Monday, March 26, 2012

On a day like this...

On a day like this O' Lord, help me!  Some days start out fine, but then go downhill.  Maybe you have had days or weeks or months like that.  I actually had a pretty good day until late this afternoon.  If you have been reading my list of thanks, you may have seen last week where I gave thanks for things breaking.  I didn't give thanks because they broke, but that in the breaking I was reminded to give thanks.

Hmm...there might be something in that thought that bears on today's post.  When two heart broken and  discouraged disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus, they had someone come and walk alongside them.  They discussed the recent happenings in Jerusalem.  The one who traveled with them explained why there had to be such suffering and how Jesus' death fulfilled prophecies from hundreds of years before.  The two did not recognize or know the one who traveled with them.  It was only when he broke bread with them and gave thanks that they recognized Jesus.

This afternoon I had another thing break.  More accurately, it burned.  I had smelled a burning electrical smell in my kitchen on Saturday.  I called an electrician to come check it out for me.  He could not smell the smell nor find the problem.  This morning I smelled it again and it didn't go away this time.  Since I had called someone already and they couldn't find it, I had to check to make sure the smell wasn't in my head.  I had a friend come "smell my kitchen."  Can you imagine asking someone to do that?  We got a little laugh out of it.  He smelled it too but we couldn't find the source.  Reassured that my nose was not crazy, I called a different handy man and friend to come help me find the source of the smell.

We found it!  It was the main switch in my fuse box.  It was very hot!  When we took the cover off the box, we saw that the switch was melted.  This was late afternoon.  My friend went and got a new switch and changed it out and we turned the power back on.  Phttttt..... is what we heard and the lights flickered on, off, on, off and didn't come back on.  More burning smell.  All my 110V power cords (surge protectors) got singed - thankfully the 220 to 110 inverter did not!  We called another Electrician expert who came to help us find the new problem.  By now it was dark and I had no power.  They needed to see.  I got a backup lamp that worked and we located some other electrical thing (I am not an electrical minded person) in the fuse box where the power from town comes into the house that was not working properly.  We had to go to town quickly, find a store that had what we needed that was open - several were closed already - buy the two parts (as the original new switch also burned out) and return home.  It took a while, but by 8:30 pm I had power restored at least until tomorrow when the electrician expert will come back and fix it better in the daylight.

So, it was a frustrating afternoon and early evening.  Along with the other things that broke in the past few weeks, it could have been a really hard trial.  But - I was reminded to give thanks.  I have power again and I can see in this dark night.  Nothing was plugged into my 110 surge protectors (Thank you Lord!).  I lost a few hours in trying to solve the problem, but there were good people who were able to help me and willing to miss their dinners to do so.  In the breaking of things do you remember to give thanks?  It can be hard, but it is so much better than feeling sorry for yourself and complaining.  And could it be that when we give thanks in the hard things, we are actually recognizing our Lord?  We are remembering to thank him for the broken thing when it is broken and when it is working.  We remember that all things are gifts from him.  We acknowledge his presence.

I am continuing to give thanks for a few of the gifts I see each day from Him.  I'm trying to get to 1000 by the end of the year.  It is a goal to reach for and an opportunity to open my eyes and acknowledge my Lord and his many good gifts - even when they don't seem to be so good.  May you be blessed by my list and encouraged to open your eyes and see Him in the broken things in your life.

gifts that made me laugh
254. My english students laughing at a story that used "here kitty, kitty," instead of the normal "puss, puss," that they use.
255. A TBTI student at tea time imitating the sounds of English to his Turkana ears.
256. A comment on facebook that had me giggling to myself.
Gifts salty, sweet and just right
257. Teaching in 98* heat all day makes me salty with sweat, but it is such a joy to teach!
258. Sweet - laughing with my students over a description one gave of a woman in bushes looking up.  He said, "I see a woman and generation to generation."  It goes with the movie and was just funny to all of us (even him) so we shared sweet laughter.
259.  Just right - dinner with teammates and a visitor and I didn't have to cook!
260. Finishing the ESL movie we have been watching.
261. Playing a modified version of Bananagrams with my students and them asking to play more when the time was up.  
262. My English students asking for the "10 Brands of being a Christian" to be written in English on the board.
Reading the English words for Brands he knows by heart in Turkana

263. My students told the whole story of the movie in understandable English and even added parts from the Bible that were not in the movie.  Yay - progress seen by them and me!
264. Reading stories to the class - such fun!
265. A good chat and walk with a friend.
266. Singing part of Patrick's Breastplate prayer with my students all week and them really liking it!
267. Playing fun games with my neighbors and their visitor this night.
268. Seeing Nancy and Ikai this afternoon.
269. Going to the "blue container store" and getting a little something for me.

a cotton scarf for chilly a/c days on furlough :)
270. A day for catching up on house duties after teaching all week.
271. Three little ones held by me at different times in church this morning.  One baby had a full head of hair.  It felt like a little wool rug against my chin.  So very sweet.
gifts sung, written and painted
272. Watching little ones sing and dance as we sang praises in Church.
273. God's word from I Peter 4 & 5 taught today.
274. A sunset over the Indian ocean painted for me by a sweet young girl several years ago.  It still brings a blessing and joy to my heart when I see it on my wall.
Thanks Maria!
3 gifts almost gone
275. This 3 1/2 year term in Kenya almost over - until the next one after furlough :).
276. This day that has been a blessing but almost gone.
277. That this burned electrical thing didn't make me almost gone!  And the blessing of remembering Him in the brokenness of the afternoon/ early evening.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read this!  Have a blessed week and remember to count all his gifts - even the broken and hard ones.

I'm linking up here today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A week of presents & presence

This past week was full of the presence of the Lord and his presents to me when I opened my eyes to see. I am continuing to count the blessings that the Father gives to me each day.

3 gifts round
230. Kids with an old tire for a toy.
231. The wheels on my truck go round and round as they take me to town! :}
232. My fan's mechanical breeze in this desert heat.
3 gifts in silence
233. Some computer work finished.
234. Cooking eggplant and thinking of his blessings.
235. Chewy sleeping so peacefully.
Chushanrishathaim - chewy for short :)

2 gifts given away
236. Speaking English with some high school boys while out walking.237. Greetings given in Turkana, English, Swahili and Arabic.238. Strawberry, orange & ice cream smoothie.  Yum!

3 hard thanks
239. An emptiness inside that makes me know I need more of you.
240. Many broken down road machines that can't do their work without tires and wheels!
I counted at least 8 (maybe more) vehicles without wheels or tires.
241. Breaking machines - A/C, Printer and now my washing machine - they make me thankful for them when they are working and remind me to not take them for granted!
242. A lady on a stool working on her friends hair outside her mud house.  Getting a new "do" and lounging on an outside lounge chair too!
A gift folded, turned and hung
243. My spring tablecloth folded so I could put on my St. Patrick's day tablecloth.

244. Turning the pages of a good book on prayer and then turning to prayer.
245. My laundry hung on the line.

246. Fun with green food and drinks today in honor of St. Patrick's day.
247. Kids playing with old rackets and two milk boxes as a ball/birdie
The "ball" is in the air at the top middle of the picture it is white and blue
3 gifts red
248. A desert rose in bloom.

249. Letters in Red to learn and love.
250. Red beads and kanga's on ladies in traditional Turkana dress
the lady on the left has traditional "mohawk" type braided hair too!
3 gifts eaten
251. Corned beef hash and scrambled eggs.  Yum!
252. Chewed on the sweet fellowship of fellow believers as we studied the Word and prayed.
253. Lemon bars after the time of fellowship.

That is my list for this week.  St. Patrick's day was great fun.  I posted about it on Saturday with pictures of the green food and drink.  Counting the gifts that God gives us each day helps us realize his presence among us.  These real gifts keep me seeing God in my daily activities.  I hope you are encouraged to count too!  If you want to join a group of people counting just follow the button below and it will lead you to the group.  Have a great week!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's day fun!

First on the serious side take a look at this prayer.  It is attributed to St. Patrick and is called his breastplate.  I really like this prayer.  It is said that Patrick prayed it every day when he woke up.  So, there is the serious side of this holiday.

When Patrick got to Ireland as a slave the island was non-christian.  During his years as a slave he drew closer to God and the Faith of his childhood.  After he escaped he went back to Ireland and preached the Good News of the Gospel.  At his death, most of the Irish people had converted to Christianity.  Lord, help me to be a missionary like Patrick!

Okay, so I had a little fun today.  I wanted to make green pancakes this morning, but I couldn't find my green food coloring.  After a breakfast of very sad regular looking pancakes, I went to town hunting for some.  I found it and spruced up the lunch we were fixing for my workers and some kids.  This is the result.
green Ugali
a fun lunch
We made ugali and cabbage stew for lunch.  Ugali is white corn meal that is cooked in water until it gets stiff - like mush for those who know what that is :).  When we took it out and Idi saw it, he made quite a face.  I had to show him it was the same stuff he normally eats before he would try it.  His little brother, Ichwa didn't have any problem eating green ugali
Idi & the green food
Ichwa says "YUM!"
We didn't make enough stew for me to eat too, so I made a St. Patrick's day meal for myself.  I can't get corned beef here that I know of except in a can.  I cranked open a can and added that to some chopped up cabbage and onions and fried it all up together.  I also made some green mashed potatoes.  I had some guacamole that I made a few days ago and added that just because it was green.  It didn't really go very well with the rest of my meal.  I decided to try making a green drink as well.  I had some ginger ale so I added some powder to that and it came out very green.  

I hope you have enjoyed the fun I had today.  I had a great time working on this and taking the pictures.  I hope you enjoy both the serious part of this post and the fun part and maybe they both will take on the flavor of the other for you as they did for me.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Way of Ants...and people

This past week I saw a long line of ants going in both directions.  I followed the line into my mind and thought.  We are a lot like ants.  We follow those who have gone before us.  We do what needs to be done as we walk the line.  I wondered if those ants knew where they were going and why they were going there.  Did they wonder too?  Did they ask?
Our lives are journeys toward something.  Sometimes we know exactly where we are going and why we are going there.  Sometimes we just keep going even if we don't know what the end result will be.  If we are people of faith, we know the end goal, but maybe not the in between stages and turnings.  We are often left with questions along the way.  Even so, we keep following the way that is set before us praying for insight and wisdom to see the turnings in time to make them.  We move along in the journey trying to serve and live lives that will bring glory to our creator.  We think we know why we are here in this particular place and time, but wonder where this path may be taking us in the next part of the journey.
A turn on the way
Ants follow the pheromones of the ants that went before them.  Me, I follow the Lord Jesus Christ, but there is no pheromone trail for me to sniff out.  So, how do I know where I am going?  Just like those ants, I don't know exactly where I am going.  There is a "trail" to help me follow.  The Word, God's Spirit living in me prompting my actions, faithful witnesses present and past, helpful comments and critiques from fellow followers - all these things help mark the way.  So, like the ants, I may not know where the journey is taking me, but I am going to keep taking those steps of faith each day because I know God has a plan for me in this journey.  What about you?  Any thoughts on your journey or about ants?  I'd love to hear them.

Seeing the ants was one of my gifts from God this week.  I'm listing out a few of the ways God makes himself known in my present, as my present.  It is a blessing to me and I hope it is a small one to you as well.

a gift bent, broken & beautiful
208. A long line of ants bent on a specific task.
209. Monday's sweet, beautiful smile as she caught up to me on my walk today.
Taken in Nov. '11
210. My "broken" Turkana that is still able to communicate love.
3 gifts in the kitchen
211. My double sided sign - a gift from friends that never fails to bring questions from guest and smiles to my face.
the kitchen side
the dining room side
212. My newish stove and crockpot that help to make cooking easier!
213. My fridge covered with pictures - the faces of friends all over the world.

214. a gift loud - The hum of the town generator.  It is a 15 minute walk away and noisy, but it means I have the many blessings of power.
215. Being able to help a new family adjust to this place just a little.
216. Seeing a cat completely comfortable laying on a gunny sack over greens being sold in a shop in town.  Only here :).

217. "Science lesson" with the Harris kids sharing about the line of ants seen again today.

218. A quiet day of reflecting and work.
219. Kakalei's big smile and greeting every first time he sees me in a day.
220. Encouragement from an unexpected source :).
221. Reading Dr. Suess to some of my kids.
222. Playing kick the ball (backwards) with some kids while out walking.
223. Finding to help me with my memory work.
3 Gifts read
224. God's word in Turkana - Joyful praise in their heart language.

225. In the Company of Others - a good read!
226. E-mails from home to brighten the day.
227. Kids on the rocks yelling down greetings.

228. Good prayer time with friends.  Turkana grapes(!!) & John 15.
229. Pretty in pink.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Numbered Gifts

Hello!  Another week has come and I need to get my gifts listed out here as I am a little behind.  I hope this is encouraging to those reading my lists each week.  Maybe it will help you to find the ways God is blessing you.  So, without further delays, here are a few of the gifts of God to me this past week.

Gifts from the past that help me trust the future
186. Times when God has spoken to me through his Word and dreams when I was troubled or had a decision to make - they help me know he will also be there in the future.
187. Knowing he has a plan for my future and to give me hope! Jer 29:11
188. Knowing my help comes from the Lord - the almighty one!  Ps. 121
189. The words of old hymns of the faith - they strengthen and sustain me as I sing and think of them!
gifts dull, shimmering & clean
190. Working through some notes for a class - dull but helpful.
191. The shimmering sun -no dust haze today!
192. Clean floors - walking on the dust in the house no longer - at least for today.
193. Hearing the giggles of children outside my window - always makes me smile!

194. A fun, fast walk with a friend.
195. Finished a project that needed to be done.
Green gifts
196. Little Hannah in her green skirt.
197. My snake plant still doing well and a new green thing coming up.
My snake plant - or mother-in-law tongue  :)

new green things in the desert should always be celebrated!
I don't know what it is, but happy to see it.
198. 321 kids registered for a Hope Partnership school in Turkana!  Now to find sponsors and get the building built so classes can start in September. YIPEE!
199. A successful "Lynn's Concoction" served for dinner to guests.  :)
upside down tamale pie is what I call this Lynn Concoction.
200. A nice visit with folks from Missouri.
201. Hearing voices from home- a good chat with family by phone.
202. A hard thanks - the loud, all night, week-long music of neighbors mourning a death in the family.
203. Elias' enjoyment of some books I have - he wants the next one before his dad finishes reading him the first one.  :)
204. Help from Kara with meal preparation for tomorrow's meeting.
205. A good meeting and it is finished!
206. God provides blessing even in sadness.  Praying for Gene's Mom.
207. A wonderful lunch of Pad Thai with friends and teammates after the meeting!

That is my list for last week.  I hope you have been blessed as well.