15 January, 2017

Fruitcake anyone?

    It's Sunday morning and instead of being at church, i'm at home with a little man who has been fighting the flu all week. Not only has he been fighting the flu but he's been a real challenge in other ways. Normally quite obedient and pleasant, he has turned into a little terror who hates his bed, wants to sleep in the big, cozy bed with his parents, and throws a complete fit when he doesn't get what he wants. You would think after raising 8 other children that i would have this training thing figured out but i still get that helpless feeling when little angel turns into big terror and decides to let his own will be known and any good feelings i had about my child training slowly drains away. It's enough to make me want a nap. Which i deserve because last night after hearing him whine and complain quietly to himself at an unearthly hour, i dragged my pillow out to the couch. Decided i would let Big Daddy and groucho mundo figure it out so i slept on the couch and dreamt of the end of the world and massive flooding. And laundry. Lots of laundry and big appliances that quickly dried our clothing so we could keep running to......somewhere. Even in the apocalypse i can't get away from dirty underwear and socks. Woke up to see Marlin standing in complete amazement in front of me wondering why in the world i'm on the couch. In 20 years of marriage that has never happened. Nothing personal dear, just seemed like a good idea in the wee hours of the morning.

   So here i am, with the smell of baking ham in the oven and a faint plan to maybe make dessert for lunch since Sunday lunch deserves something sweet with coffee. However, that means i need to actually get busy and i'm not sure i feel like getting busy other than with a cup of tea and a good book. Busy is overrated. Altho dessert not so much, so there's my quandary.

   I was a bit sad to miss church this morning because i haven't been there for a couple of Sundays and Marlin is preaching. I like when he preaches. He's a man that lives what he preaches and has a way of speaking truth without condemnation. But then i'm biased and not ashamed of it. We don't have many Sundays left at Oak Hill and i will miss it. The singing is absolutely incredible and one reason i like it is because it's old fashioned hymns sung with great enthusiasm. I suspect i'm getting old fashioned in my mature years. I'm cool with that, bro.

   I'll also miss the amazing fellowship dinners with the rows of heart warming and waist growing food, esp desserts. Lifts me to a spiritual like plateau in no time. Lucky for them, i'm not one of those cooks who show up with an array of mouth watering food so my food won't be missed. Marlin's might be tho, since he has inspired quite a few males in the church to take their place as men and fire up that grill. Its been beautiful.

   It goes without saying that we'll miss the people too. They have been a very safe place to rest and refresh, and we will be forever grateful. God has used them in our lives and there will be tears when we say good by. Already dreading the farewell get together.

   But life goes on and we're ready and excited to take the next step. I have my moments of complete panic and doubt, when i wonder what on earth ails us that we can't act like sane humans altho it's a bit late for that with being pregnant and all. Mostly those moments come when the feedback about our move is negative and other people let us know they're wondering the same thing. It's good tho, because it drives me to my knees and a choice to trust that God is in control. That's all i really care about. Knowing He is God and is leading. I'm willing to be a complete fruitcake as long as it's Him and not my own good intentions. So even in that it's a choice to trust not only God but also my husband. When we look back over our various moves and experiences, it's amazing to see how each situation prepared us for the next. Some were very painful, and some just hard, but each one has been crucial in our walk and growth with Christ. So once again we take a deep breath and jump off the deep end but we're jumping off together......my man, myself, and a whole row of little and not so little fruitcakes, and most important of all, surrounded by the hand of Papa God.

29 December, 2016

Oh Ho, to Boston we go

   We came back from Kenya tired and wondering if perhaps our future would be like normal people.

   Work.

   Sleep.

   Church.

   Loving and being loved.
 
  A full(er) bank account perhaps.

  I dreamt of a rambling farmhouse, preferably white with black shutters and a red door. A large wrap around porch and huge trees. A screen door that would slam and a kitchen big enough to host large crowds of friends and people in need of love and coffee.

  A big dog and a few farm cats.

  Ramshackle barn or two and maybe a pond out back.

  A place to raise this astonishing amount of boys that God has given us.

  But above all, as i stared longingly at white farmhouses and old trees, i asked my Heavenly Father to give me a heart of contentment and surrender at whatever cost. Hopefully it involved country sunsets but i wrestled to give it up and shared in a women's small group setting that God was asking me to surrender my dreams.

  "God, do you hear me?"

  He heard and we're moving.

  Not to country sunsets but to the sun sinking behind office buildings and rows of houses.

  No big farm dog. Or cats for that matter.

  We're moving to Boston. We were planning on settling in Virginia for long term and talked casually of building someday. After the third or fourth request from mission boards we began to get this unsettling feeling that perhaps God was reminding us that we're to be strangers and pilgrims in this life. Not that you can't build a house and still be a pilgrim and stranger but He has made it clear to us that it's not for us, at least not now.

  But the city??? We prayed long and hard about that one. I'm a country girl at heart. It's not easy to think of being surrounded by houses and people and i remember the claustrophobia of Kisumu Kenya. So we prayed, asked lots of questions, and had hours of conversations with the older children. They have been an integral part of our decision making. We asked God to give us a heart that is unified in what His will is and we feel He has made it clear. To Boston we go.

  Marlin will be director of a refugee/immigrant center that Followers of the Way Boston is setting up. He will, Lord willing, be teaching English as a second language along with various other programs all with the goal of reaching people for Christ. The mission field in the states is growing rapidly and every believer is needed in many different ways.

  In spite of no white farmhouse and ramshackle barn, no pond, and sidewalks instead of country roads, my heart is at peace. I did tell Jesus that instead of a gold mansion in heaven i would be cool with a farmhouse but i know that whatever He has will be beyond my imagination.

  We're not moving because we think we're somehow more spiritual than anyone else or that you can't be fulfilling God's call in your home area. Some have called us brave and adventurous (we've also gotten the raised eyebrows and the icy "oh.") but i would like to think that every believer lives a life of being willing to go anywhere and do anything for the gospel. I can't imagine moving anywhere without feeling clear that it is God calling us and neither can i imagine staying if He nudges us on. We don't question that He called us to Virginia for a season of rest and renewal and we believe He is moving us into another part of our journey.


This is the kind of picture that happens when you remember at bedtime that your family picture is needed for a church calendar. Aren't they a handsome bunch? 


 

 

 

 

09 December, 2016

Supper Panic

  You know how it is. It's time to get supper cooking and nothing comes to mind.

  Nothing.

  A small feeling of panic swirls because if i don't figure something out that means 11 people won't be eating. 11 hungry people are no joke. I'm not one of those super organized people who have a menu figured out every week. I used to be a lot more organized and then.....not sure what happened. I love weekly menus but i never think of it until the panic happens. I'm also not one of those that has simple meal ingredients always on hand for emergencies. Again, just not that good. It's not all my fault because i have a fantastic cook for a husband and if surprise company is on their way, he can always come up with something. And then there was that time that we served company pizza from a pizza shop and they didn't come.......and didn't come.......2 hours past supper they showed up while the pizza rested in the oven. Chewing that pizza was an experience i never, never want to repeat.

  So what to do when you HAVE to come up with something NOW?

  It's simple, really. So simple that it's too easy.

 Pray.

 No, not being sacrilegious because i have done it many, many times and it has never failed me. If you're being deliberately lazy and slothful it might not because God doesn't reward losers, but if you're a busy mama with a good heart but not such good planning skills, He hears.

  Normally i do have a plan for supper by midmorning and the meat is thawing, but some times like today my plan flushes down the drain. I was planning on making this butternut squash, quinoa casserole with a bit of chicken breast in it (sounds nasty but i promise the picture looked amazing) and then i get a call from my very handsome husband who informed me that they will need a ride home from work. The mechanic working on our van ended up in hospital and it won't be finished til tomorrow morning. I don't know why he needed the hospital unless he happened to take a look inside the van. My meal plan wouldn't work because it needed me to be here most of the time and, well, i was't going to be here. I had just woke up from my nap and felt like a groggy smurf, but i sat down with my cookbook and started paging while sipping coffee to give me a wake up jolt. While i paged i asked the Lord to please show me what to make.

  He did, within minutes. Instead of butternut squash and quinoa we're having chicken and rice made with cream and chicken broth. The broth mixture tasted fantastic before i slid it in oven and there's the irony of it. Not only has He ALWAYS answered, it's always something yummy. He often doesn't even use a cookbook but something will pop into my head and i'll be like, "thank you, Lord!!!"

  I'm telling you, having Him involved in every area of your life is unbelievable. Here's the God of the universe giving me inspiration for what to feed 11 people out of the 6 billion or so people populating this earth. He cares.

  If He cares about supper and has got my back, then how dare i worry about our future? Which is changing but i'll share that at a later date. Sorry, but i need to get ready to go pick up my fine, fine specimen of a man and teenagers.

  Trust Him. I dare you.

07 October, 2016

Guess What?

 It's official..........



There's another Baby Weaver on the way!!!


Yup, that pregnancy test that i took a while ago was wrong. It lied and i was air headed enough to post about it and then repented afterwards but it was too late. Except that i decided that it wasn't too late and i deleted it. 


I watched our older children's faces when we told them. In today's world and even, sadly, in our Anabaptist culture, a mom of 40 who's expecting a child is someone to be slightly embarrassed of if your'e a teenager. I needn't have worried. There was great rejoicing and i'm being spoiled rotten ever since. Big Daddy brings me home special treats and I'm watched carefully by the older kids for fear a wrong movement might endanger the new member. It's the life, albeit an exhausting and alarmingly fattening one.

Baby punkin is due around the middle of May, making me 9 weeks. You can send me congratulations in the form of homemade pies and donuts. Specifically cream filled homemade donuts.

On the other hand, better just wish me well and leave it at that. I'm already having a problem shutting some of my shirts and my self control is having issues. I know, who would've thought........
  

06 September, 2016

It is Good

    Today i sat surrounded by my crew of boys and debated the possibility of losing my mind. I felt pulled in a gazillion directions as i struggled to keep the middle kids (twins and Jacob) focused on school, while helping the older ones with questions, even while Baby Love was crying every few minutes because he has massive teeth pushing through and he's beyond grouchy. I once again sat on our rather raggedy red recliner to comfort Christopher and thought about the impossibility of trying to do and be all things at once. I tried not to think about mothers who actually have a room designated for school, along with cute little girls who think school is the cat's pajamas.

The detox of green smoothies that was meant to make us healthy and quite thin?
A complete and nasty failure.


  As my boys chased each other through the house and banged kettle lids with Lincoln Logs for drums, (i chased them outside.....quite literally) and a son had to rewrite a sentence for the third time, i had an epiphany.

  I've been fighting this hard stage of schooling in my spirit. I keep thinking that if i find the perfect answer or schedule, everything will fall into place and it will become easy. My children will be cheerful, hard working, and will love nothing more than quietly sitting, preferably in a far away corner, filling out large workbooks with neatly written answers.

  So while Zachary voluntarily cleaned up the living room and i rocked Baby Love, i realized that this is a very intense stage of life and i need to embrace it. No matter how good i organize, IT WILL BE HARD. And guess what? THAT'S OK!!! Yes, there are answers to help things run more smoothly but God will only give them as i surrender to where i'm at in this schooling stage and stop relying on my own strength.

  And did you get that sentence about Zachary voluntarily cleaning up the living room? That's right! On his own, without me so much as saying a word. And why am i complaining??? Dear Lord, forgive my selfish heart. I want perfectly obedient children so i can feel good about my perfect life that never stretches me beyond what i can handle. Or think i can handle. That way when i'm old and retired, i can remember how my life was perfect and my house clean. But how empty. How incredibly empty that would be.


The living room after Zac was finished. There's hope!!! 



  I thought it was intense when all i had was littles. When my 3rd grader couldn't remember to add vowels to her words and the twins were trying to butcher bananas behind my back. I thought it was hard when my mother followed me all day wondering where her husband was, and i fed my farmers copious amounts of food at each meal and trembled at the grocery bill. I thought it was hard when i lived in a dusty compound with a green mamba snake and tin walls and worries about ISIS snatching me at the grocery store. I thought surely it couldn't be any worse when i found out my little girl was going to be buried in African dirt, and what if i never smile again.

  But now that i look back, all i can see are the silver linings. I see the row of little Weaver bodies snuggled up to me while we read huge piles of books about early American history. I see the memories made as we laughed over piles of fried potatoes and crispy bacon around that scratched farm table. I remember my mother's laughter and her tears as she realized she will never again be the woman she used to be, and i see her brokenness at the foot of Jesus as she surrendered that strong, beautiful woman that was her. I remember the fellowship with fellow missionaries inside those dusty walls, and the smiles on the people as they laughed at the strange white woman who carried her baby in front of her instead of behind her. I remember the healing as i gave Hadassah back to God and chose life and joy, and i remember the smiles that followed.







   Someday, i will look back with an ache in my heart at the memory of this little house bursting with life. I'll remember the son cheerfully taking the littles outside so i can get lunch ready and i'll remember the soft cheek of baby snuggled against my neck. I'll remember those early mornings, stumbling to the table bleary eyed, and reading the Word of God together and then searching our hearts to see what God is saying to us. I'll remember the prayers going up from the mouths of our young people as they seek God for answers and strength. I'll remember my strong leader of a husband as he sat at the head of the table, leading our discussions and challenging our hearts. So strong and yet so tender. How God has taken him through the fire the last number of years and how incredible are the results. I'll also remember the laughter. So much laughter.

  I don't know where our future as a family lies. We are seeking God's face as a family for where He wants us. We've been asked to return to Africa to reach out to street children and we've also been asked to pray about inner city ministry in the United States. Or does He want us to stay in Virginia? No matter where it is, i know God Himself walks before us, with us, and inside of us and because of that, my heart is filled with joy and peace.  And forgive me if this sounds super spiritual, but i never want to retire. I'm praying that the Lord will take me while i'm still going full blast. Whether that's in my 40's or 90's, i'm praying to never stop until i've officially been released by King Jesus Himself.





  So today i choose to embrace this season of life. I'm being stretched beyond my comfort zone AND IT IS GOOD.

  Thank you Jesus.

  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

03 July, 2016

Queen of his Double Wide Trailer

   Marlin bought me a camera a couple of years ago. A shoot and point that i thought would fix my lack of picture taking woes. Didn't work. So now i snap pics on my iPhone but haven't figured out how to upload on computer so......still no pictures. And Marlin and my computer savvy son Eric are so busy working that i never remember to ask them because i want to sit and talk with them when they are home, and possibly chase Marlin around the house if i have a spare moment or two. Because chasing him is what i do best. And by the way, i LOVE having a 16 yr old son. Sometimes we get into heart to heart talks and i marvel at this young man who thinks and feels so deeply. And then i go find his daddy, tell him what an amazing man he is, and chase him around the house a few times or two.

      The last number of weeks have been down right hair raising in an American kind of way. We did a bit of painting in our new house (can you call a double wide a house?) and i do believe we will move in this coming Monday. It's been great seeing our boys take such an active part in the little bit of remodeling that we did. Of course i changed my mind on the kitchen paint after it was finished but even our strong marriage wouldn't withstand the thought of repainting it. Maybe i can show pictures after we move altho i wouldn't count on it if i was you.


  Last wknd we were at a cabin with 3 other returned missionary families plus several singles that we had served with in Kenya. Ahh, what an amazing time we had. I soaked up the fellowship and laughed myself silly with these people that became so special to us, and came to a startling realization. Those two years in Kenya were brutal ones in so many ways. I think God did a lot of pride stripping and humbling in my life and quite frankly, i wanted to curl up in a corner and never leave my comfort zone again. Until this weekend when God did a work in my heart and i surrendered all over again. I sat out on the back porch by myself on sunday afternoon, and told Jesus that when i gave Him my heart almost 15 years ago i gave Him ALL of it so if He ever calls us back to Africa or any other corner of the earth, I'm all His and i'm willing to go. But for now, (and maybe for like 50 yrs) i'm settling into our new life and will revel in being the queen of Marlin's double wide trailer.

   I didn't put this on the blog because i was going to post pictures of our date night but the pictures never happened. Shock, shock i know BUT, we celebrated our 20th anniversary in April. 20 years people!!! And i'm not just saying this because it's the politically correct, christian thing to say but seriously, it just gets better. We actually PITY newlyweds, the poor wee sucklings. So many things to learn, not the least of which is too personal to talk about on a public blog. I mean, i'm so much better at chasing Marlin than i was 20 years ago and he's doing a much better job at being caught. And those of you that know Marlin well will agree that he seems to enjoy, nay, even revel, in being chased.

  Onto other things. Hmm, let me see. Do i have a garden? Sort of. 35 tomato plants and several lima bean plants. The men ordered and planted the tomato plants and that explains the inordinate amount of tomatoes that will most likely be showing up at my front door step, Lord and tomato bugs willing.

  Um, do i sew my own clothing? Some. Except that i've seriously fallen off the healthy eating wagon and have been stuffing my middle aged face with sourdough donuts, pizza, and brownies. Ooey, gooey brownies and ice cream. So now that i've been enjoying the forbidden fruits, i may need to sew some new clothing because i'm feeling bloated and looking it. I'm thinking i need to start an exercise program for my self esteem. Marlin tells me that chasing him is an excellent way to get my calories worked off but i think he's just being kind.

  Let me see.....our local cat had kittens and our little boys adored them and then we left for the wknd and when we came back they were gone. All gone and no trace left. Which is rather sad cause i wanted to take a couple of them to terrorize any mice at our new house. They were also kind of cute in an emaciated, scraggly kind of way.

  Are we finished with school? Sort of. It IS July so it would be cruel and unusual punishment to force them to sit and do algebra or anything that remotely smacks of school. Even more so for their mother.

  I think i will close this small blog post and maybe next time i will post a few pictures. Or maybe not. Either way, it will most likely be awhile because we won't have internet for a while where we're moving too. I feel rather depressed at the thought. But lo, i just had a cheerful thought. I can always chase my man while being the queen of his life AND of his double wide.

07 June, 2016

Modesty

  A link on a subject that is so vitally important. Please mama's, wake up and teach your daughters the beauty of modesty. Teach them how a young man is wired by God and what an honor it is to cover up our bodies for the sake of ourselves and our brothers.  Our bodies are considered beautiful by God and by men, and to dress in such a way that causes a struggle with lust is to mess with an Almighty God. It's serious business and the conservative church (Anabaptist included) are failing miserably in this area. I'm still learning and i'm begging you to learn with me. Praying the Holy Spirit will speak into our hearts.  https://radi-call.com/2016/06/06/what-every-girl-needs-to-know-about-modesty/