Thursday, October 28, 2010


They love to imitate what we do. And right now, this seems to be all I am doing, so why wouldn't she copy me? I just hope she knows what could happen if she starts that this early...

She should be afraid. Very, very, afraid. I know I am.

This actually insipred me to write a little thank you note to my brassiere...

Dear Friend,
Thank you for all your support over the years. Even though you have made me uncomfortable at times, I realize now that it was for my own good. I will be dedicated to our relationship forever.
Yours in deepest gratitude,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ok, so maybe it isn't all bad...

My husband says I am a pessimist. I do not agree with that. If anything I say I am a realist, but just as Ferris Bueller didn't condone any "ism". I don't really condone being labeled an "ist". Amen. Anyway, so I made a passing reference yesterday that I hated the gym. Did anyone catch that? I know it was subtle. But, I do have to say that there are some good things about it. And I will list them here:

1. I get to pee without an audience.

2. I get to shower without having to jump out soaking wet with shampoo in my hair because I am convinced that one child has killed the other.

3. I get to listen to my ipod shuffle.

Before you make fun of me for only having an ipod shuffle, please know that I love it. It is tiny and pink and clips onto my shirt, and weighs practically nothing. (I do, however, take it off before I get on the scale. Every ounce counts) Also, it is very simple and easy to use, and I can only listen to it at the gym anyway, so why do I need it to show pictures or fancy things on a screen. In all honesty, I would have no idea how to work an ipod any more complicated than this one. I learned a little acronym a long time ago that has sort of become my theme in life- KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. For me, it means, "if you are stupid, keep your life simple, and you will be a lot less frustrated". Amen.

Anyway, this song by Shaun Groves came on and I haven't listened to it for a while, but I remembered why I love it, and listened to it 2 more times before I left gym. I just thought I would share it here...

Jesus brings a meal for tips
Jesus trying hard to quit
Jesus raising two alone
Jesus drives a heavy load

When we love the least
When we love the weak
When we love these
We love Jesus

Jesus with worn wrinkled hands
Jesus sows a patch of land
Jesus hides a tattooed arm
Jesus keeping dinner warm

When we love the least
When we love the weak
When we love these
We love Jesus

Jesus waves a foreign flag
Jesus wrings a washing rag
Jesus leans on prison bars
Jesus swinging in my yard

Here is what Shaun says is the reason for writing the song:

I have met so many people who hate God because those of us who claim to love God haven't loved them yet. And I believe now that church services, Christian music and books are not God's primary means of convincing them otherwise. We are. They will know Him by our love for them. Yet I still find it difficult at times to love everyone I meet - not just the upstanding and clean - as if I am loving Christ Himself.

So, I don't know it the gym is doing anything for my physically, but is certainly helping me spiritually, which is probably the best thing about it! :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

I hate the gym

I hate the gym. I went for the first time last Friday. I went in and took it easy since I just had my abdomen sliced open 6 weeks prior. Well, that very easy "workout" (seriously, it was pitiful, and probably should not even be called a workout) left me sore for the last two days, and I don't have high hopes for tomorrow either. The thing that is the most pitiful is the fact that I am this sore from that sad little 30 minutes at the gym. I hate the gym.

Our family trip to fair made me go, though. Five weeks after having Mae, I climbed the Great Wall...something like 13 miles of the Great Wall. 13 miles and like 7 billion steps. I remember being tired, but not overly tired afterward, and definitely not sore. Oh, I was also carrying my baby in a sling the whole time. Five weeks after having Mia, I walked around the fair for a couple hours, and thought I was going to die. I am seriously out of shape, but I seriously hate the gym.

Our life in China made me in shape. We walked everywhere. I had to climb 3 flights of stairs to get to my apartment. I went up and down those stairs several times a day just to do my laundry, let alone actually going anywhere. Also, fresh fruits and veggies were cheap, and American imported junk food was expensive. I liked this "way of life" diet and exercise much better than going to the stupid gym- I hate the gym. I was getting in shape without even realizing it. And do not even get me started on the price of fresh produce here. Here I am at 15 weeks pregnant. I could not fit my big toe in those jeans now. And my stomach hasn't been that flat since, well, whenever this picture was taken.

Anyway, the point is. I would like to be in some sort of shape before we leave for New Guinea. I mean, I am pretty sure that daily life will be very physical, perhaps even more so than in China, and I am going to need to be able to do more than just stroll around the fair for a couple hours without getting winded. I just really need some motivation. I have had several people tell me that I should train for a marathon, and that would keep me motivated. To that I thanks. I don't mind running as long as it is a short distance. The longest I have ever run was 5 miles, and that was in college. It took me a whole semester to build up to that, and that was when ephedrine was still legal. I ran around the track at on campus. I did not go to the dumb gym- I hate the gym. Anyway, I think Marathons are "the new thing". It seems like everyone is doing them. I wish I was a part of "everyone", but I am not. There are a lot of things that seem to be trending with my peers right now, that I just don't see myself being a part of- marathons, natural childbirth, Calvinism...just to name a few. One trend I would like to get on board with is cakes. Have you noticed that everyone is making cakes these days? I would like to be a part of the eating of the cakes, not the making. I will leave that to the talented people. Did I mention that I hate the gym? Just wanted to make sure my feelings were clear on this subject.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Fair

The very first step to becoming a "tribal wife" happened eight years ago at the Mississippi State Fair. It is where JM and I had our first date. Every year that we are here we go to the Fair for a date. We do not actually ride any rides. We eat. We eat a lot. We eat a lot and then we get honey sticks and Malone's taffy to take home and eat even more. It is by far the thing we look forward to most in the year. Birthdays, wedding anniversary,etc.- none of it holds a candle to the Fair Date. I know we are weird. That is why we are married to each other. Our mutual weirdness is what keeps us together. Anyway, we have never taken the kids because we rarely get to go on dates, so we usually reserve this day just for us. This year, however, we felt the need to include our older girls and show them where it all began. We felt the need, and their grandparents gave us money to take them. While we briefly thought about all the delicious food we could buy ourselves with that money, we quickly realized that:
A) Our kids can talk and would say, "What is the fair?" when asked by their granparents.
B) The grandparents would expect pictures.
C) The grandparents are our babysitters.

So, we decided not to be horrible parents and actually take our kids with us. It turned out great anyway because of the colicky newborn I had at home, I could not eat most of the stuff we like to get anyway, so it would not have been as fun for us. I can imagine that eating a polish sausage with peppers and onions would cause my sweet little "Captain Screamo" to simply pack her bags and leave. "I'm going to live with some lady who loves me enough to only eat bread and water", she would say. "Wait, don't go, I AM only eating bread and water for you!!" Sorry, that got a little dramatic. Anyway, so we took the kids. They had a blast, and so did we.

And I did manage to get some of the food I love...

The girls got to pet some smelly animals...

And ride some ponies...

And some other rides...

Including this large scary slide. My fear of heights made my hands sweat just watching my husband take my precious middle child up those stairs. It also made me nauseous. And feel the urgent need for a bathroom. But that may be too much information...

She, however, loved it...

Little fear junkie...

She loved it too, but no one is surprised here. She has always been obsessed with slides...

And I was tempted. Very very tempted...

Overall, a great day...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The house on James St

So, here I am posting again, because my beautiful baby girl has been a lot happier the last two days. I am doing a lot to try to ease the colic, including a strict feeding schedule and I am literally not eating anything. Bread and water is about the extent of it. But, she is not screaming and my whole house is a lot more peaceful. Three days ago during one of the crying spells Lu plugged her ears and yelled, "I can't take this anymore!", went into her room and shut the door. Mae seems to be a little more patient and just says, "don't cry baby, Mia" as she tries to shove a paci in Mia's mouth. To Mae, the paci solves all problems. Yes, my 2 and a half year old still has a paci. Sue me...but if you do, just so you know, joke's on you because I don't have any money, and all my valuables are on a boat headed to New Guinea! Ha ha!

Anyway, so after the incredible story I told you yesterday, I thought I would tell you another one today...

When we decided to go to East Asia, we had to sell our house. The church where JM worked agreed to pay his salary for 2 months after we left as a way to support us, and it worked out that we would stop getting that salary at the end of December. If we carried our mortgage payment after that, we would have been in BIG trouble. There was literally no way we could afford it. We bought our house during the "housing bubble". Anyone remember that? When houses stayed on the market for like 3 days before they sold? Yeah, that seems like a million years ago. Well, we sold it right when that bubble burst. There were 4 houses on our street for sale, including the house right next door, and we needed ours to sell in 2 months. We were a little nervous, but trusted the Lord.

We hired the same realtor who sold us the house because she gave us a discount on her commission, and it didn't take long to realize that she was not a believer. She was going through some very difficult things in her life at the time, and it was obvious that she was struggling. One day JM came to me to tell me that he felt like God wanted him to tell her that our house would sell before January first because God was going to sell it. I told him that was great, but I think we were both a little nervous about what would happen if it didn't sell. We knew God could do it and would if that is what He promised, but I think we both doubted whether or not this was really from God or just what we wanted. Well, JM obeyed and told her. She kinda laughed and brushed the comment off, but 2 weeks later we had an offer on the house. After a little negotiating we accepted their offer. We closed on the house on DECEMBER 29th!! It was a Friday, the last business day of the year. If we had closed any later it would have been January!! We were shown once again that God is faithful, and he used the situation to show someone else who didn't know Him that faithfulness.

Our realtor couldn't close with us because she had a c section that same day, but we made sure we told our co worker what happened and to make sure to reminder her of what we said! The house was beautiful (see that big beautiful porch, I loved that thing!), and we did A LOT of work on it, but it was very obvious that God sold it, when He said He would. The house is actually for sale again, and has been for almost a year now. The people didn't trash it or anything. In fact, they made more improvements on it. Whenever we go home, we always go by there. We do have some great memories there, but the best is the memory of when we left. A memory of God's faithfulness. There's none better than that! It makes me think of this verse:

"I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations." Psalm 89:1

**disclaimer- although I love this verse and whole heartedly agree with it. I will not be "singing". I think instead I will be speaking, shouting, get the point. I am pretty sure that if I sing of the Lord's great love, people will run screaming with their fingers in their ears and yelling, "I can't take this anymore!" and that is not what I want. Amen

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Favorite Story

I should not make promises about posting on this blog. I said the day before that I would post a great story yesterday, and it just didn't happen. Have you ever tried to write a blog with a colicky baby? Have you ever tried to do anything with a colicky baby? If so, then you will forgive me. If not, and you are resistant to forgiving me, then will you come hold my baby so I can write? And do my dishes? And my laundry? And cook? And take care of the 2 other kids I have under the age of 5? Please? PLEASE??? Actually, my husband sensed my very close walk with insanity yesterday and cleaned the house and did some laundry. If you knew his utter hatred for laundry you would know what a big deal this is. He also suggested we get Papa John's pizza for dinner. I sang "To God be the Glory" and when he looked at me strangely, I said "that means, yes". Not that I could actually eat the pizza. I'm sure if I had that would have filled our house with screams at a decibel that would rival a room full of tween girls who were just told Justin Bieber was on his way to marry them all. But, I did not have to cook or clean up after, so pizza for everyone else was fantastic for me.

Back to the point. I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about crazy and mostly stressful things. The truth be told, though, I love my life. I am not sure I could love it more, honestly. Missionary life is hard, but it is amazing, and every time I think about having a "normal" suburban life, I have an anxiety attack. I am pretty sure that is a physical response God put in my body, so I would not turn back, and I am glad He did! Anyway, I want to tell some of the great and amazing things He has done for us since we started this journey!

JM and I lived in Alabama after we graduated. He was the youth and children's minister at a church and I taught high school Spanish. We knew that God was calling us to be missionaries, but I had a pretty significant student loan debt (thank you Mississippi College) and missionaries cannot have debt. A friend of ours who started a mission organization called us one day to ask if we would be the first foreign missionaries his organization would send overseas. We said "we'll pray about it", mostly as a way to blow him off because we really did not want to go to the country he wanted to send us to. Well, as it turns out, we prayed and felt like we were supposed to go. We called and told him we would go, but we have this student loan debt. He said not to worry about it- God would take care of it. And He did. A few weeks later some of our best friends called us to go out to dinner. They were our former neighbors who had moved away, so we were very excited to get to see them and spend time with them. After dinner we went to Starbucks because we wanted the night to end on a delightfully caffeinated note. At that Starbucks, they handed us a check for $15,000 which was almost exactly the amount we owed on the student loan. There h"happened" to be some missionaries from the same country we were going to sitting at the table behind us. They heard the whole thing and wanted to encourage us and tell us how much it encouraged them. Pretty cool.

You see when we first met this incredible couple, we told them about our calling and desire to be missionaries, and that we were waiting for our debt to be paid before we could go. What we didn't know was that when they heard that story, they began to pray that they could be the ones to help us pay off the loan!!! They actually prayed for God to give them money- not for themselves, but for someone else. God answered that prayer when they sold their house. No, they are not wealthy people with that kind of money to throw around. They fixed up a house and gave us the majority of the profit when it sold, and then lived in a rented trailer for the next two years because of it. Two servants who love Lord and desire to be used by Him. I wish I could write in here the countless ways this story has impacted people. It has most definitely impacted us. We learned that God will always provide for His work. We learned that it is a joy to live on faith. (How exciting would it have been, if this story was just that we worked for 5 years and gradually paid it off? Not very.) We also learned what it meant to be part of the Body of Christ and to repeat a few or those verses from yesterday-

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."

Here they are with their oldest son. I didn't post their names because A) I didn't get their permission and B) I do not want them to be victims of some internet stalker or scammer because of me.

There is a lot more to this story that I would love to share with you. I won't promise when I will share it, so as not to repeat yesterday's experience, but I promise the next time my baby stops crying I will share it. See you in 2015.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Acts 2:42-47

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

After all the shopping and sorting and shipping was over I began to reflect on what just happened and the massive amount of money we spent in a short amount of time. I was sure that our bank was going to call and check to see if our card had been stolen and the some thief was going on a major spending spree...but they didn't, which kinda worries me a little. Anyway, we spent a lot of money, and even though we will be eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until we leave, I can't stop thinking about how blessed we are to have been able to spend that money. You see most missionaries are poor. We, in fact, are poor. We live well below the national poverty level for a family of 4, scratch that, 5. We are a family of 5 now. I keep forgetting that. (I keep forgetting the number, not the baby, don't worry or call social services on me please) Anyway, we are poor by national standards, but as I am sure you've noticed none of us are starving. My kids have chubby cheeks and leg rolls. Well, Lu doesn't anymore and I am mourning them daily. I will not comment on my rolls. You get the point. We are not starving. We drive a nice mini van. We live in a 2 bedroom house 1 bath house. We have a brand new macbook pro that has some very impressive stats that I know nothing about.

Why am I telling you this? Because I am bragging and I think I am better than you. Just kidding! I am telling you this to tell you that it is all because of The Church. The Body of Christ. The people not the building. I have been reading a lot of books lately about everything that is wrong with the American church. They are great books and I absolutely agree with every word they say about the American church as a whole. But, our family is very blessed to see Americans who are the church do exactly what the verses above describe. They are individuals who live all over the country and even the world who sacrifice their finances, material things, talents, and even their own homes so that we can do the job we are called to do.

We spent a lot of money last week that we were blessed to have only because of supporters who are members of The Body. We had been saving a lot of that money for plane tickets, and then our church told us they were going to take care of paying for our plane tickets... We needed a new computer as JM's was on its last leg and a supporter called to tell us that they wanted to buy us a new one...We don't have a car payment because some members of the same Body of Christ came together to help us purchase ours. Before we moved back to Mississippi we wondered where we would live and some friends told us we could live in their home. No, they are not rich people who have multiple homes for their luxury- they bought a new home and are waiting to sell this one until we leave. It is a sacrifice they are making for us, for the people of Papua New Guinea, for The Lord.

I say all that to simply encourage my fellow believers. I know a lot of people who have gone through a lot of difficult things with churches. It is very sad and definitely not what Christ had in mind for His Bride, but I hope that everyone will have the chance to see that there are still real and true believers all over the world who are all members of ONE CHURCH and are functioning just as Christ intended. I love that I get to experience that. And I wonder if more Christians lived on support... on faith, if they would get to see it as well.

I know a lot of people are scared of this kind of life, and I was at first too, but the Lord proved himself right from the beginning. I tear up just thinking about those first few months after we took the plunge and started living by faith. It is a great story, but too long for this already very long post (anybody still reading??) so, I will share it tomorrow. Come back tomorrow to read it. It is worth it, I promise. If you need $15,000, you will learn how to get it! ;) Just kidding. But not really.