Saturday, August 30, 2008

Every Occasion an Opportunity

If you would have asked me in June what we do in Alaska during short-term mission trips, my answer would not have included “serve ethnobotanists.” Until recently, I didn’t know ethnobotany (the study of how people of a particular culture make use of indigenous plants) existed.

No one had told us that 15 scientists would be staying at the school with us. We quickly moved our food into a closet so that they could have full use of the kitchen. We had cleaned, swept and organized. We rearranged schedules to meet their needs. We invited them to our activities. After all, we might be the only Bible they ever read!

But I soon felt resentful. We hauled the water. People weren’t flushing and I was cleaning up. The kitchen was always a mess. They propped doors open with rocks. They left the stove on! Some of the scientists were openly frustrated – we were there, there was no water, it was rainy and cold.

Standing in the bathroom several days later, I looked at the overflowing trash and thought “I can either keep getting bitter or begin serving these people.” I let out a sigh and began cleaning.
If God wants me to be a custodian, than a custodian I will be.

As I served the scientists, I began enjoying them. I made small talk with the woman who had been rude to me. I gave my precious soap to one in need. Perhaps best of all, our family was able to prepare the team joining us from our church for serving our new friends. Had we held on to resentment, we could have “poisoned” the team and missed a unique serving opportunity.

We served our scientist friends meals, cleaned up after them, and shared our lives. When their Cook sheepishly asked for a Bible, a loving team member was quick to respond!

So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist(John 13:4). I had packed my towel to serve the Yup’ik people I love. But this year Jesus asked me to keep my towel on all the time and serve some scientists, too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cleaning Up

Ahhh, finally getting into a routine around here. Things are back in their places after our trip north, the kids are back in school, I'm back to work, and I am able to putz around my wonderful home in between everything! Yesterday I was able to play with soap. Here's the BEFORE...

Soap shoved on a shelf after a trip to Sam's Club to replace the sliver we had been using.

And here's the AFTER following a trip to my favorite place on earth...Home spend $7.99 on this gorgeous chunky jar.

Who knew soap could be so beautiful?

PS--I love this song playing because I got to marry my best friend, too! And it makes me happy. (The song. And my husband.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Brotherly Love

lemonade stand
Boys crack me up. These two are the best of friends, but one would never guess that looking at the photo. (My baby is spitting sunflower seeds. His brother is mentally spending all the money they've made so far.) One might look at this photo and determine these two don't care much for each other. But any mom of boys knows differently.

By the way, this photo was taken from our kitchen window because my standing in the middle of the street taking the first 5 pictures embarrassed the oldest one. Imagine that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Brunch

View from Kitchen Window
The art of being happy lies in the power of
extracting happiness from common things.
-Henry Ward Beecher

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Opening Windows

My elderly neighbor died a few days ago. She was feisty, frequently grumpy, and made me laugh. We got to know each other best after she crashed her Cadillac and I ended up driving her to her hair appointment every Wednesday at 10:30-on-the-dot.

The day before Hazel died, she roused from her morphine slumber and politely asked her daughter to open the window in her hospital room. Puzzled, her daughter asked why. And with some of the most comforting words a dying mother could have spoken to her child, she answered the question with this: Because when He closes a door, He opens a window.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Missing My Friend

kindred spirit: a person who shares beliefs, attitudes, feelings, or features with another; also called kindred soul.

A friendship straight from the hand of God.

No doubt about it.

God is so good.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Gospel Rapper Comes to Fishing Village

Last year in Alaska Helga, an opera singer from England, made a special appearance during Bible School. Her opera was a bit loud and the children sat happily stunned as she sang a Bible song for them before heading back across the pond (eg a quick change in choir room).

This spring I found a "Hope Rap" in one of my resource books and Skittles, the Rapper was born. (Our daughter came up with the idea of naming her "Skittles" because she is the opposite of the rapper Eminem -- get it, M & M?)

Skittles raps about Hope. And she wears a big silver eagle necklace representing Isaiah 40:31. And two bodyguards (aka our sons) introduce and protect her. And they also throw Skittles candies into the audience.

Skittles was supposed to land in LA this summer, but her plane landed in a small fishing village in AK and there she stood -- holding her bling-bling cell phone -- in front of 100 children at a Bible school. She used words like "dog", "yo" and "Word". Skittles did sideways peace signs with her hands. She sang her Hope Rap. And when she was finished some of the older kids shouted "encore!"

I think Skittles was a hit.

And I think when we can make a fool of ourselves (in the best possible sense!) to show that following Jesus can be fun and exciting, it's contagious.

The rest of the week as I walked around the village I heard shouts of "Skittles!" or "Cathy!" followed by the sideways peace sign gesture.

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