Last Night I Dreamed About Orlando

By Tuesday, June 14, 2016 0 0

Last night Chris and I prayed before falling asleep, like we always do. We held hands and thanked God for our many blessings, prayed for our children and our support raising and our marriage. And then we prayed for Orlando. Chris’s voice broke a little when he thought of the parents. Parents whose babies won’t be coming home. Parents who had horrifying text conversations just moments before a monster took their baby’s life. And this is the picture that haunted my dreams last night: silent phones, still bodies, distressed parents.

We are heartbroken for this tremendous loss of lives. So many young lives; not that value decreases with age but that potential increases! I think of all the amazing things that have happened to me since I was 25 and I mourn the lost future of all these precious humans.

Which brings us to the age old question. What was God’s role is this tragedy? He is sovereign. He literally holds the world in His hands and not one hair on your head is lost without God knowing about it, ordaining its fall. I have studied the answer to this question, heard messages on it and read the many Bible verses that demonstrate that God’s purposes prevail over the purposes of man. I never know how to answer it exactly. It is not comforting to hear that He allowed it, willed it, caused it, or will use it. It’s too horrible! It’s not comforting to hear that He didn’t have a part in it but it is all because of the decisions of that horrible man, because then what is the point? If man is that powerful, then God must be weak. Indeed, this is a prevailing belief today.

This is my only comfort: Jesus, who redeems ALL things, will redeem this tragedy. I know that God was not surprised, though He is brokenhearted. God was not detached, though He does not control us like marionettes. We cannot yet see how, and perhaps we may never see this side of eternity, but this tragedy is part of the bigger picture, the bigger plan for all of humanity, and it fits perfectly into the puzzle, which God sees in completion.

God’s plan for every human is that we dwell with Him forever in eternity. This is the single best thing that will ever happen – no more tears, no more pain, no more suffering. Just perfect fellowship together with God, the creator and author of everything beautiful and good in the world. It comes at the price though. To ensure this possibility, God endured the very same tragedy that those brokenhearted parents in Orlando suffer now: His only son, Jesus, was slaughtered. God sent His son to be slaughtered.

Why did He do it? Because the horrific death of His son paid a ransom placed on mankind. He allowed His son to die in order to purchase us because He loves us. In order to purchase you. Because He loves you.

You see, the enemy of our souls tricks us into believing that God has withheld something good, and we chase after that something until we die.

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. (James 4:1-3)

Lest you think only Sunday’s killer is represented in this passage, remember that Jesus said that if you hate someone, you’ll be judged like a murderer, and John said it too, a little more pointedly.

No one loves perfectly, and the imperfections void our love when we face God. That’s what sin is. It’s a black mark on our hearts, which are designed in love, for love. Marred. Broken. Imperfections void our love in every relationship, really. It’s just that we (can – we don’t always) forgive and have grace and treat others the way we want to be treated – all things Jesus taught us.  He was aiding our survival in this broken world, and He was pointing to eternity, which will be full of perfect love!

Instead of casting aside our broken hearts and the messed up world that rules our hearts, God made a way for His perfect love to rule our hearts once again. He sent His son Jesus to earth, humbly, to grow up in this broken world, and Jesus grew up in it but was not blemished by it. He was perfect in every way – always loving, always gracious, always righteous, and always hanging out with the worst of the broken ones at that – the adulterers, the liars, the drunkards, the sexually immoral. He loved all those people. Indeed, he said they would be first in line to Heaven. He didn’t say it to condone their sins, indeed they turned from their sinful lifestyles time after time when they met Jesus, He said it because they would run to Him with abandon. When you have nothing to lose but your brokenness, it’s easy to come to Jesus. It’s when you’re holding on to something else – your past, your money, your rebel lifestyle, your pain, your reputation, your power – that it becomes hard. It’s like Jesus was saying, “you’re broken. If you know you’re broken, come with me. I will take care of it.”

It’s the knowing that is hard.

Tragedy reminds us.

Empowering Women Out of Poverty

By Saturday, May 14, 2016 0 0

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If I made a list of the top 100 things I love, fair-trade jewelry would be in the top 10. I love jewelry and accessories, and I desire to empower women out of poverty (globally, women are statistically more likely to fall into poverty), so fair-trade jewelry is win-win. And, it’s gorgeous and global and unique. Every single time I wear a piece of jewelry made by a woman in India, Nepal, Guatemala or Ecuador (that’s just a selection of the places represented by my jewelry!), I get compliments. The best part of those compliments is that I get to tell people about the organization I bought it from and how my purchase had purpose.

Trades of Hope is one of the best of these organizations. Right now I’m hosting a party on Facebook (lots of photos and stories there, as well as opportunities to win some pieces!) and I would be honored to have you join me in supporting women around the world. Trades of Hope pieces make amazing gifts for Christmas or birthdays. I am considering some things to give to my kids’ teachers and influencers before we leave for the field.

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Kenya is a country filled with starvation and poverty, yet through their employment making these beautiful pieces of art, these artisans’ lives are being transformed! The group that makes the new Miriam Earrings and Golden Luna Necklace (there is also a silver and black Luna too!) is dedicated to helping these artisans overcome their physical limitations by empowering them to create and become important parts of their community. The artisans receive housing and social benefits such as a clinic and nursery school. As they create these products, they find their identity and are important and of so much value to the world!

At Field Prep Seminar last month, a couple heading to Tanzania told me more about Sifa Threads, an artisan group there making scarves. Trades of Hope has sold Sifa Threads goods! I was so excited to hear that.

Over on the party, this was the group favorite “look.” We’ve had beautiful, airy spring weather in Seattle so I can see why. Hop on over and choose YOUR favorite! You could win something in the drawing!

My favorite was the Weekend Chic look!

I have no idea how God will use my passion for rescuing women from the sex trade in Spain. I know of some opportunities to be part of ministries working against trafficking, and I look forward to how we can be part of them. In the meantime, I can continue to empower women out of poverty with my purchases!

What is Field Prep Seminar Anyway?

By Wednesday, April 20, 2016 0 0

I really wanted to post our full orange tree, which I’ve been using to show our progress towards 85% support, but we recently replaced, scrubbed to factory settings and gave away our old laptop, and apparently the files, which were on the desktop, didn’t make it through our minimalistic backup process. So, like I posted in our Facebook group, here’s a full bowl of oranges.

fruit+vintage+oranges--graphicsfairy003bgOn Sunday, we head to Harrisburg, PA  for a two week training called Field Prep Seminar (FPS) at our mission agency’s headquarters. It’s for prefield missionaries who have raised 85% or more of their monthly support requirement and who plan to leave for the field within the year.

Obviously we don’t know much abut it, but according to ABWE.org, it will focus on at least three things:

  • Transition to the mission field
  • Major adjustments to living in another culture
  • Adapting to the existing ABWE field team

To prepare for FPS, we read a number of books, including Tim Keller’s The Reason for God, John Piper’s Let the Nations Be Glad, and Cross-Cultural Connections by Duane Elmer. We also completed a Missional Biblical Theology course, which was essentially Systematic Theology for missionaries. Once we received our invitation to FPS, we did a few hours of homework on spiritual warfare, cultural issues, leadership, and child safety training.

Our schedule is going to be kind of grueling – some days are 12 hours long. But our leaders will make sure we have lots of snacks, breaks, fellowship and even some fun. They will allow us to include our kids when appropriate and, most certainly, the whole training will be engaging and life-changing. Between a missionary’s application for service and departure to the field, ABWE gets 3 opportunities to ensure excellence in missions – candidate seminar, Essential Missions Components, and Field Prep. So they take advantage of our presence.

We would appreciate prayers for us while we are attending this valuable training:

  • Safety and favor regarding travel logistics
  • Energy for us and for Chris’s parents, who will be taking care of the kids
  • Spiritual, mental and physical strength for our long days of training, and the ability to take it all in
  • Provision for the ministries we leave behind – our small group friends who will lead our Chinese friends through The Story of Hope, and our youth pastor who will lead our middle schoolers through The Way to Joy solo

We are so excited to reach this prefield milestone! Glory to God!

him we proclaim {Easter Freebie}

By Saturday, March 19, 2016 0 0

To celebrate that God has done a new thing in my creative life recently, I am offering an Easter freebie to my readers!

Colossians 1:28-29 is a verse God gave me while I was updating this blog. While Seasoned with Salt is still the theme of this place where so many words are shared, and our ministry vision remains the same, this verse reflects the spiritual why for what we do and our calling to share the Gospel in Spain.

Click here to download the high-res free 8×10.

This was my first attempt at digital art using watercolor images. The beautiful flower graphics are courtesy of The Smell of Roses. I hope you enjoy this free printable. I would love to see how you display it in your home. Maybe post a photo and tag it #himweproclaim?

2015 Year in Review

By Wednesday, December 30, 2015 0 0

Our family photos from the year will display the many blessings of our lives. I cannot write a Christmas letter or an annual recap anymore without acknowledging all the ways God blesses, protects and guides us. We have much, much more than we need. Like scripture says, we lack no good thing.

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We have our health, and opportunities to gain more health and live healthfully. Last February we went on a lovely, romantic weekend away in Leavenworth. We always seem to “pay for” time away from the kids, and I quickly got a cold and an ear infection that would not quit after our trip.  A Z-pack got rid of the infection, but the symptoms never went away. For months I felt like I had just stepped off an airplane, no matter what I did, and I had lingering cold symptoms and a funky looking eardrum that led me to take a lot of medication and another round of antibiotics in the spring. Still no relief – just a diagnosis of eustachian tube disfunction. Obviously! The ear pain shadowed a lot of the wonderful things we did this year because of frequent headaches and stuffiness. But in August I started seeing a holistic chiropractor who was able to start a treatment plan for the neck misalignment actually causing my extreme eustachian tube disfunction. I am still doing treatment, but my ears are draining again! I praise God for this simple solution and the means to take care of it. Our family is learning a lot about why our chiropractor calls “stewarding your body” and I am feeling so much better. I am sort of looking forward to how I react to the plane trips we have planned this year.

In the spring, we had glorious, summer like weather that enabled me to do do a lot of outside homeschool and playing with the kids. We spoke at a youth event and a church in Colville, WA. We were so grateful to be able to share the blessings of pursuing missions with high school students there, and we added a partner to our team. We love every church visit and still pray that they would remember us when considering support for young missionaries.

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In the summer we celebrated Susanna’s 4th birthday with a luau and then we visited family in Eugene for the 4th of July. My grandparents recently moved out of my childhood home in Fall Creek, so we had one last hurrah there. It was bittersweet because although I am glad my grandparents are closer to town for convenience, I will miss the acre of property in the country. Trees planted for me and my children are growing there, not to mention memories!

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We shared our ministry with quite a few families over the summer, and God has granted a significant support increase over the year. We are now over 80% supported and looking to be fully supported and planning for language school by next summer.

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In September, Austin turned 2 and we celebrated with “cars and trucks and things that go.” His advanced vocabulary is such a fun blessing! 

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In the fall, the kids and I resumed our ministry at Bible Study Fellowship, where we are studying Revelation. I say “our” because it is a family affair. I am a discussion leader, responsible for facilitating discussion group and connection among about 15 women. The kids attend the preschool program, where amazing BSF leaders teach them about the Lord and God’s Word in a fun environment. It takes a bit of time, a “sacrifice” of two mornings a week, and a lot of prayer. I love leading through BSF and I could not have imagined all the ways it is contributing to my preparations for Spain and ministering to women there. What a blessing. If you have a local BSF, January is an excellent time to jump into our study of Revelation. Check out bsfinternational.org. We’re not even halfway done. In addition to BSF, we continued homeschool with the Before Five in a Row curriculum and lots and lots of trips to the library, the fish hatchery, and the nature trail behind our house. Don’t you all wish you were in preschool again? It’s so fun!

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Our Christmas was lovely and calm, exactly what I wish for. We visited Eugene early in the week, spent Christmas Eve with the Sihon family and Christmas Day with the Duryees. Early in December we took Susanna to PNB’s The Nutcracker, and it was a joy for me to start a new tradition with my girl after so many years of going with my Aunt Carol as a child.

I hope it’s alright to share a personal note here. My brother- and sister-in-law are expecting a baby who is (again) not expected to live. We are all very, very disappointed by this and honestly, eager to see the trial end. My sister-in-law Siri is my hero. After shedding some tears on Christmas Day, we talked about how we are able to pray that God would grant this child life. If he lives, this child and my in-laws will face many challenges, but life is a gift and we would be privileged to steward his. My sister-in-law shared that although she sometimes wishes she could be done with this heart-breaking pregnancy. But she said something like, “but then what is the point of it all? I have a job. My job is to carry this baby as long as God asks me to carry him. I wish I knew what God’s plan was and why He allowed this, but I don’t. I do know that I have a job right now.” Her simple faith in God’s plan, the reasons for which He may never reveal this side of Heaven, is astounding to me. May it encourage you as well.

We look forward to a blessed 2016. God is so good we expect nothing less! Specifically, though, we long to see three things: sufficient funds to attend Field Prep Seminar, full support, and a move to language school. If you’d like to be part of our calling to share the Gospel in Spain, please be in touch.

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