Monday, April 30, 2012

Joy Dare, Ministry Focus

Jill over at Compassion Family has invited us to share the grace we find in our work as Child Advocates and Compassion International sponsors.  I has noticed recently how in serving, speaking, training, more grace flowed in my life, leaving evidence of the gifts my FATHER lavishes on me.  Here are a few that I've uncovered, discovered, written down:

More confirmation of words that I think, that God is answering my prayers for wisdom
An 8 oclock appointment tomorrow morning I am very excited
Volunteering as a family
Builder’s words of encouragement meant for the children, which actually move me forward
Beautiful Claudia, giving us the tour of Compassion International’s  offices, pulls the pieces of my heart’s mission together.  It is taking shape.
Discussing the POVERTYWHEEL during morning Bible times.  Father open our eyes.
A letter from Lesbia!
7 kids sponsored!
My prayers for steady emotions were answered
Family working together for this presentation
The opportunity to share with others a burden of my heart ~ child trafficking

Sponsor-Compassion-International-Tanzania-125x125gifBloggers going to Tanzania, where Janeth is!
The much anticipated packet arrived
Time to talk in the morning, knowing the call

It is JOY to serve, to give one's life away, and then find so much more than was here before.

Counting Grace

The fullness of these past 2 weeks has reminded me of something I often tell my children.  "Everything we choose to do means there is something else that we can't or won't do.  It is neither good or bad, it just is what it is."

And these past weeks of training, teaching, working, living full have brought me into the full realization of that truth.  My family has survived on sandwiches, beans & rice, a few homemade pizzas during this time and have been gracious in sharing my time and attention.

Builder and I were able to scoot out several times for mind clearing, relaxing walks and one time I remembered my camera, to capture the beauty of the spring time blooming as lingered in thought of the great love of our God.

Oh what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we could be called the sons of God.

counting graces #970-978
Friendly comments
Warm sunshine
Growing trees
Peaches on the tree in the backyard
So many pink and purple flowers along our walk path
2 sweet new ducks
Parenting challenges, require more time on my knees
Beans and rice

Friday, April 27, 2012

This Moment ~ Living History Event

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

linking up with Amanda

Monday, April 23, 2012

1000 Gifts

This Monday morning my heart and mind are full of joy as I reflect on the events of the past week.  So much has happened and glimpses of the LORD's working in hearts has me in awe.  Here is a portion of my growing gratitude list.

gifts: #947-969

Best of friends, playing, weeding the garden in historical costumes
The gift of friendship
Lilacs are blooming
Father daughter dates
Girls in braids
Family walks to the park
Chastisement from the Lord
Quiet time with HIM in the morning
Opportunity to share the word “thankful” as I worked this morning
Onions planted in the garden
Smiles from Mae as we crossed paths at “work” today
Short afternoon naps
Quiet walk as the sun sets
Sweet words of love from my youngest “great” nephew
Times of prayer with Beloved in the morning
8 kids sponsored!
My prayers for steady emotions were answered
Family working together for this presentation

all is grace. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

my thoughts ~ Compassion Sunday

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me…” Matthew 25:35

I have learned that through child sponsorship the stories are changed on both sides of the relationship.

Builder and I have been Compassion sponsors for about 16 years, but in the fall of 2010, we made it a family thing and sponsored Lesbia Herlinda and Bryan Marcello.

Now our daughters write letters, draw pictures and fold origami to slip into envelopes each month to send to Lesbia and Bryan.

  We’ve spent time learning about Guatemala, had meals of the same limited ingredients Lesbia and Bryan might be eating for dinner. 

And we pray.  This is where I hear what it means to our daughters to be a part of this ministry with us.  When you hear your children pray, you get to hear what is on their hearts.  It is powerful to hear them say, “Please let Bryan have enough to eat tonight.”  “Please help Lesbia do well in school.”  “Please protect them from the gangs.”

Personally, I have a gained greater awareness of the particular dangers each of these children face in daily life and my prayers have become more specific and urgent.  The words I write in the letters are to extend hope and to tell each of these children how precious they are to God, and to me, a mother far away.

As you can see, the benefits of sponsorship through Compassion International are not one sided.  As we seek to share God’s love in with these children through $38 a month, prayer and letters, His transforming work continues in us and we are given the opportunity to grow in grace and understanding.

Will you consider sponsoring a child today?


Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Beauty Book by Nancy Rue

The Beauty Book, of The Lily Series by Nancy Rue published by Thomas Nelson, 2012

Secrets for looking great, inside and out.  Everywhere you turn – TV, magazines, celebrities, and even your friends = it seems everyone demands that you look a certain way to fit in.  But what if you aren’t “perfect” like the actress in your favorite show?  Or don’t want to look like everyone else?  What about true beauty, the kind God put inside of you?  Can you’re inside match the outside?  Can you get the God-confidence you need to be content with the person you are?”

As soon as this PINK book came out of the mail packaging my daughters were asking for it.  We live in a houseful of girls, none of which wear or decorate with pink, but do believe that the color pink means GIRL.  And this book is a cheerful read about all things preteen, middle school age girl.

The author uses a question and answer format, answering common questions that girls of the preteen, middle school ages have.  There are quizzes and activities that are fun and lighthearted, while also encouraging the reader to take a look at her own heart.  There is strong encouragement in this book to get to know oneself, thank God for the you-niquely way He has made each girl, and to seek to honor HIM in that uniqueness.

Now that I have quickly read the book and written the review, this pink, fun bundle of encouragement is being handed to my sweet daughters.  I believe the humor and truth presented in the book strikes a nice balance and that my daughters will be encouraged to look kindly and honestly at themselves and others during this awkward time of growing up.

I review for BookSneeze®

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, April 20, 2012

Praying for Unsponsored Children

Janeth has been SPONSORED!  There is a story to this, but not one to share here.  Please join me in thanking God for the work He is doing in hearts!

This week we are praying for Janeth Abel Jacob.  This precious little girl lives in Tanzania, in an AIDS affected area.  

  • Age: 6
  • Birthday: December 9, 2005
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: Tanzania
  • Center: TAG Nyakato Student Center
  • Child ID: TZ1310305
    • Child lives in an AIDS-affected area.  Our sweet Petal Rose would love to sponsor Janeth, as they have a "vital statistic" in common, but we just are not able right now.

  • We will be praying for this precious little girl, for a sponsor, for protection and good health, for the knowledge of Jesus' love to come to her.

    If you are interested in sponsoring Janeth, you can do so by clicking here.

    This Moment

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Another Strong review

    Do you feel trapped in the machine of excess?  Jen Hatmaker was.  Her friends were.  And some might say that our culture is.  Jen once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual journey was born.  7 is the true story of how Jen took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern day diseases of greed, materialism and overindulgence.

    This book has been out for a while, and in the evangelical “mom” circles there has been plenty of reference to 7, an experimental mutiny against excess.  Jen Hatmaker suggests there is a tension in us, enjoying the abundance (excess) that we have been blessed with, and the reality that maybe what we’ve been given isn’t really all for “me”. 

    And I wholeheartedly nodded my head in such a way I risked whiplash.  The amount of money that my dear husband made last year, the amount that went right out the door.  Makes me shake my head.  Every drop we do let fall into a bucket of compassion, mission to help end extreme poverty or the pain of the widow down the road seems small compared to my appetite for a cup of coffee, chocolate, books, entertainment…and the odds & ends that fall into my basket at Target.  There doesn’t seem to be a balance, or evidence of a right desire to love my neighbor as myself.

    The overall message is one that is widely circulating as God seems to be at work waking up His American church.  We really don’t look a lot like the church of Acts, we don’t really look like our Jesus.  Jen Hatmaker writes with a humorous conversational style that is a bit like a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down… but in her humor there is plenty of truth to think on. And another strong nudge to act.  ACT.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Waiting Child ~ Compassion International

    Orestes is no longer on the Compassion waiting children list!  I am hopeful that means he has been sponsored.  :)

    This week we are praying for Orestes, from Indonesia.  He is 8 years old and has been waiting about 260 days for a sponsor.

    In his home, Orestes helps by caring for children and running errands. He lives with his father and his mother. His father is employed as a farmer and his mother maintains the home. There are 2 children in the family.

    Playing with cars and running are Orestes's favorite activities. In primary school his performance is average and he also regularly attends church activities and Bible class.

    If you are interested in learning more about Orestes, or in sponsoring him through Compassion International, you can click here.

    Children in the Compassion sponsorship programs recieve an education, academic and in hygeine/health/nutrition, they recieve medical care and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is always my prayer that the light shined upon these children at the project sites will be carried home with them, and that light might shine on all who in their home.  I pray each of their families will come to know Jesus as their Saviour, and discover the hope that helps them step out of extreme poverty.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Finding Our Way Home, A Fiction Review

    Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Ann Baumbich

    When principal ballerina Sasha Davis suffers a career-ending injury at age thirty-eight, she leaves her Boston-based dance company and retreats to the home of her youth in Minnesota.  Finding she cannot live alone, Sasha hires a live in assistant.

    The assistant is Evelyn Burt, as opposite Sasha as she could be, being a large young woman with a 9 ½ shoe size.  We soon find that each of the characters have wounds which they can help one another heal.  Starting out as Boss and Employee, they soon find themselves as dear friends.

    This story was rather slow in the beginning, the characters didn’t quite fully develop.  As the story continued there were sweet moments, but overall it lacked depth. Introducing premarital passion and marital intimacy was a topic that seemed very out of place in this story.

     The Christian message was very weak and vague.  I found the reference to “faith” and “grace” completely undeveloped and awkward in this story.  I was bothered by the fortune telling, talisman and magic represented in the story, as though these were messages from God.

    The front cover compares the story to those written by Jan Karon and I didn’t find the comparison true at all.  This is just not a book I can recommend.

    This book was provided to me by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Glory Hallelujah! 1000 gifts

    This past week so much time was spent out of our home, or occupied by online training that kept me from some of the normal rhythm of home.

    Home, that word brings so much joy and peace to my heart.  It wasn't always so, but God has healed so much, forgiven much, changed much in my life.  He has given me a new heart, that seems to beat more strongly day by day.

    It is amazing to think, nearly 9 years ago I was in physical heart failure...and even more so, spiritual heart failure.  While the surgeon replaced a valve and stitched me back together, the LORD's scalpel went even deeper.

    Looking back at my life used to bring shame, fear, pain.  Now most days a reminder of the days behind stir a wonder and joy within me.

    There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  The old has passed away, the new has come.

    Glory Hallelujah!

    giving thanks with joy #926-946

    This community in which we live, filled with others on a similar journey as us, and always full of encouragement
    High school doesn’t look so daunting this morning
    Cheerful girl up an hour earlier than usual, practicing piano and reading
    Laughter as cousins fellowship, olders hide eggs, youngers find eggs
    Monopoly in the dining room
    Stories with a grand nephew
    Garden planning
    Rich joyful sounds from the fingers of 3 different ladies, at various times during the day, on the piano
      Beautiful red tulips on the corner
    Sunshine after rain
    Blue clear skies, no pollen in the air
      Teaching opportunities
    Good books
    Sweet daughters sewing buttons
    Lunch with precious daughter
    Snuggles with darling daughter
    The opportunity to share with others a burden of my heart ~ child trafficking

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Galileo by Mitch Stokes, a Review

    Galileo, by Mitch Stokes.

    This book is one in the Christian Encounters series.  From the front cover flap:  We learn about life through the lives of others.  Their experiences, their trials, their adventures become our schools, our chapels, our playground.  Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church through prose as accessible and concise as it is personal and engaging.

    And from the back cover:  It’s no mystery how profound a role Galileo Galilei played in the Scientific Revolution.  Less explored is the Italian innovator’s sincere, guiding faith in God.  In this exhaustively researched biography that reads like a page-turning novel, Mitch Stokes draws on his expertise in philosophy, logic, math, and science to attune modern ears with Galileo’s controversial genius.

    This book was sent to be for review, and I was very excited to receive it.  But to be honest, I have struggled through the book.  Rather than reading like a page-turning novel, I found myself very distracted by all of the annotations and index references.  It felt that much of the story was left for the reader to discover by gathering the resources listed in the index.

    After reading Galileo I do have a little more knowledge of the Catholic Church’s counter reformation and the Inquisition which finally did condemn Galileo.  There are thoughts expressed in this book which have helped me put into words some of what I am hoping to communicate as I look to teaching some science classes in the next year.

                    “In 1605, Francis Bacon had famously said that God gave us two books to study: his world and his Word.  Because God is the author of both books, they can never-when properly interpreted-conflict.”


                    “…science as a natural outworking of a Christian desire to know God and his creation”

    There are others who I know that have read this book and did not find it a troublesome read at all, and it may be that in another season of life I could have a seat and enjoy this story.  So, while I have not enjoyed this book, and it has been a labor to read, I am thankful for what I have been able to glean and feel confident that it can join other reliable resources on our science book shelves.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    sketch Tuesday, Something that Starts with B

    Two weeks of a fever and ache virus seems to have influenced this week's sketch.  To join in or see other creative works visit Harmony Art Mom.

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    Always Thanks to be Given

    This practice of Eucharisteo has become a habit, that even while in bed with fever and pain the gifts run through my mind.  What greater gift can a practice give?

    It was a sad pondering the week following, as I tried to make up for a lost week with hurried busy work, when I struggled to find even one gift in the day.  There I find a nugget of truth.  Gratitude is more easily found in the quietness of a spirit that seeks rest in the Holy Spirit, , even on a busy day.

    Gifts given while marme is sick in bed with fever and pain… through #925

    popsicles which lowered the internal heat
    Sweet girl who read me to sleep and sat with me a long while
    Husband who tended to me, knowing just how I felt, as it is the virus he just suffered through
    Children who want to love on me and be close, even as I protested, I didn’t want to share the sickness
     Soft blankets
    Rice cuddlers on my aching knees and ankles
    Cold water
    Warm tea
    Allergy meds and antibiotics to deal with the “other” symptoms
    No sore throat!
    Two soft stuffed animals tucked in with me by my sweet youngest, which I did wake and find myself holding
    Quiet days to be home to recover
    Audio books to listen while I rest

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Praying for Your Future Husband, a review

    Praying for Your Future Husband, Preparing Your Heart for His by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer.  This book was published by Multnomah and provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah for a review.

     “…no one had ever asked me what could be done to change this dilemma of an unbalanced between god-honoring young women and their male contemporaries who were slow to seek God.  What could I tell her?

    The words that came out of my heart were, “You have work to do, dear God-Lover Girls.  You must start praying for your future husband now.”

    “What sort of changes will God bring about in the life of your future husband as a result of your praying for him now?  We don’t know.”

    “As you pray for him, what sort of changes will God initiate in your heart?  We don’t know that either.” 

    “but we do know there’s only one way to find out.”

     This book reads as a conversation between the reader, the authors and other women whose stories are told in part.  Each chapter covers a topic over which the reader is invited to pray for her future husband.  There is a Scripture passage to introduce the chapter and Robin and Tricia  each share what is on her heart or a piece of her own story.  There are scripted prayers to help the reader begin to form her own prayers and encouragement to look inside her own heart,   The book is like a journal, with places to write the reader’s own thoughts and discussion questions.

    The topics covered in this book are:
    Pray for His Heart
    Pray He Will Be a God Lover
    For Patience
    For Understanding
    For Trust
    For Loyalty and Faithfulness
    For Strength
    For Protection
    For Intimacy
    For “The List”
    For Contentment
    For Commitment.

    There are closing thoughts from Robin and Tricia as well as Scriptures to pray for the reader’s future husband.

    This book could be a useful tool in disciplining young adult women.  There is discussion of painful mistakes, regrets in relationships so I only recommend this book for high school and older young women.  It is my hope that girls can hold onto their innocence and not have idea planted to early into their minds, and this book does discuss a slightly more mature content than preteen and early teen girls might think about.

    The authors appear to have a real desire to encourage young women to allow God the timing and purposes in their lives that lead up to marriage, to pray over their future husbands and to prepare their own hearts.  The younger generations need this kind of encouragement, mentorship and love.

    This book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Waiting for a Sponsor

    ***Update!  Jesus David has been SPONSORED***

    Jesus David is the cutest little guy, just look at those cheeks.
    He is 5 years old, and waiting for a sponsor through Compassion International.

    Would you like to take part in this little guy's life?  Speaking hope and love into his heart through your letters, and providing essential life things like clean water, medical care, education and Biblical teaching with a monthly gift of $38?

    If so, please email me and I'll get right back in touch with you!

    byquietwaters at gmail dot com.

    with joy

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    Child Sponsorship and 2 Giveaways!

    As a mom, I want all children to have access to the necessities of life, just like my own kids do.  I can’t imagine not being able to get my daughters the medication they need when strep makes it’s ugly self known, or clean cool water when they are thirsty.  Nor can I imagine life without Jesus to comfort them when the deep ugliness of this sin wrecked world brushes by, or when our own sin wrecked words sting.

    Yet, so many mothers just don’t have access to medication, clean cool water, adequate shelter nor the knowledge of Christ’s love and redemption.  Living in poverty withholds the basic needs, stripping away dignity, hope, even life.

    Our family sponsors children in Guatemala, and in all the ways this opportunity touches our lives, the way that might mean the most to me is to think that Lesbia’s mother, and Bryan’s mother are not alone in the fight against darkness, against the claws that seek to pull young ones away.  These mothers are not alone in their hopes for their children.  I've joined their team. 
    Beautiful Lesbia
    the Guapo Bryan

    I’ve joined the "mom" team, to pray for these precious young ones, to offer words of hope and encouragement to do what is right and good in the letters that I write each month.  And that $38 a month we send for each of these children?  It does far more for each of those children and their families than it could for me if I stuck it in my pocket.

    How would you like to join the team?  To sponsor a child, even?  To give $38 a month to provide

    • Food and clean water
    • Medical care
    • Educational opportunities
    • Important life-skills training
    • Most important of all, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.

    That’s just what your money will cover.  Your prayers and letters full of words of hope and encouragement can tell the child how precious and loved she/he is.  And your act of sponsorship will tell a mom and dad, or a single mom or dad that they are not alone in their hope and fight for a life above poverty for this child.

    Really, this just amazes me.  Here we are, able to offer hope to a mom, a child, a family far away, hope that can help them rise above the grip of poverty.

    If you are interested, here are children who are waiting for sponsors in the Compassion Program.

    And just until 9:59 AM PST next Monday, April 9, if you sponsor a child, Sevenly will give you a free tshirt! 

    You must sponsor through this link for the tshirt offer.

    Now are you still with me?

    If sponsorship is not for you today, Sevenly has another opportunity for you to make a difference in the fight against poverty.

    Buy a tshirt and Sevenly will donate $7.00 to provide a life-saving mosquito net to children in Rwanda.

    And if you have read this far,
    please leave me a comment. 

    I will enter your name into a drawing for

    a book by Compassion International President, Wess Stafford.

    These giveaways end next Monday at 9:59 AM PST.

    The Next Step

    These days I often find myself thinking, pondering things that Builder says in passing.  Having him home for several months, we get to hear great things from him.  He was recently sharing words of encouragement to our daughters that ended with something like this...

    and then there are those who spend most of their lives just healing from injustices of this sinful word.

    Those words stuck with me for quite awhile.  Those words really fit.  Ick.  And then, as I slowly read through Pearl Girls encountering grit, experiencing grace, these words...

    ...through the grace of God,  I do what I live life make the next right choice regardless of circumstances or choices in the past.  I do what I do because my mother did not have that encouragement and her song went unsung. (my paraphrase) words of Kendra Smiley

     It has been a long road since childhood abuses were inflicted and neglect left me alone in my pain.  A road that has been filled with so much debris from the past that made moving forward a slower than slow process. 

    But these new words, spoken in love, have ushered in something different.  The road looks smoother and less littered with ugly debris.  My vision is more clear to see debris and call it what it is, instead of bumping into it blindly.  What's more, old scars don't feel so tender, instead they are more soft and pliable.  There's a desire and a strength to now lift my shield higher, over others, use this sword of mine, for others.

    It is my desire that while I am broken by the sin of others and by the sin within, that I can show my daughters how to laugh at the days to come becuase of the love that has won me, has renewed me.  It is my newly found desire to share my story, the story of hope given to this very cracked clay vessel.  And show my daughters how to do so as well.

    I'm taking the next step, intentionally making a choice, a right choice, a good choice, with gratitude and joy.  Ready to give an account for the hope which is in me!

    counting with the gratitude community to #897

    Bike rides in the spring
    Discovering spring flowers during a walk with a dear friend, life springing from the ground as life springs from our conversation

     A day to rest and allow the pain to subside
    Inhaler to keep asthma at bay, allergy meds to help me just get through the day, and night
    Understanding family
    Desk partially cleared
    An 8 oclock appointment tomorrow morning, a next step
    Mae’s understanding even with tears, when we say not yet,
     Sweet books with the youngest
    While the older girls share an exciting evening with Daddy
    Chocolate with almonds
    More confirmation of words that I think, that God is answering my prayers for wisdom
    Friendly family dogs