Monday, December 27, 2010

Pics from the Christmas weekend





Christmas without snow

School ended on Thursday, the 23rd. The 24th we woke up and I think we both knew we had to make the decision right then if this weekend was going to be good or hard... in retrospect, I think we fought hard for the good.

Christmas Eve is the day of big celebration here. Everyone cooks all day, wraps presents and then around 8 family gathers together and FEAST. We skipped the wrapping presents part (since our gift to ourselves is going to the Pacific coast for the week, 28th-the first. But we did bake for the first part of the day. I made choc chip and coconut cookies. Made about..4-5 dozen. Made baggies of cookies for our apartment mates (single guys, one from Maryland and one from England). And then packed a jar for the family we spent Christmas Eve with... The Miller clan skyped with us early evening. Bittersweet to see everyone... made Matt want to grab the next stand by home... we kept it together though...

Around 7:30 we taxi'd over to our new friends Carlos and Tatiyana's family's home. Should have known that 8 meant 9 but... it was all good :) I put some pics up... cousins, aunts, uncles, and the mama and master cook of it all- Grace. Very sweet. We had a pig roast (with some cloves and cinnamon marinade that honestly is making me salivate right now...salad, yuca, rice, beans, and a merengue apricot pie that..again...salivating). This to say, my cookies were not touched much, but its the thought that counts. :) We were quite comfortable to tuck ourselves in the corner to make room for everyone around the tree during gift opening time (which happened around 11) but were very surprised to find that we had gifts under the tree as well! Cotton socks..yes, the best. It was very thoughtful. We got back to our apartment around 1 am. Carlos and T were still there but... Matt and I started pumping ourselves with Tico coffee around 11:30 to stay awake and it wasn't kicking in fast enough so we called a cab... when we got in the door, the coffee had kicked in so we caught some more infamous "House" episodes in Spanish until we fell asleep.

Christmas morning was hard. We woke up around 8:45 in time to set up our 9 am skype to visit with my parents and sister. It was my turn to end our video and want to catch the next flight home..again, we kept it together. We cleaned the apartment up a little bit, made a fresh batch of coffee and french toast and settled on the balcony to read the Christmas story together in the fresh air. We prayed and thanked God for everything, especially His gift of Jesus. We stayed out and read for a little bit. But around noon I knew we had to do something..for our sanity... so we decided to do some city exploring. We figured robbers would all be hung over or sleeping in so our guard was down a little bit. Really.

We were in "luck..." the central park area of San Jose was SWARMING with people. It was like Mall of America on Black Friday. Everyone was out shopping, and eating ice cream on park benches. I found a hair shop and got some long needed leave in moisturizer. Matt and I got sundaes from Mc Donalds... and then walked the few miles back to the spot. We got back early evening and I fixed a step child Christmas dinner, but dinner nonetheless (since I do not have an oven, just a toaster oven and a stove top). Then I introduced Matt to the classic Black Christmas movie "Preachers wife".. we downloaded it from I Tunes. He was pretty disturbed that Denzel was an angel but still trying to get with Whitney...lol. sigh...

Sunday morning we had house church, a little worship service even thanks to you tube and i tunes. Made a big rice and chicken lunch and while Matt caught Futbol americana on cable the rest of the afternoon, I actually picked up the canvas I bought from an art fair not too long ago. Started sketching...it felt good. I plan to work on it a little more each day. Around 7:30 we left for Castros in Barrio Mexico. Caught a cab, ate dinner and stayed late into the night for some dancing. It was a lot of fun actually. Matt busted out his salsa, bachata, merengue moves. I let my BC club days come out a little bit and Matt and I put on a reggaetone show...had to show'em how we do it in the US...lol. sigh. we left smiling...

And today...we pack and clean in prep for our week trip to Montezuma, off the Pacific. We are taking a detour this evening with Matt's Spanish teacher and family to some carnival and new year festivities in the city. Matt is very vocal about his excitement to jump in the bull fighting ring... Ill let you know how that goes :)

God is faithful... As good of a Christmas away from family and snow as it could be I think.

Monday, December 20, 2010

God and Similies

In the quiet you are loud

Firm and familiar like my husband’s chest

or the Costa Rican sun from our Tico deck

You leave proof of your presence

Like imprints of blankets from naps

Or incense smoke from wicks once lit

Your voice is clear

Like pristine glass or a mountain stream

like the call of an eagle across the tops of trees

Your pull is strong

Like the hard crisp beat of a jembe drum

Or the waters current when the tide is up

You're like You're as You're like

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10th

It has been a month as of yesterday. There are moments where it seems time has flown and we are thankful for the adventure in it all and then there are moments, like this past Wednesday night where we simply miss home and our friends. We have most definitely been provided and taken care of, God has made sure of that...an apartment, school, money, traveling in and out of country, food, my conversation has grown leaps and our marriage is strong... but we have yet to establish friends. We are living proof that there is little replacement for good friendships. Someone to call when you're bored or breath with while you watch a movie. We have kept one another sane this far, but I must admit, I could use a girlfriend and I am only so great of a futbol watching companion for Matt... we are praying that the Lord would raise up friendships.

Around the time I was really feeling it last Wednesday we get a knock on the door. Suantzy, our landlord (slash blessing), asked if we would come meet the new renter downstairs starting in January. We walked onto the balcony and 3 faces were smiling at us. Dustin, the new renter from California, a Christian who is working for an arts school with kids in the community about 20-30 minutes away and 2 young ladies who work with him. All were bilingual and we invited them in and we chatted for a bit. God's timing remains perfect. They asked if we would be interested in volunteering at the school, one of the young ladies was leaving for the states soon and they were in need of more hands with the kids. Of course we said we would be open too.

Additionally, I met a young woman at the school who is newly married and moved here to San Jose for her husband's job. She is taking classes and will be here for 2 years at least. She has invited us to come to a football restaurant with her husband and some of their work friends this Sunday..yes, a football restaurant on Sunday. And, they happen to be Christians as well. Funny how that happens. Apparently it is a sports bar/restaurant that has like a hundred screens and they play every American football game in the states at once. So, for those who know my husband, the request was pretty much the gates of heaven opening for him. Really. Again, Gods timing is perfect.

We got up the guts to stop by the building "Unidos por Cristo" today- we found it walking a different route to school. The sign said that they exist to unite Catholics and Evangelicals for the glory of God. We thought that sounded worth learning more about. We checked out their website a couple days prior and saw they had bible studies, worship services and youth activities. We went in today (buzzed through the main gate and security, once again sweating my way through explaining our purpose) and met Darwin. He is a staff there, married to a woman from Ohio, who happens to be in language school as well in San Jose. Come to find out UPC is a branch of Charles Stanley church and ministry from the states. They are planting a bilingual church in an upscale area of town called Escazu, about 15 minutes away. Again, God's timing is perfect. I think we may check out a worship service they are having tomorrow. Ill keep you posted.

After stopping by UPC.. we had an all afternoon cellphone adventure. I almost lost it in the last store. Think about how stressful it is to figure out phone plans and prices in English. Now, try being in a store with 5, 20 year old employees only speaking Spanish, and a security guard with a machine gun by the door to make the situation lighter. We gave up after they wouldn't accept Matt's passport copy as sufficient identification because part of his face was cut off. It was worse that Matt was so calm and I'm over there sweating through my shirt trying to say "How many minutes for x price" in a different way for the 10th time. Its humbling to be such a good communicator, and then, such a bad one at all the same time. I am sure this was one of Timothy's "perfecting" moments, but I definitely wasn't counting it as joy. I'm starting to sweat now just thinking about it.

In about an hour we are going to a Lebanese restaurant with Suantzy and some young people from her church (I know, it sounds oxy). Looking forward to using Spanish. I'm wearing an"airy" shirt in anticipation of some intense sweating :)

PS. Mom..if you happen to read this entry- I made potato soap from scratch the other day. I thought you would appreciate that.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

CR to Honolulu and back again

I suppose these posts are like a puzzle in that I leave out large pieces of happenings and loop you in most often only on the fruit of them. That said, we just returned from Hawaii.

Matt and I started seriously considering visiting my Grampa after my mom encouraged us too in light of the rapid progress of his dimensia/alzheimers. I have not seen him since 93'. He is a retired Marine (Sgt Major) and lives off Waikiki beach in Honolulu. My sister and Brother n law were going to be there over the Thanksgiving Holiday, and then to top off the decision, a future job opportunity surfaced and there was a location option to interview in Hawaii during the opportune window of time. So... 13 hours of travel, with lay overs in Guatemala and Los Angeles, we are back home in San Jose. Every plan ride became more and more Spanish filled in the seats. With a solid weeks worth of fresh Hawaiian memories- family, cook out, snorkeling, restaurants, redbox, the beach, Polynesian sites, lots of photos... we all stayed together in my Grampa's apartment. For those of you with any military family, you know how careful we had to be to keep that place spotless every day.

Our taxi driver who took us to the airport Thanksgiving day for our departing flight to Hawaii was named Emmanuel. He is 26, a believer, going through some family drama and shared he has not been to church for months with his work schedule/s. We arranged to have him pick us up when we got back in, and lo and behold he kept his word and he was there with a smile and ready hands for our bags when we arrived this morning. Needless to say, but after 3 back to back flights, not bartering with a random taxi driver and explaining directions to our Barrio in Spanish was A BLESSING. He is planning to come to church with us and Suantzy this Sunday. For those of you willing, please pray that he does.

An unexpected pause Hawaii was from our new life here, Football in English was a fleeting luxury for Matt :) I have 2 pages worth of indirect and direct pro noun sentence structure homework to do, that was very intentionally neglected over the last week. But we are well, and were back to our rice and chicken dinner this evening :)

If you have a few moments, we have some prayer requests:
- Getting back into the swing of school
- Where should we be serving the community? There is a Christian Community Center around the corner from us (we ran into it walking a different route home from school) called, "Unidos por Cristo" or United by Christ. We are hoping there may be opportunities to get involved through this. We found there website and plan to email the woman this week. There is also the Sports camp not far from here and there is an orphanage we could serve through the school.
- A church home close to the house

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thoughts on Worship

"...The mind is mainly the servant of the heart. That is, the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fire of the heart. The apex of glorifying God is enjoying him with the heart. But this is an empty emotionalism where that joy is not awakened and sustained by true views of God for who he really is." John Piper from his book, Think: The Life of the Mind...

We went to church this morning. Our landlord Suantzy brought us. It is called "Comunidad Paz" or Peace Community. We thoroughly enjoyed it. A couple of the songs were recognizable so even Matt was able to worship in Spanish. It was a special thing. Worship is a special thing. I understood a good amount. The sermon was entitled, " The power of worship." The pastor focused on excerpts through out 2 Chronicles 17-20. The story of Johosephat. It is a wonderful story. I read it again when I got home. He was an honorable king who walked in the ways of King David and followed the holy law. He also made his nation great. The pastor coined a phrase. He said, "God's grace opens doors, and character keeps them open" Johosephat was blessed by God for following the law, but his continual practice of worship despite circumstance, this compelled God's continued grace in his life. Jehosophat even called the nation to worship and fast in time of trial.

Piper in his book, "Think" discusses the importance of both thinking on and seeking the wisdom of the Lord for the sole purpose of true heart worship. Thinking and worship go hand in hand for this matter. In the preface of "Think" Mark Noll says that there are 2 books written by God that we should study seriously: The bible and the world... I love that. I love that we can study the world and see God's word proven true, and we can study the bible and better understandour experiences in the world. And in this dual studying, we heighten our ability to worship the creator of it all.

How perfectly balanced this is. How divinely thought out. The totality of it cannot but bring someone to worship. And so Piper, and Noll and our new pastor's words are proven true, that true wisdom, should breed true worship.

Nuestro Lugar

video

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Our hostel the first night... Las Palmas. $10 (He hustled us. Everyone said it was usually $7) Pura Vida

At the Waterfall of La Fortuna. I want to blow this picture up and frame it.

Along our hike to the Arenal Volcano. This was a lake that formed from a lava crater when the volcano erupted in 2000.

His words are enough

It will be one week this evening. I finished reading BLUE LIKE JAZZ, by Donald Miller on the plane ride here. It reminded me of the tug of war I often experience as a Christian in a post modern society. The tug of war of balancing standard and free grace, knowing by the latter I am sustained and yet by the first I am held accountable. Then in our devotional, Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon there seems to be this reoccuring theme of allowing God to be my complete portion despite circumstance. And then, I picked up on an antique (on my kindle) called, ABOUNDING GRACE FOR THE CHIEF OF SINNERS, by John Bunyan, and in this, even this afternoon, I have been reminded that God is sovereign, and in his sovereignty he gives us easy things and he gives us hard things...but neither can make and break us. Only the giver himself should have that power. Not the gift. It reminds me the importance of speaking truth to myself moment by moment, which deductively reminds me to be memorizing scripture.

All that to say, this morning, I woke up and starting thinking how strategic these nuggets of truths are that were sent my way. They seem random and disconnected but no, they have proven to be perfectly connected. Because they have appropriately spoken to me in every situation this past week. I cannot begin to explain the situations, but inevitably almost in quotes, I have recalled lines from each book. That moment in Arenal for example when Matt and I were waiting for Tony's tour bus, thinking we had screwed ourselves... I remembered Spurgeon's words regarding circumstance and not allowing it to affect our joy and that faith cannot be grown with out experiencing trial. When I was debating on jumping in the waterfall with Matt because it was freezing cold and it couldnt be safe... I thought of Donald Miller and his encouragement to live in our liberty, instead of calculating everything we do...swimming in the waterfall has been my highlight of everything. Honestly, I could go on and on. A final example, at lunch time today, Matt came to me and his head was spinning from class. He had a headache and he wasn't sure he could go back, and he opened his email and we received an email from Greg (father in law) reminding him to medidate on Phil 4, verse 13 I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.

Gods words are not just perfect, they are timely, and even though they come through several channels they always align with his word in the bible. It is a beautiful thing to learn that by experience and not just read it in a book.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Arsenal

We met some students at the school Thursday after the aprtment deal who were going to the Arsenal Volcano for the weekend. We decided to join them. We would have just been chillin until school started Monday so we figured why not...

One 5 hour bus ride, through fog, up a mountain, packed to the brim and we got in yesterday afternoon. Matt ended up standing most of the time giving his seat to a woman with her baby, elderly... Wasn{t the best start to our getaway. In our Costa Rica handbook it told us to watch out for over friendly people once we got in the bus terminal. But when we got off the bus we met this very friendly guy named Tony who pointed us in the direction of a hostel near by and we got a room next door to the other students. $10 a room...cold water, but the sheets were clean. Tony stuck around and talked us into buying a package deal that his cousin could get us... hiking-hot spring-dinner tour tickets. We paid him cash and pretty much almost pooped our pants waiting around for the tour bus to come, thinking we had just made the biggest mistake of our life and we were out $90 for sure and would be doomed by the handbook God. Tony showed up though, and we actually got picked up! Im sure the whole thing was not legit, BUT, we did hike up the side of the volcano, led by a tour guy who I am sure is a local who does this as a side hustle, but he showed us some pretty cool random things that real guides probably wouldnt have. He literally would pick out a plant on the ground, sniff it and say (picture it with a thick spanish accent)... here we have the ginger plant...and then stick it in his mouth and keep walking. it was sweet. He ate a couple of plants along the way I think. After we went to the hot springs.. which was a part of another resort that we definitely couldnt afford but..Tonys guy got us in. The best part though, was the dinner. On our way back, we asked Carlos the driver guy, when we were going to get our dinner (its like 10pm at this point) he made a call on his cell and then later dropped us off at a closed restaurant that had a table outside, set complete with a candle and a flower arrangment. Pretty sure Carlos called his friend who was the manger of this steak restaurant and made arrangements. Nonetheless, we had a candle lit dinner on a restaurant terrace opened just for us..rice, beans, plaintains, steak, fish, papaya juice, coffee...clear night. God is faithful and funny... we are grabbing dinner at lava loung now. Upgraded to a hotel in town with warm water tonight. We bus back tomorrow afternoon and sharpen our pencils for school starting Monday. Pura Vida

Thursday, November 11, 2010

God is faithful

Thank you for those who prayed. The Lord honored them that is for sure. We found the apartment...which was actually a beautiful, very wealthy home with a terrace and secure gates. We got there 40 minutes early... it is VERY close to the school. So we walked around and checked out the neighborhood to kill time, it is simply nice and quiet. Not near the main road. Good number of restaurants and shops around it. We felt good about it. We got back and we met the sweet wife of the home named Sauntzy... She showed us the apartment. Spacious kitchen, bedroom area, internet and there is a terrace balcony that we have extending from our bedroom window (floor to ceiling). Overlooks some preserved land in the area. We both had complete peace. Then she showed us their home that is connected. When I tell you gorgeous I mean...marble stone, wood floors, furniture imported from Germany. She said an old long term renter of theirs is living in their section while they are in Israel... we secretly want him to cancel and then will have to take his place! ;)

When she asked if we wanted it, Matt said he was pretty sure we would take it, but we would need to pray about it, she stopped him mid sentence and said.."You are Christians?" We smiled and said yes. She grabbed her heart and her eyes welled up and when she got herself together she said, "I have been praying God would bring me good people for this house." She went on to explain how her husband and her became believers late in life and that it was so important to them to have good renters that would not bring any unclean spirit. She shared her story with us about coming to faith. And when her husband (who works for the foreign affairs) had to choose a location for work for the next 3 years, they chose Israel in light of the roots of their faith.

She was so happy. That confirmed it for us. She is buying a bigger bed, since it is 2 of us (Matt is happy about not having to push singles together anymore :) and she is having some construction done in the kitchen..new stove and stools put in before we move in on the 19th of Nov. We are with Rosemary until the 18th. She drove us back to the school after our convo and tour..started raining so we were glad she took us back.

It is such a relief to have a spot to live! OH AND, for those praying about church and getting connected, she is bringing us to church next Sunday :) And so, once again, God is more than faithful, he is amazing.

Apartment Hunting

Bueno, we have our first apartment adventure this afternoon. We spent half of yesterday looking up apartments after breaking down the math with the administration here and concluding that home stay would cost us about $600 more a month unnecessarily. So, we have our first appointment at 2 this afternoon. Its 12:43. We are leaving soon considering our directions are the below (there are no real addresses here):

"From the Subaru Car place, walk north on the main road. Make a right at the gas station. Pass the Cultural Center and the Vegetarian/Yoga cafe, make a left at the Japanese retaurant and go about 2 blocks. Look for the big brown wall, with 2 gates and a big tree. Its across from the big lot."

Yep so, pray us luck. :) We need something in the $350-400 range. No more. This one is $450, but we think we can talk her down in light of length of stay. She has another unit in San Pedro (not too far) for 350 ... not sure if that's still available though. Keep you posted...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

our room...


Matt perusing the local paper this morning... :) Not sure he understood much...of anything.

Final moments

Here !

Got in a little after 10. Got through customs, to the driver and to our homestay around 12. Sweetest Abuelita (grandmother) greeted us- Rosemary. I dont think its ironic that I left Gramma for a Gramma. Ill take that one as a kiss from God.

A cold shower, a little water, a listerine wash (because the airline confiscated our toothpaste) and we were knocked out. Caught the bus to our language school this morning..which is where we are now. Very nice. Little. Looks like nothing from the outside, just medal gates with plants ..and then you walk into this bright, stone walk way that leads you to classes, kitchens, sitting areas, computer rooms... feeling good about this place. Cooking class at 4 Im going to try and catch.

In Matt and my morning devotional this morning we read about home being where God dwells. And since we believe he dwells in us, well, it gave us some perspective on feeling "at home." He is a good and gracious God. My knowledge of the language is coming back quickly. So glad to be here with my boo though. Pictures to come

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Progress and Thanks


Progress is relative but... the plan is to have everything we are not fitting in our 2 luggage pieces and hiking backpacks... into boxes or storage bins by end of day tomorrow. The pic to the left pretty much represents about 75% of our stuff to store. This is the elite that made it past family filtering and Savers give away bags.

Tuesday is moving those boxes/bins into the loft area Matt built in my Gramma's garage. Wednesday is a break and we plan to drive up North to the farm and just breath a bit. Soak up a little more Minnesota together before we roll. Thurs - Monday is hunting season and I will be living it up while Matt is out of town...I'm thinking a good amount of kindle reading in the corner, some more baking exploration, maybe a late night salsa dance with the girls (? holla), Washburn play off game, a little bonding with my sister n laws... you know, livin it up.

We had a prayer send off with the Miller fam this afternoon. Family is a good thing. There is little sweeter than to be touched in agreement by your family that God's hand of protection and provision will sustain us as we go and when we return. Each person had prepared scriptures or words of love for us before the prayer. I wrote the scriptures down and plan to put them around our spot down in Costa Rica as reminders of God's promises. They are worth remembering. They are worth living by. The one that sticks with me at the moment is my brother n law Nate's words on justification. He reminded us to keep our situation against the backdrop of salvation and God's grace. He said.. " we do not live to be righteous, we live from righteousness" or something to that affect. Makes me wanna give a little shout like back in my Zion days over off Plymouth :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2 columns

I have an excel sheet with 2 columns, the left is "to-dos" and the right is "done". I think for the first time since I started this blog, the right column is out growing the left. chyeeah. It is a sweet thing to cut the lines from the left and paste them in the right.

Reminds me just how simply God cut me out of the condemned column and pasted me in the justified column. That easy. Maybe he even used a mouse. ? Feel free to comment if tht didnt make sense. I can explain. Peace

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

...with a joyful heart.

I have been giving considerable thought to the act of giving, specifically giving with a joyful heart. We have had several people mention how much they would like to financially support our trip. I am quick to remind them that we are not "doing missions" nor do we have much of an "initiative" except that we want to learn Spanish. Do we believe it will open doors in the long run for deeper and greater relationships for our joy and God's glory? Yes. But we hope for God's plan to be manifested in this way just as a mother does when she decides to stay home with her kids instead of pursue her career, or a recent grad does when they accept their full time position and decide to allot 50% of their pay check to the poor, or the way a widow does when she is living off a calculated amount of social security and truly thanking God for her "daily bread". Obedience is obedience, and worthy despite how grandeur it looks.

So maybe the fact, that normal people like the stay at home mom, or the recent grad or the widow ARE living on faith, faith that is just as pleasing to God as the traditional missionary, then maybe that should revolutionize giving period! Maybe giving's horizon should broaden beyond titles that include only "bible" "mission" "gospel". Maybe its ok that another beleiver hears what God is doing in my life and says, Hey, can I be a part? Can I bless you? Even if it doesn't entail a monthly newsletter that provides statistics on souls saved.

Out of all the mission trips I have taken (MANY) the trip where I have people knocking at my door to give is this one that I never thought worthy to even ask for help with. Maybe this seemingly sub worthy trip has reflected more traits of Jesus than every calculated, bible based, house building, gospel sharing trip I ever took. Maybe because this one takes the most faith? I dunno.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him." What if we gave against that measure all the time? What if we asked God to point us to the things that reflect great honoring faith, and gave us great joy, and gave to that. Giving could be fun, it could be hopeful, it could be faithful..it could be simple, like dinner for our neighbor- just because they were on our heart and we take joy in that gift. Giving would not be narrow and obligated. It would be joyous!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

closer

Shots/Prescriptions- check. Insurance- check. Phone Plan- check. Car sold- check. House bills turned over to the owner- check. Game plan for Gramma in place- check.

We're closer, that is for sure. But still plenty of details to keep me busy- simply packing for one. Truck still on the prayer list. I feel like all pauses for this weekend though. Weddings. My beautiful friend Julia is getting married this weekend and it fills me with joy. We walked life together for a year as roommates before I got married. A woman who fears the Lord is worthy to be praised. Simultaneously (literally) my husband's best friend is getting married, so we are tag teaming rehearsals, ceremony, receptions... busy on top of busy :)

I am doing a poem at Julia's ceremony and in result, my thoughts have been lingering around the beauty of God at work in marriage. Below is the poem I will be sharing, I finished memorizing it (between my pot of hazelnut coffee, sorting my jewelry and moving boxes)... My girl Ebony Ramquist will be accompanying me with some accent vocals.

A momentary glimpse
/ this divine eclipse that foreshadows eternity/ physical manifestations of spiritual realities/ instills a paternal mentality that reminds us our father is calling us home.

God is great/ and he manifests that truth in jars of clay/ that shatter at the slip of a finger and can barely hold water straight/ yet in that he more greatly shows off his grace/ chooses impossible means like matrimony to display his ways/ the fact he gives us parts in the play/ hopes when we bow others will see his face/ acknowledging we are actors but he sets the stage/ that truth makes this ceremony hold that much more weight/ the weight of glory

Because she has a home on the other side/and so does he/ but in the interim they make a home that points to thee/ and in their inevitability to hurt one another they live out the ability to forgive one another/ enabling forever/ seemingly impossible in light of America's whatever /but/ his grace seals it/ and in that light/ marriage is miraculous


God is great/ against the backdrop of eternity everything pales or brightens/ our decisions either spur us toward him or disrupt us/ so with the ring theb ride is handed a new measuring stick/ do I care that the seats left up or that his fashion sense is different/ or do I care that he's sharpened/ that he's covered in prayer so I can follow when he summons/ do I see the blood of Jesus when I look at him/ knowing he would lay down his life for me in the same way as the crucifix

We are not the world/ we do not regretfully wait for our spouses to become perfect shining reflections of beauty/ we speak it into them/ or maybe I should say we speak it out of them/ we stir the spirit up with prayer and praise and affirm them/ we are not rash with our words we are slow to speak and quick to listen/ we are not bitter in our hearts we confess to one another for mutual edification/ we are not insecure/ we stand on their vows and we trust them/and when the word asks how we say/ that's the love we know/ so that's the love we do

Yes/ God is great/ and he manifests that truth in jars of clay... (repeat until" the weight of Glory)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lacrae

I happened across the new Lacrae video shot in Manhattan and the words really struck home. I posted the video to my facebook wall for those interested. Particularly his mention of Matt.16:26. "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?"

Last night I went to a wedding reception for a family friend and at the table I met an old colleague of my sister's who is doing quite well in the business world and as we conversed I found myself feeling in my element. Talking the landscape of retail marketing as a whole, strategic approaches and not so strategic approaches... brand equity...the often broken relationship between merchant and marketer...

I never thought to change subjects. To be intentional in finding out where he and his sweet wife next to him may have been on their spiritual journey. Ask if they attended church with the bride/groom. Something. Brand Marketing...really? For 20 minutes?

I cannot stop being intentional. We cannot stop being intentional, if our fields and occupations are going to glorify God. if our gift and talents are to point to Him. We train ourselves, our mind and our body for the race. And we run in a way as to win the prize as Paul speaks of. My prize is not promotion, not knowledge .. my prize is eternity with my creator. And that truth changes everything. Its not a competition. Its running in way "worthy of our calling" Ephesians 4. The sermon on Sunday was about this, but it resonates greater now. I run intentionally not to get the prize, I run with intentionality to honor the prize already promised me and all believers in the Jesus of the bible.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

non traditional preparations

I remember thinking at a very young age that the way in which a wife treated her husband somehow reflected her relationship with God. To be more specific, I had this forenotion as a single woman that the areas in which I struggled in my relationship with the Lord, I would also struggle with my husband... patience, having faith despite circumstance, taking consistent joy in His promises...

I have had several conversations, many including Matt, where we have discussed the potential stressors of our trip taking a toll on our marriage. This morning I was thinking of that and in doing so, I recalled the forenotion from my single years( not that they were long ago). One thing lead to another in my quiet time this morning and I found myself in Peter 3:1, "...as [husbands] observe [wives'] chaste and respectful behavior. Anyway, for those of you who think I am about to go on a submission rant, Im not...simple self evaluation.

At Target, all leaders have team evaluations and we had something called "Stop, Start, Continue" and in the feedback session you would reflect on what the leader should: stop, start and continue. So, this morning I broke down "chaste" and "respectful." I gave it specific examples of what I think it could/should look like. Then I wrote down examples of what it does look like in or marriage. Then I filled in the stop and start sections for myself. Humbling. But I do think keeping my stops and starts at the forefront of my mind before traveling and during will be preventative to negative responses I naturally default to in tough times. I think this exercise is all around honoring, and actually, I am coming out of it excited versus the assumed heavy. And so, I am sharing it. Here's to becoming better...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

logistics update

..we also received an email back from Anabel, our rep from the academy. She has confirmed our host family (Hostess is Rosemary Chinchilla, with her grown son and his 2 children) for the first 10 days. We are believing to find an apartment in those first 10 days and move out. Anabel also confirmed that we would have a ride from the airport once we arrive.

We are starting to do preliminary apartment hunting now. Hoping for something simple and affordable, but walking distance from the school. Still hoping for the truck to get sold...

Giddy

Matt was just smiling and shaking his head at me a moment ago for being so giddy upon arriving an email back from some missionary contacts with OMS (One Mission Society). Context: When we began praying about leaving the country and what we should do, we considered short term missions and reached out to OMS at my Aunt's recommendation. We had several phone conversations about an opportunity in Ecquador called "eXtreme Walk", even completed the applications...but after prayer and listening to the Spirits leading, we decided against it. But here we are, months and months later, reconnecting, informing them that we are moving to Costa Rica for Language school, to find that OMS has a missionary couple at the very language school we are going to in Costa Rica, at the time we will be there. Plus, there may be opportunities to connect and serve as needed a longside the ministry in Ecuador on one of our "3 month cross the border" mandatory trips. Matt reminded me that Ecquador is far more than a day bus ride trip across the border... minor detail :). The point is, I am encouraged. I am encouraged that God mobilizes his people all around the world and he connects His remnant. He is faithful, and He cannot deny that about himself. 2 Tim 2. In some strange, illogical way, it is the Spirit saying, you are ok. It will be fine. Tight budget or not.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

to do list

I feel like my thoughts, if audible, would sound like:

...go to TMobile and remember to sign Gramma up for that Y membership once you're at the desk of the consignment shop to trade your clothes in. You should get at least $20 back for that and the travel insurance...

One thought of to-do overlaps another thought of to-do and I find myself right back at the conclusion I started with in my first entry of the blog. Be Quiet. Sit. Pray. Truth. Write. The to-do list becomes much more comprehensive and clear after that. With that said, Gramma and I are off to the Y (by way of red box to drop off an over due DVD) to get her enrolled in water aerobics. A quick stop to Target on the way back. Check emails from the language academy upon return (waiting on some follow up questions regarding travel insurance and medical accommodations) and then back to filtering through clothes and cleaning my closet until it is time to make dinner.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

sold

One car down, one truck to go :) The motorcycle is sold and the four wheeler is spoken for. I heard a quote from Ravi Zacharias some years back, "I hold the things of this world loosely so it doesn't hurt when God pries them from my hands..." I'm going through the closet next week. 7.5 size dress shoe? holla...
Matt is with a man out back from a dealership looking at the Fusion as I type. Lord Knows. Hoping he will buy it at the price we have it posted for. I was reading in Hebrews this morning..." And without Faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." I was sharing with a friend at Target not too long ago that I realized for the last 2 months Matt and I had been praying that God would sell our cars in the name of financial provision...but maybe we should just pray for financial provision. period. Maybe the means in which the provision comes should be left to the Lord. Its almost comical how sometimes I craft my prayers in a way that tells God how He should do His work. In my finite mind, all I know is the cars. And so, I pray that God will sell the cars. Later in Hebrews it says, "By Faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance...and he went out, not knowing where he was going..." Thats CRAZY. Crazy faith. I have yet to know an ounce of it I'm sure. But even the ounce is overwheming as I continue to see God honor our decision to move. Makes the parable of the mustard seed mean that much more. Makes me wanna do a little happy dance in my living room. I think I just might...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Transition

We leave Nov. 9th. Purchasing the tickets today to make it really official, if quitting our jobs was not quite official enough. I have decided (as of yesterday morning when I woke up with 1 million things running through my mind) that every day this month, I will begin my day with prayer and bible and ask the Holy Spirit what I should do from there. Otherwise, the to do list is overwhelming. I asked Matt what he wanted prayer for today, he said, "That God would bring a buyer for our cars." I ask you to join me in that if you would.