Sunday, May 12, 2019

Coffee, Chocolate and Testosterone

Literally ... coffee, chocolate and testosterone! 
Today I celebrated with these three elements. My heart is content ... I was given permission to sleep in, spoiled with treasures of the aforementioned flavors, indulged in a shared morsel of chocolate cake with caramel filling as a pre-breakfast snack, taken to brunch at my favorite Creperia, read a few library books to 1/2 of my Mighty men, took a nap until a slight tremor (maybe the aftershock) and thunder summoned me from my dreamy abyss and now ... I'm enjoying the solitude during a torrential down pour while sharing life and another cup of coffee with you all. (And, I've heard rumor the day could possibly end with the delicacy of rolled ice cream!) Although I may paint this day to be heavenly perfect thus far ... coffee, chocolate and love from testosterone clad humanity ... it's had some rather human moments that have made me ponder my call in life and the reason we are celebrating. Motherhood.

So many thoughts jockeying for position in the frailty of my thinking. Pride: "Your boys are so mature, respectful and God honoring." Failure: When yelling supersedes life-giving conversation and fills my heart with angst. Uncertainty: Fear of the future when I think of how my choices in life affect them. Elation: When they make a choice to put others first, minister to those around them and bare their soul. Humility: When they boldly speak the heart of their Father and I realize how far I have yet to grow. Yearning: Desiring deep seeded peace, complete abandon to Father's will and for them to learn from my mistakes and realizing they need to walk their own journey. Contentment: They take care of their Mama, each one in their own unique way, I wouldn't trade them for the world ... however, if unlimited chocolate and coffee are part of the deal ...

I've been given the opportunity to develop the call and character of God in their lives. Ultimately and with great relief, it's His grace that does this. I am their Mother. The human vessel He chose to be the bearer of life for these 4 Mighty Men and the 2 raising a ruckus beyond the pearly gates. My biography of motherhood could be filled with a litany of failures, defeats, lost hopes and dreams ... However, there is a glorious peace. His grace has chosen to rewrite this biography on my heart. I belong to Him, His thoughts define me, not my ability or failure to mother these treasures. His grace is sufficient, as I turn my human eyes to my giver of life, THIS is His promise, "My grace is sufficient for you"!

Celebrating Mother's day ... Trusting His redeeming grace ... Shepherding HIS Mighty Warriors

Life on the Mountain
Welcoming the life of 8 Mighty Men from Florida to continue the process of our kitchen remodel ... "What am I going to put in all these cupboards?!" ... Joining ranks to feed the the masses this week ... Very special airport run to hug Mimi and Pop-pop and bring them to our mountain top home for 3 weeks ... Visiting the library with Mimi and Pop-pop ... Cleaning and moving into the kitchen in time to welcome a Vida Missions group ... Cooking with Marjorie, the sweet angel God sent to help me cook this weekend ... Sharing life with staff ... praying, working, laughing, crying, encouraging and raising His mighty warriors!

Kitchen cupboards
Majorie, Byron, Sara, Aidy and Jenny to cook for Casa VidaNet
Community living to support, encourage and pray together
His grace is sufficient, even in motherhood!
Life in our marriage
Go Honduras participants, Lord call them!

Healing for my lower back that I injured during the kitchen cleaning, moving process
Approval of Sara's visa (pray for favor Tuesday a.m.)
Healing for Kara's stomach, back and foot
To trust Him with the lives of these 4 treasures we're shepherding
Housing, a place of refuge for our family, during our 3 month home leave this fall
Grace to put each other first

Look what we found ...
 "Hoover's Barrel Root Beer" in Costa Rica!

Thanks Drew buddy! ... Yes, I will share!

Of course you can have Pop-Tarts! ...
What other treats can Mimi and Pop-pop buy for you?

The snack that smiles back! ...
Of course Mimi and Pop-pop brought you Goldfish!

When your wedding gift mixer dies after 18 years ...
 of course I ordered a pale yellow one!

Yes, it's on our porch ...
Yes, it's dead ...
Yes, it's the size of a pencil
No, it's not a worm!

Storm trooper moth!

Bringing life to the kitchen ... Marjorie, Byron and Jedi ...
Many hands made lots of work more fun!

Celebrating Rice and Beans and Caribbean night
with this crazy crew ...
The things they encourage!

"The Saturday morning sky above Costa Rica’s Central Valley featured a (relatively) rare optical phenomenon known as a sun halo or 22 degree halo."

Words from Mama's heart! ... 

Rumors came true ... Rolled ice cream and
Little House on the Prairie to end the night!
Psalm 91:4
Under His wings I find refuge
... because ...
His grace is sufficient for me!
2 Corinthians 12:9

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Keeping the Old, New

My new has become old ... Can it be made new again? Or rather, can old be kept new? I'm not talking
Sugar rush ... Sunday supper!
about up-cycling or recycling. Although I have loved my Mom-mom dresses tailored to my form paired with a matching sweater that used to grace her tender shoulders. And I can still feel the softness of the fabric I salvaged for a shift dress crafted from Ma-maw's "old work dress" ...  That favorite shirt turned into a stuff bag ... t'shirts armed caped crusaders for the fight ... from boxers and jeans, quilts were created with love ... t'shirts became pillows to keep the memory alive ... dress shirts to dresses ... scraps became treasures and memories from yesteryear were kept alive by making old, new again! 

Ok, let's refocus, take a more Godly approach to up-cycling my old! I'm talking about the new, moving to CR, is now old, settled into routine. It's fostered this yearning in me to say "what needs to change?" This yearning is a very settled, hopeful feeling, not one that leaves me restless. It's not about looking to the next new thing, or restlessly wandering around looking for a new adventure. It's not about staying in CR or moving back to the States or elsewhere. No matter where I move, stay, come or go, whether I like routine or constant change, Father needs to breath His life into my routine. That's what keeping the old new is all about. 

Asking Father to breath His life in me daily, renewing my spirit so that it feels fresh, alive and ready for the next encounter He leads me to.  Whether said encounter is the boys asking for the 10,000th time what's for dinner or the waiter asking why we moved to CR ... I need the freshness of His presence so my response isn't old, annoying or frustrated. It's remembering why He called, how I answered and seeing His glory revealed. While old may be steady, stable routine, new is ... Asking Father to open the eyes of my heart to see what He sees, laying down my rights and choosing obedience, listening to His voice and not ignoring His promptings, practicing Mary-ing instead of Martha-ing ... all in the old routine of daily life. Father, what do I need to change to keep the old, new?

Inviting pruning ... Up-cycling my routine ... Keeping the old, new

Life on the Mountain
Migraines and making amends ... Adam learning how to ride bike and roller skating ... Packing up El Nido and dreaming for the future ... Planning meals and Parasite meds ... Coughs, colds and midnight drinks ... Playing drums and the sweet sound of his guitar ... The joy of Soccer Saturday once again ... Good bye to one and welcoming another ... Praying for youth to come and being refreshed at youth group ... Veggie Tales laughter and snuggles on the couch ... Breathing deep the wind of His Holy Spirit.

A place to stay for our week of retreat in July
Healing from stomach issues
Work team arrived safely
Jedidiah's gift of drumming
A day to get homework done
Daryl's tender heart and listening ear for his wifey
Dedication and commitment to start a youth group at our church

Micah and Joseph finishing their school year
Micah's summer plans for Go Honduras
Housing, a place of refuge for our family, during our 3 month home leave this fall.
Mimi and Pop-pop traveling to CR on Tuesday
Luis' mom, tumor removed awaiting pathology results
Adam to be a good example to his little buddies
Soulmate for Jedidiah
Keeping our old, new

Community living ... 

Helping mom in the kitchen ...
thankful for the gift of Micah!

Theme day, movie/book character or sports hero?
When you have a cold your sticky mustache becomes a uni-brow!

Two sets of twins ... my girls and mighty men!
OH-IO and Heredia

Cleaning up the El Nido boutique ... 

God given gift ... his heart, his passion ...
the noise!

Isaiah 26:8-9 ...
Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Being Present

Happy 49th Dad!
"Wait a minute, let me finish my thought" ... "I just need a minute to respond to this text" ... finger held up in silence to halt the approaching interruption ... "Can't you see, I'm talking to someone?" ...  I look at the pile of cords tangled like last years Christmas lights, each ones ending destination vies for my attention. The screen glares at me causing my eyes to squint, strain and contemplate my response. An emoji response to a text, directions, a recipe, a verse, taking a picture, sending a picture, looking up a translation, sending a voice text, googling an answer to a random or nagging question ... the screen has the answer! My thumbs are stiff, (perhaps my joint issues) perhaps the screens fault. My cervical spine is misshapen from my downward gazing, my eyes strained and the info to my brain jumbled. If I can't stand the distraction why is it so tempting? 

I set a goal the beginning of the year. To only answer necessary texts after 6:00 pm. If a response can wait until tomorrow, it should. I want to be present in the moment. I want to look at those talking to me, listen intently and respond patiently.  This goal was a valiant effort to be more present when family is present. It's been challenging and I've often forgot. In a world full of distractions these moments of being present are life giving to ones soul. My desire to be present equates to those moments when His gaze is for me. You know those moments when chaos and distractions surround you, everyone wants a response now, your attention is fixed on the screen as you answer without looking up and all of a sudden ... Someone calls your name in a way that causes you to stop, taking your breath away, and causing you look up to see His gaze drawing you in.  That's it, that's the kind of being present I want to emit. To be the hands, feet, ears and eyes of Jesus to a world that is hungry for life giving attention. To be the kind answer that turns away wrath, to be the laugh that eases the the embarrassment of mispronunciation, to be the joy when sadness attempts to overwhelm, to be the hope when the pit seems deep ... to be present reflecting Him.

 Being present ... Laying down my device ... Reflecting His gaze 

Life on the Mountain
Celebrating another year of life with my soulmate and bed warmer, Happy 49th to my dream come true! ... Finding freedom to share our hearts as we receive counsel from Mimi ... Sending Micah and Joseph off to the jungle for 3 days with the youth group, so much life and stories to share ... Life is SO different with only two mighty men under our roof ... Field trip x 2 ... The blessing of a morning alone in the house and the feeling that I needed a whole day ... Sharing life with the women of El Nido on their turf in La Cuenca ... Friday night supper at the Hoovers, Pork BBQ for a crowd. The joys of living in community ... Soccer Saturday started for Adam ... School projects, hair cuts, counselor appointment, reading, errands and the challenge of deciding on a family movie night. Here's to the hope of practicing being present ...

Celebrating life
Safe delivery of another El Nido baby
Ministry trip to the jungle with youth
Gift of trained counselors who care

To be present
Slow to speak, quick to listen
Best friend for Jedidiah
Summer plans for Micah participating in Go Honduras
To take time for each other
Holy Spirit empowered change from the inside out
Happy Birthday tradition for Daryl ...
The gift of this Quickie Sticky Recipe has changed my life! ... 

Celebrating April Birthday's ...
#22, 26, 20, 47, 49

At least the Coke was sugar free! ...
Community living, thanks uncle Vinny!

Of course he's bored shopping with Mom ...
"Cone of shame"

Hmmm ... He's such a ham! 

Heading to the Jungle ...
Bug spray and boots required

Sharon Guadelupe ... 2 days old ...
My heart is full!

Eating a Candy cane wearing Candy cane glasses ...

Practicing his drills and skills

Which one of these is not like the other ones? ...
He loved every minute of it!
Free golf clubs ... Sort of a belated birthday gift!

"Let Your presence overtake my heart" ...
Show me Lord, how to be present to those Your heart loves!

Sunday, April 21, 2019


Mini Golf ... finding life in normalcy
Even when I come away with Him, I'm surrounded ... my blanket and bible, cobwebs and coffee, little boy banter and birds, closets full and wish lists long ... Surrounded.  What does it mean and how does it feel to be truly alone and only surrounded by the sweetness of His presence? You know what I'm talking about ... those moments when nothing else matters, my mind is at rest, my to do list no longer vies for my attention and the coffee in hand has never tasted so rich and full. Oh I've known these moments. I've even tasted the sweetness of them, basked in the fragrance of them and relished in the sacredness of heaven touching my soul on earth. These moments are priceless, hidden treasures I return to often. However what I'm pondering is, how? How does one live in an abiding spirit moment by moment? What does it look like to abide constantly so that these moments are not just ... moments? To be so intimately connected with the Creator of my soul while being surrounded by the aforementioned, earthly 'blessings' ... how?

My human misconceptions bind in holy matrimony the words, missionary and continual abiding, leaving me in a heap of condemned rubble ... It feels like wishful thinking as the humanness of my harsh words stare me down daring me to declare my soul abides continually in Him ... As His chosen, called, beloved princess shouldn't my mind be fixed on things above instead of giving allowance to the nagging of anger, frustration, fear, stress, anxiety and my way? I am created for the constant abiding with His spirit that allows me to laugh at the days to come and see my worries blow away like dandelion seeds in the wind. Why is it so incredibly hard then to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, to speak life-giving words instead of my own earthly thoughts? ... Why is it so challenging to continually abide?

In the midst of my pondering and confession of said missionary struggles, I've discovered this morsel dished up at the banqueting table He has set for me ... Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place. You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Say it with me ... You are my hiding place! And, can you hear them? His songs of deliverance singing over you? It's truly a sweet melody that sets my spirit free from the guilt and condemnation of my humanness. While surrounded with earthly things below, my spirit can continually abide with Him in heavenly places ... I declare it and make the choice to hide my soul in His promises! I want to know YOU, let Your spirit overwhelm me, let Your presence overtake my heart ...

Surrounded with things ... Abiding with Him ... Finding my Hiding Place

Life on the Mountain
Sickness and health ... School projects and Co-op writing class ... Late night and early morning airport runs ... Finger licking temptation as we made chocolate covered Peanut butter and Coconut cream eggs ... Discovering Mini golf in CR, 40 minutes from our house! ... Retreating and finding life in the desert of Guatemala with soulmates ... The adventure of riding 4 hours in the back of a pick-up through the heat of Guatemala and the gift of retreating to the air conditioned cab ... Abiding in His presence and finding life in The Vine.

He knows the desires of my heart
His provision for eternal life
The sweetness of His presence with fellow warriors at our EMM retreat in Guatemala
Free massage for missionary Mamas
Safe, uneventful travel to and from Guatemala
Improving communication, Father is answering prayers!
Honduran couple listening to Father's voice for their future

Kevin from Guatemala, Father speak to his heart
Soulmate for Jedidiah
Choose to put each other first, slow to speak, slow to become angry and quick to listen
Housing for our home leave next fall ... We need a place to rest our heads in PA for 3 months.
Continued connections with El Nido Mamas
Micah, raising funds for Go Honduras and decisions for future
Learning how to continually abide
I want to know You, let Your spirit overwhelm me, let Your presence overtake my heart ...

... Picture overload! A lot of life happened in these two weeks! ...

"Real" haircuts! ...
you know, as opposed to the "fake" ones mom does for him! 

School project ... what chores do you do at home?

Nope, this pet is too big! 
Well ... I guess that's a better size pet!  
He has my heart ... she shares her's

Shaping peanut butter eggs ...
"please stop licking your fingers!" ... the temptation is real!

Pick-up truck taxi ...
of course there was room for more! ...
this picture doesn't do it justice

Acting out "what's in the bag" ... Creativity at it's best!

Annual picture ...
they've got the same spark and adventure for life!

Micah and Micah ...
Obviously one is more thrilled at this than the other!

Guatemala tradition ... remembering The Giver of life

Of course we needed a selfie!

"Mama, is he a real robot?"

Finding treasures ...
Wendy's fries and Frostys in Guatemala!

And Dunkin' Donuts too!!!

The perks to being an adorable gringo who speaks Spanish ...
Of course you can see the Cockpit! 

What do you do with free shaving cream? ...
Make slime of course ...
keep it away from your hair and the carpet!

Happy Easter ...
Celebrating His life ... Surrounded by life ...
Learning to abide ...