June 29, 2016

We’re Going On A (Western) Adventure!

Remember when I shared a personal appeal to pray for missionaries? And then I wrote about the events from my high school and college years that led up to the beginning of our missionary journey? Well it's finally officially happening! To paraphrase a famous hobbit: "We're going on an adventure!" Ours just happens to head west to the Rocky Mountains, instead of east to the Lonely Mountain. At the end of this month, we're headed to Wyoming!  Not that I'm excited or anything... :) Over the past two months, things have been happening fast and furiously. My husband had been looking for a work-from-home job that would allow flexibility with traveling, relocating, and the [...Read More]


The Great Exchange: From Death to Life

In and of ourselves, we are nothing. In fact, we are worse than nothing... we are like dirty pigs wallowing in our own filth, thinking we're the richest most enviable creatures on earth. But as any one who's seen at a pigsty can tell you, pigs are clearly neither rich nor enviable. We're not much better. We are like dumb animals, too enamored with our best efforts to notice how poor we really are. In fact, Isaiah says all our best works are no better than filthy rags -- like the kind you would use to wipe up pig slop. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh… Humans are selfish, depraved creatures full of death and sin. We have no hope for redemption in and [...Read More]


How to Study the Bible with Both Mind and Heart

Up until a few years ago, I wasn't very adept at studying the Bible on my own. I knew some basic principles, like reading the introductory material and checking the overall structure of the book before diving in. But I thrived on commentaries and concordances and notes from sound theologians, rather than understanding God's Word for myself first, then exploring what others had said about it. It's embarrassing to admit. After all, I was raised in a Christian home, attended Christian school for over twenty years, and sat under sound biblical preaching in my local church. I knew what the "right answers" sounded like and could usually tell when something was off, yet I couldn't always [...Read More]


Literary Adventures in February – #Read2016

This year's literary challenge (#Read2016) is perhaps the best thing I could have chosen to expand my literary awareness. Diving into unfamiliar genres, exploring unusual topics, and discovering new-to-me authors has already been an adventure. (Read January's update to see what I've enjoyed so far.) Even the "hunt" for titles shows me new things about my literary tastes, whether my dislike of traditional classic novels or my love of the old poetic masters. I was happy to discover some great literary gems in February -- and some short ones too. Despite it being a short month, I finished quite a few books -- however half of them were fiction, and only three were over 150 [...Read More]


Literary Adventures in January – #Read2016

I'm thoroughly enjoying the chance to explore different genres and meet new authors as I attempt to broaden my literary horizons in 2016! (Read more about it here.) I thought it might be difficult to get through some of the titles, especially some of the older works -- but other than a few dry sections here and there, the titles have held my attention surprisingly well. And I've been reminded how much I enjoy reading things other than my usual go-to titles and authors. For instance, searching for poetry books has reawakened an old love of the poetic masters (Tennyson, Blake, Frost, Donne). Perusing books published 100 years ago has led me to discover P.G. Wodehouse and G.K. [...Read More]


Beginning My Missionary Journey: the College Years

In my last post, I began sharing the story of how God called me to home missions. I went off to college with a burden on my heart for spiritually oppressed people and a specific call to prepare for full-time Christian service as a pastor's wife. I wasn't sure how all the pieces fit together, but God was still writing the story... The final two things God used to direct my missionary journey were faithful involvement in ministry and a short-term missions trip. During my first semester in college, I got involved in an regular outreach ministry on the weekends. We would travel to nearby nursing homes, women and children's shelters, and local churches to minister through puppet shows, [...Read More]


Beginning My Missionary Journey – The Early Years

I had the opportunity recently at a ladies' meeting to share the story of my missionary journey -- how God led me to prepare for becoming a missionary-church planter, and then used that call to direct me to a husband and place of ministry. When I mentioned it on Facebook, several of you expressed a desire to hear the story too, and I decided to share it with the hope that it might be an encouragement to all. My story begins -- as all of ours do -- with God's call to salvation when I was a young child. But fast forward about 12 years, and the story of my missionary journey begins. I could sum the beginning of that journey with the words of Abraham's servant in Genesis 24, when he was [...Read More]


Broaden Your Literary Horizons

If you know me at all, you know that I love to read. In fact, I like to tell people I was born with a book in my hand. I started reading when I just 3 years old, and haven't stopped since! I can easily read over 100 books each year, the majority of which is fiction. I love a good character-based novel (like the Mitford series), and fiction that teaches as well as entertains (like historical fiction or intellectually-stimulating mysteries). I turn to authors like Agatha Christie, Dee Henderson, and J.R.R. Tolkien when I'm sick, stressed, or simply longing for a good "comfort" read -- the characters feel like old friends to me, and I love visiting with them several times each [...Read More]


What Are Your Goals for 2016?

We're almost halfway through the first month of the new year! Have you forgotten your New Year's resolutions yet? Or are you digging in and staying disciplined, despite the waning motivation and monotony of hard work? Or do you still need to figure out what you want to achieve this year? I took a little extra time to carefully and prayerfully work through the 5-step process of setting great goals, and finally decided on 5 major things I want to accomplish over the next 12 months. I would love to reach for more than that -- but with a cross-country move on the near horizon and several months of transition surrounding that, I think I'll need some extra "margin" in my life to deal with the [...Read More]


How to Set Great Goals This Year

The beginning of a new year presents a great time to stop and reassess where you're heading in life. Are you going in the right direction? Are you at least inching closer to your long-term goals? Or do you need to do an about-face and shake some things up? Whether you like to call them goals, resolutions, plans, habits, or disciplines... this is a great time to set some specific direction for the coming year. But don't just write down the first things that come to mind. Here are 5 steps to set worthwhile goals that you can actually reach this year: Be prayerful. What goals will reap eternal rewards? Set some time aside to carefully consider what God might want you to pursue this [...Read More]