Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!



Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Report from Ethiopia





Just in case any of you wanted to hear the audio from church the week we got back here's the link:


Click on Mission Reporting dated 12-16-07. It's filled with testimonies and vision for the future of New Hope's involvement with the Oromo Arsi.

Enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Under the Influence

Having been aware of GoodReads.com for only a day it's already got me under it's influence! I've posted lists of my books, but haven't done too much organizing. But it's got me wanting to fill my mind with some good reading. (Sorry for the odd syntax. I'm being influenced by a Yorkshire accent.) This morning I couldn't decide what exactly to do with my free time: reading or scrapbooking? So, I did both. Kind of. I found a site that has free audio books. So, I did my scrapbooking while listening to The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. And I'm still listening to it, which explains the Yorkshire accent distracting me from my normal typing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

GoodReads.com


I came across this website reading one of my writer magazines. It seemed like an intriguing concept. People post lists of books (and optional reviews) of books they've read, books they are currently-reading, and books they want to read. Users also have the option of setting up their own lists. There's also groups you can join and discuss books, related topics, or etc. Users can even post their own writing and there is even a section of published authors who have profiles on GoodReads.com. It's quite fun. You should try it some time.

Monday, December 24, 2007

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

One of my favorite times of the year is Christmas, especially when I have the chance to reflect and write on the spirit and reason for all the celebration that takes place this time of year. Usually I e-mail to my family and friends, but this year I'll leave it here.

Enjoy!

-----------------------------------------------------------


Throughout the years my favorite Christmas song has changed as I grew. I remember as a child I loved the chiming of Silver Bells. The imagery the song paints captivated me as I imagined city sidewalks in the snow ladened silvery night. In my teen years The First Noel won my heart as it told the Christmas story in beautiful simplicity invoking the majesty of such a wondrous night.

The last few years a new song has captivated my heart. An unexpected song that wasn't familiar to me as a child. There's a deep mystery and beckoning in this hymn. It's even haunting in its own way as it calls out with its deep chords.

O come, O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile
Until the Son of God appear

It's a plea of the people of God: Save us! Rescue us! Deliver us from our misery!

The Son of God has appeared!

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

God is with us, bless the Lord that He has come. He has come as the Lord declared! He has surely come to ransom the faithful ones of Israel. Isn't it amazing? God was born as a baby. But He wasn't born so that we may exchange presents and have a lovely vacation. He was born for a purpose--to glorify the Father by living then dying as our ransom. The beautiful Christmas story is a story not only of joy and redemption, but of ransom. A Son being led to the slaughter.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Rejoice! Rejoice! The captives of sin are being ransomed. Praise the Lord for such a precious and selfless gift. Christmas reminds us of the freedom we have received from Satan's reign of tyranny. Jesus has exalted the Father's name by gaining victory over the grave and imputing that victory to us. So, good Christian family rejoice! There is so much richness in this hymn. God is with us as our Emmanuel and ransom. He has paid our ransom and given us victory in life and in death through His own death and resurrection.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Emmanuel surely has come. He has come as the desire of nations. How could we not desire One so worthy, glorifying, and self-sacrificing? He has given us, a people so unworthy, everything we need and more. He has surely won our hearts. Bless the Lord that He has chosen us as His people!

O Lord, come! You cease our strivings, our divisions. Cast our eyes upon Yourself, as our Light adn King of Peace. Lord, You have brought peace to our minds, our hearts, and our souls. And even more You have paid the ransom and brought peace between us and the Father. We worship You and are humbled by You,
Emmanuel.

Rejoice!






December 24, 2004

It is the evening of our Savior’s birth. What are we going to do? What action does this occasion require of us? Perhaps none if you do not call Jesus your Lord. But for those of us whom Christ is our King, what will it be?

“Haste, haste to bring Him laud
The Babe, the Son of Mary!”

Laud is the highest praise; that is what we should be giving our king, and not only at Christmas but all the year through. Luke 1:46-48a, “And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.’” That’s why we praise Him. That’s why we hurry to bring Christ laud. He has saved us from our lowly ways. We should be rejoicing and glorifying the Lord with our soul and our spirit because of the awesome gift of mercy, grace, and life he so willingly and lovingly bestowed upon us. We didn’t deserve it, not in the least bit, but God loved us any how, and He made the sacrifice anyway.

This birth we celebrate was a promise that generations had been waiting for. Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Not only is Christ’s birth a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, but also the beginning of the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. Christ has come to set us free from sin and death.

“Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.”

Hebrews chapter four talks about those with sinful, unbelieving hearts not being able to enter the rest of our long-expected Jesus. If we keep unbelief in our hearts we won’t be able to enter into this blessed rest (Hebrews 3:19). “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it [...] Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:1,11).

So, while the heavens and nature sing,
“Let every heart prepare Him room.”

We need to take the time to reflect during this season to see the awe in our glorious God, lowing himself to be a baby in a stable. We need to see our lowly state in front of a perfectly holy and majestic King. We need to see our great need for Him. We are truly undeserving and yet...and yet Christ sill came and lived a perfect life and died to fulfill God’s payment of our sins and rose the third day for the resurrection life we are now able to enjoy. Because of Christ’s humble state and glorious offering of His life,

“God and sinners reconciled.”

Let us be able to praise Christ’s name in the highest and know that He is the Light that shines quelling our fears and meeting the true desires of our hopes and dreams.

“Yet in the dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in Thee tonight.”





Looking Back: December 24, 2005

Come! Come all you adoring fans. Come all you who are faithful. Come righteous. Come longing. Come old and young alike. Tonight is the night. Your salvation has come this very night! Proclaim the way, proclaim the day, proclaim Christ our King is born! God’s kingdom has come and His will be done. Make no mistake of that.

Oh Holy of Holies, Merciful and Mighty…God of high and low, come as we call upon your name. We want to see You lifted highest. Come, o come Emmanuel. God is with us and goes before us as we proclaim His name and praise him, praise him all you glorious hosts!

We hymn God the Father,

We hymn God the Son,

We hymn God the Holy Spirit.

Holy and undivided, perfect in unity.

O taste and see that the Lord is good all ye faithful.

Praise the name of the Most High, glorious in heaven above.

Angels sing on high, voices echoing, “Gloria, in excel sis deo!”

Glory! Glory to God in the highest!

Praise Him the name above all names who took our sins upon his throne and set himself in a lowly manger and then on the cross, a cross meant for the highest sinners, a cross of treachery. The perfect and holy Lamb of God, say that one more time the Perfect and Holy Lamb of God, pure and spotless before the throne of God came in such a way, in such a manner that man did not recognize him. Though earthly kings feared him few took notice until the appointed time. Think of it, Mary sat as a young woman with God himself on her knee. How lowly our Savior had to come to save us. Do we not recognize the power of His life, the power of His death? Do we not recognize that God’s mercy is so great? So great that it’s beyond measure! It’s higher than the mountains and deeper than the deepest valleys. God is God in the highest. He came to save us when we didn’t even think we needed saving. We, a people so ignorant of our own wrongdoing, were unaware of God’s massive mercy and grace. He came “to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.” O what tidings of comfort and joy that does bring to us, to those who believe! O children of God, believe, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!

What is the crux of our faith? Do we believe? Do we honestly know without a shadow of a doubt that God came to earth as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. God—yes, God! —was wrapped in the clothes that barn animals were wiped down with! Oh children of God, can we not see it? Have we not heard? He gives strength to those we are weary, to those who put their hope in him? He is our Beloved Savior who has come to ransom us. Yes, yes we were captives—captives of Satan and sin! The most blessed Heavenly Father came to redeem us, to bring us back from exile. Do we know, I mean honestly from our heart with true emotion, that Jesus came to set his people free? Do we know that this season of Christmas, festival of Christ, is for Christ and because of Christ? We didn’t do anything to deserve a celebration. We have no merit on our own accord. We have done nothing—no thing! So, why? Why do we have some many presents and parties and songs and whatever apart from Christ at this time? Why, why can’t we have just two days reserved for blessing our Heavenly Father and the gift of salvation and life without getting the self involved? Without counting how many presents are under the tree or what people are going to think about what we’re wearing to Christmas dinner or if someone likes what you got them for Christmas? Who cares about those things! This is Christ! This is Christmas! Have we missed it altogether? Has the Body of Christ forgotten to worship him? Has His own Bride so believed the lies of Satan that Christ is all but forgotten in Christmas?

O children of the Most High, I implore you…change your hearts! Love the Lord your King. Make His name be exalted! Take time to bring forth His Word and just praise Him. Praise Him in awe and wonder. O passionate hearts, find truth this Christmas in the only Truth. Christ the Lord is born, he is born and he lives.

O praise Him, praise Him, praise Him!


For my Momma






Here's pictures of our Christmas decorations (minus the table):

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ethiopia: Day 3

We woke up early Sunday morning in Addis Ababa to the sounds of the morning call to prayer echoing across the city. The chanting was monotone, drawn out with an occasional shrill. It was definitely a different alarm clock. We went down to breakfast, and afterwards the team piled into three 14-passenger vans for the 150 mile drive to Shashamene, which took only about 5 hours.

The Ethiopian countryside was beautiful. We passed by some many mud huts, which surprised me. I wasn't expecting to see so many huts, but there they were! One of the funny things was all the animals! There were mules, cows, and goats that crossed the highway just about any time they pleased. Sometimes we'd see the young boys herding their animals and the girls carrying water. Everything was fascinating. Seeing it all for the first time.




Once we arrived in Shashamene we unloaded our bags in our hotel room and went up to the dining hall for our first Ethiopian meal. The food was really good. Here's what it looked like:


Something Tibs (Lamb)



After our meal, we packed back into the vans and went to the local Kale Hewet church for our orientation with Yoseph and to meet our translators and disciplemakers. It was a different church experience. All concrete with wooden benches and dark in the church, because it was turning to night. The worship was so much fun, even though we couldn't understand what was being said. We introduced ourselves and met our translators and disciplemakers. My translator was Kufa and my disciplemaker was Warkinnea (in the video he's on the far left in the row in front of me.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ethiopia: Day 1 & Day 2

Our alarm went off at 2:45am. We got up, showered, dressed, and off to the airport. Our flight left around 6-something where we headed to Chicago for a five-hour layover. Once we got on board in Chicago we were off to Germany. My first time to Europe and I didn't even get to see it. One day though, one day...

Our flight to Chicago was definitely the longest at 11 hours. We enjoyed some good German bratwurst at an airport restaurant and hung around our terminal for a few hours, before boarding for the last leg of our flight to Addis Ababa. One of the weird things about Germany this time of year was the sun didn't come up until after 8am or 9am. It was weird. When it finally did come up all you could see were clouds.




It's hard to say exactly when Day 1 ended and Day 2 began, so I'm clumping them together. Our flight from Frankfurt to Addis Ababa was about 8 hours (or at least I think) with a pitstop in Khartoum, Sudan to gas up. Flying over the Sudan we were actually able to see the Nile River--and that was pretty cool!

Finally we got into Addis Ababa in the evening, went through customs, and met up with Yoseph and Ripkah (Rebecca) and some of their team. We headed to our hotel for the night pretty tired and ready to stretch out.



"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless of millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever."
John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad!

11/30/07 - Gathering worshipers. I like that way of putting missions. It seems more a joy, than of fear or uncertainty.

So...we're back!

We're back!

You know that verse that says,

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of the messenger
who brings good news,

the good news of peace and salvation,

the news that the God of Israel reigns!
(Isaiah 52:7)


Well...these beautiful feet are back.
Tired, but recovering.

Thankful, still in awe.

We've been home for a week now and to sum it up for me its been a sleepy week. We got back Sunday afternoon and tried to stay up until a normal bedtime hour, but we were gone by 7pm. Which means on Monday we woke up about 3:45am! Quite early. We settled in. Unpacked and washed laundry. But by 11:30am I was so wiped out that picking out clothes to wear was such a challenge I just went back to bed--and slept until 4:30pm! We settled in for the night at a normal bedtime to be ready for work the next day. Most of the week was pretty much the same. Go to work, be sleepy after 4pm, go to bed early, wake up early.

I had hoped to already have posted and sent out a few e-mails about our trip, but obviously that didn't happen. It was a busy week coming back for me. At work we had our children's Christmas celebration to rehearse and perform Saturday morning, and then I had a girls overnighter Saturday night (I was the first to go to bed! Though I did wake up at 4:30am too!). Needless to say we're still getting back into the swing of things.

My goal is that this week I'll start sharing what happened day-by-day on the trip, post pictures, and share some of what God revealed of Himself (maybe I'll even have Joe write something!). So, take this as the first installment. :)

I'll leave you with this...

I have seen the blind see,
the crippled walk,
the demonized freed,
and the lost redeemed.







Saturday, December 15, 2007

This article won't turn any heads, right?

And of course, it speaks the truth...uh huh...

Expertinent: Huckabee Agrees That Wives Should 'Submit Graciously' to Their Husbands. What Does He Mean?

Andrew Romano

Expertinent is a regular Stumper column featuring interviews with experts on the news of the day.

Poor Mike Huckabee. He can't catch a break these days--at least not with the press. (The polls: different story.)

First it's ethics complaints. Then AIDS. Then the parole of a once (and future) rapist/murderer. Then alleged payoffs from Big Tobacco. All while sustaining attacks from his Republican rivals on immigration, taxes and crime. It's almost enough to get a guy eating corndogs again.

The latest fuel on the fire: his views on marriage. In June 1998, the Southern Baptist convention amended its official statement of beliefs for the first time in 35 years to declare that "a wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband." And Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist minister then serving as governor of Arkansas, signed a full-page ad in USA Today in support of the statement (along with 129 other evangelical leaders). Now, as the New York Post so poetically puts it, "HOLY HUCKABEE FACES SNIT OVER 'GALS, SUBMIT.'" DailyKos and Andrew Sullivan agree.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

So...we're off!

These feet are ready!
(This one's for you Ann! Oh, and Mom thanks for my Ethiopia shoes!)


It's 8:01am on Friday in Addis Ababa. It's still Thursday as I write this. 9:02pm to be exact. It's crazy that it's finally here! This time tomorrow we'll be in Ethiopia or at least almost there. It's exciting, but I also don't know what to expect. Few really do, I think. Africa will be a first--even Europe will be a first! That is if you count our layover in Frankfurt really being in Europe. But I once had a friend who said if you've left your mark (ie, used the restroom) it counts.

I'm doing some last minute double checking of our suitcases before I shower and head off to bed. Joe's getting some "funds" and Benadryl so he can sleep on the plane. He's still toying with the idea of staying up all night and just sleeping on the plane.

Pray for us all as we go. It will be new, interesting, excited, sometimes scary, faith-building, stretching, and God--what else can you say? With Him you never really know what to expect. Just that it will be good.

I was reading this passage this morning and found it fitting as we're off to declare the Gospel:
It was revealed to them [the prophets] that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things [the Gospel, Christ crucified] which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven--things into which angels long to look.
1 Peter 1:12

We are not doing this to serve ourselves, but the Lord and the people He is sending us to. May we remember that and be humbled.

Here's one last thing to leave you with...this thingy is called a Proclaimer. It's pretty neat. If I remember correctly this passage is John 1. (Please excuse the poor video quality.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Unexpected Mail

Sometimes you forget things you've done in the past, especially when it's samples and freebies. Take for example today I came home from work with a package at on my doorstep.

I shook it.

Sounds like a book. I hadn't ordered any books. Maybe Joe did? But it was addressed to me. So, I opened it.

Guess what it was...
Yep...one of those. Well, at least I'll be prepared next time around!

Monday, November 26, 2007

So...I did it...

Black Friday. I went shopping. First, I was just going to Michaels (at 6am!) for 25% off total purchases. Then I went into Meryvn's, Ross, and Target.

Five hours later I was home.


Thanksgiving pictures to come.

CCMS Thanksgiving

This year at school we had a Thanksgiving Breakfast for the student's parents. The children served and the parents enjoyed. It was cute.

Here's the evidence:




Veteran's Day Weekend

(Bare with me as the next few posts are mostly updates of the last few weeks.)

Over Veteran's Day weekend Joe and I were planning to go to Palm Springs for the weekend. We were going to borrow a friend's timeshare, well that fell throw but we still decided to have a local weekend away. It was fun and relaxing. Joe made a yummy dinner Friday night. We actually slept in on Saturday morning and then headed up to Julian for the afternoon. And Sunday we went golfing--it was my first time!

Here are some pictures from the weekend.

(For some reason Joe really loves this picture of me.)






OH! I also got a niece on the 12th. 5lbs. 1 oz. 18inches. Amy Lynne.

Monday, November 12, 2007

What I did today...

Did some rearranging the bookshelves...

Before

After





Finished some throw pillows. These are actually placemats I got on clearance from Pier 1.


Early California Enchilada

Ingredients:
1 dozen tortillas
1 pound of cheese
1 can of enchilada sauce (large)
5 onions (chopped and sauted)
4 hard boiled eggs (chopped)
3 cans chopped olives



Directions:
Heat the 2 sauces together in a skillet. With tongs, soften tortillas one at a time in the pan of sauce. Put a spoonful of each ingredient on each tortilla and roll and secure with a wooden toothpick. Put in a casserole dish. Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.


(Lovely picture...I know)



*Amendments: I used only one onion and found that that was too many onions, and definitely remember to sauté the onions. I missed that part, and you could definitely tell. Also, we upped the egg cook to 6 chopped hard boiled eggs and omitted the olives.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Seussical the Musical

Today we took the kids on a field trip to a Christian Youth Theater (CYT) production of Seussical the Musical. It was pretty cute and fun.




Monday, November 05, 2007

"Thorns, it seems, always accompany visits to glory.
No one who has walked in Christ's presence
will ever be allowed to strut."
Jamie Buckingham

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that through He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

What is Christ's poverty, but an exclamation of His love? And, oh how we refuse it so...denying the pain afforded to him wanting little to do with the actual Cross.

Suffering? What's that? Give me joy unspeakable?
Pain, embarrassment, ridicule?
Those are not for me,
I bear no Cross except the one I choose,
and splinters I shall not see.
Polish it off, show me its shine
Oh! What a glory that will be!
To ascend upon Calvary sturdy
and primed is a fate I'll gladly see.
Crowds alongside cheering me on as
I walk to the hill with the skull.
But what do I find when I arrive
there at last?
A Savior who looks none like me.

Oh Lord, what have I done?
As you hang bruised and battered
I barely recognize the face that I see, but it is You, I know,
none the less hanging there on Calvary.
The soldiers they stab You as the crowd cheers them on
As I stand and ponder, "Oh, Lord what have I done?"

I've been a scorner, mocking in shame dressed in robes of victory,
knowing none of Your pain.
How could I have missed it?
You did this just for me,
as I stand clothed in victory.
My pride is the searing pain
in Your chest.
My ignorance is the blood
dripping on Your head.
My sin as apparent as the bruises
on Your face.
How could I have missed that?
I sought for a glory,
a Christ that was whole.
I sought for victory
over the sin that I know.
I sought for a Savior
that could conquer anything.
I sought for a Master
like none would know.

And here I am at the hill with a skull
Faced with a Calvary I barely know
Bruised and battered,
Torn and beaten,
Naked and bloody,
Where is the Christ that I thought I knew?

Hanging there, hanging there is my Savior my Lord
The One who has saved me and condemns me no more.
Hanging there, hanging there is the Victor of Life,
Dying to pay my redemption price.
Hanging there, hanging there is the Master of all
submitting to those who have come from the fall.
Hanging there, hanging there is the glory of Christ--
Risen not yet,
this is Christ crucified.

Operation Christmas Child

One of my favorite things about this time of year is Operation Christmas Child. It's so much fun to go shopping for these kids. Here's what we got this year:


Next week is collection week, so if you want to jump on the fun bandwagon find out more info and the church/collection place nearest you click here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Scrapbooking Lately?

Here's some photos of my latest scrapbooking projects:

I made this mini-album tonight. I used the cardboard that stickers are packaged in. As for this theme, "Always remember to...share, cherish, wish, sing."




This is a summer/beach themed one page Accordion Album. I haven't yet decided what to put on the front for a title or whatnot.





This is an Accordion Tag Book that I still need to finish the tags and the back.



A set of rose/garden themed bookmarks.




This is an Explosion Box album that I made for my sister-in-law's baby shower.