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 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


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


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, " [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...


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


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


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.