Monday, September 29, 2014

Beauty Tips

In an effort to bring some fresh energy to our blog we've decided that once a week we'll offer beauty and fashion tips. 

Stop laughing.

If you know Melissa or I personally you would know that neither of us are women obsessed with our looks.  I think I've worn mascara 3 times in my whole life (it might be 4), and Melissa is not a fashion plate either.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Comfort in a Scary World

I usually have an optimistic disposition; I've never been a "doom and gloom" kind of person.  I never thought that President Obama would destroy the country and try to make all Americans turn into Muslims.  I don't worry that my preacher will go to jail next year for refusing to marry a homosexual couple. But sometimes when I watch the news, I get so discouraged that I want to weep with sorrow.  Human trafficking, passenger planes shot out of the air, Christians sentenced to death because of their faith are all stories to make me long for heaven and an end to the suffering on earth.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Be What You Have Become

This summer, I had gotten out of the habit of listening to faith based talk radio, and had switched the dial to the more political stations.  It didn't take long for me to notice my outlook on life taking a downward spiral,  so I decided to go back to listening to more uplifting things.  Wouldn't you know it, the first day I did so I ended up hearing a repeat sermon! Thankfully, it was one that really made an impression on me, and the second time was just as encouraging as the first!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Heart of Stone

All the people of God were gathered in front of Joshua at Shechem.  He called all the elders and leaders of the people before God, and it was time to have a serious talk.  Joshua was ready to discuss the issue of covenant with them again.

Friday, September 19, 2014


After two years, my favorite post on this blog is still one of the first.  When I thought about how different the fairy story of Cinderella is from the most romantic story in the Bible (Ruth), I learned so much about the kind of woman God wants me to be.  He wants workers.  When Ruth worked hard in the hot fields, gleaning grain so that she and her mother in law could eat, Boaz gave her this blessing:
May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.(Ruth 2:12)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shining Your Light on Social Media

The modern world comes with modern challenges.  We talked recently about the issue of bullying, a modern "sin" hiding some very real Biblical sins.  It's hard for us to translate sometimes the simple principles that Jesus gave us into the gigabytes we live with.  Take social media for an example.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Calling Bible Things by Bible Names

"Call Bible things by Bible names." Have you ever heard that maxim before?  I grew up hearing it, mostly in reference to naming things.  Nondenominational groups of all stripes have long been against calling a minister "pastor," a word that references elders in the New Testament.  Or calling a church by a person's name instead of using a biblical name like, "The Way."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sincerely Wrong

Can I admit something?  There are parts of the Bible I don't like.  They make me uncomfortable; sometimes they scare me.  Lot offering his daughters to the people of Sodom instead of sending out his angelic visitors?  I hate that.  God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son to prove his faithfulness?  Even though I understand the story, I still don't like it.  Sapphira dropping dead because of a lie?  That scares me to the bone. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Child Training Bible

For me, the hardest part of training my children (Psalm 22:6) is addressing their hearts and not just their behaviors.  It is easy to fall into the habit of punishing bad actions and rewarding good actions, as if my children are puppies I'm trying to house train.  But children are not animals; they have souls that need training too.  If I only address their behaviors, I may have children that I'm proud to take to the grocery store but who have hearts full of sin and rebellion.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blinded by Culture

Sometimes when we live in a new place, experience a new stage of life (like marriage or becoming a mother) or meet a new challenge, we gain insight into a Biblical truth.  My years of living abroad were rife with these.  Walking through the outdoor market, I could imagine Jesus's temple - smelly, bleating and filled with sly dealings.  Meeting in homes in secret, I could imagine the joy and terror of being a first century Christian.  More than these imaginings, I also learned a lot about eastern culture and its connection to the world of the Old Testament and the New. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

What We Want

Yellowonion-edit1.jpgWhen my aunt was a little girl, she was a stubborn thing.  (That particular trait tends to gallop in my family.)  She was convinced that the onion my grandmother was peeling for supper was an apple, and by golly she wanted a bite.  She kept asking for that "apple" over and over until her mamma got tired of hearing it and gave her that onion.  Unwilling to admit her mistake, my aunt took a large bite, handed the onion back calmly, and tears streaming down her face, chewed and swallowed it.  That was the last time she nagged my grandmother for food she was prepping.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Prayer - There's an App for That!

My prayer list is out of control. Entirely!

When we were still in Asia, we were somewhat insulated from the rest of the world. We prayed regularly for the few other Christians we knew, for our own work and for the work of our coworkers; that list was relatively manageable. God was working on me to teach me so much about prayer. I wasn't ready to be a prayer warrior, I was at best a novitiate.

But when we moved to Wyoming, things changed dramatically. Our congregation has this wonderful white board that lists all our children and teens, those we know who are sick, grieving, or far from the Lord. It takes one of our brothers between 10 and 15 minutes to briefly pray on Wednesday night for all the people on the list.  I'm working on praying for them too.  When folks find out that my husband is the minister at church they are often eager to have us pray for some situation in their life. I want to do that-pray without ceasing even for those I met a Wal-mart. And then there are the people we are studying with, hoping to study with, or who are married to someone in our church with whom we are trying to cultivate a relationship. We're also praying for the people we love in Asia, just leaving Asia, and in the congregations that sponsored and supported us.

That's the easy stuff on my list.

I have a 9th grader and a 1st grader in public school for the very first time. They need to be submerged in prayer.

I have this amazing husband who is pouring his heart into ministry, and it's all new!

And my Uncle has a brand new and quite upsetting cancer diagnosis and a little girl the same age as mine.

See? My prayer list is entirely out of control.

Tired and sad, I would find myself saying the same things again and again, forgetting people, or their names, or the details of their situation. Worse I was fatigued and confused and constantly feeling like I needed to pray more but I wasn't praying well.

Guess what?

They have an app for that.


I recently saw a short review online for Echo. It's a prayer app. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it was free so I thought why not?

Here's how it works. There are two buttons on the front screen "Add a prayer" and  "Pray now." It was the "Pray now " button that made me leery. How was an app supposed to help me pray?

I started by adding one by one the things on my prayer list. First I named it and then added a description. I found this especially helpful because when my brain was nice and clear I could add the details I needed to remember, and when I wanted to pray a certain scripture over someone it was easy to write it there (not half mumble the half-memorized words). When God answered prayers, the app lets me mark them answered and moves them off the active list.

Once I had the list Echo will let you set up notifications  on your phone to remind you to pray! You just set how often and it will send you a reminder to pray for someone specific or for a random request.

When I hit the "Pray Now" button it will bring up a request from my list and (if I ask for it) the description. Then all I need to do is swipe to move from one thing I am praying about to the next.

I've been using the app for a week and I love it. For one thing, I haven't forgotten anyone, not their names or their details, and when I see them again I can confidently say I've been praying for them and ask about their situation. For another I don't have to wrack my brain in the middle of a prayer for what else I meant to be praying for, just swipe and keep going!

If you are thinking I could do all that with an old fashioned prayer journal, I'd say you were exactly right except for one thing. No one I know carries their prayer journal with them 24/7, but I always have my phone. So if I am visiting someone and stuck out in the hall at the hospital while the staff does their thing, I can pray. If you send me a text, I can immediately copy down all the information, so I can start praying right away.

I wouldn't want an app to tell me how to pray or when to pray-that would be invasive - but a personal assistant who reminds me when I wanted to pray and who I wanted to pray for is a great blessing.

Check the app store for "echo prayer" and then if you like it, leave me a comment! 


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Church Clothes

Summer clothes
During last summer's vacation through SE Asia we made several stops that required "special" clothes.  Not only were no shoes allowed (something we were familiar with from our Malaysian trip), but everyone was required to wear long pants (and spandex did not count) and shirts with sleeves, and to leave their cameras in a locked box outside. In one place we were patted down to be certain we didn't try to sneak in a cell phone. Finally everyone needed to speak in a whisper.  Having read ahead we were prepared with long pants for my husband and dresses and skirts for the girls and I.  Less experienced tourists were offered wrap dresses or large linen pants to cover up with.