at home with millie and sam

the next big project

I posted this post on Facebook yesterday. Of all the things I've posted over the last year, this one was shown to more people than almost any of my other posts (don't even get me started on FB not showing my posts to everyone who "likes" my page. It's ridiculous.).


This is what I posted, for those who don't have Facebook.

Our plane isn't even in the air and we're already starting another project.

Heaven help us.

Our plan has been to take the new plane out to Bethany Village. There is a dilapidated house out there that we were going to fix up, and there is the beginnings of a hangar out there - which was the biggest benefit.

The new plan is for us to return to Paruima - which is very exciting (It's also the part of our lives that THE book is about, so it will be good to be back out there!). The only problem with Paruima is that there are not enough houses for the missionaries. This means we have to build.

Paruima is a better fit for our family for several reasons, mainly because that is the region we will be flying (Region 7). It will save time and money to keep the plane out there and then be able to shuttle people/pastors/workers around as needed. We were able to secure a fuel source for a good price that is close, so that will also keep our operating costs down as well.

Friends, we can really use some prayers on this matter. As it turns out, we're not independently wealthy. And out house will cost money to build, money that we don't have yet. We're just on the tail end of finishing our airplane (our goal is to be in Guyana early October). And that was a huge undertaking to finance. Now this. We know that God has provided all we needed for our plane and we know He's not going to stop providing, but it's still scary to move forward in faith into another big project that we weren't expecting.

If you could just pray with us, we'd be mighty grateful.

The good news is, we will have a house that we love. Here is the floor plan without the loft:

My disclaimer: I'm not an architect. Actually. And so things might not be quite right. Don't tell anyone, but I started with an image I found online (that someone else had probably found somewhere online) and there was no credit to the actual architect that made the floor plan I altered. If you see this, and recognize it as your own work, please let me know so I can give credit.

It's open and light and I can't wait to move in!

Our boards are already being cut, and we are hiring local workers to build it. It's going to be great! It will be on 8-foot stilts like all the other houses, so we'll have a bit of an open space underneath. If we can get a generator, we'll fly out our washing machine that's in Georgetown and that will stay under the house for washing laundry. Hang to dry.

One of the things I'm most looking forward to is unplugging. No phones, internet, Facebook, email, etc. etc. etc. unless we're intentional about it. We also won't have electricity, refrigeration, etc. We'll have solar panels to power some things, and the generator for the washing machine, but that's it. We're unplugging.

I can't wait.

If you would like to come out to Paruima and help build our house, we'd love to have you come out! :) Still waiting for someone to take us up of our offer to visit. Come on down!

check, check and check




So I wrote a book.

Remember? THE book?

It's OK if you don't know about THE book. Because actually, it's not a book.

Yet.

It's still a file on my computer. On my computer but also now thanks to the interwebs it's also now on another email. Somewhere in an office, someone will sit down to a computer tomorrow, open up incoming emails, and see it.

Query sent [check]
First chapters submitted [check]
Wait nervously and impatiently [check]
Feel nauseous at the thought of people reading it [check]

Have you ever written a book? It's a weird experience. I'm both super proud and super embarrassed. What if people read it? What if they don't? What will people say when they know my inner secret thoughts? What if the editor hates it? What if they love it? What if I don't live up to people's expectations? What if I don't live up to my own expectations?

Breathe.

Before I work myself into a frenzy, (which for the record, I excel at) I'd like to stop and just say thank you. I've had a lot of support throughout this process. My husband - bless that man - has been amazing. The night I submitted the thing to the publisher he stayed up with me, imagining with me what it would be like to see my book in a store. What it would be like to sign someone's book. What a guy. I'm so blessed. So grateful.

Friends, you've been great. Thank you.

For supporting me. For dreaming with me. For encouraging me.

Even if it's never published, even if no one ever reads it, even if I delete the file and pretend it never happened (let's be honest. I deleted my son's baby pictures), it's fun to cross a Big Thing off my bucket list!

I wrote a book!

I would like to somehow put the first chapter online for people to download, but, well, I can't even get Google Analytics to work. Stay tuned. Maybe some tekkie will have mercy on me and help a girl out.

Thanks again friends!

i heart school books

A friend and I went to a homeschool curriculum fair last week. LOVE. I was in homeschool heaven. There were books everywhere. Shelves of science materials. A whole section of things to dissect. Art supplies. History books. Everything you would ever need in one room.

I really could have used a million dollars. 

We're now all ready for the coming school year! We're super excited [read: Mama is super excited]! 

I get asked a lot about homeschooling in the mission field, and homeschooling in general, so I thought I'd share how we homeschool and what we use. 



Our homeschool theory: 
Our school is totally kid-led. Because my kids are so young, we can do school... or not. It's OK. Sometimes we do school everyday for weeks, other times we don't have school for weeks. Just because we're not sitting down, doesn't mean there's not learning going on! 

I try to keep homeschool very simple, lots of breaks, lots of variety. We do school outside, at the kitchen table, on my bed, on the sofa, or on the floor. I look for things that will teach more than one skill at a time. I avoid worksheets as much as possible. We do have one workbook and it's super fun and Millie asks to work in it all the time (it's her Express Reader workbook - more about that in a minute). 


Our school is Montessori-inspired with Waldorf undertones. That means, to us, as much hand-on, practical learning as possible with as much nature as possible. 

Here's what I expect from my kids - I expect them to be kind in everything with everyone. That's tops for me. Don't want to do math? Who cares. Don't want to share? Doesn't fly in this house. If my children learn nothing other than to be kind, I'll count that as a win.

Here's what homeschool looks like in a typical day:
We start with worship. Usually that's me reading a Jesus story to them. After that, we read our FIAR book, see what's in the basket, and then head to the table or to the shelves. I try to do some kind of art everyday, something in nature/science, and we read a lot. We usually do school for about 2-3 hours per day, although they often will revisit shelf work throughout the day. 

What we use:
This is the sweetest literature-based program ever made. You pick a book from the list, read it five days in a row, and spend the week learning all about elements from the book. History, art, science, and lots more all in one. We actually mix FIAR volumes 1-3 and BFIAR (Before FIAR, the preschool version).. This has a Christian Supplement with it that helps tie the principles in these stories to scripture, which is really neat. Both Millie and Sam do this

Millie loves, loves, LOVES this. She asks to do this more than any other subject. Express Readers is our reading and phonics program. It's new, last year was the first year it was on the market. I found it at a homeschool convention in Portland and fell in love. Here's why - it totally fits our hands-on approach. It comes with tons of games (several can be used more than one way) and things they can physically hold and see. It is so well though out and put together, which makes it super easy to use. Can't say enough about how much we love Express Readers! We started Millie with this last year for kinder, Sam will start it not this year, but next.
Coupon Code for 15% off: ISMERT


This was our big purchase this year at the homeschool fair. It will be delivered on Monday! Even though we haven't used it yet/it's not in the house yet, I'm pretty sure we'll love it. It's Montessori-style learning and very hands-on and practical. I'll report back once we're into it a few months. I bought first and second grade for Millie (Sam will use in a couple years). 

Other math items we use: geoboards, base 10 set, and Cuisenaire Rods, math wraps, and lot of games.

Millie did one of these in her homeschool co-op class last spring and really liked it - in fact she still talks about it. I printed the Easter study out and we did some of it, but it was just a little bit much for her. I have several of these studies and I plan on weaving them throughout this next year. They are very well done and Millie really thinks they're neat. 

We have a set of these wonderful science books. They are arranged topically, which I really like, and we plan on going through them more than once over the next several years. The books are K-6, so younger ones won't get as much out of it as the older ones, so that's why we will go through them more than once. We have Anatomy, Astronomy, Botany, Swimming Creatures, Flying Creatures, and Land Animals. 
These are creation-based with scripture throughout. 

Other science items we use: our microscope is often used daily! I was given a set of Christian Liberty Nature Readers that we'll be reading through also. 


These are some books I got at the homeschool fair. "Who was Mother Teresa?" "Who Was Neil Armstrong?" They are history stories for young ones. Millie will be able to read them on her own before long, but we'll likely read them all together this year as our history. I picked stories of 6 men and 6 women that will be very interesting to read about! 

Our homeschool is book-heavy because I love reading! I want my kids to love reading too! Right now we're reading through the Little House on the Prairie series. Stories are much fun and portable! And, it's good memories/bonding time.

Also, I want to add, we don't do all this stuff everyday or even every week. The things we do the most are Express Readers (because, LOVE), and science.

If you homeschool, or used to homeschool, what was your favorite part?

don't miss the boat

I am an alcoholic. 

I also have a drug problem. 

Oops. Did I really just say that?

If you’re surprised to hear that, it’s because, well, it’s not something I’m proud of nor do I talk about it much. But, it is a part of me, a part of my history, and a part of my story. 

My newsfeed has been a mix of both rainbows and rainbow haters. Everything from, “This is the best day ever, we’re getting married!” to, “I’m deleting anyone from my friends list who have changed their profile photo to a rainbow.”

This is how I see it: 

The Bible (and I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet already knows this) says that same sex relationships are a sin. The Bible also says that drinking alcohol is a sin. As is sex outside of marriage, worshipping something other than God, and hating people. Did ya’ll just hear that?

We’re ALL in trouble. 

There seems to be a lot of “Don’t do that” in the Bible, right? When I read the Bible for the first time (I’m pretty sure I had a hard lemonade in my hand), I remember thinking, “Crap. I’ve already failed this test.” By the time I had read the Bible I’d already broken most of the commandments. 

In fact, giving my heart to God was a really hard thing. Not because of God is, but because of who I was. Did you get that? God isn’t the problem here. I am. 

I hear so many people saying that if you are friends with gay people you’re supporting them in their sin. Let’s just take a closer look at who Jesus’s BFFs were, shall we? 

Sinners. Tax collectors. Prostitutes. Betrayers. Demon-possessed people. When the holy dudes called him out for His choice of friends, Jesus made it really clear: It’s not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. Didn’t come here to call the righteous. You sinners, you drunks and thieves and murderers and, yep, the gay people too, YOU are who Jesus came for. 

He came for me. In my sin. 

He came for you. In all your sin. 

And He didn’t come demanding perfection. He didn’t come demanding you stop that sinning right now. He didn’t even demand you love Him. He came quietly. Showing a different, radical way that no one had ever seen before. He didn’t wait at the pulpit for people to come meandering in. He went out on the streets and met them right there where they were - right smack in the middle of their sin. 

This is what I love about Jesus. 

It’s OK to be a sinner. (If you weren’t you’d be dead.)

The Bible makes it very clear that every. single. one. of. us. sins. The pastors. The people going door-to-door giving out books. The people who are giving Bible studies. And, gasp! Even the missionaries. 

We’re all in this together, friends. 

And those who think we’re not… are missing the boat. 

If you’re a Christian, and you don’t have gay friends, you’re missing the boat. If you’re a Christian, and you don’t have friends who are smoking and drinking, you’re missing the boat. If you are a Christian and you’re not friends with people who are messed up and needing Jesus you are missing the boat. 

The point of being a Christian is to like Christ. You know, that guy who was a friend to sinners. If you’re not… what’s the point? 

I’ve been an atheist before. I get it. I get where my atheist friends come from. From the outside, Christians seem super judgmental and seem like they think they are so. much. better. than the rest of the world. 

But I’m here to tell you that not all Christ followers are judgmental and super holy.  

And by not judging people, I am not compromising my beliefs.  Just because I have gay friends doesn’t mean I’m a lesser Christian than you (generic you, not a particular person). 

Love is what it’s all about, friends. We can love people out there doing things we don’t believe are right or healthy or whatever. We can love them because Jesus loves them and because Jesus says, “go love them.” 


All I’m saying is the next time you let out your huffy breath in righteous indignation because someone is sinning right. there. in. the. open, remember that instead, you can maybe smile and at that very moment think of a way to show love to them. Don’t miss the boat. 

love not fear

As I write this my wet hair is wrapped up in a towel which is beginning to droop in my eyes a little bit. Have you ever felt so passionate about something that you feel like if you don’t share it - even on a little blog that hardly anyone reads (Hi, mom.) that you’ll explode?

This morning one of my favorite Christian homeschooling Facebook pages posted this article. And while this article got me a little bit floored and a little bit on my soapbox, I’m thrilled that this page is facilitating conversation.  

I’m not a political writer or a religion expert. I’m not going to have 20 research links at the bottom which this post is based on. I’m just a mom, wife, a Christian, a missionary, and a friend. I write from my own experiences, which aren’t going to be the same as yours. And that’s OK. 

First I’d like to just clear the air about this whole "Christian Nation” thing. I hear that term all the time. I hate this term. 

America. The Christian Nation. 

Folks, I’ll try to let you down gently. America is not a Christian Nation. I know how badly many of you would like it to be - but it’s not. I think for a lot of people, people in tight-knit Christian communities or people from the Bible-belt south (from which I’m writing), it’s easy to look around and think, this really IS a Christian Nation. But by and large, it’s just not. 

I do not come from a Christian home. I did not grow up with Christian friends. In fact, when I became a Christian, all of my friends turned their backs on me. Let me tell you, my early Christian years were very lonely ones. 

Maybe it’s because of that background that I can see outside of the Christian bubble. 

In our nation there ARE a lot of Christians. But there’s also a lot of Atheists (hi, friends!). There’s also many Muslims, Wiccan friends, Jewish friends - to all of these groups I also say "hi friends,” because, yes, I have friends here too. 

I’m sure there are yet other people I know who belong to yet other belief systems but by and large, non Christians have learned that it’s easier to just keep it themselves for fear of judgement. 

But what if Christians would let go of this whole “Christian Nation” thing and would embrace our country as it is - full of people all struggling and hurting and loving and trying their very hardest - just like we all are?

What if instead of Christians trying to insist that we live in a Christian nation insisted that we lived in a nation in need of compassion, mercy, and love?

Back to the article I linked that’s inspired this soapbox - I feel like it’s an article written to fuel fear and anger under the guise of “educating the public.” 

The article is about how much Islam is infiltrating our public school system. The article made no separation between Islam at large and the much smaller - but infinitely louder - terrorist group cells. 

This is what I posted. My first thoughts on the article:
Maybe I’m the only one who is totally annoyed by this article, but it just makes me roll my eyes and think, “seriously?” Has the author ever met a Muslim person? I’m so sick of seeing articles aimed at creating more fear and anger over something most people don’t understand. Most Muslim people you actually speak with (heaven forbid) are horrified to be grouped in the same religion of the small but loud fanatic groups. It’s like saying all Christians like to carry signs around reading, “thank God for dead solders.” I think Common Core is stupid for a lot of reasons, this is not one of them. I do homeschool and - gasp - we will learn about world religions as much as we can - even if that means visiting their places of worship. I feel so passionate about this. My heart just cries out - where is the grace in fear? Where is the compassion in trying to limit the freedom God extends to us to only those who act in ways we think they should act? Not one Muslim person will ever be won over to the love of Jesus by people who want to squash their beliefs. What if we Christians made a stand to love their Muslim brothers and sisters and actually went where Muslims are and befriended them? I don’t think for a minute that Jesus would do otherwise.

I’ll never forget the first Muslim I ever had the privilege of getting to know. He was a shopkeeper in Fiji and was thrilled to get to chat with my husband and I. We were the only ones in the shop and he sat with us and peppered us with questions about what we had been doing (we had just spent a summer on some very remote islands in the Republic of Kiribati doing mission work). He was so thrilled to know that we were bent on helping people in this world. I could tell he was also very grateful that we didn’t fear him. He told us that only a small group (compared to the whole) of Muslims are terrorists and that really, they are a peaceful people. Since then I’ve met Muslims around the world and they've all spoken the same sentiments.

Friends, I am a mother and it is my mission in life to protect my children. Teaching them to fear or hate a people group will never accomplish this. That isn’t where the fight is. Fight for love. Fight for compassion.

I want to teach my children to befriend [Muslims, Atheists, Jews, etc., etc., etc.]. I want them to look at person and see them for what they really are - a person. I want them to know it’s OK that their life looks different than ours. It’s OK that they don’t believe the same things as us. I want them to change the world because they loved the people in the world.

my biggest secret... shhhh

I’m going to let my biggest secret slip.

<Deep breath>

Ready?

I first was blessed with this bread showing up at our house every Friday night when we lived in the Philippines. Back then, homemade bread was something fancy and horribly difficult and something I held in such awe.

Fast forward 10 years.

The same exact bread now comes out of my own oven every week, sometimes several times a week.

It is still impressive to me.

But this bread is so easy to make that even my 5-year old can make it [almost] by herself.


The BEST EVER (and easiest) homemade bread recipe:
Mixing:
In an extra-large mixing bowl:
3 cups of lukewarm water
1/4 cup brown sugar
[Mix to dissolve the bulk of the sugar]
1-2 T yeast (1T if fresh, 2T if older)
1/2 C oil of your choice
[Mix a bit]
4 C whole wheat flour
1 T salt
[mix salt into the flour on top of your liquid before mixing the flour into the liquid]
Add in your extra bits - ground nuts, wheat germ, ground flax, cooked oatmeal, etc
Add 3 1/3 - 4 C more whole wheat (add 4C if no added bits, 3 1/2 if lots of added bits)

Kneading:
Knead the bread with all your feelings. Anger and tension work out well here.
Add more whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup at a time until dough does not stick to you. This amount will depend on those added bits. If your dough is sticking to your hands, you need more flour. However there is a fine line - too much flour and your bread will not be light and fluffy. You only need to knead it until the dough is worked all the way in. Don’t under-knead but don’t spend an entire episode of “Call the Midwife” kneading either.

Rising:
Let your bread rise. I put the timer on for 1 hour. The dough only needs to double in size but aint nobody got time for remembering to watch/check rising dough. One hour on the timer is the ticket.

Panning:
Divide your bread into half, form into loafs, and pan it.

Cooking:
Once I’ve got the loaves all done, I turn the oven on and let them sit until the oven is heated to 350ยบ then I pop those babies in the oven. For regular loaves 32 minutes should do it. If you make buns instead of loaves 26 minutes will do. You know they are done when you pop them out of the pan and the bottoms are nice and browned. If the bottom looks undercooked, the inside is undercooked.

Lastly:
Eat. Share. Impress (but be humble friends). Enjoy!



real people

Hello from the shadows!

Come on, it’s only been about a year since I’ve blogged, that’s not that long, is it?  That’s not true, I’ve actually written 5 posts this year. Hahaha.

Well break’s over!

This is what you’ve missed:


This is Millie and Sam. They’re huge. They’re like real people now. With thoughts and opinions and intelligent conversation. They aren’t babies anymore. 

Sigh. 

Well. I have some super exciting things to share in the near future but gotta wait at the moment. Just wanted to check in and let you know that I’ll be back more regularly now. :)

See you again soon!

millie - january interview

Millie.
Personality and sweetness bundled into one girl. 

January 13
• What is something mommy always says to you? You say “I love you.”
• What makes you happy?  Papa and trains and kid movies
• What makes you sad? fire, or when my special things rip pr break or when a dog comes along and eats my food. (Note: this has never actually happened)
• What makes you laugh? anything. When I toot a big long toot.
• How old are you?  5
• How old is Mommy? 65
• How old is Daddy? 34
• What is your favorite thing to do? go to fairs and eat cotton candy and ride on the rides.
• Who is your best friend?  Jesus. Jenna and Julianna and Auntie Jodi and Anna
• What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to learn how to be a cash register and a doctor and a fire lady
• What are you really good at? I think coloring
• What is your favorite food? watermelon and snow and kiwi and cutie
• What is your favorite song? Animals and Ride the white pony
• What do you want for your birthday this year? I want my very own play house that I can fit in
• What is your favorite animal? Zebras and bees - not because they sting but because they have really bright yellow on them
• What is love? That someone likes you really much
• What does mommy/daddy do for work? Papa - work on airplanes. Mama - watch me and Sam
• Where is your favorite place to go? the fair











sam's january interview

Samuel.
My blue-eyed boy. 
This kid has brought SO MUCH joy to our lives. 

He makes the silliest expressions. The sweetest smiles.



 His laugh - oh my goodness. It’s infectious. You can’t help but smile when he’s laughing. It’s impossible. 





January 13 - 
• What is something Mama always says to you? She says, Millie and Sam talk to Mama and Dada
• What makes you happy? That’s up in the sky, up up in heaven. Jesus!
• What makes you sad? Feelings
• What makes you laugh? Percy the train
• How old are you? 5
• How old is Mama? 3
• How old is Papa? 3
• What is your favorite thing to do? Swim in the swimming pool
• Who is your best friend? Malachai is my best friend (Note: he does not actually know anyone by this name.)
• What do you want to be when you grow up? A police dog
• What are you really good at? I’m really good at swimming and eating
• What is your favorite food? I like to eat a cheese sick
• What is your favorite song? Sissy
• What do you want for your birthday this year? A train set (Note: We have ample amount of train set.)
• What is your favorite animal? snakes
• What is love? it means that you’re not fine your sad
• What does Papa/Mamado for work? Papa -Fix trains.  Mama - stay home
• Where is your favorite place to go? To papa’s work







the short version


We generally like to be more “Look at Jesus” than “Look at us,” but since we recently have had more people liking our Facebook page and following our missionary journey, I thought I would share a little bit about us. 

Captain Anderson:
Todd was born in Portland, OR some years ago. After that, his family lived in Pensilvania, Ohio, and back to Oregon, where the folks still live. The baby of 3 children,  he was baptized as a young teen. Todd is quiet, mechanical, and thoughtful. He has a BS degree from Walla Walla College in Aviation Management. 

Mama Cas:
I am from Walla Walla, WA. I became a Christian in 2002 and have always considered that the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I have a BS degree from WWC in mass communications. (And since it’s weird talking about myself you can just read more about me here). 

Todd and I began our missionary service in 2004, a year after we were united in marriage, in The Philippines. After a year there, we knew that was what we wanted to dedicate our lives to. We went to Tacoma, WA where I got an AS and an AB and Todd got his AS (when he became an aircraft mechanic). After 2 years in Tacoma, I went to Africa for 2 1/2 months and fell even more in love with living for Jesus in foreign lands. We returned to Walla Walla to finish our degrees and spent the summer of 2008 in the Republic of Kiribati, where we planned on returning for long-term service. We graduated from WWC in 2009 and Amelia was born a few weeks later. As it became more apparent that it would not work out to return to Kiribati, we began to pray about where God would send us next. Samuel was born in 2011and after a year and a half of prayer, our family moved to Guyana (January 2013). Since then we’ve been on the ride of a lifetime living in Guyana and serving God with 2 barefoot kiddos. It’s not always fun, and it’s rarely easy, but we feel like this is the life God has called us to and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. 
Our family in Guyana Christmas 2013

Have a question about us or our ministry? Post a comment asking and we’ll be happy to tell you more!