Monday, August 28, 2006

CDA or bust...

We just spent four days on Lake Coeur d' Alene at the Schram family float house. We encountered a lot of "firsts" with Gracie and Peter. Peter's first dip in a pool and lake plus his first ride in a swing, Gracie's first boat ride, first dip in the lake and her first time shooting a water gun at daddy.
We got to visit all the grandmas.... Carey, Nanny, Trilby and Rose and "silly Grampa" a.k.a. Mark. It never matters how long our stay is in North Idaho, it always ends up being a whirlwind tour.
It's an absolutely beautiful spot, and the lake is definitely a relaxing place, but it still seems like we barely got there before having to leave again. The kids did great on both 7 hour trips to and from Coeur d' Alene and they got along great with cousins Hailey and Madison, and doggy "Sassy".
My only "goal" was to take at least one nap while we were there, and on the last day, I actually accomplished that one! I think it was for almost 2 hours, so that's like a world record with 2 kids running/rolling around.
Dave got to golf a course on the NIC campus, and I think we ate chocolate chip cookies every night, so overall I'd rate this vacation an A.
We've been home a few days and are now gearing up for Cornerstone Family Camp this weekend. We'll be leaving Friday and will return on Monday. Family Camp has never failed to deliver long lasting memories and huge spiritual breakthroughs, so I'm ready for a weekend-long soak!!
Usually, around this part of a blog entry, I find some poignant thought or "deeper" idea, so that you know that I'm "on the level" - but this week, I'm just thinking "bring it on God"! I'm ready for whatever God has in store for us. I know when we found out I was pregnant again, our "missionary" plans came to a stand-still, for the time being, but I know that God wasn't just speaking to us for a season, and now being silent. I know that there are specific reasons why we are here, in Nampa, at Cornerstone, and in our neighborhood - so maybe those reasons will be revealed to us this weekend. Seek , knock, ask - right?
Bring it on, God! - Where are you leading us?


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Great Grandpa - Evert Roberts 1913-2006

Wow - I’m not sure where to start. I know for certain that my great grandfather, lived a full and joyful life. I know that he is finally with Jesus, and loving every minute of it! I keep remembering what my husband and I referred to as “grandpa’s arkansas laugh” - the one where he’d be nearly in tears, totally uninhibited and laughing with eyes closed tight, and mouth, wide open (I’m sure he even slapped his knee when he laughed like this). I’m sure that when Grandpa’s earthly vessel was no longer able to breathe, that his spirit went to meet Jesus in the heavens, and when he met up with that “great cloud of witnesses”, he broke down into his “arkansas laugh”. To come face to face with his maker and be enveloped in an embrace of love like he’s never known, and that he had longed for his entire life. I miss him, definitely - but I know that he is in the exact place he preached about for years.

I have some favorite memories I’d love to share with you - things that make me smile, and maybe shed a tear or two.

My grandfather was an extremely proud man, this was sometimes referred to as “stubborn”, but in most instances it was a joy. I am grandpa’s first Great granddaughter, and he was so proud of his family. Whenever we’d go to lunch, or dinner or come across anyone that didn’t know us, he’d make sure to introduce us, and emphasize that I was his GREAT grandaughter. I also have had the pleasure of giving him his first and only great great grandchildren, and he was endlessly proud to introduce Grace and Peter. (Not many people have great greats). * The picture above is of Grandpa and Grandma holding Grace, she is about 1 day old and we were on our way home from the hospital. We stopped by to introduce her to her great grandparents. Grandpa cried and laughed and cried some more.

He used to always say that we should eat dessert first, so there’d be room for it. And I think it actually hurt his feelings if we were “too full” for a dish of ice cream after lunch. He took so much pleasure in “treating” his family to dinner, and would always say “now, you kids, get whatever you want!”.

Grandpa was always so interested in what was going on in the kingdom of God. And I remember after our church camp a couple years ago, Grandpa wanted to hear all about it. David and I told him the story of the Holy Spirit falling so heavily on us at camp, that we had laughed and rolled on the floor for hours on end. I wasn’t sure how Grandpa would respond to this story - but he just sat there weeping. When he was finally able to speak, he told us how wonderful it was that God was moving like that. Then he told us the story of the Spirit falling on him when he was 14 years old at a revival tent meeting and how he felt the call of God so strongly on his life from that moment.

I loved my grandpa so much! and I loved watching him love other people, he was a kind, wise and compassionate man. I’m so proud of my spiritual inheritance in the Kingdom of God. The memories I have , of the countless lunches at Applebee’s or Elmer’s and the joy of each of those visits are memories not to be forgotten.

The last time I saw Grandpa at the nursing home, he was pretty sad - and a lot frustrated. We asked if we could pray with him, and he just began to cry. We prayed with him, and he prayed and blessed us - I’m so thankful for those precious moments spent with him. I know he appreciated our visits, and always asked us to come back again.

Thank you Lord, for Grandpa’s life and legacy! Here’s a song that I keep thinking of when I think of Grandpa. If you’re family with the “old days” of MGT, there used to be a prayer time before the Sunday evening services, and usually it was just about silent... but Grandpa would begin to sing (if you know him, you know he didn’t have a beautiful voice), but he would begin to sing , “Glory, Glory! Hallelujah - Hallelujah! Glory, Glory!”
Thanks grandpa!

I had an appointment with my Dr. today. She isn’t completely sure how far along I am. Somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks. I must admit, both numbers seem like I’m pretty far along - especially since we haven’t known for that long. So, I have to go back on Monday for an ultrasound with a specialist, so she can determine my due date.
We got to see the little baby “bump” - and see the chambers of the heart beating and everything, so that was really exciting. Knowing that all this “gagging” and sleeping has been for an actual reason is comforting somehow.
David and I have been talking about the crazy shift our lives have taken in the last 2 weeks. And at times have even questioned whether we were on the right track or even really hearing God for the last few months. On Monday during small group, David shared that with the group, and we had the most wonderful encouraging words and confirmations about where we are and what we had been planning. Brian Portteus reminded us that even though we didn’t follow-through with selling our home and David quitting his job, that our willingness to give all those things up was counted as a sacrifice - and that we had blessed God by putting it all on the line for Him. (Brian, you have no idea how much your words blessed us!) - I was reminded of Abraham and Isaac (because David’s lil sis Kristina reminded me) - Abraham, had to walk all the way up to the alter with his son, but if he hadn’t taken a knife with him, it wouldn’t have been the sacrifice God had asked for. Even though, God provided another sacrifice, Abraham had the faith to walk up there with his own son - and that’s the sacrifice God asked for - even though it’s not the life He ended up taking.
So, as we enter another journey of pregnancy (did I mention that our Dr. thought it was really humorous that she was seeing us so soon after Peter??) - I just want to thank God for his favor on our lives. For blessing us with so much joy and such calm and content children. For filling our home with laughter and with love. And for giving us the desires of our hearts, even when we don’t expect it. He is good, and His love endures forever!!


Curious & Curiouser

The last few months have been so interesting. I’m not sure where to start. I’ll try to make this brief, but informative. Before we started our small group up again (after a 5 month break), we felt like we were supposed to change the format of that group. We were being called to pray. During our first prayer meeting, David shared a vision he’d had of God dancing with him. And how, it was important to hear God’s voice, but maybe more important to be intimate enough with Him that we could follow his lead - and move forward in the steps that He was guiding. An hour or so later, David was driving to the store and saw a new neighbor moving furniture in his home alone - David jumped out of the car and helped him with the furniture, and the others that were still in the truck. It ended up that this new neighbor had just moved to Idaho with a group called Missionary Aviation Fellowship (you may have heard of them, or seen End of the Spear, a movie about their founders). Anyway, when our neighbor said that he just spent a few years in Venezuela flying for MAF, and had just moved to Nampa, with the group’s headquarters, it made David start to think about Brazil again. We began to research some things online, and look into the organization that David was with in Brazil back in 1999 - PAZ (Project AmaZon). After a lot of reading, and day-dreaming, we saw that they were in desperate need of volunteers. Not a lot of thought was given to it, we both went about our regular days, but I was having trouble sleeping at night, and all I could think of was Brazil, and what it would take to go there. After about a week of this, I shared with David how I couldn’t get it out of my mind, and really felt like it was something we should pursue. David was so relieved to hear it, he had been feeling the same way, and was wondering how he was going to convince me. He felt like it was a desire that had always been alive since 1999, and that maybe the reason why it hadn’t happened yet, was because we hadn’t tried. I sent an impromptu email to PAZ , and received a quick response about how desperately they needed help and how blessed they were to be hearing from us. Needless to say, in a matter of days, our worlds were turned completely upside-down. It’s amazing how a change of future plans like that, can effect every single area of your life. How could we afford this? What would our kids do? When could we be ready to go? We just started moving one step at a time... let’s fill out the paperwork. Let’s give our reference forms to our pastor. Let’s tell about 5 people. Let’s wait. Let’s wait.... let’s wait some more. (The email process between here and there takes a lot of patience). In the meantime, we’ve been having waves of excitement and waves of wanting to puke. Thinking about quitting David’s job, selling our home, moving to another country, staying there for 6 months, deciding whether it is what we’d like to do long term. So, many questions, and really none of them being answered. We felt like we were being called to go, and at the same time not knowing when or how. We knew we weren’t supposed to be telling everyone we knew, until we had definite dates from PAZ, and were putting our house up for sale, etc. In the meantime - more waiting. The references forms were given to the appropriate people, and still more waiting. They won’t approve an application until they’ve reviewed all the documents. While waiting, and going back and forth in waves of anticipation and utter, sweat-drenching fear - knowing the whole time that God is completely in control of all of this.
For the last 3 weeks, I’ve been praying “God, give us something really obvious, an obvious sign, something really unmistakable so that we’ll know that what we’re planning in 6 months is what you’re planning for us.”
Then on Tuesday, He answered us as simply, and as obviously as He could. I took a pregnancy test. And the whole time, while I was waiting, I was praying “God, Your will, not mine, Your timing, not mine...”. As I read the test, I nearly fell over, “this can’t be right... I must be reading this wrong” - “maybe I should read the directions again”. “oh, ok, um, ... David???!!! can you come here for a minute??”. Yeah, I’m pregnant again. I go to the doctor in a week or so, and she can tell confirm all this, and give us dates and such (but I did take 2 tests and they both say “yep”).
Certainly, not the timing I was thinking of, but such an obvious answer to our prayers. “Not right now, you guys!” At the same time, I feel like God is standing here with a grin on His face... “you kids... I love you so much!”.
So, in the end, I don’t even feel like he squashed our dreams and desires to be missionaries in Brazil, He just loves us enough to give us more time than we thought we had, and another baby to add some more joy to our home.
So, we are in a bit of “stall” mode right now, our focus on our immediate future has changed to things like “how can we fit 3 car seats in our 5 seat car?” “Do they make 3-seater, strollers?”

God is good, and His love endures forever!

A Time For Everything

Our trip to Red Mesa, AZ and back had a bit of everything. Check out our photo pages for a glimpse of what we experienced. On the “journal” side, it was really intriguing to learn about the Navajo culture, and about a lot of history they don’t teach you in school.
One of the many highlights of this trip was our excursion to Mesa Verde National Park, right outside of Cortez, CO. Here you can find the ruins of the Anasazis. There is a lot of speculation as to what happened to these people, or why they moved from their cliff dwellings - but the best explanation I heard was, “it was time for them to move”.
I had packed a book called “Is that really You God?” - by Loren Cunningham (the story of what led Loren to begin YWAM back in the 60’s) - I can’t read in the car, because I get pretty sick, and we never had any time for reading, while we were down there, but this morning, on the last leg of our trip, I really felt like I was supposed to try to read it in the car. I read about half the book between the Idaho border and Twin Falls, and didn’t get sick, but was definitely inspired to be continuously seeking the voice of God, knowing that he wants to speak to us.
What I’m trying to get at is this: just like the Anasazi way of life, came and went, we, as Christians have to be ready to move in whatever direction God is leading. And if that means an end to our stable “cliff dwellings”, then so-be-it.



About 6 years ago, I received a word from a pastor, saying that I would be known as a “Daughter of Thunder”. I’ve tried to figure this out for quite a few years. What does that mean exactly? Usually, I have been mostly discouraged when I think of this and how I don’t see myself that way, so why would God? and If I’m supposed to be thunderous, when will I be given that opportunity?
A day or two ago, I was sitting outside, full-on daydreaming, and it came to me, what this was all about, and how I didn’t need to wait for an opportunity, that this was a picture of who I’m supposed to be all the time.
Dutch Sheets, in his book “Intercessory Prayer”, talks about how we’re supposed to represent Jesus here on earth. He says represent means to “present again” , “to exhibit the image and counterpart of; to speak and act with authority of the part of; to be a substitute or agent for”.
So, I can’t actually be Christ, but I can represent Him, and if He is all light, then I can be thunder. There is no thunder without lightning, and if you’ve heard the terrifying sound of thunder, you know the lightning that created it was an awesome sight. I always thought that this word to me, meant that I would be given an opportunity to be really loud, but now I think that I am given an opportunity every day to represent the awesomeness that is Jesus.
Cool huh?!


Shoe Tree

I’m not sure why this tree always freaks me out. I mean, it’s not like the tree stole all these shoes by itself - but it really makes me think, “who took the time to throw all those pairs of shoes up in a tree in the middle of the desert?”. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the things that people do that, in the long run, really don’t matter at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that with some sort of angst or anything, I just think pressing on into things that actually matter eternally, may be the ticket. I was reading James (you know Martin Luther called it the gospel of straw... what??) - and James 4:13-15 NKJV says this:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
So, unlike this tree that doesn’t really “mean” anything, I want my life to be spent doing something that, not only means something, but more importantly means something to God.