Monthly Archives: October 2007

Ups and downs

Gen 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Writing a comment on Lisa’s blog reminded me of this verse. I remember how, as a new believer, I used to lament my tendency to be so up in the mountain the one moment and down in the valley the next. I wondered what was wrong with me, that I couldn’t stay up on the mountain of God continuously.

I have since come to realise that for now, that is how it is going to be. It has everything to do with the seasons of life.  If I stayed on the mountain all the time I would never come to understand that my God is faithful, a merciful helper, an awesome giver of new beginnings after miserable failures.  I would never know my own frailties and desperate need for him. I wouldn’t experience the sweet rest  beside the quiet waters, nor his closer-than-the-dearest-friend nearness when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I would have no idea that I could actually feast at his table even though the enemies of my soul (yes, even the ones inside me) are looking on.  I wouldn’t truly know grace, and since those who have been forgiven much love much, I wouldn’t have that cup that runs over with adoration to him.

The mountain-top experience wouldn’t be as treasured if it weren’t for the valleys. It would just become common-place. The spring’s newness wouldn’t be quite so precious if it weren’t for the winter’s barrenness.

The seasons are all part of learning and growing in Him. I’ll even venture to say that I have found out more about God and his character in the winter/valley/seedtime/cold/night seasons of life than in the summer/mountain/harvest/warm/day-time seasons.

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My father’s DNA

Hmmmm…how to start this post. Dunno. I just want to write what is on my heart at this point in time.

We were blessed to receive many out-of-town visitors at our recent church conference. Some of our visitors were men and women that my pastor considers his fathers/mothers in the Lord.

When our pastor was a seventeen year old he followed the call of God and moved from Washington to here. He moved in with Dan Duke, who has been his pastor ever since…for 35 years now. That is a long time! They have had their ups and downs like all relationships do, but one thing my pastor (and Dan) believes in is that God brings spiritual ‘fathers’ into your life who will pour into you all he knows and all he has in order to equip you for your calling. It is not always an easy relationship because it requires humility!  A father-son relationship is not something you can just sever and walk away from after just a bit of conflict. Through the years, these two have managed to stick with each other through thick and thin, and their affection and respect for one another is obvious whenever you see them together.

I can credit Dan for sparking some of the thoughts that I blogged about here.  Something that he has said before, and that sticks with me today is that you will know that someone is your father in the Lord when you have the same DNA he has.

Tonight at church we said goodbye to our dear missionaries from Bolivia, who spent the last 2 weeks here with us. Pablo is a true son in the Lord to our pastor.   The same DNA is obvious.  That same humble desire to only give God his portion and to glorify him, that same longing to bring his presence to the people, that same conviction of being a ‘nobody’ so that Jesus can be everything… it is all there.

I took a good look around…Martin and Dora has it too…Rick and Jamie…Brandon and Phyllis…Dana…Fidel… Little sons and daughters of the faith, being prepared to carry on the work of the ministry and increase it. Not everyone is ready to be sent out right now, but many are close.

I felt in my heart a stirring… I want that same DNA.  There are so many hungry, desperate people in the world. I want to give them some of the Living Water that I have found here.

Hey ma, check this one out.

I’m posting this for my mom but I know there are many of you out there who will enjoy it as well. I had to watch the clip several times. The changing expressions on the faces of the people involved were priceless. It still moves me deeply every time I see it. Click here to find out what I am talking about already. 🙂

I am sitting here listening to the soundtrack from a movie I watched in our hotel room while hubby was working hard at a conference. I just loved this little movie and if the hotel hadn’t charged so stinkin’ much for the priviledge of viewing it, I would have probably seen it a second time. As it was I only got to see it Once .  I can’t put my finger on why I found this movie so charming, though from the reviews it is obvious that I am not alone. It was certainly an unassuming movie, the directing was very low-key (loved that) and the music…oooh…loved the music. Watching the characters (who happen to be musicians first and actors secondly) perform the songs was a treat.  

If I can say anything negative about the movie it is that it uses a certain swear word quite a bit, especially in the beginning. It doesn’t seem to bother me quite as much when said in an irish accent though. It almost seems comical.

I have never been one to look forward to a DVD release but I am looking forward to this one. Now to drop some subtle hints to hubby about Christmas presents and such. Wait…there’s no need. He reads this blog. 😀

October 22

Whew! It has been a whirlwind week. We had a conference at our church spanning 5 days and 10 meetings. My house is a wreck. My laundry is a mountain. But my heart is renewed and my vision refreshed.

I enjoyed seeing old friends again who came from all over to attend the meetings. We had some awesome musicians and it was a joy to be part of the worship team with such talent in it. The violin player…oh my goodness…he made me yearn to be able to play that thing.

The pastor of our church in Bolivia came over for the conference too.  He is the most talented pianist I know, and listening to him always makes me want to spruce up my playing.

In one of my first posts here I mentioned a song the Lord gave me.  I was inspired during the conference to pull it out and start practising to play and sing it at the same time. Many of you know that I often lament my lack of ability in that area. I did consider asking my Bolivian pastor-friend to record it for me here on my keyboard when he comes for dinner tomorrow with his wife and cutest-baby-daughter-in-the-whole-wide-world. But you know, even though his playing far surpasses mine, I thought I am going to bite the bullet and attempt playing it myself. It is a simple song to play and it is now or never. 🙂

Here’s something that one of my black ‘sistahs’ told me when we were all at the church-cleaning day in preparation for the conference. I had just sat down on the wet carpet and had been rewarded with a wet spot on my derriere. Soooo this girl pipes up and says: “You know, Sumi, for a white chick you have quite a big butt.” Oh my!  Did I get offended? No! I laughed and told her it must be my african heritage. I thought it a compliment that she would talk to me in ‘sistah-lingo’, if you get my drift. 😀

Besides, my ample endowment is obvious to all. When I was teaching Middle school english as a young spring-chicken teacher one of my students thought he’d make a smart-alecky comment and asked me if I was related to the bushmen of the Kalahari desert.  

Some fashion historians attribute the ‘bustle’ to a bushman girl, Saartjie Baartman who was taken to Europe about 2oo years ago. It was the age of freak shows and Saartjie had an …um…unusual physique. Let’s just say she didn’t need any padding in the rear to make her clothes look like a bustle. Upon her death a plaster cast was made of her body and was displayed in a museum in Paris. After repeated requests form the South African government her remains were returned to SA in 2002 for a decent burial.

How did I get off on that tangent? I’m sure you all didn’t need to know that bit of information. Her story is so tragic though – it is incredible how inhumane people can be to others.

Hah! I just noticed that this post is titled October 22 and it is the 24th already. Just shows you how busy I am. It took me two whole days to write this entry. 🙂

Not to be outdone

CC mentioned today that all of her blog-buddies are putting up Fall pictures. I almost wrote a comment to say that I must be the odd one out then, when I remembered the lovely pictures I took at a field trip last week. I’m posting one of my favorites:

heavypumpkinsmaller.jpg

Look mom, it’s heavy! LOL

Sorry folks, no Fall colors on the trees here. If our trees do change color at all it happens somewhere around January. 🙂

I don’t wanna…

…but I’m gonna. 🙂

I’m going to take a bloggery break for a few days. I’ll be back on here sometime after the 21st of October.

I have been reading back on some of my older posts. Boy, did I get convicted by some of my own words! 😀  Maybe it is a good thing that I had written them down way back then so I can get a good wake-up call from time to time!

I will ‘see’ you all in blog-land soon! 

Science Blues

I spent the best part of the day today in a science-induced funk. I am the lead teacher for our homeschool group’s 4-H science team. It is a new group and things only really came together towards the end of the summer when I was rushing to get the boys ready for school, so I have not had much prior time to prepare.

I am a total perfectionist, and the children in the group have somewhat lofty expectations about all the ‘cool’ things we are going to do. Yet most of the really cool stuff require a lot of advance preparation, which I haven’t had the time for. It all amounts to me feeling very pressurised for this coming Monday’s lesson.

So I spent my day searching for just the right experiment. It has to be cheap and it has to be something I can pull together quickly.

I know that building working parachutes with dry-cleaner bags would wow the kids. Unfortunately, it might also set the buildings surrounding our experiment on fire. Hmmmm…

 I started testing match stick rockets yesterday and continued today after a trip to the store to get 3 different kind of matches. Nope. Not so lucky. I couldn’t get a single match to fly as far as an inch, never mind 30 feet.

The hovercraft I tried to build this morning was a dud. The balloons kept ripping as I put them over the mouth of the bottle, and the straw that was supposed to propel it along was squeezed shut by the balloon. Another idea tossed.

The boy had fun writing a secret message out of cornstarch. It consisted of a single, well-chosen word: poop. 😀 (which about sums up my feelings about the days’ experiments)     Once the message dried we painted iodine over it. The starch was supposed to show up in bright purple. Nope. The whole paper was purple. Does paper have starch in it? The experiment wasn’t a complete loss, however, since my oldest was eager to test if his spit would digest the purpled ‘starch’. It did, which according to the book means that we are among the select people who have the amylase enzyme in their spit. By now, however, I am not so sure I can believe anything the book says.

The foil boat, which the book said would ‘shoot forward rapidly’ when I add soap to the water on which it rests, inched forward at a rather pedestrian pace. It only went about 4 inches too. Hardly exciting stuff for a class full of tween boys. The hot-and-cold-water-that-wouldn’t-mix experiment worked, but my oldest agreed with me that it lacked the wow-factor too.

I did find some cool experiments we can do using electricity. We need the parent’s help in collecting supplies though, because I am not going to  buy them all myself, nor do I expect the 4-H club to foot the bill. So this will go on the shelf for a monday in the future, as will some of my other ideas that require more planning. Some other future experiments involve using old speakers and such-like, so we’d best start collecting.

Which still leaves us with this coming Monday.  I think I may have settled on something. I built a solar oven with a pizza box today. It didn’t get quite as hot as the book said it would (am I surprised? 😀 )  but I think I can tweak it, or ask the kids for ideas to improve it. A solar oven might not be the coolest (or hottest) experiment on earth but I think if we could cook some s’mores in our ovens the kids will be happy. Let’s hope it’s sunny!

If all else fails we will still have fun pitting our baking-soda and vinegar-powered soda bottle cars against one another in the parking lot while our s’mores cook. Thankfully at least 3 of my students took up the suggestion to make these after our last class and to experiment with different designs for the wheels. They will bring them to Mondays’ class for a race.

Edit: I just read Appie’s blog description about how they crushed soda cans to test the effects of atmospheric pressure. Neat-o! That will go down much better than the solar ovens. I wonder if I still have time to pull that together. Hmmmm….