July 27, 2015

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!

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July 26, 2015

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.


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?


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!
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July 23, 2015

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?
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July 1, 2015

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. 
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