Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another One Turns 18

Today Jessica turns 18. We were having our family Christmas card photo taken the other day and Jessica wanted her picture taken with this leaf. Jessica likes the outdoors and the ability to enjoy God's creation. I think Jessica looks more like me (our little girl pics are so similar) but she has her dad's personality. Oh yeah, big time! Jessica is a born-leader and is a people-person. She is loyal and friendly and compassionate. She loves basketball - particularly women's basketball. Yes, I am a fan of Baylor women's basketball and Jessica is too but she's a bigger fan of UConn. She would really like a women's team to hold the record for most consecutive wins. She's fun and complementary and thoughtful. One of the biggest things I admire about Jessica, though, is her strong and determined faith. She thinks deep thoughts about spiritual things. She asks questions and wants to know what she believes and why. She is concerned about the lost and unreached people in the world.

Before too long Jessica will make her college decision. She will finish her senior year as captain of the basketball team and President of the Student Council. She will collect her awards, go on her senior trip, and graduate from high school. Most likely, she will work at camp again this summer. I'm not rushing it - believe me, I would love to slow.down.time. It could go at a turtle's pace and I would be happy. But, the reality is, that this precious girl will leave the nest and pursue what God has for her. I'm happy about that. Really, I am. I just can't imagine life without her here. She lights up our home.

So, happy 18th birthday, Jessica! May God pour out His richest blessings on you! You are an absolute joy in my life. I love you!

Jesssica's mom, Jeanette

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

It's Sunday afternoon following Thanksgiving. We took our annual extended family Thanksgiving camping trip this past week. Our favorite spot is Tyler State Park and we returned there this year. It was a glorious week. The first three days were warm - I started to type "unseasonalby warm" but, in Texas, it can be warm just about any day of the year - and then on Thursday, Thanksgiving day, Johnny and I started out on a jog in the woods with our dog. It had been sprinkling a little on and off all morning and we had the airconditioner on in the Wildwood. It started sprinkling but we thought it might stop so we kept going. Mistake...big mistake. Instead of stopping sprinkling it started raining and the wind picked up - we could feel the temperature dropping as we headed back to our campsite. The wind blew the multi-colored leaves onto the path ahead of us and it was incredible. Beautiful. By lunch-time (and we ate outside anyway) it was down-right cold. And raining and wet and miserable. But, all in all, it was a fun camping trip and I am thankful for the chance to go.

I am thankful for a good many things this year. Really, I have much to be grateful for. After spending days in the Andes Mountains of Peru and in India, I recognize that I am abundantly blessed. I am thankful for health and love and family and church and friends and freedom and God and abundant life. I am so grateful for my comfortable home and my home away from home, the Wildwood. I am extra thankful for my comfy bed after my 2 recent trips overseas as well as the yummy food we have here. I am thankful for the ability to worship and hear God speak through His Word into my life.

Hope you had a great holiday - it's back to reality tomorrow!

Serving the King,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Unexpected Testimony

It's the last day in India -- well, except for a few hours I will spend in an airport in Delhi tomorrow. By this time tomorrow I will have, at least, started on my journey back to America. I am totally ready to head back and I can't wait to see my family. This has been a hard trip for a number of reasons. I got the biggest blessing of the whole trip at the women's conference yesterday. Halfway through the conference, a blind girl sang a song then a couple of women gave a testimony. The first was a pastor's wife here in India and the other was a lady who lives in the city. She started sharing about how God had been working in her life -- she, of course, was speaking in Hindi so I had to wait for the interpreter to say each phrase in English -- and then she talked about something I said about my grandmother at the women's conference TWO YEARS AGO. First of all, wow, she remembered that from 2 years ago. Second of all, since that time my grandmother has died and so that made it extra precious to me. My translator was sitting down the row for me and she leaned forward to catch my eye to make sure I realized that the lady giving the testimony was talking about something I taught about 2 years ago. The lady said a little more about what I taught about and how she applied it to her own life. I was sitting there trying to compose myself because it was my turn when her testimony was over. The main point of the whole thing was about how God gives all of us different gifts, talents, and abilities and He uses us in different ways according to the ways He has gifted us.

So, here's the deal - we never know whose life we might impact, when we might really make a difference in somebody's life. Sometimes we will get the unexpected privilege to actually find it out and sometimes, maybe often times, we will never know. All we can do is to be faithful to obey to go and do what God has called us to go and do.

In the end, I am so thankful that I got to hear that testimony and I was blessed abundantly more than anyone else in that room yesterday! This lady's son is a translator in the medical camp this week and he came up to me this afternoon and told me his mom was the one who gave the testimony. I was so glad I got to talk to him and tell him how much it meant to me (he speaks great English, btw) since I didn't get to talk to his momma yesterday.

I'm heading home tomorrow and I can't wait to see my family! As always when I return from India, I have a new appreciation for all the material things God has given me and my family. And, I will be so thankful to not hear honking horns, to eat beef (I am a Texan, afterall), to put ice in a nice glass of sweet tea, and to sleep in my own comfy bed! I will be glad to not have to put on a long skirt, to not be drenched in sweat, and to not have to drive one hour each way to the conference center in terrifying traffic. I will be glad to celebrate thanksgiving with my family and extended family - I will feel even more grateful for that delicious turkey my brother will fry, the dressing my mom will make, and the freedom to worship without fear of persecution. And, a special, unexpected testimony will continue to encourage me, I am sure, for weeks and weeks to come.

Serving the King in India,


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Respect, or Lack of It

I typed a simple but true statement on my fb yesterday: I'll be in India the same time as the President. We won't be in the same city and, obviously, not in the same hotel since they've booked their entire place for security reasons. Your tax dollars hard at work, people. I got some replies and after Jessica got home from school (and posted a reply as well, btw) she commented that I was getting some interest in my status. She happened to be writing a paper for her dual-credit English class which she titled "A Certain Decline" and that led us to a conversation about respect and whether or not I should delete my status, make my own comment to it, or do nothing.  The paper is about the decline of respect for authority in our country. I'm not saying that any of the comments posted on fb were showing a lack of respect - I'm just writing my thoughts following a conversation I had with my daughter.

I think respect has become one of those words that has lost some of its value because we throw it around so much. It's like love - we love macaroni and cheese, we love our Texas Rangers, we love our spouse and children. But, really, we love God. There are people who think they deserve respect just because they are breathing but they haven't necessarily done anything to earn respect. There are people who think you must respect them and those they agree with but fail to show respect for others. It's all a one-way street for some people.

Take, for instance, the liberal media. Watching MSNBC or the  tv show The View is like watching the movie Mean Girls. Granted, I don't watch either but I've seen clips on my only source for the news, FoxNews. But, by all means, according to those people, don't say anything negative about our current president. If you do, you might be labeled a racist or ignorant or something similar.

Here's what I believe, I don't have to agree with the political views of any elected official. I don't have to agree with my pastor or the local police department. But, these people have done something to earn respect and it is my duty to show respect to the office each holds. We can't just respect people in authority when we agree with them. I guess that is why I bawled like a baby (ok, that might be an exaggeration but those of you who know me know I cry at the drop of a hat) when the former Presidents Bush came at to throw out the first pitch at the World Series the other night at the Ballpark in Arlington. I loved it, loved it (yes, I am using the love word and I mean it) that they got such a great welcome. And, as I noted on my fb status, George W Bush rocked it - he totally threw a strike to Nolan Ryan at home plate! Those that insist we be tolerant and show respect to some didn't, and continue to not, show respect to our former president and anyone else in authority that they happen to not agree with.

So, Jessica and I decided that I should quote some Scripture as a comment to my own fb status. We took parts of verses from Romans 13. I didn't do it as a rebuke to anyone who posted on my status but as a reminder to myself of my own obligation to live the way in which Christ instructs me to live. Sometimes that is really hard. My next fb status was a quote from Jessica, "Always end with Scripture. It trumps every argument."

You know, if we - believers and followers of Jesus - really lived what we say we believe, lived our lives according to Scripture, I wonder what the world would look like. Would we be more loving, more caring, more forgiving, more respecting? Would we be so busy going and making disciples that some of the petty stuff we get hung up with wouldn't even matter? Would we be more concerned with modeling respectful living to our children than getting the last word in or voicing our distaste with everything that irritates us? 

I don't know about you but I needed a gut-check on this one. Like our pastor always says, "If you can't say amen, say ouch!" I'm saying both today.

Serving the King,


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Study Time

It seems a natural thing to me that our women's conference in India this year would be from the book of Matthew. I have spent so much time over the past couple of years studying it that I have about a 1,000 lessons that I could potentially teach from that gospel. Ok, I am exaggerating just a bit but, really, I have learned so much from the book and I'm excited to share it in another venue. (Even though I am completely wrapped up in Judges right now getting ready for Fusion in January - this year Johnny and I plan to teach a co-ed class together!)  Just this morning I have had to adjust our conference speakers and topics a little bit and that's a tiny bit stressful but I feel confident that it's going to work out and I am praying God's blessings on the women we will encounter.

My challenge today is to finish up my own outlines. It's really hard for me to stay focused on this one activity because (1) it's election day & I want to listen to the news - it's a BIG election day; (2) Jessica is home sick and she's filling out residence forms for college so I've had to dig out shot records & health insurance info and help answer questions; (3) I still have errands to run, laundry to do, packing to think about and that distracts me; (4) Jacob got his driver's permit today. Ok, that last one is not distracting me from study. It's just what's going on today so I thought I would include it. Jacob is, afterall, the last to start driving and it's kind of a big deal. We've been doing the home taught driver's ed and he's had to read and listen to me and take practice tests. He already thought that was a lot of trouble. When I told him this morning we still had about 26 hours of classroom time plus the driving time he was irritated - he thought we already finished the teaching part...hahahahaha...boy, is he gonna hate the hours and hours we have left to do.

Back to work for me....

Serving the King,