Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memories of Summer

It's almost here - the days are already long, the comforter on the bed has been traded for a light blanket and we're already using the BBQ for dinner.

It's going to be a really different summer for me in many ways. Only one of my girls will be home with us - the Peanut graduates from college next month and is looking for a job. And the Baby is off to work at a camp for foster and disadvantaged kids in Canada.

It's our first summer in the northwest in almost 17 years and I am thrilled about missing the scorching temps of summer in the desert. (Sorry about that my dear Palm Springs friends. You are my heros for enduring.)

I have some great memories of summers gone by:

*My mom and all the neighborhood moms sitting at a card table in the driveway playing Yahtzee while all us kids ran around in our swim suits. I can still hear those dice rattling in that cup!

*Building a miniature golf course in the back yard out of scrap lumber, plastic pipe and other miscellaneous junk and selling admission to the neighbor kids.

*Buying candy at 7-11 then setting up a candy stand on the sidewalk and reselling it for less so people would buy from me. (Okay, so I've never been very good at math. I wanted friends!) Things like Fruit Stripe gum. Necco Wafers. Pixy Stix. Giant SweeTarts. Candy necklaces. Bubble gum cigars.

*Camping trips at lakes all over the state of Oregon with our four-man canvas tent and Coleman stove. Where we water-skiied and swam until we were too sun-burned to move (I don't think Sea and Ski lotion had any sunscreen in it). Where we got to drink all the Shasta pop we wanted and fought over who had to drink the black cherry cola. Where I always celebrated my birthday with an applesauce cake my mom had made and brought along in the ice chest.

*Riding bikes for hours (way too far from home, as I now realize) until my mom blew the shrill whistle she used to call my brother and I home each evening.

*Watching Gidget, That Girl, My Three Sons, Gomer Pyle, Family Affair, Bewitched and Andy Griffith on our new color tv!! (The shows may not have all been in color, though.)

*Snacks of 'colored ice cubes' (frozen Kool-Aid) and huge dill pickles. Watermelon for breakfast. Fresh-picked raspberries on vanilla ice cream. Drinking 'Fizzies.'

How about you? What are your childhood memories of summer?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Catching Up

No excuses - I've been away from the blog and now I'm back with a few random thoughts...

God is always at work in us, isn't He? He never rests, never takes a break, never gives up in frustration or discouragement. I'm realizing that He is relentless in pursuing me. What an awesome thought! He loves me so much that He designs, allows and uses all the circumstances of my life to show me who He is and how completely in control He is! He doesn't pluck me out of difficult things - instead He wants to use those very things I'd rather avoid to show me how HUGE He is. To change me from self-centered to God-centered.

Here's a truth that I've known but has recently become real to me:

I'm never to look at my circumstances and make a judgment about what God is like based on that situation. (ie. This bad thing happened therefore God isn't a good God.)

Instead, I need to look at my God and make a judgment about my circumstances based on who He is. (ie. God is wise and loving and in control therefore this bad thing that happened is something He allowed and will use for good. I may not ever understand it but I can trust Him because of who He is.)

All my circumstances are part of what God is using to accomplish His purposes in me. They are completely at His mercy. Subject to His approval or not. If I'm experiencing it, He allowed it. Nothing that comes my way hasn't passed His test: Is this something that will further My purpose being accomplished in Becky?

That said, there is no denying that the pain and suffering we're allowed to experience is HARD. Big pain and little struggles. Deep hurt and daily frustrations. Loss and longing. Use it all, Lord! Only You could take what seems to me to be purely bad and bring something truly good out of it!

I loved the honesty of Mary Beth Chapman's post this last week - grieving the one year anniversary of the death of her little girl. Lord, what would we do without You?

"However, the Lord your God... turned the intended curse into a blessing because the Lord your God loves you." Deuteronomy 23:3

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday - Lids

This is certainly not anything ingenious or even all that clever - but for me, it's been the answer to a frustration I've had for years: what to do with all those plastic lids that match all my Tupperware, Pyrex, etc... I've tried to keep them with their partners in the cupboard but somehow I end up digging through the stacks that get shoved into the deep, dark back of the shelf and can find the bowl but no lid. Who took it? I don't think anyone in my family gets up in the night to hide my lids but I can't be sure of that.

So... I put a 'lid organizer' (which I believe was intended for cooking pot lids) into a deep kitchen drawer and simply 'filed' my plastic lids there! Of course before that ever happened, I had a little bowl-to-lid matching session and got rid of all the extras that somehow lost their mates. Sigh. Plus I do keep the really big lids with their matching containers as they don't fit in a drawer.

Be sure to check out all the great 'Works For Me Wednesday' ideas at We Are THAT Family!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Remembering on Mother's Day

I can't help but think of how blessed I am this Mother's Day! To know that my children are fed, clothed and in a safe place every night is something I take for granted. But that's not the case for so many mothers in Ethiopia. How it must ache to worry about those most basic needs for your children.

For the last year, I've had the privilege of helping with Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia. Just last month, our first little boy was brought home to begin his life with his new family in Washington!

Last April, I traveled to Ethiopia to visit our orphanages, work with the widows that are part of the feeding program YWAM has and meet some of the most amazing and beautiful people who are serving Christ in very tough conditions. The trip was the hardest thing I've ever done. But if I hadn't gone because of my own fear, I would have missed a life-changing experience.

There are many women in Ethiopia who have asked YWAM to take their children because they cannot provide for them. I saw it happen when I was there. A group of women had heard there was a place in their city where orphans were being cared for and placed for adoption into homes in the U.S. They came to the compound with their babies and toddlers, asking if we would please take their children and give them food, shelter and, hopefully, a new family who had the means to provide for them. Can you even imagine that? Their love and desire for their child's best interest had somehow overtaken their motherly instinct to personally hold and nurture their own child. It is simply unthinkable to me to be in that position!

"I helped those without hope, and they blessed me. And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing for joy." Job 29:13

That is what Adoption Ministry Ethiopia is all about - helping those without hope.

"Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." Isaiah 1:16-18

If you'd like to be a part of the ministry to do just that, please let me know!

You can:
  • commit to praying for a child waiting to be adopted
  • become a monthly sponsor for an orphaned child
  • give a one-time gift to help support YWAM's humanitarian work
  • go to Ethiopia to serve widows and orphans

Or maybe you know someone who would prayerfully consider adopting a child from Ethiopia. Maybe that someone is you! Just send an email to: support@ywamethiopia.com and I'll be glad to respond.

I hope you have a wonderful celebration of Mother's Day as you give thanks for your mother, for your children and for God's heart for widows and the motherless.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

National Day of Prayer... who, me?

Have you ever felt, like I have, that the great number of things there are to pray about in life almost prevents you from praying at all? There are family members, personal character flaws, circumstances at home or work, unsaved loved ones, third-world countries, illnesses, ministries, marriages - the list goes on and on. I can just picture the enemy rubbing his hands together with glee, having successfully made me feel overwhelmed to the point of not praying.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, God makes it pretty clear that He wants us to pray for those in leadership over us - it's a command not a suggestion. But it comes with a wonderful promise: that we will be able to live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and holiness, because God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth!

So as overwhelming as it might seem to pray for a whole nation, it's good to be reminded that God intends to answer my prayers.

Today is our nation's 58th National Day of Prayer. On January 1, 1795, George Washington used the following words to call for a national day of prayer and fasting:

It is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue to confirm the blessings we experienced. Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation…

Washington’s proclamation went on to request a list of items that Americans could pray for:

  • that God would continue to prolong His blessings on the young nation.

  • that God would imprint on American hearts a solemn sense of our obligations to Him.

  • that God would preserve us from the arrogance that accompanies prosperity.

  • that Americans would continue to merit God’s favor by not abusing it.

  • that our nation would develop the habits of sobriety, order, morality and piety.
    (from the Presidential Prayer Team)
Join me today in praying for our nation, our military, our government decision-makers, the media and for our own personal responsiblity to be Christ's ambassadors right where we live.

Mother's Day Giveaway!

Janice and Susan at 5 Minutes for Moms are having a Mother's Day giveaway! Click over to enter a chance to win things like a Four Seasons Hotel gift card, flowers from Telefloral, HP printers, Kodak cameras and more! Thank you Janice and Susan!

Mothers Day 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Links I'm Loving for Mother's Day

With Mother's Day fast approaching, I found a few things online I hope you'll enjoy as much as I did. Mother's Day is a great time to ditch my expectations and focus on being thankful for all I have.

I've spoiled many a M'day for myself by holding out an impossible standard and promptly being let down when it wasn't (because it couldn't have been) achieved - though not for lack of trying. The older I get, the more I see how much I've been given, how little I really need and how good it is to get my focus on someone other than ME. Oh Lord, thank You for all You've given me - for forgiving my pettiness. Let me be a blessing to those I love so much.


Really Bad Ideas for Mother's Day - from Rocks In My Dryer (amen)

Transcending: Words on Women and Strength - Kelly Corrigan (a tear-jerker)

Living the Authentic Life - from Melissa @ The Inspired Room (well said)

A Real Giving Kind of Guy - by Dave Barry (giving from a man's perspective)

The Real Mother's Day is Yet to Come - by Barbara Rainey (loved this!)
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