind of man whether they are mopping a floor, leading a field expedition through uncharted jungle territory or being just an extraordinary, present father to their someday-kids.

Right now, I am on a journey of trying to raise two little men the way I feel like God is leading me to.  One of mine doesn't have a considerate bone in his natural body...but we're working on it.  We've started talking about what it means to be a gentleman.  He can stand by while another child is bawling his or her eyes out and he is completely unaware.  It takes us alerting him to the situation and leading him to hug, talk to, pray for and encourage his hurt friends or siblings.  He would rather climb a tree than worry about how he's going to get hurt if he falls.  He is loud, confident (ahem...very confident) and thinks David the Goliath killer is his long-lost brother.

The other little man is more soft-spoken, loves playing his kitchen set and always looks before he leaps.  He listens well but is constantly telling me that he can't do things because he is too small to succeed.  On some days, that looks like humility and other days it looks like insecurity.  They aren't exactly on opposite ends of the extreme-spectrum, but they're close to it.  God is stretching them each in ways that the other is lacking in or needing encouragement in.  I love how He built that kind of "opportunity for refinement" right into our family by pairing these two together.  But, hey, I don't love it so much when they clash or disagree to the point of declaring that "I'll never play with you again if you don't do what I want to do!"  I could do without that drama.

Along with their interactions with each other every day, Treavor and I have a great opportunity to encourage them in the areas they are strong in, while bring up the weaker points of their character or bad habits in order to pour into their future selves as men.

Like a building's physical foundation, we are inspecting the "foundations" of their actions and heart attitudes now so that we can prevent cracks and distortions in them later.  If you have ever had a bad or faulty foundation in your house, you can feel the regret of "why didn't I or someone else get this inspected more carefully before the house was built?"  Praise God for His help with faulty foundations...he is a great Adjuster!  I have had to have complete adjustments made in my own life's foundational thoughts and habits.  Actually, I need an adjustment just about every day!

Obviously, people are not house foundations.  There is no perfect method for how to make sure that major problems won't pop up later...or that the earth won't just quake from underneath them.  But, God's word says this about a man who sets himself up on solid ground:

"As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”  Luke 6:47-49

I am not the perfect builder of men, but I know a Man who is!  If my boys will let Jesus and His Word be their life's foundation, then I know that they won't fall!  That makes me motivated to pray like nothing else.

Do you have any suggestions on how to build my little men?  In your own life, where have you seen cracks in the foundation that could have been attended to before?  I would love to hear your thoughts!  Feel free to comment below: 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oh, How I Love Traffic

Photo credit:

If anyone has noticed my absence, I haven't died, or am lying in bed with a bout of malaria, or, as of now, busy!

You were wondering about that, right?

I haven't blogged in a week because we went out of town.  And, wow, what a trip!  There was a conference that our friends were going to in Bangkok, so we tagged along!

We started Monday with a 8 1/2 hour trip that turned into a 12 1/2 hour trip.  You know how that goes.

At the end of the day, we were doing just fine; cruising, and rejoicing as we entered the wild concrete jungle of the big city.  The kids weren't going insane yet, I was feeling better from my sickness that hit the day before, and our car hadn't blown up yet.  Things were going well.

We passed over a massive suspension bridge, and I remember saying that I suddenly felt so so small. We are country bumpkins now, I'm afraid, and things like passing over gigantic bridges in the middle of a gigantic river in a gigantic city (11+ million people!) can make you feel like a that.  (As a side note...we were in the mall yesterday, walking through an ultra-chic home department store, and the kids and I confirmed ourselves to be quirky, small-town people as we laid down on an uber-comfy floor rug. The kids ooh-ed and aah-ed and we all remarked at how soft the fibers were.  Treavor tried to act like he didn't know us, as he was quite embarrassed.  Moving on...) 

We passed over said suspension bridge and continued to try our best to decipher the three maps of Bangkok's downtown city streets - while noting highway signs and praying that we wouldn't miss a turn.  We had heard that if you miss a turn of the expressway, which we were barreling down at this point, that you would quickly regret it as u-turning is quite impossible and quite laborious. 

Well, what did we do, you ask?

We missed our turn, of course.

20-minutes later, we managed to turn ourselves back around to retrace our steps back to the fork we missed.  There was no fork.  There was no turn option.  We were livid.  And tired. was raining.  And, it was dark!  Recipe = disaster.

We tried the non-expressway option and tried to work our way to our hotel on the congested city streets, trying to manage not to lose our minds.  We normally reside in a two-stoplight town, people - this was a challenge!

Two hours later, we gave up.  We went to McDonald's (cue "Hallelujah music").  We got some directions.  And, we finally managed to make it to our destination.  Praise. God.

The conference was great!  Thursday, we successfully made it back out of the city, and are now on....


I don't know if I will blog any more until we get home...I will be working on my tan, working on regaining my sanity from "life" and trying not to work very hard at anything else!

Got any fun travelling stories?  Do tell...Comment below.

{{{ This is a repost from a while ago.  We drove into Bangkok today for a different trip than I metioned above...but as soon as we entered the city and started looking bewildered again at the map of the "big city" of Bangkok, I remembered this post.  The sentiment hasn't changed.  I still get confused and feel like a three-year old when traipsing around this city.  Lord, please help us not get lost again this week! }}}
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