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Friday, October 29, 2010

What to say...


I've always wondered if I would have anything to blog about if I lived full time in the US. I mean, life would busy and eventful, but who really wants to hear about a trip to Target or how much time it took to drive the kids to soccer practice during rush hour. At least in Africa, life always seems like an adventure, and I can blog about elephant stampedes, power outages, and exotic illnesses.

But now I'm here in the US where I've been pondering lately what to blog about. We're busy, like everyone else, and life seems to run a lot faster here. I'm convinced this is because there is simply more things available to do. With everyone having their own personal transportation and a good road system, it's easy to go where you want to go and fit more (and more) things into your day.

One of the things I'm thankful for here is both the opportunities and choices available, but while we are busy with running and connecting with people on furlough, I see everyone else running around me as well, many of them tired and stressed.

For the past couple years, I've followed Chip MacGregor's blog. He is a well-known literary agent in the Christian market that I was blessed to be able to hear speak at a conference a few years back. Yesterday, I was struck about some things he wrote on his blog. He and his wife have spent the past year trying to downsize their lives and live simpler. Opportunities are everywhere, yes, but he's chosen to focus on doing a few things well. He's even decided to quick blogging.

Toward the end of his post, he writes "I just want to put my head down, and love Jesus, and work on books. Maybe do some effective ministry in the lives of people...I was reading my bible the other day, and was struck by Saint Paul's words to his protege, Timothy, he continues. "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life."

A quiet life.

So what does that really mean? Simple? Boring? To me it actually sounds peaceful, calming, inviting. Can we really find simplicity, quiet, and rest?

I think so.

I also believe that this statement translates to our lives wherever we live. For me, the verse is a reminder to think about what is really important to me and focus on those things. Do them well. Live in peace. Take time to enjoy life. Live a quiet life.

But how? Slow down? I know. It seems impossible when you look at your schedule, your calendar, and the demands on your life. And life is more than just going from one meeting to the next. Emotionally, life is full of ups and downs, unexpected engagements, loss, love, death, sickness, and triumphs. But in the midst of all of this, how often do we stop be still? How often to I really connect with my children, with my husband and friends without multitasking or worrying about where I have to go next?

So here's my list of how I want to live a more simple, quiet life so I can make the most of each moment.

Live everyday for Him. Simply. Honestly. Passionately. 100 percent.

Support my husband unselfishly.

Be there for my children, without distractions.

See those around me and move out of my comfort zone to connect, minister to, and listen to.

Don't buy what I don't need. Don't covet what I don't need. Be content with what I have.

Never take for granted the freedoms and opportunities I have.

Impact someone's life for the better today.

Take time to stop and notice something in God's creation today.

What about you? I'd love to hear what you have to say about living a quiet life.

Be blessed,

Lisa

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mutiny on the high seas...


We're feeling pretty settled into our new home now and are so blessed with a furnished four bedroom/four bathroom house while we are here. The kids have already had friends over and we are looking forward to hosting a number of dinners in the coming weeks to connect with people.

There has been one hang up to the housing situation, though. Typically, in our family, everyone has specific jobs they have to do from keeping rooms clean to taking out the trash to taking care of their animals. There is one thing, though, that up until now, they have never had to do.

Clean the toilet.

I decided though, since each child has their own bathroom, each child will clean their own bathroom. So on Friday, I gave instructions to each child on how to clean the "dreaded" toilet.

I was greeted with, well, shall I say, shocked reactions.

"You can't be serious, mom?"

"You want me to touch what?"

"But boys have peed in this toilet!"

"Are you making my brother and sister clean theirs, too?"

"I've decided I don't really need my own bathroom. I'll just go outside."

Hmm...we'll see if week two goes better, but at least everyone now has a clean bathroom!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The grass is always greener...


You've heard the expression that the grass is always greener on the other side. It's something I've had to talk to my children about, because it's so easy to slip into that mindset.

Here's the proof from my kids when looking at the US.

"Mom, they have donuts, parks, bottomless fountain drinks, youth groups, mexican food, Dr. Pepper (do you notice the food trend here?) Starburst, Golden Corral..."

Okay, it does all sound great, but then I'm reminded of what Paul said in Phi 4:12.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Wow. Now this is how I really want to live. In contentedness and peace no matter what the circumstance.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some great things about being back. Especially when it comes to efficiency. For example, we walked into a store last weekend and twenty minutes or so later walked out with cell phones and internet service. This would never happen where we live. Everything we try to do takes time--a long time. But in all honesty, that's not always bad.

I actually like the slower pace, no traffic living, simpler living where I don't have to spend my days rushing from place to place.

So even when it takes us a half dozen times to get anything done, or when the power and internet is off, I want to remember to be content. Or on the other side when I'm stuck in Houston traffic, trying to decide what shampoo to buy (does there really need to be so many choices?) and running my kids around, I will be content.

What about you?

Be blessed today!

Lisa

Monday, October 18, 2010

Settling in


It seems like forever since I've posted. Thanks to the airlines, who allowed us several long layovers for no extra cost, we took the slow way back to the States, spending time together as a family to visit long-time friends in Europe, and then again in Orlando with all the grandparents. It's been a great time, filled with lots of fun and plenty of memories.

Now that the traveling is over, we have just moved into the place where we will be based while in the States. We are so grateful to Sugar Creek and Rio Bend for allowing us to stay in one of their houses while we are here. It's furnished, with plenty of room, and we've already been loaned bikes and scooters for the kids so they can enjoy the quiet neighborhood.

For the next few months, we'll be hosting a Night in Africa Dinners, meeting with churches, supporters, and friends, and sharing what God is doing in Mozambique and our dreams for the future. I'll also be making sure that the kids stay up with their school work, and in fact, we just started the first day of a brand new year today.

On another topic, several have asked me lately about my writing. After a few months off that gave me time to focus on some ministry responsibilities as well as finishing up our school year, I'm very excited to be getting ready to begin writing book three in my Mission Hope series. I'll also be spending some of my time in the States promoting my upcoming releases Blood Covenant and An Ocean Away, both which will be released early 2011 and are set in Africa. This will include a few fun contests that will be coming soon, so be sure and watch for these!

Other news: Blood Ransom, made the shortlist for the INSPY awards! You can read more about this here.

Lastly, several have also asked me recently where they can get copies of Blood Ransom. If you haven't got your copy yet, any bookstore should be able to order if for you if it isn't already in stock. It's also available on line at places like Amazon and Christianbook.com If you have read the book, please consider leaving a review on places like Amazon.com and Christianbook.com as many people rely on the reviews as to what they buy.

I was going to post several photos, but the internet here seems to be slower than ours in Mozambique, so I'll just stick to one for now. This is a photo of us dressed up with provided costumes at Hampton Court outside London.

Be blessed!

Lisa