Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reformation Day


One of my favorite parts about living in a country that is not predominantly Christian is that we have quite a bit more control over how our religious holidays are defined.  We never walk through the aisles of Target during any given season and have to give a related explanation about Christian tradition.  (Though we do have to give definition to quite a few other festivals and worship ceremonies.)  We'll have no trick-or-treators tonight, simply because it isn't a part of life here.   Tomorrow night we'll gather with some American friends for a fun-filled fall festival complete with our own mini-versions of Spiderman and Batman.  But tonight was a quiet evening at home, making it easy to make the choice to celebrate an inspiring day in Christian history.  During nap time I did a quick web search of kid-friendly Reformation Day materials and found this great resource over at Mustard Seeds. With 30 minutes of preparation and her 2  printouts, we just finished a simplified version of a Reformation Day dinner.  Here are a few pictures:


To start the dinner, we lit candles
 in a dark room, explaining how the Word
sheds light on the darkness of hearts.  
Using the coloring sheet linked above, we made stained glass windows
for "Castle Church" using cut up pieces of tissue paper and a glue stick. 



A black running shirt and rope turned into a monk costume
while David and Jude write the "95 Theses." 



Nailing the 95 Theses to the door of
Castle Church in Germany. (Pretty historically
 accurate church, eh?) 


Donuts left over in the freezer
turned into "hammers" for dessert.
I served stroganoff for dinner.  
There you have it.  A very simple version of the more elaborate.  I want to reiterate that this took about 30 - 45 minutes of my time today. Because some of you might look at that link above and think, "No way do I have time for that!"  My version isn't good enough to put on pinterest or make a magazine cover, but that's not the point, right? I can't wait until I have 12 hours to make the costumes, invite a group of friends, and make fresh wiener schnitzel to teach these little men about courage and faith. So friends, whatever you have today, this day, use it.    

Happy Reformation Day! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

an outside view

Whenever people visit us, I always like to look at their pictures.  After two years, we just don't see things the same way we did when we first arrived.  When I look at our life in photos though, sometimes it helps me recognize why I still have some pretty serious cultural moments.  It's different around here. It also just helped me see myself in this season - a unique and precious season.  I snagged Grammar's photos off her camera before she left.  Here are a few that caught my eye.  I thought it might give you a clearer picture of our everyday life:



Parking the car on the way to church.   


Signing "autographs" at a conference.  





Teaching the kids to pray "Asian" style
so they'll know what to do in Sunday School!  

Waiting for the school bus in the morning.  



Trying my hardest to do some
Jillian Michaels with 2 kids!

Learning hymns in family worship on Sunday evenings. 

Dinner at the kitchen table, our regular eating spot.





Driving away to another day of preschool.
Oh. We. are. SO. glad. the. tears. are. gone!!! 

There's your little window into our life today!



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This is my fight.



Recently, we went to see Captain Phillips.  On the way to the theatre, we pass through an intersection where street kids gather.  They walk in between the tightly packed cars, knocking on windows and putting their hands to their lips.  I've shed more spontaneous tears at that intersection than any other place in the city. Two little boys, not too much older than Jude, acquired some coins.  I watched them walk to the median and hand them over to a man of about 30.  And I really almost got out of the car to punch him.

The light changed.  We were on our way.

An hour later, I sat in a movie that had woven through it the plight of the Somalian people.  Of course, there is no excuse for piracy.  The deprivations and problems of Africa are deep waters, waters too deep for me to navigate in a little blog.  But I wonder what our nation's morality would look like if we'd watched our mothers and children starve for decades? If the only people with money and power were the ones with guns and reckless men to use them?

There was a time in my life when I thought I would spend my life on the front lines fighting the evils of the world.  But as is the case with most of us, youthful passion gave way, on some level, to pragmatism.  I find myself living a fairly ordinary life. Age is revealing the slow change of the world.  There is no immediate solution to the aches of a sin stained world.   Jesus gives us hope, and the peace may be here and now, but the complete renewing is a not-yet.  Out of that hope and promise, there is a right desire to see change.  To fight evil and pursue peace.

These things were spinning in my head when we arrived home. I walked in to check on my little men, sleeping soundly in their soft beds and safe rooms.

When they wake, they are my task, my job in this aching world.  It is certainly not as glamourous as the life I thought I might live when I was twenty.  Sometimes it feels like it's about nothing more than changing diapers, spilled milk and muddy feet.  But that's a short view. The long view is, this is my fight: These little souls to shape. These men to teach.  This generation to train.  It is a fight against evil, a pursuit of peace. If those little boys on the street had mothers to tend them, their fate would be so different.  There are ways that I can help them now, and I want to seek that out.  But my primary role is in this home with these children.  My fight is here.  There may be another season when my energies go elsewhere, but right now, this is faithfulness. For those of you who feel the same pull, be encouraged that your task is important.  Fight on, sisters, fight on.

Do not grow weary in doing good,
for at the proper time, you will reap a harvest.

Monday, October 28, 2013

goodbyes

David's mom flew away today, and we are sad. But we're trying to meet the sadness with gratitude. Our hearts are full. It really was a fantastic visit.

I know for most gals, the thought of a 2 week live-in visit with your mother-in-law might not be your idea of a great time.  I can honestly write that for me, it was.  The law of kindness is on her tongue, her hands are eager to serve, and her heart is overflowing with God's love.  We love Grammar.

It was packed with good memories, plenty of play time, and quite a few precious date nights for the hubs and me.  Here are a few more shots of the fun:





Goodbye, Grammar! We love you so! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

today






You revive me

There are two songs that I've had on repeat for a while now:  Matt Redman's 10,000 Reasons & Christy Nockels's You Revive Me.  Most of you are probably pretty familiar with them, but we run behind over here.  Many of our Sundays are spent in a foreign dialect.   So when they came to me, they came abundantly fresh, new, and full. I first heard You Revive Me just a month or so ago when we got together with some other Americans to worship.  It gripped my heart and spoke what my soul didn't even know it needed to sing.

You revive me
You revive me, Lord
And all my deserts are rivers of joy

You are the treasure I could not afford
So I'll spend myself til I'm empty and poor
All for You
You revive me Lord

Just thought I'd throw those lines out there today and affirm the truth: He is making my deserts rivers of joy. 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Universal Studios, Asian Edition


Today we hit up a spot that's been on our bucket list since we arrived.  Grammar was a good excuse for a day trip! Ramoji Film City is kind of like the asian version of Universal Studios.  It is a nod to Bollywood and Tollywood the indian movie markets that generate more income and fans than you could possibly believe.  It's an hour's drive from the city and quite the adventure. Here's a peek at the fun:

































It really was a fantastic day.  We went with pretty low expectations.  We were surprised by how extensive, clean (a big factor in asia) and well planned the park was.  Definitely on our repeat list when we have visitors in town.  I'm sure that large blue man is a motivator for quite a few of you to jaunt on over! The day ended with a torrential downpour. We're just glad it waited until we'd had our fun.  All in all, a very full, fun day making memories with Grammar!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Grammar Time

Grammar flew in just in the nick of time.  We're loving every minute! Last week, I was able to join her and several ladies at a Women's Conference in a nearby city.  There were lots of precious locals and a good contingent of American ladies too.  It was fantastic, refreshing, and oh-so-much-fun! Here are a few pictures from the last few days.





Tonight, hubs and I are off for a date while the babysitter is in town. Yay! Here's to a lot more Grammar time this week! 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

pause


I didn't snag one single picture of the boys with Grammar before she left for a trip to the village.  We'll try to remedy that soon. In the meantime, I'll be joining her in the more rugged spaces of the country for a  couple days.  See you in a bit!