Monday, October 25, 2010

We're still alive!

Whew, life is certainly a whirlwind these days and probably isn't going to slow down for some time.  In the meantime, here are some pictures from my mom from our time in Richmond.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Multitudes again

*a post from a looooonnnggg time ago that never got posted* (better late than never, right?)

For those of you who don't know about this Gratitude Community that is keeping my blog alive (albeit barely alive), please read about it and drink deeply from this sacred blog (I know, it sounds like an oxymoron to associate "sacred" and "blog" but really, it's true for this one.)

holy experience

*Adam's last day of work!
*For God's provision for our family through his job for the last two years
*Seeing an old friend
*And enjoying her hospitality
*And conversation with her
*Meeting her husband for the first time

*Meeting her second-born for the first time
*And her meeting ours!

*First-borns playing together as if they're old friends
*Country fairs
*Michigan summers
*Strategies from friends (and tents and noise machines) to aid in sleeping in the same hotel room with your kids
*Cousin fun
*Acoustic instrumental Beatles' albums
*Hearing your favorite Beatles' song playing when you walk into a coffee shop
*Coffee shops that have used books for sale
*including a Carson commentary for 50 cents
*visiting the legendary Wheaton College
*Getting to see THE REAL WARDROBE!
*Katie's complete awe upon opening the doors
*And discovering that fur coats were hanging inside
*The awesome warning inside, "The Wade Center is not responsible for any persons who might disappear into this wardrobe."  (or something to that effect)
*Lewis' desk, Lewis' pipe, Lewis' teapot, and Tolkein's desk at which he wrote The Hobbit
*"super-pizza" (thanks, Ryan and Sarah...and Adam W for coining the phrase)
*that He gave our family grace to sleep in the same room for days on end!
*but that He also gives us separate rooms for my each of the girls at home
*sleeping in a room without my children
*a few days of normalcy

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Have a Shelter

Listen here for free.

I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul can rest securely
O Jesus, I will hide in You
My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows

I have a shelter in the storm
When all my sins accuse me
Though justice charges me with guilt
Your grace will not refuse me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
Who bore my condemnation
I find my refuge in Your wounds
For there I find salvation

I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail
You’ll bring me home to heaven

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One week...

In one week from today we will be leaving Louisville. 

Wow.  Now you know why there has been a blogging drought.  Somehow I haven't been able to justify in my mind spending time uploading photos and writing witty things about the amazing travel experiences we have had in the last six weeks (EIGHT different states seen!  whew!).  But this morning as I wrote that first sentence in my journal, I could no longer resist the longing I've had to pause and to reflect on what God is doing underneath the crazy chaos that is our life right now. 

"And Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going." 

What a comfort that sentence is to me this morning.  Two weeks ago, as we began taking pictures off the walls and posting our possessions on craigslist, I found myself thinking with greater frequency, "Are we crazy?  What are we doing?  Are we completely foolish to be leaving our apartment and life here when we only have 27% of our monthly support raised?"  But as a precious friend said last night, these times (when our circumstances strip away all that we normally cling to and rely upon and expose the deep needs that are really in our hearts), these are the times when His promises become concrete realities, when we are faced with the decision to trust or to fear, and when His Word can become fresh and new to our often hard hearts.  (Click here and here to see to this playing out in other friends' lives in much harder circumstances than what we are experiencing.)

"And Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going."

"By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise."

The land of promise.  Sounds nice, doesn't it?  Sounds like golden sunrises and scarlet sunsets, like bunnies hopping and streams trickling and milk and honey and picnics.  But according to Hebrews 11:9, the land of promise is really more like living in a tent in a foreign country.  How does that sound to you

So why would a person do such a thing?  I asked myself. 

"For he was looking forward
                      to the city that has foundations,
                                        whose designer and builder is God....
"As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city."

What is my hope, my reason, my motivation...
         ...for going out, not knowing where we are going?
         ...for living in tents, as it were, in a foreign country?

Promise.  The land of promise.  The promise of a city with foundations, designed and built by God, a better country, a heavenly one, that He has prepared for us.  And not only for us, but for them as well.  And them. And them.  Someone just has to invite them.

So it's encouraging to read in Hebrews 11 that, no, we're not crazy for doing what we're doing.  While it may seem and feel and look like crazy, it's actually just what the Bible calls faith.

Monday, August 30, 2010


"Lord, what do You want me to do today?" I groan under the weight of an onerous to-do list, taking another clean glass out of the dishwasher. 

"Find Me today."  The voice is quiet but clear.

I sigh, knowing it's true but not wanting to do it.  Knowing that He is Peace but still holding onto the futile hope that activity and action, busyness and productivity, doing and going will give me the rest I crave.  It seems silly when I write it out like that.  Yet that is the decision that faces me day after day, moment after moment, the decision in which I too often make the wrong choice.  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your labor for what does not satisfy? My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water.

"To know God is to realize there's no such thing as ordinary and all our ache is only for more of His glory," she writes.  It rings true.  Then why do I resist it so?  It takes faith.  "For the things which are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."  I am an Israelite, wanting the immediate satisfaction (that doesn't last) of a Golden Calf I can see rather than the truly satisfying rest of the Invisible God.

I chafe under the waiting that will open my eyes to His glory.  Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?  Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to Me; hear, that your soul may live.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.  I will be found by You.

Oh, God, give me a heart, a taste, a desire for Your glory.  Give me courage to wait for it, to choose what is unseen, to choose the better portionIncline my heart to your testimonies and not to selfish gain!  Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

Is it really true?  Will I really find the rest I crave if I just go to Him?  A holy experiment.  "Come and see," He says.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience


*that I have seen so much beauty and received so much grace lately that I feel a little overwhelmed at the prospect of recounting it all
*a out-of-town membership to Lewis Ginter (thanks, Mom!)
*the Children's Garden *exuberant 4 year olds who boldly dash in and out of the spray*shy 16 month olds who gradually warm up enough boldness to reach out and let the spray hit their hand
*getting caught in a warm rain shower in the middle of it all
*laughing at the situation
*the walk back to the top through the dark green shadowy trail
*"This feels like Neverland!"
*getting sick at Grandmommy's
*camping out on the sofa and watching The Sound of Music
*4 year old decorated birthday cakes
*train rides with Grandmommy
*the Farm
*my daughters getting to spend the night in their great-great grandmother's house, great-grandmother's house, and grandmother's house in a 3-day span!
*kissin' cousins*sandboxes
*laughing hard with cousins
*catching up

Monday, July 26, 2010

The endless gifts

holy experience

*Being (gently) reminded of the truth
*That He uses her to do it again
*"The weight of Glory always tips the scales for joy"
*That He used the sermon yesterday at church
*"You can't think of anything better than God."
*The voice of the Lord thunders (ps29)
*and still He puts my tears in His bottle (ps56:8)
*That I have His written word
*In my hands
*In a language I can understand
*Precious saints who leave everything
*so they can translate His Life-Word into languages in which He has not yet been named
*"plodding visionaries"
*surprise Graeter's gift cards
*Dads that break the hard news to 4 year olds that they won't be returning to preschool this fall
*The 4 year old's reply: "That's okay, I want to live with Grandmommy. I love her."
*that I am utterly annoyed by everything that is "Elmo's World" except for the part when Elmo talks to a baby which cracks me up every time (mostly the baby's complete obliviousness to what's going on)
*the way 16 months old talk (she calls every person "baby" and every cartoon "elbo" meaning "elmo" and roars whenever we ask her what something says

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I'm overwhelmed by all the Blogger background options! Please won't someone come and just design my blog for me?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Multitude Catch-up, Part 2

What you can't see in this picture is that they were holding hands! Too cute!

157. For the baptism of precious friends!
(I feel like this item should count for like 25 items on the gratitude count!)

158. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

159. "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4

160. That God is still in the business of bringing breath to dry bones, flesh to stone hearts, sight to blind eyes

Monday, July 5, 2010

Multitude Catch-up

"You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told." Psalm 40:5

(I've had this list growing since back in this might take awhile!)

57. 3 sets of amazing students to whom I could entrust my children for a week (Thanks Becky, Ian, Rachel, and Jess!)

58. my mother who paid for us to fly to Orlando instead of drive

59. Pioneers

60. Their mission: mobilizing teams to glorify God among unreached peoples by initiating church-planting movements in partnership with local churches

61-68. Their core values: passion for God, unreached peoples, church-planting movements, ethos of grace, the local church, team-centered, innovation and flexibility, participatory servant leadership

69. the Orlando team

70. the fact that most of them raise their own support

71-97. Scott and Christine (thanks for your ministry to us that week!), Kim and Casey, Amy and Mark, Bryan and Laura, Kurt and Carrie, Rick and Suzi, Joy and Jeremy, Dorothy, Charissa, Ekren and Kari, Amy, Faith, Mike, Heather, Joshua, Cynthia, Abbey, Brittany

98. Adam's determination to see real FL wildlife (ie alligators)

99. Bojangles in the Charlotte airport

100. a long enough layover to eat at said Bojangles

101. that the Bojangles was right next to our gate (and not in the opposite concourse as in the case on previous layovers in CLT)

102-106. Cajun Filet Biscuits, Sweet Tea, Seasoned Fries, Bo-Berry Biscuits, Cinnamon Biscuits

107. That Adam now loves Bojangles almost as much as I do

108. Remembering the Valentine's Day when Ann Wilson bought a box of heart-shaped Bo-berry biscuits and showed up late to Dr. Plank's class to give them to her classmates, totally interrupting the lecture/discussion, and completely befuddling Dr. Plank

109. Remembering the many mornings that Mooresville High School girls would meet me at the crack of dawn at Bojangles to study the Word together

110. Remembering that only Jesus, Caedmon's Call as my alarm clock, and the hope of a cup of coffee were what got me out of bed that early

111. Realizing that Jesus and the hope of a cup of coffee are still what get me out of bed in the morning (well, that and if I try to sleep until 7am an alarm clock named Katie or Caroline wakes me up)

112. Remembering the joy and peace of being an "old person" during my senior year at Davidson and year in China....going to bed at 9pm and waking up at 5 or 6 and feeling well-rested

113. Reconnecting with my YL girls on Facebook

114. 3 John 4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."

115. brothers who faithfully preach the Word (most recently at 3ABC: Kurt, Josh, Sam, and Steve)

116. being a work-in-progress (thanks to my husband, Eric Johnson and Kurt for heralding this)

117. that God is completely okay with me being a work-in-progress

118. embracing that truth

119. that God's chosen method of growing His Kingdom is using works-in-progress

120. that Pioneers "gets" this and is happy to accept broken people ('cause that's the only kind of person there is!)

121. embracing others as works-in-progress

122. needing so much grace to truly embrace my status as a work-in-progress and to embrace others as such

123. abundant mercy for when I fail to do that

124. having lunch with an "old" friend

125. that this old friend eagerly and generously watching my children after I had to go to the Urgent Care because I sliced my finger attempting to remove a stubborn avocado pit after only being at her place for 30 minutes

126. Providence

127. The ability (means, time, money) to drive back east and visit family

128. That Caroline at least slept 30 minutes for the 12 hour drive

129. Portable DVD players

130. Introducing Katie to Hook

131. Introducing Katie to the Sound of Music

132. Introducing Adam to the Sound of Music (slowly though since he can only handle about 45 minutes at a time)

133. Being transported back to my childhood

134. Enjoying things with Katie that I used to do with my mom

135. Children who sleep until 8am (and sometimes 9!) (Update: this trend has since ended but it was nice while it lasted)

136. Thick blankets over windows that help

137. 3 hours of time alone during the day!

138. Precious friends who make that happen

139. A quiet house

140. Cup of coffee

141. One of these

142. Hydrangeas

143. in a vase on my table

144. From a friend's yard

145. That have stayed beautiful for weeks

146. Blueberry pie

147. Making the crust from scratch for the first time in 4 years (and not completely butchering it)

147. Calling it "rustic" blueberry to make it look like I messed up the crust on purpose

148. Feeling like it was okay to spend the time on the crust since I was only using canned blueberry filling



150. hitting publish even though I'm not nearly done catching up with my gratitude!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


"The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to the Other voice, taking that Other point of view, letting that Other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in."
-C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

Isn't that so true? Isn't that just how it is? Oh, Father, help me, give me the strength, grant me the grace, to shove it all back. To slow down and listen.

It seems that everywhere I turn lately I hear the same message. Like here, for example.

"Slow down. Breathe. Rest. Listen. Receive."

Why is this so hard?

"The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him. Rush is wrong every time, there is always plenty of time to worship God. Quiet days with God may be a snare. We have to pitch our tents where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be. There are not three stages in spiritual life - worship, waiting and work. Some of us go in jumps like spiritual frogs, we jump from worship to waiting, and from waiting to work. God's idea is that the three should go together. They were always together in the life of Our Lord. He was unhasting and unresting. It is a discipline, we cannot get into it all at once." -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, January 6

See also, My Utmost, October 19

This is a busy season of life, to be sure. If you're not sure why, visit here. Support-raising feels like a full-time job...and it's not like life wasn't full before! But what makes it especially difficult for me is my case of morbid Martha-ism. Why do I value task more than relationship? Why do I fail to treasure what is truly valuable? This is a joyful season of our life to be sure, and we are thrilled with the chance to take part in the "ministry of fund-raising" (Henri Nouwen). But I am coming to see that it is also a very necessary season for my own soul. He wants me to grow in cherishing what He cherishes, what He deems as most important. "Only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better portion and it will not be taken from her." (Luke 12:42) One thing. One thing. One thing. One thing.

Adam and I both struggle with the temptation to sacrifice family for the sake of "ministry." I am fearful for what that could mean for our marriage and our children as we head into full-time work overseas. I am thankful that the very fact that we are aware of this temptation means that He is with us and is willing and able to help us overcome this sin. Please pray with us in this and help us keep watch over our souls.

I've also seen afresh how I want to keep relationships in nice, neat boxes of time so that I can preserve my schedule, my agenda. You'd think that I'd have made more progress in this area since having kids! By God's grace I think I have grown, but then something happens--an interruption, an inconvenience, a relationship that won't conform to appointments and schedules and my to-do list--to show me that I haven't yet "arrived." And again He speaks to me here. Oh, Jesus, help me to choose the better portion. To lose my life and find it.

Thanks for lettting me indulge in some soul-baring. Pictures and videos and "multitude catch-up" to come.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

57. new (to me) Andrew Peterson music!
58. husbands who spend part of their birthday iTunes gift card to buy said album for their wives
59. perfect songs that put together all the different things God's been doing in your heart
60. What's that on the ground? It's what's left of my heart. Somebody named Jesus broke it to pieces and planted the shards.
61. And they're coming up green, and they're coming in bloom. I can hardly believe, this is all coming true.
62. Just as I am,
63. Just as I was,
64. Just as I will be
65. He loves me, He does.
66. He showed me the day that He shed His own blood.
67. He loves me, oh He loves me, He does.
68. Well it's time now to harvest what little that grew. This man they call Jesus, who planted the seeds, has come for the fruit. And the best that I've got isn't nearly enough.
69. He's glad for the crop,
70. but it's me that He loves!
71. Evidence that Resurrection Letters, Volume 1 is in gestation!
72. the grace that will surely be given when this album comes out
73. 4 year olds who are almost excited about Mother's Day as they are about Christmas (well, maybe not Christmas, but perhaps Thanksgiving?)
74. preschool teachers who make sure that mothers have gifts to open on Mother's Day
75. Sunday School teachers who plan sweet Mother's Day crafts that include a much-needed cup of hot tea
76. YMCA workers who help 4 year olds make Mother's Day cards
77. Daddies that hide the card in their cars so it will be a surprise
78. sisters that make each other laugh
79. sister laughter that sounds so much alike even though one is one and one is four!
80. good strawberries at Aldi for $1.19

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Multitude Wednesday

holy experience

35. restored internet access!
36. the timing of our internet outage to coincide with my need to refrain from blogreading so I could get off the evil comparison wagon
38. great music I was introduced to in college that still ministers to me today
39. great friends from college who introduced me to said music
40. my friend Maggie from college
41. whose blog post I completely relate to
42. a group of women in Louisville I am so excited to see tonight and have missed for the last three weeks
43. beautiful days in Louisville
44. that make 4 year olds say that they are thankful God made the world
45. the ease with which she gave thanks this morning when usually it's a tooth and nail fight all the way to preschool to get her to give thanks for one thing
46. the perfect breeze
47. on a beautiful day
48. in which to fly the dragon kite
47. from Chinatown
48. which she requested

49. the look on her face as she flies it by herself 50. the toddler's excitement to be out of the stroller and in the grass
51. the toddler's glee to push the stroller by herself

52. Daddy being a part of it all

53. the smiles on the faces of the passersby as they watch our family

54. Kern's Kitchen Derby Pie

56. It knocked me down, it dragged me out, it left me there for dead. It took all the freedom I wanted and gave me something else instead. It blew my mind, it bled me dry, it hit me like a long goodbye, and nobody here knows better than I that it’s a good thing. Love is a good thing. It’ll fall like rain on your parade, laugh at the plans that you tried to make, it’ll wear you down till your heart just breaks and it’s a good thing. Love is a good thing.It’ll wake you up in the middle of the night, it’ll take just a little too much. It’ll burn you like a cinder till you’re tender to the touch. It’ll chase you down, swallow you whole, it’ll make your blood run hot and cold. Like a thief in the night it’ll steal your soul, and that’s a good thing. Love is a good thing. It’ll follow you down to the ruin of your great divide, and open the wounds that you tried to hide. And there in the rubble of the heart that died you’ll find a good thing. Love is a good thing. Take cover, the end is near. Take cover, but do not fear. It’ll break your will, it’ll change your mind, it’ll loose all the chains of the ties that bind. If you’re lucky you’ll never make it out alive, and that’s a good thing. Love is a good thing. It can hurt like a blast from a hand grenade when all that used to matter is blown away. There in the middle of the mess it made you’ll find a good thing.Yes, it’s worth every penny of the price you paid. It’s a good thing. Love is a good thing. Do not fear.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience
I've been considering joining this Gratitude Community for some time. This morning, I'm diving in:
1. Four days alone with my husband...
2. San Francisco!
3. Good friends who love and care well for our children (for free)
4. God's grace that caused our children to eat well and sleep well for our friends
5. travelling mercies
6. happy reunions
7. fresh baked sour dough bread...
8. ...with peach vinegar
9. In-and-out burgers and fries
10. Ghiradelli chocolate ice cream
11. real chao mian in Chinatown
12. delicious food in Haight-Ashbury
13. Helpful bus drivers and native San Franciscans
14. Sausalito
15. biking across the Golden Gate Bridge
16. the sound sea lions make
17. a Boxcar Children book about SF to help 4 year olds understand where we went
18. Giving souvenirs to 4 year olds, who like the airplane peanuts best of all
19. Remembering the anticipation of getting airplane peanuts from my dad when he would go on a trip
20. Joy from the Lord that is bigger than vacations...
21. ...and is available on the Mondays when life gets back to normal
22. A washer and dryer in which to do massive amounts of laundry
23. having plenty to keep me busy and to keep me from the despair of "an empty day"
24. an abundance of clothing (even if it's all dirty)
25. money to replenish our pantry and fridge
26. having just enough food left so I don't have to run to the grocery store right away
27. friends that clean your house in just the right ways
28. a job for my husband to go to on a Monday morning
29. the ability to enjoy joy (Ecclesiastes 2:25, 5:19)
30. a home to take care of
31. a husband who loves me in spite of my many sins and weaknesses
32. children who are very forgiving
33. clean sheets and towels
34. Walter Wangerin books

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

photo update

Sorry (grandparents) for the blogging drought. We've been too busy living life to record it! Here are some shots though from Susannah's recent visit to Louisville. You can see in the sidebar our best attempt at a family photo. I really, really wanted to get one on Easter, but as soon as we gathered everyone together Caroline started screaming! Of course. I should devote a blog post to all of our failed family photo attempts. A grandma in town can mean only one excuse to go to the Butterfly Garden Cafe! I promise we had more fun than it looks like we did in the pictures...even despite the fact that I spent most of the meal standing up with Caroline and Katie dumped her entire glass of iced raspberry tea all over herself and the floor. At least Katie looks cute in the pictures!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

a holy experience

Just had to share this incredible blog I found through my friend Tara's blog. Go to it, and savor.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More birthday

To celebrate Bean Town's birthday (yes, we call her Bean Town...long evolution on that nickname), we had a joint-party with a family whose youngest son is about a week younger than Caroline. As you can see in the final pictures, we are unabashedly trying to arrange their marriage.

Click here to view these pictures larger

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Caroline!

Caroline, oh, sweet Caroline, we love you so much. You bring such unique joy and happiness to our family. We love your slimy open mouth kisses (that sometimes involve biting), we love the spider walk you've figured out so you wouldn't get tangled in your dress, we love how you never fail to hear a single airplane that flies overhead (about 45 a day), but most of all we just love YOU! Happy 1st birthday, little Peanut/Bunny/Carebear.
March 20, 2009A few days oldApril 2009June 2009July 2009August 2009October 2009December 2009March 19, 2010