Monday, January 9, 2012

Hello from Kenya

I am in Kenya with the family. Justin is the Executive Director of HaMoreh Ministries, which exists to mentor and equip Kenyan pastors. Through this ministry, several professors and pastors, as well as students and other ministry teams, travel to Africa to teach in Kenya Baptist Theological College and other universities and seminaries. We also provide funding, computers, books, and other resources to these schools and pastors.

We are here for three weeks. Justin is teaching an Old Testament course, and I am teaching a few half-day public health seminars for his students. We are having a great experience. This was our first time to come as a family; Justin has been here twice before. Our hope is to make this a part of our regular life rhythm, with trips here once or twice a year. We are learning things on this trip that will make each successive trip easier. Such as... two year olds have tantrums. Did you know? And sunscreen is shockingly difficult to purchase in Africa.

The kids are doing amazingly well, actually. Considering the circumstances (they slept maybe 3 hours on the first overnight flight and then walked miles and miles in Paris, and that was just day one.), I would expect lots of whining and poor behavior, but they constantly surprise me. Such great kids. What a blessing.

This is the playground where we are staying. In case you thought we are roughing it or anything.

It is truly beautiful. Not quite tropical, hilly, and so green. We are staying at Brackenhurst, a Baptist conference center which shares a campus with the seminary.

The kids with their friends, Felix and Joshua. Their dad Linus is the Principal of the seminary.

Jonas fist bumping with some of the kids at church.

Our very first day in Kenya, we drove through some tea fields. When we stopped and got out, children (their parents work in the fields and they live in housing there) came swarming out to see us. I think maybe they had seen some white people before...maybe once or twice...but not much. They couldn't stop patting Betty's hair :) Jonas and Betty took it in stride, jumping right in to make friends. Betty learned some songs and games from the girls, and Jonas was climbing trees and chasing cats with the boys in no time. Some things are universal I suppose; no Swahili translation needed.

This is the first cottage we stayed in; we've since moved to a larger one with a kitchen but I don't have a picture to show you.

This is out of order, but you don't mind, do you? We took an extended layover in Paris on the way here, to break up the flight. It was COLD. Paris is beautiful, but we Texans will enjoy it much more in spring or summer.

Please keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


or do I?

My friend Cheryl is doing a blog series through the book Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic, daughter of Nancy and Doug Wilson. Confession: The book is on my kitchen counter waiting to be read. Nope, haven't started it yet, but for some reason that doesn't stop me from blogging about it.

It looks great, alright?

And what can I say; there isn't a lot of time for reading when you're "in the trenches," ironically.

Go here to read Cheryl's latest post about "Me" Time. The gist of it is this: Mommies should get time to themselves. We do well with lots of time for prayer, solitude, Bible study, rest (including but not limited to Sabbath rest), and dates with our husbands. All good things.

BUT... it's wise to keep a watchful eye on use of the word "need." Do I "need" to go to Starbucks for 2 hours with a People magazine? Or do I "need" a pedicure? Sure, they might be nice, and certainly a fine indulgence, nothing sinful about it. But if I feel like I can't function without lots of times like that, it may be a red flag that something is amiss spiritually.

Here is a quote from Cheryl:
"It's dangerous to keep telling myself, "I just need a break." That thinking invades my heart and wants to push out those I love. I begin to see my children as a hinderance. They are keeping me from being a better me. And while, it is important to have a break, this thinking can entrench itself so deeply that we begin to believe that getting away is the answer to having more patience, self-control, etc. "

You did click over and read her post, didn't you? Go ahead; I'll wait here.

I love what Cheryl said about the alone time being "the answer" to becoming a better person. I so often feel that way! If I only had _______ I would be better. Am I still perfecting the flesh? Trying to prove that I'm not so bad, after all; I don't really need a Savior? I mean, if I could just get out more, I would be good....

Who or what do I expect to meet my needs? To give me rest and satisfaction? A sense of self-worth? Is it my husband? Kids? Free time away to myself? If it is anything other than God, it is an idol. Would I dare to make my alone time an idol? (Why not? John Calvin says that "man's nature is a perpetual factory of idols.") If I place the burden of restoring my soul on that little mini-vacay at Starbucks, that is the best way to actually ruin the experience, and ultimately come up lacking.

If I am stressed and burned out, I probably need lots of time in the Word, finding some intimacy with the true Lover of my soul. If I put a band-aid on that pain with a mommy time-out, it could make me feel better temporarily, but what if it actually DELAYS my spiritual growth? If I allow the negative emotions to draw me to the foot of the cross, that is constructive.


"I just want a little freedom."

Remember my posts on femininity ages ago? Here is a quote that applies well here:

"We find our greatest and truest freedom when we loose the bondage to the sinful self. If I can learn to discipline myself to not follow every desire, to not pursue every path that looks nice from my perspective, to not act on every transient emotion, or believe every cultural influence that writes a magazine article, I will ultimately experience much greater freedom. Sometimes we must endure a discipline that at first feels restrictive in order to be released from bondage we hadn't even realized we were in."

I often find myself analyzing my own moods and spirituality, ironically thinking more about myself than about God. Counter-productive, no? Consider this:

"We survive in the way of faith not because we have extraordinary stamina but because God is righteous. Christian discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God's righteousness and less and less attention to our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods and motives and morals but by believing in God's will and purposes; making a map of the faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasms." (Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction)

Does anyone remember this from the women's retreat?: Anxiety is a gift: it is a signpost telling me that something is amiss in my heart. It reveals my false treasure. It warns me that my treasure is vulnerable. (Thanks, Elyse Fitzpatrick.)

Consider that Christ was free to serve because of his security with the Father:

John 13:3-5.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

I find rest and joy in the Lord, and share the sweetness with my family:

Nehemiah 8:10

Then he said to them, "Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."


I need way more restful quiet than I could get if I depended on sitters. So for me the trick is learning to rest with the kids. If I make hot tea for myself and warm milk for them and cuddle on the couch, or park myself in a rocking chair on the porch while they run around the yard, I can find that peaceful rhythm that I crave. Even if the laundry is waiting. And no facebook. I'm slowly beginning to realize that I can even read my Bible with children in the same room and dishes in the sink; I don't have to wait for sleeping kids and a clean house to claim some rest. Otherwise it may never happen.


What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with "needing" the time away more than is healthy? Does this reveal anything uncomfortable about your heart?

Praise God for His grace to show us our need for Him.

He is that good.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Other Firsts in History



Happy Birthday, Henry!

Precious angel boy.
I can't believe you are one.
You are an absolute doll, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the past year with you.

You had your favorite: spaghetti and meatballs. Followed by chocolate cake.

Your cake. It's a bit homely, but I don't think you minded.


The closest thing I have to a group shot. No, Mimi is not dancing a flamenco. It just looks that way.

Your favorite facial expression. Ooh!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Christ Church Academy

Christ Church offers college-level classes on Biblical and/or Theological topics. They are offered one weeknight a week, three hours per class, for the duration of a semester. I am excited to take Old Testament Survey this fall. I know I'm kind of a weirdo in how much I love the Old Testament. I enjoy getting swept into the narrative, and I'm eager to learn more about the cultural background and textual interpretation. I took OT Survey in college, but wasn't as excited about it at the time. I'll learn more this time around since I'm more interested in the subject. Take it with me and we can study together!

You can just take random individual classes, like I am. Or there are non-degree "certificate programs," for those who wish to further their education without going to a formal seminary.

Intro to Greek will also be offered this fall. Ever wanted to read the New Testament in its original language? Need a foreign language option for your homeschooled high schoolers?

We look forward to expanding the options. I would love to see more and more classes being offered, including some for younger children. Stay tuned for that...

Go check it out and sign up with me! Christ Church Academy.

(Who's a bigger nerd: Me for being excited about taking Old Testament Survey, or my husband for teaching it??? Don't answer that.)