Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Singing Over Me

There's a new song arising in the hearts of His children ... 
Two weeks and counting, this song has been on my heart 24/7 and it literally won't stop ... Praise God! When I hear it sung over me I weep at the peaceful beauty that flows over my soul.  As my mind sings it, I feel as though I'm dancing in His arms.  At times these words have been obscured by fear, anger, frustration and doubt.  However, as He stands there waiting by the quiet waters, looking all dapper in His tunic and flowing hair, He woos my attention back to Him and the song returns, renewing my spirit, soul and mind.  He's sung to me before, usually when I'm walking  through a 'valley'.  This time however ... it's like He's encouraging me that He knows my heart, literally this is the song of my heart!

Indulge, if you will, in these ramblings of my mind ...  Having this constant song on my heart feels a bit like I'm using my gifts, "Martha-ing" while my soul is "Mary-ing".  Is that even possible?  I've not yet tested this theory but here's my hypothesis ... While I'm certainly not negating the need to 'come away with Him and rest between His shoulders' ... oh sweet peace ... I'm contemplating how these two giftings go hand in hand. I mean, Martha and Mary were sisters, right?  Couldn't their gifts fit together? 

He has given me the gift of "Martha-ing", serving and caring for others to honor Him.  As any Mama knows (or any person for that matter), if I'm strictly "Martha-ing about" doing just to do without the joy of serving, I become weary and heavy laden. What I'm learning is "Mary-ing" is a gift too.  Doesn't that feel delightful?  Sitting at His feet and having that deep seeded faith of knowing that He is faithful, He is good and His promises are true. Always!  Can I please have the gift of "Mary-ing"?!  Quite frankly, "Mary-ing" is what He created me for ... to be in relationship with Him.

And, now to my theory ... As I use my Martha gifts, having this song on my heart has given me this deep seeded joy that comes from a Mary gifting!  Perhaps I've come full circle since my 1/27/19 post and I'm learning that it doesn't need to be one or the other.  Doing while Being is Continual Abiding! Has it really taken me 47 years to grasp this? ... Nah, I prefer to think it's just His perfect timing!

The song that never ends ... Hypothesis proved ... Oh how He patiently loves me

(The Goodness of God, Bethel music)

Back update
We got a second opinion for my back due to the start of tingling down my right leg and foot.  Repeat MRI showed two herniated discs had grown to moderately large.  Yesterday, December 9th, I had a minor and very quick surgery to clean up the herniated discs and biopsy the tumor/lesion in the same area. Now I have 2 weeks of restrictions to use my Mary gift as others Martha for me!  Feeling grateful for a capable hubby and helpful mighty men, being surrounded by family and friends and the song on my heart filling me with peace!

Life in Lancaster Co.
Sharing our hearts and God's story with Carpenter Church ... Feasting on the sweetness of Father's presence, rest, and the beauty of 12 inches of fresh fallen snow in Penn Yan, New York ... A safe place to hear, receive and process through 'what we need to work on' to experience continual abiding ... The thrill of the hunt and enjoying His surroundings without the reward of big game ... Grammie and cousin sleepovers ... A very quick weekend wedding in Costa Rica celebrating with Vinny and Carmelinda as Father showered His favor on their beautiful day ... CR neighbors invitation for dinner ... and the normal stuff of life, school, work, youth group, shoo fly pie and cheeze-its ...

Sleeping at home in Costa Rica felt like home!
Successful surgery, no complications, recovering in the care of my mighty men
Being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are praying us through
Beautiful CR wedding and safe travel for all involved
Laughter and dancing with my handsome hubby ... time to be a couple!
New and old partners who believe in what Father desires to do in CR
Seeing the sun through the clouds as Father spoke through Penn Clark
Tools in hand to train our physical eyes to see what HE sees

Daryl's hearing is affected by the fluid and congestion in his sinus' ... awaiting CT results
Healing on Adam's ears, his hearing is very diminished after his recent ear infection
Illumination from the Holy Spirit as we work through the tools mentioned above
Financial partners to be 100% funded for our second term emm.org/donate
God connections, knowing what He wants us to do while we rest
Getting residency papers in order
Parenting Jedidiah
Peace to let go of our return to CR date ... His perfect timing is ... well, perfect!
Vida220 students as they finish up these last 10 days of training
Quality family time as we celebrate Jesus
*How can we pray for you?

Thankful to be driving in daylight hours ...
I'm no snow bunny but this beauty is hard to beat! 

"Cabin Boy" connections ...
You guys are amazing, Joseph is even playing a game!!

When uncle Jeeg finds a bargain ...
left over Doggie Halloween costumes make the perfect hat!

Mimi, you finally have someone to help you wash the dishes! 

Being spoiled by Mimi's affection and attention ... 
"You're 6 years old ... it's about time you learn to ride by yourself!"
Big brother Micah's patience!

Not sure who had more fun ... Pop-pop or the boys!
Arcade, Laser tag, Mini bowling, bumper cars!
Sunday afternoon rest ...

"Let's get all Mimi's stuffed animals out that we used to play with!"

8:00 Sunday morning greeters! 
You are my lamp O Lord; You turn my darkness into light!
2 Samuel 2:29

Saturday, November 30, 2019


Fall colors ... make my heart happy!
We wait for the stamp with sweaty palms. Like a drill Sargent, I demand the boys stand neatly in order and stop pacing.  Any wrong move out of line gets an icy-cold stare.  Say the right things, act like you know what you’re doing, act like you understand everything and don’t look suspicious.  In the routine of their day, they look, confirm, stamp our passports, and we’re on our way with another 90 day visa … Sigh of relief, the fretting, sweaty palms moment was needless worry!

We are amid our 3 month home leave and the struggle for approval feels like one of those Goliath battles.  In my humanness, the need to feel approved, affirmed and validated is like pouring water through a sieve, my cup will never be filled!  Sharing updates, new stories, God stories feels a bit like waiting for our passport stamp to reenter Costa Rica.  “Stand neatly in order, no wrong moves, say the right thing, act like you know what you’re doing …” The battle to seek approval for what we’re doing so we receive the financial backing is no joke.  Ouch! ... Can I just find a carpeted corner to cower in?  Nope, not yet girl, pull out your sling, there's work to be done!

Can you imagine the blissful look of love as He retrieves my defeated self from hiding in my corner?  His gaze, if I truly engage in it, will cause the chains of seeking approval and validation to fall into the pit!  As conviction averts my gaze, He lovingly tips my chin upward and whispers, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance I am giving you!”  2 Chronicles 20:17. 

These are the stones in my sling … confession, sweet forgiveness and the command that brings the victory: “We speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, not trying to please men but God who knows our hearts!” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).  The inspiration does not come from any feeble arising of my humanness.  It really is all about Jesus!  He has entrusted us to share HIS work, believe who HE says we are, and confidently speak what HE has instructed us to say.  The battle is won as we turn our eyes to The One who has called, laying down our struggle for approval. And ... He doesn't care if I giggle and step out of line while sharing His heart!

Approved by God ... Entrusted with the gospel ... He knows my heart

Life in Lancaster Co.
Feasting on the delicacies of Thanksgiving with our families ... Blessed by God connections as we shared our hearts with Metzlers church ... seeing Frozen II for free ... Snuggling Adam through fever, ear infection and ruptured ear drum ... Heart connections at the pharmacy ... Hunting, avoiding black Friday madness, work on the farm, cold bike rides and warm tub baths ... Jedi enjoyed a barn party and sleepover ... family puzzles and library books ... And ... trusting Father to fight this battle as we look to Him!

Thankful to share life with lots of family ... Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!
This song ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0FBb6hnwTo  ... has been wrecking my makeup All. Week. Long!
The privilege to sing of the Goodness of God!
Friends to have sleep overs with
Popcorn and sleeping on a carpeted living room floor
Family puzzle time

Healing on Adam's ears and Daryl's sinus'
Travel to Costa Rica for a wedding next weekend
Hunting safety
Paperwork in order for residency
My back surgery scheduled for Monday December 9th
To be fully funded for our second term emm.org/donate
To seek HIM First and not earthly approval ...

We left Olaf (our van) in CR and found him in PA!

Adam working hard chauffeuring Mr. High around the farm!

Can this job get any better?! ...
"This is what a job should be, one that I love doing!"

Adam dished up ice cream ...
"Joseph, yours is the smaller one!"

Diener boys and Sara ...
Adam almost hugged the wrong Pop-pop!

Jedi working hard peeling potatoes ...
Officially taller than Uncle Johnny!

Amish Roast, potatoes and fixins to feed an army of 54!

Hoover Thanksgiving ... missing Big D and little D ...
"This was the best day ever, just being with family!"

Snuggles to take the fever and pain away ... 

Adam's sleepover so he didn't have to sleep alone while the boys are away!

First day hunting success!

... still waiting for the big buck!

 " ... And all my life You have been faithful ... And all my life You have been so, so good ... With every breath that I am able ... Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God!"

Monday, November 25, 2019

Grapes Are Easy

Feasting on His promises
The first purchase was one of second thought as I perused the produce aisle en route to the register.  "Hmmm, we haven't eaten grapes in a few years, that's a healthy treat at $0.99/pound!"  I proudly made my three pound purchase and returned home to wash, de-stem, and ready these deliciously, sweet morsels for snacking. Before I could even place the inviting yellow bowl in the refrigerator, their discovery was announced.  "Mom, that's a lot of grapes!" Wise Mama that I acclaim to be, I proudly announced the "pocket change" I dished out for said purchase.  Less than 6 hours later ... Six. Hours. Later.  I reached into the abyss of this once grape-laden yellow bowl to discover the only remnants of this bargain were the water drops I vaguely remember using as I prepared them for snacking.  Less than two weeks in PA and we've devoured approximately twelve pounds of grapes.  These sweet little treasures have not stood alone.  They have valiantly sacrificed themselves on the alter of Wheat thins, pretzels, chunks of cheese and port wine spread that our taste buds have watered for.  However you look at it, in two weeks time, we've devoured ... Twelve pounds of grapes ... "There could be worse things, right?" I justifiably declare!

If only this first month of home leave were as easy as devouring 12 pounds of grapes! Things I did for 30 years have caused me to stumble over myself.  To name a few ... Pumping gas (the first time I pulled up to the pump, stared at the monstrosity and pulled out without pumping, gave myself a pep talk and returned to the pump!) ... Responding in English to the cashier when Adam is babbling in Spanish ... Conversations with Doctor offices and scheduling appointments instead of just stopping in ... Practicing patience when dealing with pre-authorized insurance issues ... Fast paced highways ... Lots of phone calls instead of whatsapp messages ...  I sound like a wimp but these situations have left me floundering clueless on the wave of culture shock!

In the routine of having coffee with Jesus, He patiently breathed life into my spirit with this familiar command ... "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for I, your God, go with you, I will never leave you nor forsake you!"  The delight of this promise is like a handful of sweet grapes ... When the lonely feelings surface leaving me feeling disconnected, confused, overwhelmed and wanting to throw my hands up in defeat, He patiently reminds me of His provision.  His hand reaches to take mine, He pulls me up out of my pool of tears and invites me to walk with Him.  It really can be as simple as feasting on grapes ... Assuredly, there is no fear of sour grapes if I hold fast to the Everlasting Arms!

Munching on grapes ... Holding His hand ... Feeling strength arise

Life in Lancaster Co.
How do I sum it up ... dry skin, warm water, heated houses, carpeted floors and plenty of Lancaster Co. cuisine ... The gift of hard work on a farm for the 4 MM, feeling satisfied! ... hunting with Grandpa ... Laughter with girlfriends and saying tearful good byes ... hikes, sleepovers, all nighters, good will and re-use-it ... A trip to the beach for soul care ... A week of 'unplugging' in upstate New York and playing in the snow followed by a day of bathing suits playing at an indoor water park ... puzzles, games, sitting by the fire ... sharing God's story with friends, family and churches ... Feasting on grapes and resting in His promises!

Finding routine when we're out of routine
Being close to family
The freshness of his familiar promises
Friends who know our heart, hear our struggles and love us through them
Encountering Father's presence in unsuspected places
The gift of Hinkletown school
50 years of "wedded bliss" for my parents

Second opinion Dr. is recommending I have back surgery, scheduled for December 9th
For our souls to rest in His presence even when our minds are in constant motion
Healing for Daryl's sinus' and colds
Peace and unity in our family as we go in a few different directions over the next two weeks
Wisdom on when to say yes and no
Pray for monthly partners so we can be 100% funded for our second term starting in January emm.org/donate

Time with Pop-pop ...

No matter the hour, time with Pop-pop is priceless! 

Happy birthday hug from Grammie Hoover ...

Cutting down the pines and having fun while doing it! 

One more thing to drive!  ...
He is loving the attention and affirmation from Mr. High! 

One heading west and one heading south ...
"Though time goes by and things may change, one thing remains the same, there's a place in my heart for you!"

Adam's first sight of snow ...
This is just the beginning sweet boy! 

7 " later ... he still loves it!
Sucking on an ice laden tree branch for water on our hike!

Fun, fellowship and learning! 

Feeling so blessed that God gave us this gift of snow in upstate New York! 

The peace of the moment ...
Micah was Adam's pack horse ...
They really do love each other! 

From snowsuits to swimsuits in a matter of 6 hours! ...
Forget the flip flops, you CAN wear snow boots with swimsuits! ... 
Sharing belly laughs through the twists and turns at a water slide park!

Tubby baths and shaving bubbles ...
He cares about the details and seems to blessing us in abundance with them!

Monday, November 4, 2019

How to Be

The beauty of fall in Lancaster Co.
Reconnect, Regroup, Refresh, Rest ... We arrived in PA a week ago to a beautiful fall landscape and mild temp’s that kept our boys in shorts for the better part of daylight hours and snuggling under comforters when the sun slipped below the horizon! We are adjusting to a later sun rise, fast moving cars on the highway, the lack of rice and beans at every convenience store, speaking in English everywhere we go, flushing our toilet paper, warm water from the faucets and heat in the house. Most days we’ve been a bit disoriented by the fact that it was still dark at 7 am and the delicious feeling of walking on carpeted floors. We are here in the States for a 3 month furlough to Reconnect, Regroup, be Refreshed and Rest … This week we’ve started the reconnection and are anxiously anticipating the promise of time to ‘regroup, be refreshed and rest'!

It's been months since I've been able to hear. I mean really hear. In preparation for this home leave I have had this anxious longing for Sunday, October 27th.  At night, I would slip into my dreamworld giddily contemplating the luxury of said date. When my days were full of activity, my mind would drift longingly of the anticipated 'day after arriving'.  I've had the absurd notion that when I awoke on that date, the world would suddenly stop.  I would be at rest, the dust would settle, and I could hear His voice clearly again.  The picture in the recesses of my mind was one of leisurely lounging on the couch in a sun filled room with the colors of fall peeking through my windows tempting me to indulge in the freshness of their beauty. The house is filled with joyful banter between the family, there is puzzle action going on and although it's not quiet, I can peacefully contemplate my next thought. The 'need to do' has been shoved out of mind, the scent of peppermint mocha wafts lazily under my nose, there is a book in hand and ... I hear Him speaking again!  With this momentous calendar date come and gone, I've began to recon with reality that this picture in my minds eye was simply that ... a vision of longing for the later of the 3 R's.  

Someone likened our home leave to that of being on Tour!  Even in the midst of the necessity of that "Tour Schedule", this is what refreshment and rest looks like ... Mark 3:14 (He appointed twelve, designating them apostles ...) 
That they might BE with Him 
(and that He might send them out to preach ...) I am quite certain He has called me to rest. However, to completely fill my insatiable desire for rest, He has called me to simply BE with Him. As I choose obedience to just be ... There is a sweet peace, as he holds me close while I lounge between His shoulders ... my heart feels lighter as I'm enveloped by the richness of His sweet fragrance ...  and, there is a giddy anticipation as He calls me to come away and BE with Him!    

Settled in ... Learning the habit of rest ... Being with Him     

Life in Lancaster Co.
Feeling the comfort of sleeping on our 'old' mattress under our 'old' comforter as we wearily crawled into it's downy abyss at 2:00 a.m. ... Walmart can literally be a one stop shopping experience that unfortunately lasted 3 hours ... Stopping at Glenwood Foods for "just a few things" ... Feeling the warmth of Hugging many of you at our drop-in ... Reconnecting and sharing God's call on our lives with Akron COB ... Bike rides, long board trips down the road, exploring through field and forest, golf cart laughter, brothers who love to explore together and longed for Lancaster Co cuisine ... Feeling the blessing of being cared for by family and friends ... Reconnecting, regrouping, being refreshed and resting ...  Can you feel HIS presence as you take time to just BE with Him? 

*A HUGE praise we received before leaving CR: Thank you for praying for our friends marriage, they are miraculously making positive changes and he's willing to go to counseling!
*Safe, uneventful travel 
*Micah has work "down on the farm." Right out the front door.
*The Highs, who have graciously given us a haven of rest to call home for these 3 months. 
*Hinkletown Menn. School, is allowing Jedi and Adam to take Specials (Art, Music, Phys Ed. and participate in conversational Spanish)
*Digging out stored winter/snow clothing and only having to buy one pair of snow pants
*Experiencing His presence as we take time to rest

*Pray for Daryl and Jedi's night away to have "The Talk" (said with raised eye-brow!)
*Pray we can fully experience the Four R's
*Pray for our health and sound sleep
*To be sensitive to HIS plans for this time, knowing when to say yes and no
*Pray for God connections 
*Pray for monthly partners so we can be 100% funded for our second term starting in January emm.org/donate

Happy 12th birthday Jedidiah ...
Donuts for breakfast ...
He couldn't even eat a whole one, they're HUGE!

Celebrating Jedidiah and saying
See you later to our "Eldest Children" in CR ...
Last day of Prepa ...
"Thank you Teacher for helping me learn in school!"

Nos Vemos Costa Rica ...
Here we come PA!

This one made a researched and wise decision
on how to spend his money ...

This one received birthday money and bought the
first one he saw at Walmart : ) 

Bigger boys and bigger toys! ...
Micah, how can you be big enough to ride Dad's cycle?!

Thankful for friends sharing their outside play toys!
He may dress like he's from Costa Rica but he's in the heart of Lancaster Co Fall weather!

Officially official ...
Joseph is taller than Mimi!

This is how they spend their days ...
Who gets to ride which riding "toy" and
Who gets to take mom on the next ride! 

Already at work ...
The safety of this picture could technically equate to a CR scaffold system ...
Especially because Jedidiah is operating the lift! 

Feeling confused ...
This poster is hanging in the Ephrata library ...

Look Mama, it fits!!
The gift of hand-me-down winter coats ...
This gem started with an older cousin,
lasted through 3 boys and now fits Adam!

Yes, he is driving and proud of the fact that he can take Dad and Mom on a ride!  
In his happy place ...
Everywhere he looks there is work to help with!
He's found the perfect job, Farm helper!

These jammies made it to the next generation ...
They started with the older two!

What can I even say? ...