Friday, December 9, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
For the first time in my life, I am going to go on a "short-term" mission trip this winter. This is a new experience for me, since in the past I have always gone as a "long-term" worker. This will be a wonderful trip where each of the team members will be using their varying gifts to serve in Chad, Africa. My husband is very supportive of my going, even though it will mean having Mommy away from home for over a week. I better get busy making some freezer meals for the family before I head out on the airplane!
The women on our short-term team with be working together to serve those who are bringing the Gospel to Chad. Half of the team will be traveling from my area and half from other countries and areas. Part of the team will be serving the children during the retreat with a VBS Bible program, while the other half of the team will be ministering to the women at the retreat. I will be leading the music worship for the women who will attend the retreat.
During our trip, we will work to finish the library project for a retreat center that serves Christians in Chad through meetings, retreats, and family vacations. This center is the only facility in that area that hosts Chadians and foreigners alike from many different Christian denominations. These books will bless all the guests at the center as they find resources to refresh them spiritually. I am thrilled to serve the Lord in this way.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
The Lord has opened up the door for us to continue to serve Jesus in the calling in which He has called us: to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." and lest I forget the most comforting promise from Jesus, "'...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen." Matthew 28:19-20
Friday, October 28, 2011
Peter John has new glasses! He is pretty proud of them. Unfortunately, he has my eyes: astigmatism, and his left eye is weaker than his right eye. A teacher told him it will make him look smart like a professor, so that made him happy!
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Recently my sister helped me to see that God may be using these times of our financial leanness for the sake of others. She encouraged me to teach others what God has helped us with to survive this time. In the years to come, more families are going to have to make decisions that are not comfortable because of these precarious times. People cannot afford to live in the luxury they have become accustomed to. The choices we will have to make must begin now in our daily habits. People cannot see their spending habits as a "right" but rather a privilege, and a rich responsibility of stewarding all that God has given them. This takes planning, conservative spending habits, and trust in God and His promises. I hope this will not be a legalistic view, but rather a help to people who are struggling. God did it all, not us, so to His name be the glory. So, here is Part 1 of a list of things that have helped us live debt-free during hard times:
1. I stayed home with the kids. Though some would consider this to be foolish or irresponsible especially during lean times, it has actually given us a stability and saved us hundreds of dollars through the work I have been able to do at home which I will describe in some of the following points. I have some friends who worked to put their husband's through school, which I know they feel is best for them. I do not judge them for that. I admire their devotion to their family in working so hard. For us, though, my staying home was the best option for our young children which we do not regret.
2. Gardening, Canning, and Freezing. We have been blessed to live at my "In-Law's" house during our seminary years, thus providing a wonderful garden plot that has provided pounds and pounds of fresh produce during the spring, summer, and fall. I preserve whatever I can get my hands on through canning and freezing. Some people have blessed us with the gift of produce from their gardens and from local produce they have bought. One family anonymously gave us a box of pears last year which I promptly canned for the winter. Two families blessed us with a large amount of potatoes both years Ethan was in seminary. We kept these in a cool place and they lasted throughout the winter.
3. Only spend money on what you need, buy generic items, and only buy what is on sale or with coupons.
4. Financial gifts and scholarships from Christian family, friends, and churches. The love and generosity people have shown us these years, as well as the support they have given is remarkable and a great testimony of the love of Christ in these people.
5. Trust in God. Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
For those of you who live outside of Minnesota, these pictures may not appear all that odd, but for us, it has been extremely warm for October in Minnesota. The kids and I took some time in the afternoon to enjoy the nearby lake, warm air and sunshine. This is good for all of us.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Yesterday I heard Dr. R.C.Sproul teach on the theme of blessings and curses in the Old Testament and how Jesus took the curse that was due us because of our disobedience. Dr. Sproul explained Galatians 3:13 which states, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree' )" There is a biblical theology that is understood through studying the whole book of the Bible, and can be completely missed through moralistic or legalistic preaching. Without a Christocentric, cross-centered, biblical theology, our "Christianity" has no hope. We will continue to go on living in condemnation and legalism and hopelessness. Let us return to Christ.
I encourage you to listen to this rich teaching and be blessed: http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/renewing-your-mind/player/blessing-or-curse-223619.html
A full rainbow appeared in the sky during the sunrise this morning. This is looking out past our neighbor's house towards the west. Peter John noticed it out the window just as we were about to eat breakfast, and we all made our way out into the chilly morning to praise God for it. The kids snapped the photographs.
Monday, August 29, 2011
The carrots do not seem to be growing, so I am not sure if any will come out of the ground this year. Much to my children's delight, one of the zucchini plants died. The other one sort of died, but then revived, and has since produced one zucchini. Another zucchini is growing, so we will see what we can squeeze out of that sick plant. The tomatoes have spotted leaf fungus again, but according to my neighbor, Harley, this fungus gets into the soil and will never go away. The only way to get rid of it is to rotate crops, but because I have a smallish garden, there is not room to move the tomatoes to another location. I still have gotten many, many roma tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes, despite the dead leaves. Praise the LORD for that. God is good, and He will provide.
I have four very bright children who are (sort of) eager to begin school. One of my kids was thanking God tonight for school, but when it was bedtime, the anxiety started setting in as well as the complaints. I tried to give some motherly exhortation, but I am afraid I was a bit short because I wanted this child to go to sleep rather than talking and keeping the others up. We will see how it goes. As I grow and mature, I am realizing more and more the need for a strong relationship with God through prayer.
As I prepare for homeschooling again in this town, I realize that my expectations for what would be this year are quite different from God's plans. I honestly thought we would have moved by now and we would be starting our lives in a new ministry. But as always, our thoughts are not God's thoughts, and I am peacefully embracing God's will for staying put at the moment and beginning another year homeschooling here. I am content with the fact that God is in control. The biggest perk of being here is the School of Choice that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. We had our mom's meeting last week, and I began to be so excited for the material that the teachers and I will be covering both in school and in homeschool. One of the fun lessons will be a missionary biography presented by the co-op teacher every three weeks that will correspond with the historical time period we will be studying. Adoniram Judson is the first missionary, an amazing persevering Christian man in Burma whose story has brought me to tears after hearing John Piper speak about his life. How Few There Are Who Die So Hard is a very honest look at a man who persevered through tremendous suffering for the sake of the Gospel in Burma. Our teacher will use this missionary to correspond with the time period of the Civil War at the beginning of our American History unit this year. We will cover the Civil War to present times in history this year. I especially look forward to all the wonderful material on WWII, a favorite topic of my husband's, who was a history major in college. This is the fun stuff, the facts, that our kids LOVE.
The basics that require practice and rote memory do not appeal to my kids, and we struggle through them. Math facts, spelling, and handwriting are sometimes a "teeth pulling" experience. I pray for great creativity and perseverance in teaching these subjects this year. I am grateful that God has provided some great materials for these subjects. Just last week, I received two free handwriting books, one for Peter and one for Gretchen. These were some things I really needed. Now I am praying for another need, that I trust God will provide in His special way. Let's roll!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
We had so much fun at the WOT County Fair last week. Last year my friend, Angie, told me about an opportunity to earn money by entering items into the fair. Angie's kids have entered for many years and won several ribbons. We decided to give it a try, and the kids and I all entered some of our hard work into the Open Exhibition where they give ribbons and awards to the first, second, and third place in each category. The kids entered several of their artwork pieces as well as woodwork, legos, and sewing (Gretchen). For the first time ever, I entered some of the crochet pieces I have done as well as fresh vegetables from my garden. I also entered two of the preserves I have made this summer: pickled sweet beets and rhubarb jelly. We were so surprised by the results!
Wednesday was the official day to enter all your items. It was SO hot that day (about 95 degrees and humid). The lady at the counter who received our items told me I did not enter some of my vegetables correctly. For example, for yellow beans, you must have 10 beans to display, and I had only 5 beans. I decided to go home and return later with the correct number of vegetables and the proper way to display. I had to cut off the green tops of the onions and the greens off the beets. After some more work, we returned, and all was entered. If I ever enter again, I will know a little better how things need to be done, and I will remember to bring plates to display them on! (I forgot this year and had to borrow from the fair ladies).
Here are the results from the items we won ribbons on. Gretchen and Peter John were in the same category for age. Lizzy and Amy were in another category together for age (up to age 7):
blue, apron sewing
blue, Father's Day poem
red, colored pencil drawing
white, Sacajawea poster
Peter John -
blue, pencil drawing
blue, colored pencil drawing
blue, freehand painting
blue, pen drawing
blue, pencil drawing
blue, finger paint
red, crayon drawing
red, marker drawing ladybug poem
white, freehand painting
Amy - She entered only one item and was so proud to receive a red ribbon for her pencil drawing!
blue, crochet baby poncho
blue, crochet infant sweater
blue, crochet baby afghan
blue, fresh beets
blue, canned rhubarb jelly
red, crochet baby booties
red, canned sweet pickled beets
white, beans, yellow
white, crochet baby bonnet
white, white onions
Sunday, July 17, 2011
We have spent the last two days escaping the hot, humid weather at my mom and dad's air conditioned house. Our friend, Connie, is visiting from Minneapolis, so it has been a great reason to hang out at the Frank's house for an extended period of time. Yesterday the older two kids swam in the river below Mom and Dad's house along with their friend from next door. The two little girls swam on the deck in Grandma and Grandpa's kiddy pool. Perfect! Peter John was also obsessed with trying out his new pellet gun. I think Ethan started the obsession because for the past month he has been "hunting varmints" with his shotgun out at my folk's house. Peter John bought a pellet gun the other day, so he has been enjoying target shooting and trying to get pesky 13-lined ground squirrels. Ethan's persistence paid off. Tonight he shot two rabbits in one blow, which we got a picture of tonight. It has been an enjoyable weekend playing games of Scrabble with my mom and Connie, and doing crocheting with the ladies while Granny was knitting in her chair. Great summer fun!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Bridgeway Church in Stockport, England (a bureau in Manchester).
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Since we have an abundance of rhubarb this time of year, I made up this recipe that was based loosely on a blueberry muffin recipe.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with oil spray.
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tb. baking powder
6 Tb. margarine
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 c. rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch slices
2 Tb. sugar with 1 tsp. cinnamon mixed and sprinkled on top before baking
Combine dry ingredients.
Melt margarine and mix with eggs, milk, and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients and rhubarb to dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.
Bake 18-20 minutes at 400 F. until golden.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Summer gardening and canning season has officially begun. Yesterday Ethan and Peter John along with a bit of assistance from me finally got the fence around the garden. We were surprised that we have not had any rabbits trying to eat our lettuce and radishes yet. Thank goodness! As a precaution, however, the fence went up.
Monday, May 30, 2011
We remembered many of the relatives from Ethan's Mom's family this Memorial Day. We visited Bethel Lutheran Church in Little Sauk, Minnesota today for their annual Memorial Day gathering. Around 50-60 people were there to remember the saints who have gone before them, and to remind themselves of the reason for this gathering, Jesus Christ and the Word of God that guides us throughout the generations. Rick Klukken was the main speaker who shared once again the reason for the hope that we have, and Wayne Larson, who is the chairman for the Bethel organization, led the meetings. It was quite an honor to be there. We also got to take part in a good old Minnesota pot luck with great food from lots of different folks who came out. There was quite a spread!
Bethel church was one of the first Lutheran Brethren churches and was founded in 1901. It no longer has a weekly congregation that meets but this organization of relatives from past members continues to support the building and cemetery where many of their relatives were buried. The kids along with Ethan and I planted some geraniums on the grave site of Andrew and Sarah Johnson, Ethan's great-grandparents. Down the road we planted flowers at Ole and Beret Johnson's grave site, who were Ethan's great-great-grandparents. Ole was a Civil War veteran so that has particular meaning on this Memorial Day.
On the way home we stopped by Kvam church in Dalton, MN to remember the Overgaard family buried there and Knollwood Memorial Gardens to plant flowers for Gustav and Ella Overgaard, Ethan's maternal grandparents. One theme that stands out as we remember each of these grandparents is the faithfulness to God and His word, the Bible. These people lived and died for Jesus and depended on His word for their very lives. We honor them today.