Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What colors are your blessings?

Mommy's Super Hero
(right after Daddy!)
 Do you ever feel like you are one of those circus performers with the spinning plates?  I often do, as I try to balance hubby and kiddos with language school, house keeping, and ministry!  There are days when I feel like all my plates are crashing down around my head!  Then there are days when I get that "Supermom Complex" - you know, "I can do it ALL because, after all....I'm SUPERMOM!!!"  It is usually right after THAT thought when the plates start to wobble!  Then the Lord gently reminds me that those plates are only kept spinning with His help!  And He adds blessings to my plates - which helps me keep all my plates in order and spinning!
Mommy's Busy Helper
(making a train with the
couch pillows!)
We have been studying Psalm 23 during our Family Bible Time recently.  Martha is memorizing Psalm 23 in school, so we thought we would incorporate it into our Family Bible Time!  It has been a blessing to see her and Ian understand the meaning of each verse.  We learned in verse 1 that we are just like sheep, with God as our Shepherd.  The kids had fun pretending to be sheep!  Then in verse 2 we learned more about sheep and how the Shepherd leads us where we need to go.  When we got to verse 3, Matt explained to the kids about the "staff," that tries to gently correct us and put us back on the right path - and the "rod" that gives us more severe punishment when we ignore the "staff."  I wish you could see the kids eyes get big as they see the meaning of each verse!
Cups Running Over???

Last night we talked about verse 5 - focusing on "My Cup Runneth Over"!  Matt showed them how God "pours" the blessings into our lives.  He used drinking cups that belong to the kids (I wish I had taken a picture!), and poured water into their cups.  Unbeknownst to the kids (or me), Matt had put blue food coloring in their cups, and when their cups overflowed, they overflowed with blue water instead of the clear water Matt was pouring in!  Martha immediately assumed that blessings must be blue!  We took that opportunity to share with her and Ian that blessings come in all shapes and sizes - and maybe even colors?  After all, isn't Autumn Time the perfect example of a "colorful blessing"?  We all took turns sharing something that was a blessing to each of us from the Lord.  Martha's blessing was "going to school," and Ian's was "leaves."  Matt's blessing was "his hat being returned recently after having lost it," and mine was "Family Bible Time."
I will never again think of blessings without thinking of them in "Color"!  I guess the color of one of my blessings this week would be green.  GREEN?!?!  Yes, Green - because the Lord allowed me to save money at the grocery store this week - now THAT is always a blessing!
So, what colors are YOUR blessings?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Cup Runneth Over!!

   I have been thinking this week how appropriate the name the Lord gave me for my blog is - "My Cup Runneth Over..."  This week, my cup runneth over - with all kinds of things!  Let me explain....
   Do you ever have one of those weeks where everything seems to go right, and everything seems to go wrong - all at once?  It has been my experience that the going wrong side usually happens because the devil is unhappy about the going right side of things!
   As some of you may know, we go to an area of Lima every Sunday called Callao.  We are helping with a Deaf Mission Church there.  The Lord has been opening all kinds of doors for us, and this past Sunday, "Our cups ran over"!  Including our family and Frank, the Deaf man who goes with us to Callao, we had 13 in church this past Sunday!  And the blessings keep coming!  I have written down the whole story on our Family Website Blog: if you would like to read it.
   Well, you know the devil isn't very happy right now - HA! HA! and I'm glad.  Glad?!?!  Yes, glad.  Because when the devil is mad (even though it means problems), it means the Lord is pleased, and that's what I want - to please the Lord!  I have learned that the devil's anger shows itself in many different ways, and never in the way you expect it.  This time, he chose to try one of his favorite weapons - discouragement.  And I had pretty much given in - sad to say!  My cup was running over, but I wasn't letting it run over with my "Whatsoever List" from Philippians 4:8-9!
   The Lord has laid a burden on my heart for quite some time about the need for good books - missionary biographies in particular - translated into Spanish.  One of my favorite books is Evidence Not Seen.  I had asked several people, including the Pastor who is the "caretaker" of her book, and everyone told me the same thing - "There is no Evidence Not Seen in Spanish."  How my heart was saddened at the thought of the Spanish-speaking world missing out on so great a treasure!  Even as I felt the Lord nudging me to translate Darlene's book, the doubts came flooding in.  It doesn't matter what the Enemy said, suffice it to say he said it, and I listened.  But I was excited and I started in with this project!  Yesterday was a particularly difficult day with our language studies, and I was in despair!  But our Lord is so faithful to bring encouragement along at the right moment!  Yesterday was no exception, and He used our language teacher to give me the "Pep Talk" I needed.  My cup was running over again - this time WITH my "Whatsoever List."
   Yesterday I was ready to give up on my God-given project, believing the Enemy's lies of being unqualified, how full of arrogance and pride I must be to take on a project like this, and all the other reasons he laid at my feet for why I should not continue.  But today, I take up my pen and persevere - knowing 100% that this project is from the Lord, and He will enable me to do the task He has given me!  Please pray with me and for me concerning this project!  I don't know how it is all going to come out in the end, but I know the Lord's hand is in it, and the end will be wonderful!
Truly, MY CUP RUNNETH OVER.....!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Stop Talking and Do What You're Told!"

McKendree Family 2012
"Stop talking and do what you're told."  How many times did I hear those words when I was a kid?  Now I'm a Mommy, and I hear myself saying those exact same words to my children!  When I'm talking to my Daddy, I will occasionally mention things that I have said or done exactly like he and my Mom did with me.  I wish you could hear the howl of laughter that comes from him right after I've shared one of those "moments" with him!

The other day, I found myself saying to Martha, "Stop talking and do what you're told!"  I must confess that there was just a slight edge of irritation in my voice.  She went and did what she had been told to do, and I went back to washing my dishes.  I was about half way back to the sink when the Holy Spirit smote my heart, and I heard Him saying those words to me!  I squirmed and started "talking back" to the Holy Spirit - trying hard to "help" Him see my side of the story!  Again I heard, "Stop talking and do what you're told!"  I immediately began thinking of things in my life that I have been "told" to do, and how many times I neglect to do them!  Ooooh!  How patient and loving the Holy Spirit is with us - isn't He?!

Enjoying our new 3-D Books of Peru!
Exploring Peru in 3-D!
Isn't it funny (and convicting) how God uses our children to teach us more about our relationship with our Heavenly Father?  I sometimes think I learn more from my children, than they learn from me!  How precious those "learning moments" are to me!  

So, like my children, I am (again) learning the lesson of "Stop talking and do what you're told!"  And, just like for my children, it is sometimes a hard lesson for me to remember and obey!  But praise the Lord, I have His patience and loving-kindness to help me as I learn these valuable lessons with my children!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happiness Is....

Ian's Moto
One of my favorite books is a Peanuts book called "Happiness Is....a Warm Blanket."  I think I am going to write my own version of a "Happiness Is...." book!  I started out to write this blog yesterday morning,  but then got side-tracked with trying to figure out how to put Ian's "moto" (motorcycle) back together!  How hard could it possibly be to put a plastic motorcycle back together????  Apparently it is more complicated than I thought - or I'm having a "moment"!  Praise the Lord, Daddy walked in the door at that moment - wah hoo!!  I've seen the "moto" together enough times, you would think I could remember where all the pieces should go - ha!  Now I ask you - does this look like a complicated piece of machinery?

Our Favorite Mechanic!
But, try as I would, I just couldn't put it together again - kind of like Humpy Dumpy (Martha's endearing name for the beloved Humpty Dumpty!)  However, our fearless mechanic came to the rescue and in no time, the job was done, and I had two happy kiddos once more!  One of the blessings that I have discovered in having a 3 year old and a 2 year old is that it really doesn't take much to make them happy!
This morning "Happiness was....a moto put back together!
The Happy Mechanic and Customers!

For Martha, "Happiness is"....a bowl of popcorn...or two...or three...or the whole big container!  She reminds me of my cousin's daughter, Maria - she loves to eat popcorn too!  Wouldn't the two of them have a great time eating popcorn together?

For Ian, "Happiness is"... a hotdog!  Almost every time I start cooking, Ian appears instantly at my side - inquiring (quite hopefully, I might add) if I'm making hotdogs!  The new blender is something else that really makes Ian happy - he comes running with a big grin on his face when he hears me running the blender!

In my spare moments, I have been reading "Pollyanna."  Yes, there is a book - not just a movie!  Sometimes the book isn't as good as the movie, but in this case it is better.  It's funny what the Lord uses sometimes in your life to correct your attitudes about things!  As you probably know, Pollyanna always played "The Glad Game."  Well, we've started playing "The GAME" with Martha and Ian, and it is amazing how things look much better when you look for something to be glad about!  It really is just another way to "Rejoice in the Lord always"!

For me, happiness is....being with my little family and serving God here in Peru.  Is it always easy?  No.  Do I always meet the obstacles and challenges with joy and excitement?  No.  But when I let Him, God helps me find those little jewels of happiness.  What would you put in your book called "Happiness Is.....?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"The Bers" and Family Traditions

When I lived in the Philippines, I learned about "The Bers."  I always look forward to "The Bers"!  What are "The Bers"?  "The Bers" are the last four months of the year.  You know -SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, and DecemBER!!  The coming of "The Bers" means two of my favorite times of the year are close at hand - Fall and Christmas!  So now October is here, and so is my favorite time of the year!  As you can see through my windows it is still pretty gray and gloomy looking outside!  But everyone tells me it is Spring!  Since there are no fall colors here in Peru, so I decided to remedy that and put fall on my windows!  My Honey looked so pleased when I finally got all the leaves cut out and hung up on the windows.  He said, "Now it LOOKS like fall!"

The sun shone for a little while on Sunday, and then again yesterday.  It was enough sun that Martha came home sunburned!  She is a lovely shade of pink right now - what a blessing that one of her favorite colors happens to be pink!  Matt took this picture of the sun peeking through the clouds.  It was exciting to see the sun - we haven't seen it for months!  That's how our winter here in Peru is, though!  I look forward to seeing the sun again during summer!

But, back to Fall and my leaves have more than just a mere decorative purpose - oh, yes!  These leaves are going to play a major role in our Thanksgiving meal this year!  No, I'm not going to sneak them into the stuffing or mashed potatoes!  As I was cutting out these leaves, I got to thinking that I wanted them to be more than just a decoration - I wanted them to have a purpose.  So the Lord gave me a beautiful idea - which is going to become a family tradition!  Bro. Ross, one of our teachers in college, always used to say, "Thanksgiving must be practiced!"  So that is what we are going to do!  Every day one of us gets to take a leaf off the window, and I write on it one thing that the person who removed it is thankful for and sign his/her name.  I made a little "basket" and hung it on our bulletin board.  We are "collecting leaves" in our basket.  On Thanksgiving, we will open our "basket" and read all the things we are thankful for.  I am going to have to make more leaves to last us until Thanksgiving, but I am excited to have a new family tradition!

When "The Bers" come, I always long for fall colors, for picking apples from Hick's Orchard, and for drinking fresh apple cider with fresh apple cider donuts!  It is a great joy and comfort to look at my windows and see my little piece of Autumn!  And I have the fun of looking forward to reading over all our reasons to be Thankful on Thanksgiving Day!  I hope today will be a beautiful Autumn day for matter where you live!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Life as we know it!

Playing with Daddy!
Life on the mission field is never dull, as many of you know.  Most of you know that we have been going to Callao as a family.  The kids love to ride on the train, however the ride does get tedious at times.  I have started singing with the kids on the train and on the "Combi."  It seems to help, and I can't help but laugh as I listen to what I'm singing!  Ever since the kids were babies, I have always adjusted songs to make them more personal.  "Jesus Loves Me" has become "Jesus Loves You!"  Of course with both Ian and Martha song titles have changed from what I remember them!  I sometimes have a hard time deciphering which song they are requesting!  For example:  "Jesus Loves the Little Children" is often requested as "English, Irish, French, and Jew."  The other day, Martha asked me "for the black and white people song."  Since I had just finished singing "Jesus loves the Little Children" (the "English, Irish, French, and Jew" version), I assumed she wanted the same song in the "Red and yellow, black and white" version.  Whew!!  I was right!

Not only do I change the songs to make them more personal, I have started trying to fit them to our situation.  For example:  We ride "Combis" quite often.  So I decided to change "The Wheels on the Bus" to "The Wheels on the Combi"!  Now my kids will grow up thinking that's the way the song really goes!  Imagine their confusion years from now when they are in Sunday School in the States on furlough and they sing that song!  Poor kiddos!  But they love it, and every time we get on the train, they start asking for the song about "Dinosaur Jack"!  Right now, Jack is reserved for Sundays, but I have a feeling he is going to become a household name - at least in our house!

Here are some pictures of the latest amusements!  We had some big boxes left from some purchases recently and the kids had a grand time with them! I walked into the kitchen where Ian was playing with his box, and this is what I saw....Hmm....all ready for Pappy? Grandpa?....I couldn't decide, so I decided to keep him with me!

Yesterday, the kids decided they wanted to use a "manta" with their toys.  The Peruvians (mostly the women from the mountains) use a piece of fabric to tie their babies onto their backs to carry them around!  I have a "manta" that I use with Ian - it frees up my hands when we are going places - but you should see the Peruvians stare!  Martha is the one that started this...she wanted to put Elizabeth in the "manta" so I let her use mine.
 Ian, of course, wanted to join in the fun... so I used his favorite blanket as a manta, put his faithful "Oof" in there, tied it on him, and you can see the result...he was as happy as a cricket!

Today we are going to try to go up to the market to find another plastic sword...or two...or three.....
Ian's sword is such a popular item in our house, that we have decided maybe we should all have one!

So, this is life as we know it....never boring....always exciting....and above all perfectly wonderful because we are exactly where God wants us - doing exactly what He wants us to do!