Monday, January 30, 2012

His gifts

I am continuing the counting of gifts for the year.  My ESL class went well this past week and I'll blog about it when I get a bit more time.  For now, here are the gifts by the numbers for this past week.

75. My blue room - soothing, comforting, home.

76. Clear blue sky today with no desert dust haze!
77. Out of the blue - an e-mail from a loved one who rarely writes. :)
78. borrowed - a truck to get to class while mine was at the mechanics' garage.
79. found - patience when my students were not getting "articles."
80. inherited - freckles from my grandma - I love her and them!
my freckles - so many more in this desert than ever before!

81. before 9 am - overslept but still made it on time to teach!
82. before noon - ESL students playing a sentence game and getting it!

83. before 7 pm - walking with "my" kids part way home.  Their bright smiles at something new.
 3 gifts that might not have been
84. "My" Turkana kids of the heart.
a few of "my" kids of the heart
85. My English students praying together for my family.
86. Serving here in Turkana land - God's pure and precious grace to me!
3 graces found in friends
87. a walk with friends just to catch up on the week and get exercise.
88. Visiting with my teammates next door - sweet grace!
89. A friend who listens from afar and loves deep!
90. a song heard - Ngakot a Yesu - The blood of Jesus has power - it washes all our sins away!
91. lively praise in church.
92. sharing baked goods with friends.
93. A noisy but fixed air conditioner - I hope!
94. New ways to think on discipleship.
95. "Trumpet of Jesus" song - a happy blast from the past.

So there is my list from this week.  God is so good to me all the time and these are just a few of the gifts he has given to me.  Even so, it is good to think of His gifts each day in order to help me be more grateful.  I pray you are all having a great week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Naming to Become


I am daily naming the blessings of God in my life.  This is an effort to become more thankful and to live more in the present rather than for the future or the past.  My goal for each day is to name at least three blessings or gifts from the great giver of all things.  At the end of the year, I hope to have named at least 1000 of those gifts.  To help with this goal, I have committed to chronicling these gifts each Monday and to link my post with others like it on Ann Voskamp's website called A Holy Experience.  So, that is what you see below.

54. Nancy's shy smile when I came to her school to check on her after she had malaria.
55. a small world when I can pray for friends over fb even though I am across the world from them.
56. a good new recipe - it didn't smell so great, but it tasted wonderful.
57. Ps. 73:1-2, 23,28

58. Hab. 3:17 & 18 -(my paraphrase - though all goes wrong, I will still praise the Lord!)
59. Isaiah 51:12 & 61:3 for my family this sad week.
60. Paulina my helper and friend in my kitchen

61. An overcast day so the sun not so hot!
62. A chance to have met and held and wondered at the miracle of Jayden - Joyful little one - when I unexpectedly came to the States for Christmas in 2010.  Now I will have to wait 'till heaven to do so again.
63. Toothbrushing lesson with Turkana kids.
candy and toothbrushes - a good combo!
64. a smelly, but pretty flower in my drought stricken yard.
65. God's comfort washing over me from His Word & time with Him.
66. Clouds in the desert sky!
67. Christmas 2010 holding the newest family member.
68. Ugly-beautiful gift - that baby going to be with Jesus at only 13 months old.

69. My friend's face with laugh wrinkles.
70. Soul soothed and smoothed by the washing and hearing of the Word.
71. Praying for my family today - a grace unfolded.
72. 3 gifts found in him - A great team of friends to serve with.
73. Wisdom only explained by his presence.
74.The faith to keep walking with him - only from him!

So there is my list for this week.  Some of these namings were really hard as this week was hard.  Even so, the Lord is always with us and He has helped me become thankful even in the grief.  How about you my friends?  How is the Lord blessing your life?  Want to join the joy dare for 2012?  I'd love to help you get started.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A hard thanks


I have been counting blessings this year and this one is a hard one to count.  I got the news this week that my 13 month old cousin died.  Jayden was a joyous boy.  I held him once when he was only a couple weeks old.  He was a sweet baby boy.  I'm thankful I got to meet him.

My family gathers today to say goodbye.  There are many questions of 'Why.'  I don't have an answer to that one.  I'm not sure anyone can.  I do know that Jayden was a blessing to us all and will be greatly missed.  So I give thanks for his life.  It was short, but it was a blessing.  I firmly believe that God did not "take" him in the sense that he wanted his life to be so short or needed him in heaven.  I also firmly believe that God did receive him when he woke in eternity.  And so I can say along with Job that "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; May the name of the Lord be praised."

Jayden joins a whole host of folks who have gone before us in our family.  He will not be alone.  We will have a hole in our lives and will go through all the "stages of grief," as if that can adequately describe the pain and loss that will be felt.  And yet, we have hope.  Hope that is as sure as what it is founded on - which is very sure.  We will see him again because our lives do not end at death.  Our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, has conquered death.  And so we say goodbye for this life, but look forward to a coming great reunion.

Please be in prayer for Jayden's Mom and his family!  Thank you Lord, for Jayden and for the blessing that he has been in our lives.  Help us all to hold on to you and to cling to that very sure hope!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Naming the blessings one by one


It is Monday, so it is time to count my blessings.  The first one is that I figured out how to get the button on my post - as you see above :).  That isn't included in these numbered blessings, but I was very happy when I figured it out today!

28. a sour gift is planning a meeting - sour 'cause I don't like it, but still a gift because I work with great people.
29. Akiru's smile today was sweet because she rarely smiles
Akiru with almost a smile - I didn't get the actual smile on my camera.
30. Sweettarts - just right between sweet and sour!
31. Trusting shop owner letting me take merchandise w/o paying knowing I'd return it.
32. a good chat with a friend who said hard but helpful things.
33. a good quote I need to work on from H. Nouwen
34. yellow haired neighbor's squeals and giggles of delight at all the attention.
35. A sunny afternoon walk with a friend.
36. My yellow kitty whose love refreshes me every day!
Chewy or Chushanrishathaim when he is in trouble.
37. a good meeting done.
38. The many stars in the night sky declaring God's majesty.
39. a clean floor after the dust storm yesterday.
40. Turkana kids greeting and walking with me - practicing their english saying, "how are you? Fine, Thank you!" all in one breath.

41. Frogs singing in the night outside my window.
42. night birds chirpping.
43. White noise air conditioning to help me sleep and stay cool.
44. Matching pink clothes with a delighted Hannah.
45. A glorious red-orange sunset out my back porch.

46. People greeting me on my walk.
47. Grace given when I forgot twice that today was payday.  I was asked for it and went to get it, but got busy doing something else and forgot for over 45 minutes before I was reminded again!
48. Tiny children and happy adults dancing in praise at church.
an example as I didn't have my camera with me in church :)
49. Praise & prayers lifted up as one body.
50. The hard gift of an epileptic seizure for a girl in church during the part of the sermon talking of Paul and Silas casting a demon out of a woman in Philipi.  Continuing to praise in the midst of hardship and praying for the Lord's healing for this girl!
51. Two children's smiles because they got to go to town with their mom.
52. My workers' happiness at getting "absorbers" with their tea - little cakes.
53. A friend's happiness at seeing me come to visit them.  Their whole face lit up.

How about you?  What were your blessings this week?  I'd love to hear from you!

A Kenyan Wedding

The happy couple - Eric & Zeddy
Hello!  I attended a wedding in the middle of December and wanted to tell you a little about it.  Eric is the man who oversees our CMF clinics in Turkana.  He also helps with administrating our water project and is a friend.  I wrote about his engagement/ bride price negotiation party in August.  Everything was agreed upon so the wedding was set for December 16th.

There are some things about a Kenyan wedding that are different from one you or I might be used to.  So, I will highlight some of those differences.  First, it lasted almost all day.  Second and maybe the strangest to us, would be that planning the wedding is the groom's responsibility not the Bride's.  So Eric had a lot to do between August and December.  He had to choose the place.  He chose to have it in Eldoret.  Normally it would be at the groom's home (Turkana), but the groom also has to pay for the transport of the Bride's family members (including extended family).  So, choosing a location closer to the Bride's family was very economical for him.  Zeddy is from a different tribe, so her family does not live in Turkana and at that time of year the cost of transporting them to Turkana would have been very high!

Certain of Eric's friends were asked to drive for him or the wedding party.  I picked up some of the pageboys and groom's men the morning of the wedding.  I also took some people for the post wedding photo shoot.  All the vehicles used got some sort of decoration in the wedding colors.  Mine truck got purple and white streamers and bows tied across the hood.

The Wedding party consists of all the normal players, but there are a few extra.  There are page boys and flower girls.  There were about 8 of each.  The groom, groomsmen, and pageboys all did a dancing shuffle in a group into the church up the aisle - not entering from the front.  After that came the bride's maids and flower girls doing the same group dancing shuffle up the aisle.  The bride was walked up the aisle by both her parents after everyone else was in place.

During the ceremony anyone can get up and take pictures from anywhere in the church.  This includes from behind the minister who is performing the wedding!  At the end of the ceremony, the groom is told he can salute his bride - Eric hugged Zeddy :).  They also include the signing of the wedding certificate as part of the ceremony.  Zeddy was given the document and told to keep it in a safe place.  She first tried to stick it in his sock, but it wouldn't go.  She ended up putting it in Eric's inside coat pocket.

There were the usual after the ceremony pictures and reception.  The pictures were taken at a beautiful place!  Once the wedding party got back from that, they were given a little lunch.  Everyone else had already eaten.  The two families/ friends never really mingled.  The Bride's family and friends were in one rented open sided tent and the grooms family and friends were in another across from them.  Gifts were given by the groom's side first.  It was a little processional of people taking the gift, giving it to them, hugging them and then going back to sit down.  Both the bride and groom were "garlanded" with what we would think of as Christmas garlands.  Here they are worn to signify a celebration.  Zeddy's family then did their gift giving processional with the Bride and Groom going to their tent.  They gave pieces of furniture.  It is a tradition that they be given their first cabinets from the bride's family so that is what they got - along with other nice gifts.  These were very big, heavy, nice, hand made cabinets which they then had to figure out how to get to Turkana.

So, the wedding was different from what I am used to, but it was a wonderful celebration.  I hope you have enjoyed this little description.  The pictures below are from the day.  If you want to see more pictures, check out my facebook page photos.  Have a great week!

the men dancing in

bride's maids & f. girls dancing in

post wedding photo place
the gifts
Yes, I was there!

garlanded after getting gifts

Monday, January 9, 2012

counting the blessings


I read the book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp last year in February.  I wrote then about some of the things I was thankful for.  But, as these things seem to go, I got out of the habit almost as quickly as I got into it.  This year Ann has issued a "dare" on her blog to anyone who wants to take it.  The dare is to list 1000 gifts of things we are thankful for this year.  So, I am going to try to do that.  To help, I am going to list my thanks here every Monday or as often as I can.  So, here is my list so far.

1-1-12 list 3 things you about yourself you are thankful for -

  1. Thanks for my name "Lynn" and its meaning.
  2. Thanks that you, Lord, delight in me when I don't always feel so delightful.
  3. My nose is a gift from you - how it looks and what it does for me :)
1-2-12 a gift outside, inside, & on a plate

4. Seeing a little boy @5? holding a little girl's hand @3 on the side of the road as I traveled to Lodwar.
5. The audio story of Hannah Coulter on my Ipod as I drove
6. Rooster pizza ready to eat after a long drive home (in my cooler from Eldoret)

1-3-12 3 graces to you

7. Lorry drivers who stopped to help yesterday!
8. A child's "thank you"
9. Friends in the States ok after what could have been a bad accident

1-4-12 A gift old, new and blue

10. The Cross!
11. A Kindle!
12. My blue room & blue clothes - my favorite color :)

1-5-12 something you're reading, making, seeing

13. Henri Nouwen's Bread for the Journey
14. A colorful lunch - carrots, cabbage, mushroom, spring onion, & Ramen
15. A child's smile for a simple biscuit (cookie).

1-6-12 Something in your bag (didn't have one), fridge, & heart

16. Colby cheese found in Nairobi at Christmas!
17. In my mouth - an ice cold Dr. Pepper also found in Nairobi at Christmas! YUM!
18. Questions and Hope - thanks for both!

1-7-12 Graces from people you love (& an accomplishment + by me)

19. Kid's enjoying & wearing new swimsuits I gave them in a new little pool
20. Teammates' welcoming smiles.
21. dreaded receipts entered through Dec - now on to reports!

1-8-12 My own thanks (not from the dare calendar help)

22. Little Boys dressed in new clothes for church in Turkana.
23. Apples and Cheese (the colby from above) - Yum!
24. My friend came to church! - unexpected.

1-9-12 a gift in your hand, a gift you walked by, and a gift you found

25. A package for "my" Turkana kids in the mail!
26. Sleeping Chewy up high.
27. Zucchini in town & in my bag!

Okay, I probably won't put the suggested things every time, but thought it might help this time.  I am supposed to link this up with Ann's site but I am not sure how to do that.  I am also supposed to put her button on here.  I hope how I think I am to do that works :).  If you would like to join the dare - check out Ann's blog at


Okay, I guess that didn't work.  Anyone want to help me figure out how to get this button on my post?