Don’t Read This…

For those of you who just can’t help yourself, I assume you are reading this blog post from your computer, phone, tablet, or some sort of electronic device.  And I challenge you to stop.

I challenge you to turn it off just for a moment and look around, take advantage of this free moment to see something you haven’t seen, to do something you haven’t “had time” to do.

intention

For those of you who just have to keep reading, I completely understand.

I know we have all have seen those powerful ads about how our electronic devices, that are marketed to help us connect more, are in actuality disconnecting us.  I looked around the other day as my family had the evening together.  My husband was on his computer, I sat there playing Mahjong on my phone, and Gabriel was playing on his play mat with his toys.  Sure we were in the same room, but we were disconnected from each other.  We might as well have been in separate parts of the house.  It was quite sad, to be honest.  So my husband and I had a conversation about not using our electronic devices after a certain time in the evenings (unless necessary) to really invest in each other and our kids, our family.  You see, we really don’t get that time back.

disconnecting technology

So what if instead of googling articles on how to better communicate with our spouses, we put the phone down and actually communicate with our spouses?  What if instead of reading online forums about how to raise our children, we get off the computers and invest in our children, spend time with them, teach them, love them?  What if instead of liking “feel good” stories on Facebook, we went out and created our own stories?  What if instead of writing posts about social injustice issues, we log off and find a local nonprofit that addresses these issues we feel so passionate about, give our time, and help serve the cause?  What if instead of pinning ideas and wishes to electronic pin boards, we take that time and actually be intentional about trying the creative ideas and recipes we like or going to see and experience the different cultures of the world on our “bucket list pin board”?  What if we used our time intentionally, actively, and actually live and connect with others?

Don’t get me wrong…I’m definitely not against electronics.  I’m thankful for Skype that allows me to talk to family, and thankful for email that allows me to reach out to someone I can’t call or visit.  I am thankful for the resources we have at hand, when those resources don’t become a curtain to hide or cut us off from Life.  We have all said at one point or another…”I just don’t have time”…or “someday”…but that moment is now!

Someday

So turn off that device, open your eyes to those around you, experience the world around you, and remember that Life Lived with others, is really Living.

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Whose Approval Am I Seeking?

Thankful

I sit here as my little boy takes a nap next to me.  It’s been a fun morning of playing and having Gabriel follow me around as I prepare food and do dishes.  And now it’s quiet.  I figure I have a good 30 minutes, maybe an hour if I’m lucky, to reflect and share something that has been on my heart.

You see, I had this dream, this plan, this idea of how life would look.  My family spent over a year preparing to move to Colombia to be long term missionaries.  I dreamt of how I would easily manage to be a mom to our 6 month old at the time, balance that with a children’s ministry, blog regularly, and yet still have dinner ready every night.  In my mind it all seemed so easy.

And how does that look now?  Well, I’m blogging for the first time in 6 months if that tells you anything.  Let’s just say I’m not any where close to that plan I had of having it all together.  Each day is different and after spending the day chasing around our now 1 year old, cooking his food and making our dinners, trying to do what I can to invest and encourage those around me, I have to laugh at that nicely packaged plan I once had of how all of this would look.  Some nights we don’t eat until after 8PM, and by the time I sit down to rest for the evening it’s time to go to bed as the next day starts promptly at 6am.

I won’t lie, in the moments before I close my eyes to sleep, I’m reminded of all that isn’t getting done, of all I wanted to do, to teach Gabriel, to be a light in the community where we live and serve, and yet I wonder and doubt what was actually accomplished that day.  It could be easy to let those disappointments tug on my heart and bring me down, and honestly sometimes I’m just too tired to fight them.  But other times I remember the great moments of the day.  The moments where Gabriel wraps his arms around my neck and lays his head on my shoulder…the moments he grabs my hand and brings it to his face for comfort…the moments he laughs while following me around or giggles as we sing songs and dance together…the moments I share words of encouragement, of Truth, with different friends and am able to really listen to them…the moments I get sweet hugs from the children at church.

Precious JewelsNone of this looks like I imagined, like I had planned, but it is even better.  For if I know that I have lived my day with intention, God can use my beautiful and chaotic life to share joy, light, hope, and Love in each moment.

The same goes with our plan to live long term here in Cartagena.  With the wonderful surprise of our daughter who is due to be born in October, and finances that just haven’t panned out the way we had hoped, we know this dream, this plan is changing for now.  As we prepare to move back to the States in August, it’s easy to get lost in the disappointment, but then I ask myself, who am I trying to win the approval of?

Galations 1:10 states, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

We have stayed true to our plans and commitments moving forward in faith and living each day with intention.  Time here is not waisted, but is a gift.  And we know we will be back, visiting every year, investing in the people here, and trusting that God knows our hearts to serve and live internationally and the love we have for our Colombian family here.

Our plans are changing for now, but I know that I will continue to live each day intentionally wherever I am, being a light in my community and especially my family.  I know and trust that God can use my life to share his Love and Truth.  So I remain open to Him…

Be All There

Hay Más…

bible collage

He tenido esta Biblia para más que 7 años. Ha estado conmigo durante momentos difícil y momentos a celebrar. La cubierta está roto, sin embargo está llena con lecciones que he aprendido de varios versos. Sé que está tiempo para Biblia nueva, pero no está fácil. Lo tiene mucho lecciones que he aprendido.

Pero la verdad es que hay mucho más a aprender.

“Cualquiera que se extravía, y no persevera en la doctrina de Cristo, no tiene a Dios; el que persevera en la doctrina de Cristo, ése sí tiene al Padre y al Hijo” ~2 San Jan Apóstol 1:9

Necesito a continuar estudiando La Palabra. He aprendido mucho Verdad como he estudiado Su Palabra, y sería una tonta pensar que sé lo suficiente o que sé todo. No puedo correr delante de Dios con solo qué sé ahora, pero puedo avanzar con Dios aprendiendo continuamente qué Él está enseñandome.

Estoy agradecido para esta Biblia, para estos lecciones, y mantengo abierto a todo hay aprender. Mientras concluyo esta Biblia estoy emocionado para una Biblia nueva. Lo será una otra Biblia que tiene más memorias y más lecciones que serán un parte de mi corazón.

Hay más aprender…

Ahora, pienso que está tiempo para una Biblia en Español.

 

There is more…

bible collage

I’ve had this Bible for over 7 years.  It has been with me during difficult time and moments to celebrate.  The cover is broken, yet it is filled with lessons I’ve learned from various verses.  I know it’s time for a new Bible, but it’s not easy.  It holds a lot of lessons that I’ve learned.

But the truth is that there is so much more to learn…

“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” ~ 2 John 1:9

I need to continue studying the Word.  I’ve learned a lot of Truth as I have studied His Word, and I’d be a fool to think I know enough or I know it all.  I can’t run ahead of God with only with what I know now, but I can move forward with God continually learning what He is teaching me.

I am thankful for this Bible, for these lessons, and I remain open to all there is to learn.  As I close this Bible, I am excited for a new Bible.  It will be another Bible that has more memories and more lessons that will be a part of my heart.

There is more to learn…

Now, I think it’s time to get a Spanish Bible!

 

What are we bringing?

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~Romans 15:13

It’s the new year! Welcome 2015! And today is Kings Day. Some may know the significance of today, others might just see it as another day of the year. But my family celebrates this day each year. We spend time together, cook Mexican food, and celebrate the journey of the three kings on the way to see Jesus and give him their most precious gifts. This is my favorite holiday. I remember the gift of Jesus, but also the gifts we have to give, to share with others, and to give glory to God.

We have been living in Cartagena, Colombia now for almost 3 months. It has been a wonderful 3 months as we have started building relationships. As I mentioned before, We aren’t here to fix things. We aren’t here to tell people what to do. But we are here to overflow with the hope, joy, peace, and love that we are filled with. We are here to invest in the beautiful people here, to develop friendships, to serve our brothers and sisters here. We want to help others see the gifts that they each have to share with others.

Hope in relationships

When we see the sweet faces of the children here, we see their potential, we see their joy, we see the uniqueness of each wonderful face and know that these future leaders will be a blessing to this world. When we see our kind and thoughtful friends, we see the love and kindness that has the ability to encourage and help others that need help. We see hope.

bring to the world

We all have something to give. We all have something to share. Let’s not see what this year brings for us, but what we can give! That’s life! That’s love! Let us overflow with hope, joy, peace, and love that comes from within!

Qué estamos trayendo?

“Y el Dios de esperanza os llene de todo gozo y paz en el creer, para que abundéis en esperanza por el poder del Espíritu Santo.” ~Romanos 15:13 

Lo es el año nuevo!  Bienvenido 2015!  Y hoy es Día de Reyes.  Algunos saben la significa de esta día. Otro personas lo ven como otro día. Pero mi familia celebra esta día cada años. Pasamos tiempo junto, cocinamos comida de Mexicana, y celebramos el viaje de los reyes a ver Jesus y dar sus más regalos preciosos. Lo es mi fiesta favorita. Recuerdo el regalo de Jesus, también recuerdo los regalos que tenemos a dar, a compartir con otro personas, a dar gloria a Dios.

Hemos estado viviendo en Cartagena, Colombia por 3 meses ahora. Ha estado un maravilloso 3 meses como hemos empezado construyendo relaciones.  He mencionado antes que no estamos aquí para arreglar las cosas.  No estamos aquí a decir gente qué hacer.  Pero estamos aquí a desbordarse con la esperanza, gozo, paz, y amor que nos llenamos de.  Estamos aquí para invertir en el gente hermoso aquí, para desarrollar amistades, y para servir nuestro hermanos y hermanas aquí.  Queremos ayudar otro personas ven los regalos que tienen a compartir con gente.

Hope in relationships

Cuando vemos las caras de los niños lindos, vemos sus potencial, vemos sus gozo, vemos el unicidad de cada niño maravilloso y sabemos que estos líderes futuros serán una bendición para este mundo. Cuando vemos nuestro amigos amables y pensativos, vemos el amor y amabilidad que tiene la habilidad para animar y para ayudar otro personas que necesitan ayuda. Vemos esperanza.

bring to the world

Todos tenemos algo dar. Todos tenemos algo compartir. No vemos qué este años nos trae, pero que podemos dar. Que es vida! Que es amor! Vamos desbordamiento con esperanza, gozo, paz, y amor que viene de dentro!

Remembering Truth…

On what Truth do you stand?  When you are faced with challenges, where does your hope come from?  This is something that I’ve been wanting to write now for some time, but unfortunately, I’ve let the busyness of life distract me from sharing.

Please forgive the delay in writing.  Since the last time I have written, we have moved to Colombia to serve.  The process in getting here required many steps and, though we have already been here for a month, we are still in the process of getting settled.  Life has changed drastically from living in the DC area to now in Cartagena.  We are learning a lot and are helping our sweet almost 7 month old, Gabriel, adapt to the different climate.  I do have to say though, he is truly enjoying papaya.

I digress, all that to say, Life has changed for us.  That’s no surprise, Life always changes, but it’s how we react that allows it to be an easy change or a more difficult one.

Shortly after we arrived in Cartagena, I read Acts 27:22-25

But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”

In the midst of a terrible storm in which the boat and all the men on the boat could have easily been swallowed by the waves, Paul stands firm on the Truth.  His faith in God does not waiver even when there doesn’t seem to be any hope.  He finds Hope standing on the Truth he knows.

That’s the hope we want to share.  That’s the truth we want to share.

Even though change isn’t always easy, it can easily us throw off course as we try to fight it.  Now, we are not facing any storms, but change and transition can easily seem overwhelming and difficult at times.  Learning a new language, finding a place to live, and just trying to communicate and learn has it’s challenging moments.

Gabriel and Jonny

But as I see the beautiful faces of the children here, the passion and love of the leadership team at the church we are serving with, and even just the sweet giggle of Gabriel as people interact with him and the children surround him, I remember Truth.  I remember why we are here.  I’m filled with joy, with peace, with trust, and above all Hope.

I’m so happy to be here.  I love the relationships and friendships we are building.  I’m excited for Life here…

And one day, I will be able to write all that in Spanish ;).

Family to Family…

There we stood, nervous, anxious, and yet full of excitement as we introduced ourselves to the congregation.  In one moment, we found ourselves in front of a crowd of people in Cartagena, Colombia.  In our broken Spanish, and with the great help of our contacts and translators, we shared our hearts with the congregation at Iglesia Cristiana Mansion.  We were strangers, yet in that moment we became family.  Without hesitation, without question, we were “adopted” into this congregation.  They didn’t know much about us, but they welcomed us.  And we are now a part of their family.

It is a moment I reflect on as we prepare to sell our things, pack our home, and move our family to Colombia.  Lately, I’ve found myself getting sentimental with our remaining time here.  I tear up talking with my sister and thinking about our limited time together.  My heart jumps when I talk with my parents.  Our calendar is being filled with dates to meet with friends and family, taking advantage of each moment.

On Saturday, March 1, 2014 while in Cartagena, I read Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.”  How powerful and strong relationships and family are!  How important they are!

G42 Prayer and Send Off

In the midst of this transition, I’m so thankful for our family and friends here.  We can’t even begin to share with each one of you how much we appreciate your friendship, your support, your love.  I know this is not “goodbye” but simply…”See you later.”  And as we move forward, we embrace and anxiously await our return to our family in Colombia.

family 2

 

When Life Gives You Lemons…

You do something about it!

And in this case, Alexandra “Alex” Scott, literally made lemonade.

It’s been 10 years since Alex’s Lemonade Stand began.  At the age of four, battling cancer herself, she ran her first lemonade stand and raised $2,000 for the hospital that was treating her.  She wanted to give back and help others.  And since then, lemonade stands all over the country have raised over $80 million for cancer research projects.  This month celebrates 10 years since Alex’s Lemonade Stand started and though Alex has since passed, the foundation continues strong in her memory.

Though I’m highlighting this foundation and their fight against cancer, what I really want to celebrate is the action of one child.  She was four!  Did anyone else notice that?

Our children (jaja, I can actually say “our” now :)…I digress) are learning and developing every day.  There is so much they can do.  I’ve seen lists and guidelines outlining when a child can do certain tasks or should gain certain skills.  I’ve heard parents say that their children are too young.  But each child is different.  Children pick up on what they are exposed to.  If children can learn multiple languages at an early age, why not instill an atmosphere of giving and helping others at an early age?

What if instead of thinking about what our children are too young to do, we allow them to be challenged to do things?  They too can make a difference…we just have to encourage and watch their creativity come forth.

Alex was four.  Age was not a limitation.

Now that’s an incredible thought, in my opinion.  It’s a great day for lemonade…

You Are the Best….YOU!

Becoming a mother has definitely been a life changing experience.

My days no longer have a set schedule.  The time it takes me to actually accomplish a task can range greatly from 10 minutes to all day depending on what our son is needing that day, and breaks or moments to rest are no longer taken as needed, but whenever those moments arise, if they arise.

Gabriel Sleeping
Yet through those changes, I also get the sweetest baby cuddles, the little hands that wrap around my fingers, the excitement watching him discover new things and experience new things, the joy of teaching him, hugging him, and knowing that I am his mother.  And I truly enjoy seeing how wonderful Jared is as a father.

I’ve got some amazing mothers in my life and in my community as examples for me.  When I face challenging moments, and as I’m learning, I am supported, encouraged, and comforted by these amazing women who not only provide great advice, but also an ear to listen and understand.

And what I’ve been learning most through all of this is that even on those days when the only thing I have time to do is pull my hair up, those days when I have just 10 minutes to make and eat lunch, those days when my perfume for the day is ode to baby wipes, those days when I am learning how to juggle working on our nonprofit, cooking dinner, Spanish lessons, taking care of the house, and most importantly caring for our son…

I’ve been learning that with a grateful heart, patience, and grace…that I’m the best me that there is in this world and that’s just what Gabriel needs.  It isn’t about how smooth everything goes, how controlled I have everything, how knowledgeable I am in all areas of motherhood, but in how I love and care for our son.  It is about being the best Me, even as I’m constantly learning and growing, and allowing that to be an example for him.

me

I’m the best me and you are the best you.  There’s just no comparison!

And yes, I did write this during a break that arose at 5:30 this morning.  You take them when you can get them!