I hope you have a moment to sit down and relax.
Just clock out of your busyness and go with us on an update.
Yesterday May 18th it snowed.
I hope you liked our update, sign up to go on more updates.
I hope you have a moment to sit down and relax.
Just clock out of your busyness and go with us on an update.
Yesterday May 18th it snowed.
I hope you liked our update, sign up to go on more updates.
My friend Heather had a dream about human trafficking when we were in California together a few months ago. Either in the dream or out of the dream (I do not know), God gave her my name and a mandate.
Our campus is focused on the 10/40 window and unreached people groups, but we also do some local outreach right here in our city. At holidays, a group of YWAM ladies usually takes gifts to the local massage parlors for the women working there. By massage parlors, I mean the sketchy ones where you come in and there’s a locked door and a camera to greet you.
God put it on Heather’s heart to start going to visit these ladies every week, and asked me to join her. As we prayed and waited for God to direct us, He did. Yesterday was our first day to go and we had four interns join us from the REACH team, the team from our campus focusing on local outreach. I think REACH is an acronym or then I’m just yelling it.
I’m not sure if I have a comfort zone anymore, but if I do, I wasn’t anywhere near it yesterday. I had never been to any of these places before; actually never did anything like this in the USA so I had no idea what to expect. I had to remind myself of Ellie, who announced this week at the breakfast table that she has been talking to Jesus a lot and He has been talking to her. He came to her in her bed, she said, and told her that she never has to worry because anytime she goes anywhere, He comes along.
We had a good time, prayed for a number of ladies, and told them we’ll be back next week to visit more. They seemed delighted, overall. Our highlight, though, was when God interrupted our “task” with some unexpected people. A young guy came up to me as we were leaving one parlor, and asked what we were doing. I said we were going around blessing local businesses and offered him a pack of Twizzlers. He said he’d trade Twizzlers for weed, and would I join him in a celebratory smoke? The Scripture says, If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
I was very unbiblical and refused, but we entered into a wonderful conversation. He was on his way to get married at the Rastafarian church down the road. I kept looking at him and his fiancé, who joined us after a bit, and felt such love and compassion and hope for them. They were as open as could be, welcomed our prayers with outstretched hands, and kept telling us we were so cool, even though we were preaching the Gospel to them, which isn’t always cool.
There is hope for this generation. Of course there is, but some of us actually believe there isn’t, if we’re honest. I am seeing young people transformed right before my eyes. A man who was in prison a few months ago, dedicated His life to Jesus and is giving his life to missions. I watched a youth who was an atheist a few months ago, picking up a mic and declaring he is opening His heart to the Father’s love. These are people in my every day life; this is happening right now! I even know some good young people who just realized their goodness doesn’t come from following rules and they encountered the Father for themselves. That’s a real miracle.
This is not a hopeless generation! Ask God to lead you to the ones who are hungry for truth, and He will do it.
This year we broke from our Easter tradition of hosting an art gallery, and took a mini family vacation instead. We got an airbnb in the mountains in a tiny town called Nederland and spent a lovely day breathing deeply and that’s about it. It used to be a mining town, which is why the Dutch came and named it Nederland but there really wasn’t much of the Netherlands there, tucked into the Rockies.
Easter morning we went to a sunrise service downtown. I was freezing cold and annoyed at the inefficiency and incompetence on display (a very Weaver thing to feel, I think) and then Adam thawed and I got to wrestle a wiggling 2-yr-old for an hour. He kept saying, “Devil’s dead!” very loudly, and in the same breath yelled, “I’m farting!” It was a special Easter morning, the kind you can only have with toddlers.
We came home and had a lovely brunch with several other families. The dads, instead of taking naps on their recliners as in the Mennonite tradition, went outside and hid Easter eggs. I am 31 and this was the first Easter egg hunt of my life. It was very fun, because there were lots of kids and chocolate and little surprises and so much laughter. Ellie says it was the best Easter in the whole world, and Adam kept saying, “Let’s do it again!” I trust that in future years the power of the Gospel will overshadow the power of the chocolate eggs, but for now we were all just delighted in our own ways.
It was a joyful weekend, filled with such sweet memories. (only one or two that weren’t so sweet) Our life is so full and intense, but God is teaching us how to take Sabbaths and not only that, but how to live from rest every day. What I’ve cut out (pleasing people, performance, serving out of obligation) God has replaced with abundant grace and joy. But my number one victory for this year? Getting up early, like 4:30 or 5:00 early. It’s changed my life. The little twin that goes along with that is going to bed early and I have fully embraced that too.
There are a number of things I could point out about this photo, like how I have been wearing that polkadot dress for about 15 years. I can hear the voice of that sweet little Southern guy who asked me many years ago, “Ain’t it taaaam to update your staaaal?” I’m sure he would be disappointed to know that no, it still isn’t time to update my style. I will probably be wearing this dress when I’m holding my grand babies, sir.
Isn’t it easier to be joyful and a Christian in general, in the springtime!? Just being warm helps a lot already. Blessed spring, peeps!
Is it just me, or are options overwhelming? I’m glad we have options in this life, but too many of them make me turn into a fluffy-brained snail.
This becomes really evident at the grocery store when I am trying to buy some cheese or something. There are so many kinds, so many brands, so many options. I feel like crying, I feel like yelling at somebody to help me, and I feel incompetent. In short, I feel overwhelmed.
So I’ve been on a quest to pare down my options. There are two mothers I think about a lot: Ma Ingalls and Abraham’s wife Sarah. I’m not sure why them, except that they represent eras to me– a time when life was much harder and much more simple. It was kind of fragile and wild too, like the earth swallowing people and then special breakfast appearing on the ground. I think of Ma Ingalls’ era quite romantically, I’m afraid. Reading Little House on the Prairie, I’m always reminding myself how very hard survival was back then but my heart just longs to live in such a simple time.
I thought about these two women a lot when I was assessing the options I could remove from my life. I felt silly, because well, it seems like such a first world problem– to have too many options that you have to work hard to get rid of some. I think these women woke up every day and simply did what needed to be done in order to keep their families alive. That was their option.
I, on the other hand, get up in the morning and have 25 breakfast options and that’s not even counting the coffee options: French press, pour over, latte, cappuccino, cream, creamer, sugar (raw, refined, brown, white, organic, or full of GMOs). You know what I mean? It’s crazy.
Here I take a moment to list some of the things I did to reduce my daily, dizzying options.
And that! Is how I stay under-whelmed instead of over-whelmed.
Today, Adam is two years old. Two years ago, he was born right here in an old hotel room on this sprawling campus. While I labored, Ellie joined some new friends at the welcome dinner. Hj had to miss the welcome party, unfortunately, but I’m glad he did. He did a stellar job coaching me and catching his son.
Three months later we flew to Indonesia for two months with two babies. Ellie turned two somewhere above the Pacific Ocean, but now I realize we really had two babies. It was fun and adventurous and humid, and I don’t ever want to do it again. I’m glad we survived and today we have two funny little toddlers who make our days delightful. They actually both sleep 10 or 11 hours at night, which I still don’t take for granted.
I was watching Adam yesterday as he tooled around the house throwing stuff. He seems to have an insatiable desire to throw everything right now. There doesn’t seem to be much pre-meditation. Today it was the butter dish. Often I’m struck in the face by a stuffed animal when I wasn’t thinking about stuffed animals at all. “Catch it, Mommy! You missed!” he yells, just a few seconds late. Foresight would just mean the world to me, I think. I keep wondering at what age it is typical for boys to start thinking ahead. Hj thinks probably around 27.
We find Adam pretty charming, nevertheless. He makes friends everywhere he goes. His little face is so expressive and he is almost always sweet and affectionate. He’s super goofy (a stray gene). He loves telling tall tales that make us laugh, usually starting with “Once upon a time there was a ti-i-i-i-ny little monkey.” He is brave and wild and messy, just like a little boy should be.
Ellie and Adam play in a make-believe world most of the day, and poor little Adam is most often subjected to play “Julia,” for some reason. I suspect it’s because he is a lot more controllable when he is Julia, being bossed by Ellie, “the mom.” Adam, as I know him, is quite averse to being bossed around but Julia is a docile little lamb who meekly follows mother’s orders. Is there a deep life lesson in that?
I am still not used to the fact that I have a son, but I love it more every day. Every morning when he stumbles out to the living room in his pajamas, proclaiming cheerfully, “I wake upped!” I’m reminded what a priceless gift he is to our family. I mean that, he really is our pride and joy; he is the world’s most wonderful boy. Happy birthday, little man!
Since I have children I read a lot more, especially out loud. I easily read 4 to 5 books a day. My favorites are definitely the story books; I’m not so much for the find the yellow cat and lift the flap books.
One of Ellie’s favorites is Farm Yard Tales. It is a collection of stories about the Boot family who live on Apple Tree Farm. On every page there is a little duck hiding so you can imagine the fun we have trying to find it. Every Barn Yard Tale starts with an introduction of the family:
This is Apple Tree Farm. This is Mrs. Boot, the farmer. She has two children called Poppy and Sam, and a dog called Rusty.
All the stories are similar. An animal gets lost and they find it. Or an animal is acting up and then it gets better. What I like about the stories is that it is simple and even Adam understands it.
There are about 20 things that I can’t quite get over when reading this book and one of them is the role that the father plays in these sstories. We see the father “figure” in some of the stories but why isn’t he in the introduction? Does the author realize that he is lying every time he introduces the family? This is not the Boot family– this is the Boot family without the provider, the muscles, the man who cuts the meat on Sunday, the head!
I wonder… did dad get the boot?
Why they created Ted, the worker, boggles my mind like it hasn’t boggled before. All Ted does is drive the tractor in the pond and forgets to close the fence. If the father was assigned a tad more authority, Ted would have been fired since day one and it would have saved the Boot family a significant amount of money. With the extra money they could have gone on a vacation and work on their marriage.
There is one particular story where the dad is helping the kids camp out in the yard. When the children lose their tent in the middle of the night because the cow runs away with it, Mr. Boot comes to the rescue, proving that he is part of the family and lives in the same house as them. Of course, this is just a children’s book and I shouldn’t pay attention to the unimportant details. At least it is not a pyramid scheme.
Awhile back, I spent the weekend with a few other moms. I was inspired, encouraged, and reminded that there is an army of amazing moms out there raising the next civilization. These moms are intentional, thoughtful, gracious women who care about their families, who love God and are making a huge impact in our culture. They want to raise healthy kids who are wise and kind, who will make good choices and lead fruitful lives.
Of course I’m aware that this is a big, eternal responsibility– raising children. I want to do it well; I want to be intentional and I want our kids to thrive, to love Jesus, to make kingdom impacts wherever they go. But sometimes I start worrying about doing it all correctly so that they’ll turn out right in the end, like a long division problem. I soon start treating them like that– a problem to solve and fix.
My friend told me recently, “There are no secrets in families.” I was telling her how I struggle to know how to introduce my children to Jesus, because I have an aversion to the Sunday school cartoon that’s been watered down to a kind historical figure. My friend was reassuring me that even if I don’t say all the words right, what I truly believe is going to be revealed to my children, if you can call that reassuring.
To be honest, this realization made me lay down the parenting books and get counseling– for myself. I want to know that what I believe is pure and true and righteous, because that’s what is going to be exposed to my children, if it hasn’t already. I can say that I believe God is good, but if I complain about His gifts or His ways, do I actually believe He is good? Opening my heart very, very honestly to a few friends has helped me discover the differences between what I say I believe and what I actually believe.
What if, instead of worrying about how to teach my children that God loves us, I live loved? What if they believe it because my life has taught them that, on boring days and through dark valleys and on shining mountaintops? At the end of the day, they will reject or embrace what they have been shown. But at least I want to know that what they have been shown is pure and true and righteous.
I’m so grateful for encouragement from other moms, for parenting books and mommy blogs and inspiring examples. I love teaching my children, a little every day. However, my faith doesn’t hang on my ability to communicate everything perfectly, to set the best rules, to always make the wisest decisions, to follow new, wonderful ideas. That would be a lot of pressure on me; pressure that would make me overwhelmed and frustrated.
Every day, I learn more about God as my Father and me, His daughter. I’m in the middle of being a kid myself– I know how it feels to be corrected and forgiven and loved without limits. I want my kids to go to sleep believing the same thing I believe when my head hits the pillow: I was loved and delighted in today, and I’m confident tomorrow will be the same.
I don’t know why such uncomfortable things come into fashion, like high heels and skinny jeans– and vulnerability. It seems vulnerability is all the rage right now and to be honest, I find it so uncomfortable. Talking about it is easy enough. It’s the part where you actually get vulnerable and bare your heart that can make me uncomfortable. Doesn’t the word itself sound a bit naked?
I’ve always tried to be a little bit real, but not too real. I was told it’s dangerous to focus on being real because you end up excusing sin in the name of “just being real.” You know what I mean?
Recently, Hj and I went with our dear friends to this marriage intensive in California. We were assigned to a table with three other couples for the week. At each meal, we took turns sharing our spiritual journey, according to how the Spirit led us. Monday at dinnertime, it was our turn.
We sat around the table at a funky little Mexican restaurant with these three other couples and Hj started sharing as soon as the chips and salsa came. He had prayed and heard from God what to share and what not to share. There was nothing on the “not to share” list. Hj went for it– he shared it all.
The food wasn’t good. I cried and wept. (But not so much about the food.) And I was thinking, “God, is it really necessary to be so very, very open about everything?” They listened, and asked questions, and told their own stories. They heaped rich prayers and prophecies on us.
A few hours later, after I had snotted up a big mountain of tissues with my issues, I looked up into the kindest faces I had ever seen. “I can’t believe I met you guys this morning,” I said. They knew the worst of us and yet they saw the best in us. They heard our struggle and they weren’t afraid. They felt our shame and they didn’t run away.
Brené Brown says in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be really seen. I wonder, why do I fight that? Why do I cling to facades and “shoulds”? What makes me fear letting go of expectations and just being truthful? I’m talking about the little stuff too; the quirks and emotions that make me unique but I feel obligated to hide them because……? Why?
We fear disconnection, Brené says, which is a simple definition of shame. We’re ashamed of our true selves. “If people knew certain things about me, would I still be worthy of connection?” Hj and I plumbed the depths of that question that Monday night at dinner, and we came back with a resounding YES. Those couples didn’t cut us off; they showed us that we would always be loved and belong, not because of the good things we have done, but because God the Father said we are worth it. When He sent Jesus for us, He declared our worth. If a painting sells for $2,000 it’s because someone saw that worth in it, not because the canvas and the paint actually cost that much. When Father said He’ll pay for us with Jesus, He made it clear we were worth that much to Him, not because that is what a curator would actually have seen in us. This is where our deep sense of belonging and worth are born, I believe. We somehow know we matter, even though we technically don’t.
I like to think about where that resounding YES leads. If I carry in my heart the truth that no matter what anyone knows or doesn’t know about me, I am still worthy of love and connection, where will that lead me? I would love to find out. I imagine it is a place of deep surrender, where there is only truth. I imagine it leads to fearless connection in relationships, risks and agape love. I know it leads to deep, deep, deep gratitude that the God of the universe took time to bend down, pick up a grain of sand, and say, “This one’s mine.”
This is where I am on my journey with God, as I am getting to know Him more deeply and He is getting to deeper parts of me. I pray you are finding Him just as kind on your own journey.
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.
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.