Thursday, October 30, 2008
Yesterday morning, Tim left around 930am or so to go to the hall to work. I did school with Mika, then we stopped for a snack, and then I sent the girls up to play for a couple minutes while I tidied up. I never did tidy up. All of a sudden there was banging noise in "the" cupboard. I knew that something was caught in there, and I really didn't want to know what - but Tim wasn't going to be home for at least 2 more hours. So I called Tim, and asked him what he would do if he was home (dumb question!). Well, he would open the cupboard, and try to grab the trap without getting bitten. I told him that it was too bad he hadn't married a better missionary wife. Then I decided that I could possibly climb up on a chair and open the cupboard door to look inside, since Tim really wanted to know whether it was actually a mouse or a rat (my original idea was to climb on the counter, but Tim didn't think I would be able to see then). I got Tim's shoes on, then got a chair, a broom and a mop, and very slowly opened the cupboard door.
It was a rat, and yes, I yelled and slammed the door shut. I called Tim back again, and asked him if I happened to be able to get the thing out - what should I do with it? He said he would have tried to get it into something and then drop something heavy on it to kill it. Mmhmm.
So, out to the garage I go to get some "supplies". A laundry basket, a flattened box for a lid, and Tim's carpenter belt that is made out of leather just in case I had to pick it up (I couldn't find any gloves). All this time I was singing, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (loudly), and then made sure the girls were all in the bedroom playing, with the door shut. After more yells, door slamming, sweating and a little hyperventilating, I realized the rat really couldn't go too far in its current condition. I finally removed the pans in the cupboard, and swept the rat out into the laundry basket. Whew. It was grey, and it's body was about twice the size of a mouse (Tim told me later - I don't really know how big a mouse is), and was about a foot long from its nose to the end of its tail. It was the long tail that really grossed me out. Then I called Mika and Shaelyn, because I was pretty sure they would want to see it. I warned Mika ahead of time that the mouse (I didn't know for sure yet if it was a rat or not) was caught in a trap, but she could see it if she wanted. She did. They were both quite excited that that was their first time seeing a "real mouse!" I wasn't quite as excited. Then I took the rat outside and, saving all the gory details, killed it. Mika wanted to know when I came in why I was upset. I told her the only other animal I had killed was a chicken, and I cried when I killed it too. Tim disposed of it when he came home. I did take a couple pictures, but decided not to post them. I have discovered through this that I am not brave, but "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" =) The good news is, we have reset the traps, and there has been no sign of any more rodents, which I really hope remains that way. That is the end of that story.
Some really great news, is that two ladies have professed to get saved this week. On Sunday during the meeting it was Rosa, and then last night after meeting it was Oneida. Both have been coming out every night, and just "drinking" up the Word. Your prayers for them would be appreciated.
Tonight is the first of three sessions this weekend by Dr. A.J. Higgins on "Relationships". We are looking forward to it, as they will be in English, and then translated to Spanish. Marcus and Alison Cain are coming up from Tepic (15 hours south), and will actually be staying with us over the weekend with 2 of their 4 children. I think their youngest girl is just a year or two older than Mika. Tim and I were saying that we haven't seen them since Seedsowers in 1999 - so that's almost 9 years! We are looking forward to seeing them.
Other interesting news is that I have felt the baby moving 2-3 times now. Just tiny little "wiggles" inside, but a joy to feel, and know our little one is growing. I am 15 weeks pregnant now.
Will go for now - hopefully there will be no more "rodent" news in any more posts to come.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Dear Prayer Warriors,
Please pray about the situation in Congo. Renee called today and said a rebel leader has taken the airport in the strategic border town of Goma on the north end of Lake Kivu. She lives in Bukavu which is on the south end, but this same rebel leader took the town of Bukavu for a week in 2003 and he and his troops wreaked horrific havoc on the population. So there is a sense of panic in her town and expatriates are unsure if they should evacuate or not. Missionary friends of ours evacuated from Goma. Please pray for security and safety for all concerned as well as for wisdom.
Tom is on his way there so one possibility would be for Renee to go to the neighboring country of Rwanda to meet him tomorrow and then decide together what to do. Other missionary friends of ours are also on their way back to Bukavu after furlough. Thanks for praying and please pass the word on to other prayer groups.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Entire Woodford Family
Dad & Mom Sharp
Jeff & Marianne Sharp
Jared (3.9), Gracia (1.5)
Trevor & Liz Griffin
Katja (2), Kiernan (3 days)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
"K" names seem to be the thing in our family(ies), I guess. Katja was first, on the Sharp side, then Keenan on the Woodford side, our Kyla was born next, and now Kiernan! It's going to be interesting remembering them all - but they likely won't be all together at the same time, at least.
Welcome to the family, Little One - we love you, and can't wait to meet you!!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
There are a few blogs I have "watched" over the last little while. Some of the people I know, a few of them have been people I don't actually know personally, but 'know' through other people, or some are just random people that I do not know at all. Some blogs seem to portray that they are perfect Christians/people/parents/families, and everything they do and say is just the right thing. Others bare their hearts with difficulties and struggles they've had, and how God has dealt with them through the circumstances.
With the first, I usually get come away thinking, "Why did God ever give a husband and children to me? Why did He ever give me all that He has placed in my hands? They have just described how they reacted in a situation, and it was perfect! When it's me, I always seem to do the wrong thing - I always fail."
While no normal person would write all their faults and failures on their blog, it is the ones who share their struggles that I more often feel encouraged by. So, I am going to share this struggle I have with you, and hope you will be encouraged through it.
This particular struggle I have, mostly started, at least with the greatest intensity, when I was expecting our second baby. I was suddenly overwhelmed with feelings of irrational anger, irritation and impatience. I prayed and prayed and tried to change, but nothing seemed to 'work'. It was when I was expecting our third child when I finally told the Lord, "I can't do this anymore, please change me!" that I got some 'relief'. Although the problem never stopped entirely, it didn't happen as often as before.
No one had ever shared that they struggled with these things too, and I felt very alone. Then I found a book called, "Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit" by Teri Maxwell. She is a homeschooling mother of 8, with 1/2 of her children now grown up. She and her husband have written several books, but the first one that caught my attention was "Managers of their Homes." (They have a website: http://www.titus2.com/) It talks about scheduling your day, and how beneficial it is - and I have definitely benefited from it. Then I came across the one about having a meek and quiet spirit. While it speaks about homeschooling in the book, what I have mostly taken out of it is just how I (as a Christian/ woman/ wife/ mother) can have a meek and quiet spirit.
From her book: 'Definition of "meek" from Webster's 1858 Dictionary: "mild of temper, soft, gentle, not easiy provoked or irritated."
Definition of "quiet" from Webster's: "peaceable, not turbulent, not giving offense, mild, meek, and contented."'
Someone also just sent me a book by Elisabeth Elliot called "Keep a Quiet Heart". This is a quote from the beginning of the book:
"...in 1947...I had written down a few lines of a prayer which I hoped was poetry...
'Lord, give to me a quiet heart
That does not ask to understand,
But confident steps forward in
The darkness guided by Thy hand.'
This was my heart's desire then. It is the same today. A willing acceptance of all that God assigns and a glad surrender of all that I am and have constitute the key to receiving the gift of a quiet heart."
Can I tell you that with all my heart, this is the person I truly want to be!I have just finished up reading Isaiah in my daily reading. I have been enjoying reading of the forgiveness of Jehovah - how many times He would tenderly sweep His children back under the shadow of His wings - no matter how disobedient they had been. Amazing Grace!
I have been convicted many times over the years at my anger and lack of control. I have hated myself and what I was like. I have been afraid of the effect I would have on my children, and would feel especially afraid when I would see them copying me! I had always been proud before, feeling that I had things all under control - now it seemed so often like my life was falling apart, from the inside out!
There have been many times where I ignored the Holy Spirit showing me my sin. I would give in to my excuses that "I am just that way!", "God has given me too much to deal with!", etc. In the book by Teri Maxwell, she talks about worldly sorrow vs. godly sorrow, using 2 Corinthians 7:9&10: "As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief (sorrow), so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief (sorrow) produces death."
Worldy sorrow always comes from pride - it is all about ME (see above in my excuses)! Godly sorrow knows that, "If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 Also, "There is therefore now condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 When I realize what I am doing is sin, and treat it accordingly: there should be grief about my sin, then I need to confess my sin and repent of it - asking forgiveness to anyone I have hurt because of it. Then, I can walk in the joy of "no condemnation". Teri shared her struggle of not having a meek and quiet spirit, and shared a little of some other women who have had the same struggle. Although Teri admits she has not "arrived" at her goal of a meek and quiet spirit, she told of the progress she has made with God's help. That was such an encouragement to me - to know that someone has been where I am, and God has given her His power to be "less of self, and more of Him."
Just recently again, my heart became convicted of how I was treating my girls especially. Also, a friend emailed me, saying she was praying for me to have a meek and quiet spirit, and asked if I would pray for her too. As I've been doing this, God used many verses in Proverbs like these to show me my sin, and give me the desire again to change:Proverbs 16:32 "Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city."
Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
Proverbs 14:1 "The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands (and mouth) tears it down."At first, I honestly felt like giving up. Why does God keep testing me? Sometimes I wished (unthinkingly) that He would just leave me alone. Then, last week I read this verse:
Proverbs 17:3 "The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts."
Just as the silver and gold are meant for their specific tasks, so my heart is meant for the Lord to test it. Then in the same day, He reminded me that:Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you," and
Choice Gleanings - Oct. 17/08 "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV)
2 Corinthians 1:8b-9 "...we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead."
So, how can I have a meek and quiet spirit?
#1 - I have to be saved. I have to have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
#2 - I have to spend time with Him. Time reading His Word, and speaking to Him in prayer.
#3 - Recognize the sin in my life. Repent and confess this sin immediately, so my relationship with God is restored.
#4 - Live daily dying to self, and accepting God's perfect will for me. It won't be the same as everyone else.
I know this is a mish-mash of thought and verses, but I do hope and pray that the Lord will bless you through it anyway! I'm not even close to having "arrived" on the subject - I feel like I haven't even hardly started, but to have a meek and quiet spirit is now my daily prayer, and I know that the Lord will continue to work on my heart so that I will be more like Him!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
During the night, Mika woke up because she had been sick. She was cleaned up, and moved to the couch, where she proceeded to be sick two more times during the night. When I got up with her the first time, my stomach felt a little queasy, but I figured it was just from lack of sleep and the power of suggestion! Unfortunately, I was wrong - my stomach was very upset when the time came that we were supposed to get up. I tried to get breakfast going, but had to get back to bed and lie down, where I then slept until 10am. Spanish class and school was cancelled for the day. I got up around 11am, had some soup with Tim and the girls, and then right back to sleep again until 4pm!
So, it's obvious that I had a very non-productive day, but what did my dear Tim do...? He got everyone breakfast and lunch, swept and mopped the whole downstairs, changed numerous dirty diapers (apparently that how the 2 littlest girls were affected), cleaned up Mika being sick again, did dishes twice, played with the girls, got them all down for naps, and did about 7-8 loads of laundry!!! What a wonderful husband I have! The five of us stayed home from meeting last night, and by bedtime Mika was feeling tons better, and I was okay if I stayed sitting. I wondered if I would even be able to get to sleep last night, as I had slept so much during the day, but I didn't have any problem.
This morning Mika slept until almost 8am, and did not feel well again this morning. My stomach was still upset, but not like it was. We ended up having a little breakfast, got dressed, and managed to have school and Spanish class today. Everyone went down for a nap at 2pm, but unfortunately, Kyla only let me sleep until 3pm! Everyone else is still sleeping, thankfully! Tim was really tired all morning, so I hope he gets a good long sleep now, and doesn't catch what we had!
I think I mentioned on the last post that Mika has a loose tooth - well, today at lunch it finally came out! She was Very excited, and again, wanted to call everyone she could right then!! Thankfully my Dad called, so she was able to tell him the exciting news! =)
That's all the catch-up news for today - still awaiting news of a little nephew or niece to join the family out in Saskatchewan. He/She does not seem to be in any hurry to meet the anxious relatives who are waiting!!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
This is the basement of the hall facing the kitchen (end - left). Eleo and some of the other ladies did all the decorating, with fresh flowers on every table. Everything looked Beautiful! John's parents came this past Tuesday, and Dr. D said today, "If anyone had told me last Tuesday it was going to look this good today, I would have laughed in their face!" So much work has been done, and it really paid off.
The downstairs kitchen.
Morning meeting this morning. There were 55 in the meeting (33 from here, 22 visitors from British Columbia, New Brunswick, Arizona, Massachusetts, Michegan & New Jersey), approx 60 people observing - which includes children too. Before the end though, at least 20, and possibly 30 more people came in.
This is the beginning of the special meeting for the opening. It began (approx.) at 12pm and went to 130pm. We sang, and then there was a slide show of the building of the hall. There was also a presentation made to Kevin Procopio (Boston, Massachusetts), who, along with his son, designed the hall layout, and worked a lot on the hall. It was a framed text, and then signed by everyone here. There was approximately 200 people there for the meeting. Many of whom we didn't know, but are friends and family of the believers here. Then there was a gospel message by David Alves (Puerta Vallarta) who is here for the 3 weeks of meetings.
At 1:30pm, we came down stairs, and had lunch. Tamales and beans - wow, were they ever yummy!! I made PB and Honey sandwiches for the girls, and it was likely a good thing, as there was just the right amount of spice in the tomales. =)
In the kitchen
Serving up the plates: The tamales were cooked, and then the corn husks were removed for easier eating.
Mika, "Everyone keeps talking to me about my tooth, and it's getting me annoyed!"
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Liz, Trev and Katja (and Bekah W in the background) playing glow in the dark mini-golf on Tim's birthday.
This is a funny story about Mika. Today we learned a new special sound in school - it's the sound "th". We practiced many different words that have the soft th (like thorn), and the louder th (like that). Mika has been doing exceptionally well with her reading recently, so it has been exciting to learn new sounds, so that she can read more words. Tonight after supper, Marika said, "Mommy, I know another word that has th in it, 'whithle'!" I saved my chuckle until after I explained that it is 'whiSTle' (she has a bit of a lisp, but has been getting better since learning and hearing the different sounds, and reading them. I am still chuckling now! =)
In other news....my husband is the most wonderful man in the world!! You possibly think that You have the most wonderful husband, but I'm afraid you don't - I do!! =) He is thoughtful and kind, helpful and considerate, a wonderful spiritual leader, a hard worker, a great Daddy, and my best friend! I'm so very thankful for you, my Tim!
I had to laugh again at Shaelyn today too. I usually laugh several times a day at her, but just recently she has started eating new veggies and fruits. I'm sure you're wondering why that is funny, but she has never like vegetables, and it has been a constant struggle to get them into her mouth, let along swallow them! A couple months ago she at a raw carrot for the first time, and things have gotten progressively better since then. She eats corn, peas, beans, broc & cauli - it's been quite the thing. However, it is How she eats them that it is so funny, and I was reminded tonight again as she was eating cantaloupe for dessert. She puts the food into her mouth (willingly - all by herself), then grabs her cup frantically, and tries to swallow it whole!! Sometimes, we'll get her to chew it a bit - but it is hilarious to watch. Then, after it's down, she'll place her hand on top of her head, slide it down to her tummy and say, "It went down, down, down, down, into my tummy!! I swa-ered it!!!" =)
Kyla is getting much better at her walking skills. She walked most of the way across the living room today, and it's been cute to see. What Wasn't cute today, was that she learned how to climb the ladder to the girls bunkbeds! I couldn't believe it! There she was, up on the top bunk, all by herself!! I think she is going to have to permanently go into the play pen when I can't be around - she is Such a corker!
Monday afternoon was cool, so the girls and I went outside so they could go on their bikes. Mika has the training wheels off, and is trying to learn how to ride with out them. It was only her second time, and I was trying to keep Shaelyn at the side of road, Kyla happy in her stroller, plus keep Mika balanced! Before we even went out though, Mika wanted to wear all her protective gear (like in the book Franklin Rides A Bike) and so had on a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads. If I had let her, we would have had all the pillows out there too, just in case she fell. Although she didn't get too far - she was pretty brave about it all, and didn't even cry when she fell twice. Hopefully we'll get a chance to go out again soon.
The three girls
Mika in all her protective gear!
Playing "Ring Around the Rosey"
On Tuesday I made a pie. I had put it off for a while, because I was out of white flour, and hadn't gone shopping, but finally I got some, and made a strawberry/blueberry pie. It was very yummy, and Tim thinks I should make another one soon, you know - so I don't forget how! =) Anyway, I had just put the pie in the oven, and went looking to refill the white sugar, as I had just finished it up, and there in the cupboard were two bags of white flour (that looked Exactly like white sugar bags!) At least I won't run out of that for a bit!
Last night, we went to a circus that is in town. We will be busy every night starting this Saturday for a couple weeks, so we thought we would take advantage of our last free night for a while. The circus was...interesting - not exactly up to par with what I remember from my childhood - but everyone had fun. The tent was in good condition, and although there was some chairs up close, the "bleachers" were just boards laid on top of one another. Not comfortable or safe for children! It was Tim's and the girls first time going to a circus, and the girls especially enjoyed all the animals.
There were 4 young tigers, who weren't too happy to perform.
Nothing significant really about this picture, except we thought it was funny that the lady "flying through the air" was being held up by 4 stage hands. Really - it wasn't even wrapped around anything at the bottom at all, just them holding the rope!
This was a cute, pretty new looking, baby miniature horse and it's mommy.
These animals had the largest horns we had ever seen. This wasn't even the biggest one, but horns were just massive!
Okay, this is an odd picture too - it is a baby alpaca nursing from a horse!
I actually had a productive day today. Got some cleaning done, and also took all my regular clothes, and put them away, and replaced them with maternity clothes, and then got rid of the 3 extra boxes that were in our room, plus put away the 4 loads of clean laundry that had been sitting there for far too long. The room looks so much better!
The new hall is coming along quite nicely. Everything is almost done, so it is kind of exciting. Tonight was the last meeting in the 'old' hall. The opening is Sunday, and then there will be two weeks of gospel meetings, and then ending them off, Sandy Higgins will be coming for a weekend of ministry on "relationships". I am excited, as they will be in English!! We have a break from Spanish class tomorrow, and then Eleo leaves on Wednesday to go to Detroit for a week, so we will then have 8 more days without Spanish class. I am hoping that Tim and I can get some seriously productive work done around the house!
Okay, time to put the girlers to bed - they have really been playing pretty nicely the last couple days, so it's been nice! Good night!