Packing peanut

It’s about time for us to be responsible and tell you what is up.

We seem busy, and that is an easy thing to do around here. We recently realized that we have been in YWAM for more than a year and we still feel like we are the new people. We are finally getting to the place that we call this place home and it feels that way. One thing that really helped was ripping off our ugly old wallpaper. We got some guy to restructure our walls and I put a beautiful Polar Bear White on the wall. All of the sudden it made sense to put something on the wall and it looked good. Our two hotel rooms became a little less hotel and a little bit more a part of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things at Kairos are going good; we are breaking sales records like crazy. After having some problems with dying fridges and other things breaking down it is good to see that we are moving forward. Our shift manager has quit her job, so me and Ryan are doing everything. We are praying for someone else from YWAM to join our team and bring some new vision in. We are still training lots of people to run their own coffee business all over the world. We had a pastor from New Mexico come and join us for a little while to teach him how to start a cafe at his church. Right now we have Lisa with us who possibly wants to open a cafe in Nepal where she runs a hair salon. Ryan is going to visit a couple that went through training at Kairos and just opened a coffee house in Zanzibar, Tanzania. In April we will get 3 more interns through the School of Business and Entrepreneurship and train them to open their own coffee shop or cafe.

Joy will be staffing that school and I am so excited about it. It is a great opportunity for her to be more involved and help out our BAM team.

Not too long ago me and Joy went to a marriage conference in CA. We had such a good time working on our marriage and learning some valuable tools. I had been feeling a little bit down when it came to my relationship with God and was praying for breakthrough. We spent a lot of the week during the marriage conference listening to God and praying for other people. God spoke to me in some powerful ways. But the real fun came when we came back home and God kept on speaking to me. On the radio, I won 8 tickets to a worship concert and felt quite clearly who to take with. The current DTS was having giving night and I felt to give a certain amount of money to a boy, but I didn’t even know his name. The next day he came to me saying that his outreach fees increased and the money I gave was the exact amount he had to pay extra.
Those are small little things but they help me so much to know that God cares about us.

 

Our morning routine

Last week I was telling my friend about my morning routine with my kids.  The next day she texted me that she was copy-catting it and this week when I saw her she said it had “changed her life!”  She is very American so that may have been an exaggeration.  In any case, I thought I would share my morning routine in case there’s another mom out there who is just waiting to have the “BEST DAY EVER!”

Hj usually leaves early in the morning, so this is just the kids and I.  I’m sure if he were around it would look a little different.

WAKE UP–  The kids wake up around 7 and get dressed.  Ellie is finally dressing herself!  This morning she came out with her shirt on backwards– the puppy was on the back.  But she gave me a lengthy explanation about how she doesn’t really care for puppies anyway, (harhar) but she just LOVES red, so that’s why she is wearing a red shirt today.  Ok, then.

EAT– As soon as possible, we all sit down and eat a hearty breakfast.  A hearty breakfast is pretty much the most important part of our day.  I am such a big believer in hearty breakfasts, have I mentioned that yet?  The other important part is that I have a meal plan ready so that I don’t even have to decide what to make when I wake up.  I don’t think our brains were meant to be super active early in the morning, so if I have to wake up and think about what to cook and how to cook it– my brains are sure to turn a tad sour.

WISDOM TIME–  After breakfast we grab our Bibles and sit on the couch for “wisdom time.”  I have done this since Ellie was born and I have never, ever regretted it.  I read a chapter of Proverbs to them, corresponding to the day of the month.  (I’m sure you have done this.)  They each have a little Bible and sit next to me and they don’t need to hold perfectly still or be perfectly quiet, but they know that this is the word of God and it is a very special time.  Ellie often takes a turn “reading” which is amusing as she carefully says a lot of Biblical-sounding words in a row that make no sense at all.  I think it’s fair, since that’s probably what she hears when I read to her.  Nowadays I try to explain one of the verses to Ellie in a sentence or two, or I ask her to raise her hand whenever she hears a word she knows.  This helps her listen and engage.

About the time Adam is threatening to jump overboard, it’s time to sing.  We sing a lot– the kids never get bored with that because we make up motions for all the songs.  Adam’s current favorite is the monkey song, about not being kin.  He is obsessed with monkeys at the moment, that’s why.

We sometimes do Bible memory too, but not every day.  Ellie is learning Psalm 23 but I haven’t quite figured out what to do with Adam during this time because he gets very restless.  He isn’t even 2 yet and he just sat through a chapter of Proverbs, so I’m not sure how much more I want to require of him.  In a few months I’m sure it will be easier to do it with them together.

Then we pray for each other, which now includes everybody taking a turn praying.  Adam just started praying all by himself and my unbiased opinion is that it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  EVER.  IN MY LIFE.  He lays his little hand on my head and says, “Jesus, ground Mama. Amen!”  I have no idea why he says “ground” every time he prays but he is very consistent about it.  Ellie is biting her tongue to hold back all the instructions she would love to lavish upon him in these moments but she is learning that it’s really nice to just let babies be themselves sometimes.  Whew….

We end our wisdom time with everybody taking a turn to look into Mama’s eyes and I tell them how much I love them and how cute they are.  Hj started this tradition a long time ago and we hold fast to it because it fills all our love tanks nice and early in the day.  As a side note, I love the book of Proverbs so much for teaching!  If I homeschool, I would like to write my own curriculum based on Proverbs.

BLANKET TIME– Blanket time happens right after wisdom time and it goes like this.  I put a blanket on the floor, Adam sits on it and then I give him a big basket of books to look at while I set the time for 15-20 minutes and take a shower.  Ellie gets a choice of books or a few other quiet activities and she has to stay on the couch during this time.  Today she chose to watch the flowers grow for her quiet time activity and that is actually what she did.  She just sat and stared at the Christmas cactus that’s about to bloom.  They know not to talk to me until after the funny little cow timer has yelled at them.  They also know that they need to pick up all their activities (or in the case of lazy little Ellie, peel her eyes from the flower) before they can get off the blanket.

CHORE TIME– Ellie has a chore chart that I made, with pictures.  I clothespin the chores for that day on a little string and she can follow through without too much direction.  When she has completed each chore to my satisfaction, she can take it off the line.  She is three, so she still loves chores.  Adam is almost ready for his own chore chart but for now he gets a rag and some water to spray.  That is all the fun he needs and he feels ever so useful.

When chores are done, and a little snack is enjoyed, everybody is usually in such a good frame of mind that they can have free play until lunchtime with very few squabbles.

Edited to add:  Don’t ever, ever proclaim that your children rarely squabble.

 

Merry Christmas

This year we did the impossible. When we look back at it now, our jaws still drop.
We took all our kids and drove down to NC. We drove 26 straight hours and only stopped once to eat breakfast. We did have an extra driver; that helped a lot.
We had a great time with family and friends.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their support, reading our blog and anything else you might do!
We joined YWAM about a year ago and we could not have done it without you!
Thank you, and have a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

As a special treat I pasted some stories from my Uber times I wrote earlier.

On a beautiful Thursday morning I found myself driving in my car. It was still dark.  That was because it was around 4.00 AM. Uber had notified me that someone needed a ride.
Uber is great but when it comes down to pin pointing someone’s location they have a lot to learn. This particular morning was no different. Uber told me the rider was waiting for me in a bush next to the highway. So I texted the guy and asked him for his exact address. Sometimes 49877-52344 Rich Ave does not cut it. No reply.
I turned around and started looking for him, luckily I found him pretty quickly and the trip began. After some comments about the weather I asked him if he was working today. His response was: I don’t answer questions. I laughed, thinking he was being funny.
I was wrong.  He explained that he even tells the police that. I was gonna ask him why, but remembered that was useless.

When I signed up for Uber and they asked for my name I told them my name was Huibert. For some reason I didn’t think of the fact that the 250 riders I picked up would all see it and be confused about it. It is a great starter for conversations, especially when my minivan is stuffed with party people trying to pronounce it. One guy thought he really nailed it– Majestic Joe. He went on and on about how I should write a letter to my parents and sign it as MJ – Majestic Joe. Then, since I was writing a letter anyway I should write one to Hillary Clinton and convince her she should vote for Trump. She would surely listen to Majestic Joe from Holland. At the end of the trip he gave me a tip: 8 dollars and a 5 dollar bill. “Twelve dollars for you, Majestic.”

That sinking feeling

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I’m picking up my digital pen again.
Not so much because I feel like I have to, but mainly because I like to write.
Thanks.
Just recently we had a heap of stress on our plate. It was one of those heaps where you are at the bottom, and when you look up you can’t see the end of it.
Just like our sinks. We live in two hotel rooms and in the one room someone had built a thing one might call a kitchenette. We call it our kitchen. We do not have a stove or an oven, but we do have a counter and two sinks. One day the sink decided that it had such a special attraction toward the water that it did not want to drain it away. The stack of dishes reached the ceiling by the time I figured out that the problem wasn’t in our pipes.
My friend suggested I get the shop vac out and either blow or suck all my sorrows away.
I had 3 sinks to deal with, so I blocked the two and stuck the vacuum in the third. The water sprayed everywhere because I forgot the little overflow hole in the bathroom sink. Later when I asked our neighbors if their sinks were clogged, she began to tell me in great detail that her sinks indeed were not draining. The water keeps coming up their sinks and one time it even sprayed her whole bathroom. I quickly steered away from the drain subject and stated that the weather is really great for this time of the year.

At church the pastor kept saying that when you do something in your own strength, you need to keep it up in your own strength. I worked and worked to fix that drain. I pulled out all of my tricks involving baking soda and chemicals.  It should have been easy, but it wasn’t. It just was one of those things that added stress to our lives. I had a choice– either make things worse by keep trying to fix the sinks in my own strength or surrendering to the fact that I wasn’t able to fix the sink and call the maintenance guy.
So, I gave up. I put the sinks on the altar of first world problems and contacted the maintenance guy. The feeling was liberating. The problem is taken care of.

I got my ladder out and started to wash the dishes at the top.  With my hands in the soapy water, my stress fled right into the drain.

The Five Folds

I wanted to learn about the five-fold ministry, especially where and how women find themselves in those roles.  I asked around, observed a lot, and drew some conclusions.  I took a five-fold ministry test, which told me my strengths and weaknesses.  I made my own little questionnaire for some friends, to help understand some of our differences.  And I studied the meanings of these five words.
My great hope and dream is that we as women in the body of Christ can recognize, appreciate and complement our gifts.  You know what I love to see?  I love to see two women in authentic friendship and fellowship, who might not naturally get along so well but have figured out that none of us is completely balanced on our own.  We need each other.  I think God in heaven loves to see it too.

Teacher:  One who holds forth the truth and is excited by it (didaskalos). The teacher looks for ways to explain, enlighten, and apply truth.

If you’re Anabaptist like me, you might have a hard time picturing what a female teacher looks like in the church.  Teachers don’t have to be at the front of the class or church.  They’re the ones who like to share relevant information.  Sometimes I think of them as “explainers.”  They like to explain their reasons for doing something, explain how stuff works, they’re quick to share a helpful hint whether it’s in gardening, homeschooling, or a spiritual truth they’re walking out.  I think they’re usually pretty practical, and their spiritual truths get channeled into real life, where it matters.

Today I was in a group chat and my sister-in-law sent a picture of her cute little girl, who had just mastered the art of putting a ponytail in her own hair.  After a few aww’s and remember when’s, the teacher in the group said, “[My teenage daughter] looks back at pictures and is horrified how she looked sometimes, but she thanks me for giving her independence.  Freedom is something we all crave deeply, and were meant to have.”  That last sentence is a full-on teaching and I thought we were talking about little girls doing ponytails.  🙂

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Evangelist:  One who brings good news and shares the message readily (euanggelistes).

Evangelists love spending time with non-Christians and are motivated by a strong desire to see people enter the kingdom of heaven.  They love sharing the Gospel, and I also think they just love to share good news.  They gather people easily; they’re great recruiters.  They bring people to a point of decision.  It’s hard to stay neutral around an evangelist.  I have a friend who always has several non-Christian friends she is praying for and inviting into her home, and she is always looking for that moment when the Holy Spirit directs her to ask them, “Do you want to surrender your life to Jesus?”

On a less spiritual note, there’s this supplement called Plexus.  Some people take it and have great results.  They might even become ambassadors to get their products at a discount, but you’ll never know.  Then there are evangelists, who wouldn’t dream of keeping quiet about these wonderful, life-changing products!  They tell everybody they know, they post on social media and they stand on the streets and give away samples.  They found something wonderful– you should find it too.

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Pastor:  One who shepherds God’s people (poimen), who cares for others with a tender heart. One who sees needs, provides comfort, and encourages others.

I must admit, I tried for years to be a pastor because that’s who I thought I should be: gentle, kind, compassionate, empathetic. I thought that’s how all Christians should be, until I ironed out these five folds.  Pastors are the ones who will take you out for coffee, just to talk.  They want to know how you’re doing, not why you’re doing like the teacher might.  They’re good listeners, and easy to talk to and cry to, even.  They need a good plan in place to keep them from people-pleasing.  A good plan, such as being close friends with a prophet.

I have several wonderful friends who are pastors, in the sense that they pastor the people around them.  I’ll give a few quotes that stand out.  “I want to get to know you better and hear more of your story.”  “Come over for coffee and let’s talk about our marriages.”  Every time I’m leaving her presence, one friend says, “We should get together next week!”  To be very honest, hearing these things can make me uncomfortable at first, but I’m learning to just relax and embrace that vulnerability and intimacy that pastors thrive in.  

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Prophet:  One who hears and listens to God (prophetes); the prophet foretells and tells forth revelation from God. Often they are able to stand back from circumstances to get a clear picture of what is happening and therefore see creative solutions and develop a vision for situations others don’t see.

A prophet is usually asking, “Are the people of God hearing His voice and responding appropriately?”  They have a strong sense of justice, and want to make sure Jesus is getting everything He died for.  They might have powerful opinions that come from a keen sense of the spiritual world, even though they see in black and white, right and wrong, good and bad.  When mature prophets see the gold in someone or something, they will cut through the rubbish and draw it out.  I think they often do this through words.

Several months ago, God healed my knee of arthritis.  I was so surprised awhile later when it started hurting again, and I took it to my prophet friend.  “You need to repent of your unbelief!” were the first words I heard.  The prophet saw a big picture: that my sin of unbelief was hindering God from being glorified.  The funny thing is, when I told my pastor friend what my prophet friend had said, the pastor’s first reaction was, “Oh, I’m sorry.”  Maybe it hurts momentarily to hear the truth, but that word of pruning has brought forth much, much fruit in my life.  I’m not sorry at all.

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Apostle:  From the Greek apostolos meaning “one who is sent out.”

Apostles are visionaries, missionaries, pioneers, entrepreneurs and explorers.  They’re willing to take great risks, push into new territory and love a challenge that will bring about change.  They have a big picture perspective, thinking in terms of generations and epochs and eternity; small details might feel like clutter.  An immature apostle will have big dreams and visions, and may start lots of new projects, but not have the stamina or discipline to finish any of them.  Ask me how I know!  🙂

When it’s time to clean my house, I’m usually reminded that I’m an apostle.  Because I think in big, sweeping moves, I think I have to clean it all at once, and I have to clean it all thoroughly.  It gets overwhelming very fast, even with just two rooms to clean.  It’s hard to break it down into manageable bites that can be started and finished quickly.  I’m not sure that this makes any sense unless you’re like me, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  

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Here’s the link, in case you’d like to take the survey I did.   http://fivefoldsurvey.com   And here’s a screen shot of my results, just in case you’re interested.  I’d love to know yours!

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How I said no to $5,000

Man: Hey! Would you like $5,000 ?
Me: No!

(ha)

Just in the last couple of weeks God has reminding me of His vision for my life. One may call it “calling”. It was the topic at a business breakfast I attended and it was the theme in two books I read.
Some of the questions I was struggling with were: What is it that God wants me to do?
The thing I am doing now, is it life-giving? Do I like what I am doing? What else will do if I could do anything?
When I volunteered at Way FM, a Christian radio station, I had so much fun that I couldn’t stop thinking: this must be how it is to do something you really like.
That week at the radio station made me re-think my purpose and future. I love radio and media (I always have) and maybe God is trying to tell me something with the desires in my heart. So I looked into going back to school for a Masters in communications.
A little later, Way FM did a contest on the radio where you had to submit a picture of yourself in your future career. I asked God if He wanted me to go back to school and if so, if He could let me win first or second prize in that contest.
So now I had to take a picture of myself in my future career, and that is hard.
Right before the deadline, I submitted the photo and I had to wait a couple of weeks for the results.
I was cooking soup for Kairos and I got the phone call, “Congratulations! You have won second place in our contest and you won a $5,000 scholarship.” I knew I was supposed to be happy about this but I wasn’t. I didn’t want to go back to school.
After a meeting with my ministry leader, I realized that this is a season for us to commit.
We committed to YWAM for two years and I want to give them my very best. So I honored the commitment and I said, “No thank you,” to college.
I never wanted to go back to school but if that is what it takes to live out my calling then I am willing to do that. There is a certain beauty in asking God what He has for your life and then asking Him what it takes to get there. I believe that God puts desires in your heart and it is up to you to follow those.
Now, I am thankful for the $5,000. It confirmed my calling in media and one day I will go and reach the unreached with radio and media. With a degree or without. For now, I am learning how to get closer to God and listen.

Through uncharted waters I will carry Good News to the nations, knock on closed doors and reach the unreached through media communications.

Through uncharted waters I will carry Good News to the nations, knock on closed doors and reach the unreached through media communications.

Hipsters and Rednecks (with pictures!)

There’s this new coffee shop in town that my sister said to try out, but she warned us (or assured us, I’m not sure which): it’s kind of hipster.  So when the rain poured too hard to dig holes, Hj and I took Settlers of Catan and the baby and went on a date.  About halfway through the second round of the game, Hj crooned (or muttered, I’m not sure which): this place is so redneck.

I thought, now isn’t that interesting?  The same coffee shop has been described to me as both hipster and redneck.  And I mused….. Is that even possible?

So I did what anyone would do, I read the wikihow articles.  “How to be a hipster (with pictures)” and “How to be a redneck (with pictures).”  I soon forgot about the coffee shop.  You know what?  I bet I have traveled farther and stayed awake more than a lot of my fellow millennials, but I am really behind on some things.  There are lengthy guidebooks on the world wide web about how to be a hipster and how to be a redneck (with pictures) and I have just been over here in the dark, without pictures.

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Imagine my surprise to discover I grew up hipster.  I’m familiar with swimming against the mainstream, sewing my own clothes, wearing big glasses, raising my own food, and being witty, at times.

Do you know what else I figured out?  I was also raised redneck.  I was taught to work hard, shoot a gun, believe in something and I listened to country music (on the sly).  Also, I bought my underwear from the discount rack at K-Mart more than once.

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I guess that coffee shop was just the place for me.

My theory is that pop culture stems from a few real people, being themselves.  The rest of us get so attracted to their authenticity that we try to copy them and copy them until all our copying turns into a trend.  About the time the trend really catches, we also catch on to the fact that we’re all just copying somebody and then we fade into the next trendsetters, the people who are bucking the current trend and just being themselves.  

I know, it’s so full of irony (and confusing).  Thankfully it’s just my theory and nothing to take too seriously.  But Mark Greif, bless his heart, stated something in a New York Times editorial about the term “hipster” which makes me wonder whether we are two hearts that beat as one.

In a New York Times editorial, Mark Greif states that the much-cited difficulty in analyzing the term stems from the fact that any attempt to do so provokes universal anxiety, since it “calls everyone’s bluff“.[14]

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I guess what I’m trying to say is, just be yourself.  (My family definitely got that memo.)

In process

Have you ever laid down everything you stand for?
Have you ever gave a way something that was to valuable for you to give away?
Have you ever sold everything to follow Jesus? Have you considered it?
Have you ever loved someone so much it hurt?
Do you have a longterm vision? Do you have short term steps to fulfill that vision?
Do you talk to God, or do you have a list?
Do you give until their’s nothing left?
Is that really you God?
Have you ever tested how radical you are?
When was the last time you gave more then you had?
Do you act on what you hear?
What is your passion?
Are you spending enough time with your loved ones?
Do you know your neighbors middle name?
Did you ever want a puppy?
When is enough gonna be enough?
If my passion is what I spend the most time on I’m I passionate about my phone?
Where would I be in 5 years?
What does it mean to be a missionary?
Am I suppose to be sitting on the grass?
Do you give when I ask?
Do you have some answers for me?
Shall I end this blog with a question?
What do you want?
What is most valuable?
What are you doing to improve your life?
What are you lacking on a daily basis?
What does it take to make a home?

Thats just some of the questions on my mind.
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Matter

IMG_6129My favorite author wrote, “There are no bad children– only bad relationships.”  I don’t know about you, but I  ask myself a lot what is going to matter when I get to the end of my rope, if it’s not relationships.

What is going to matter when my body is done buried underground, and all I have left are my soul and my spirit?  I sometimes ask older people about their regrets and their joys, and so far no one ever wished they had spent more time on Facebook, may it rest in peace.  They always mention their kids, though.

A life is made up of years and years are made up of days and at the end of the day I ask myself, “What mattered today?”  Whatever mattered in my day is going to count toward my life.  I read a book once that said the way to waste your life is to waste an hour.  That terrified me, because I do not want to waste my one wild and precious life, the one Jesus died about.

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We drove to a neighboring island on Sunday afternoon, across the big bridge and then through miles and miles of towns.  I was holding one sleeping baby and Hj was holding another sleeping baby and with our free hands we were holding hands.  Instead of feeling like the luckiest woman alive, I was feeling the weight of the world.

I watched the Muslims on their way to mosques.  I thought about the video that just gutted me.  I remembered the women in the windows, again.  I felt sick about it all: the heaviness, the darkness and deception.  Then a little sleepy voice said, “Mommy? Drink, please.”

And I said, “What in the world am I going to do with my life?”

IMG_6180Let me start right here.  Let me get you a drink with my whole heart, undistracted.  Let me look into your glorious eyes while I nourish you.  Let me gaze into the one who chose me above all others, and let me hold your hand again and remember the miracle.  Let me love you, all your quirks and all your goodness, and let me not regret a single minute.  Let me live a life that sighs in satisfaction at its end… “ahhhh….”

The heavy burdens don’t fall off easily, because I’ve glimpsed the depravity of man.  The evil tries to distract me, keep me up at night, torment me, worry me.  What good does that do? And so what if I rescue the perishing and then shoot dagger eyes at home?

By my God, I will sow truth, love and hope in my own house first.  I will plant the seeds of kindness deep into my family, sturdy plants that can take a beating and survive.  I can be distracted by a million things today, so let it be a wink, a coo, a giggle.  Don’t let me save the world without loving it first, and don’t let me love the world until I love my own.

Remind me that rescuing the world really starts at home.

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Love does

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The other day I overheard Jessie say, “I am hungry for donuts.” Henry, who was sitting next to her, said: “Ok, let’s go on my scooter and get some.”  I quickly, but casually came storming out of our room and told Jessie that when she goes to get donuts to make sure to love her neighbor as herself and get me some too. She agreed, and I eagerly waited for my donuts to arrive. Ten o’clock came along and I started to transfer from hungry to the I could eat a cow, starving kind of phase. No matter how much rice one could eat, it doesn’t last very long without the beans, you know?  So I departed from my room and I found nobody out there, nor donuts for that matter. Finally I made myself a dissatisfying bowl of ramen noodles and went to sleep. This might come as a shock for you but this is how it is with love.  

As part of my “outreach homework” I am writing a book report on the book “Love Does” by Bob Goff. Bob states that love without action isn’t love. You can talk about buying donuts but if you don’t actually go on the scooter and face the traffic you end up with a dissatisfying bowl of noodles. God wants you to get out there and do stuff! 

The following morning I had to share at church and God inspired me to talk about some of the things I learned from the book and so I shared my donut story (the one I just told you). The church seemed encouraged by it but most importantly Carol, my outreach leader, got a very important message from my little story: Jessie likes donuts! So she secretly arranged for a donut delivery. Somehow the “secret” part got lost in translation and Vitha asked Carol during lunch when she wants to pick up the donuts? Jessie sitting right next to Vitha was surprised nonetheless and got to pick out her own donuts instead! Watch this, here comes another lesson. Carol came to know Jessie more, therefore she moved closer to her. When we move closer to God, we get to know Him more. One of the ways we can find out what God wants us to do is to move closer to Him and get to know Him. When we stop focusing and worrying on what is ahead of us and start focusing on God we will be full of Him and the rest will be given to us. Donuts included.