Wednesday, October 26, 2011

bits and bobs

By Mary
I've come across the phrase "bits and bobs" several times in the past few weeks, due mostly to refreshed correspondence with friends from other parts of the world--and it happens to describe perfectly the thoughts of my mind.
Like how I love the different shades of fall, pressed thickly one upon the other in a forest of trees or how I really don't mind having to take our dog for a walk every morning when I get to see a cotton candy sky of blue and pink above me.
Or how I wish my hair would grow long faster and how I have far too many doctor's appointments written on the calendar.
Or how I miss my friends and am thankful to have new ones here.
Or how the little parts of life can mean so much, and sometimes just making the most of what you have or don't have makes all the difference. And not just putting a good face on it, but appreciating the beautiful things and facing the things that bother me, maybe even making some space in my heart to be thankful for them as well. For that's the one lesson this week standing out to me clear as a star in a blue velvet sky: even in the things that seem smallest to my human mind, there's such great purpose, for there's always opportunity to be like Christ.
I'm realizing more every day that there's nothing bigger or better I could ever ask for than that.

Monday, October 24, 2011


by Alanna

This morning I took the twins out walking in the leaves. One stomped happily; one sat down in the middle and laughed with head thrown back, whacking the leaves all around him. I always thought I didn't like the idea of winter coming. Dying everywhere, leaves letting go and tumbling to the ground. It is beautiful now but so sad. This has been on my heart though-

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat

falls into the earth

and dies,

it remains alone;

but if it dies, it bears much fruit

This dying to self, this letting go, this surrender. It is painful and I crave the safety of the branches and want to cling tight. But Jesus called us to die to ourselves. And that means surrendering my will to His. To place my little life into His hands. To sacrifice my will and believe that He is the Resurrection and the Life. Paul doesn't only write about crucifixion, he writes that he lives now by faith. And if to remind us at the end, he adds that his trust is in the One who submitted to crucifixion Himself, on our behalf. The One who is trustworthy.

I have been crucified with Christ;

and it is no longer I who live,

but Christ lives in me;

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by faith in the Son of God

who loved me and gave Himself up for me

Saturday, October 22, 2011


by Alanna

Tonight we drove out east to see the stars. Hard to do in the city. Sometimes I forget that beyond those clouds and pollution, there is a huge starry firmament. Breathtakingly beautiful. Laying on the cold hard ground [I'm miles from where you are], comforter pulled tight around me, thinking. We had gone to watch a meteor shower, but I didn't see any meteors. The clouds and my thoughts distracted me, so I stared at the stars and wondered at the beauty of them, and wondered at the God who creates such beauty. [these are the arms that hold the heavens, they are holding you and me]. Wondering. What happens when my will crosses the will of the Sovereign Lord? I want to live joyfully surrendered, open-handed. I cried tonight, for my little one far away. Because love fills my heart to bursting and my only outlet tonight is tears. I want to understand how to mourn and not give fear a foothold. To grieve trusting. Because if I let it, the sorrow can overwhelm me and the questions become doubts, and the doubts can turn into despair and bitterness can enter. But why doubt? Deep down, I know that God sees. Somehow, laying out there in the cold, I was reminded of that. While I watched the stars, my little one was at preschool. Learning about His Father's love, loving and being loved. God has always taken care of him. He always will. And the God who created all those stars, carried our sorrows. The maker of the stars is trustworthy and worthy of praise.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I feel drained. Empty. Dragging. It's a morning I'd just like to spend in bed indefinitely.
My pregnancy has caught up to me a little bit, now that I've finally really begun to show. Some aches here and pains there...plenty of baby kicks to catch me by surprise. But it's not any physical strain that's leaving me so dry.
Is it the change in the weather? My heart turned again to South Africa, to home, to places in the world I've never seen for myself as soon as the leaves began to change while the breezes spoke cool gentle words of fall. But is it homesickness that steals the life from me? The steady love for children of my heart spread far across the globe? Wander-lust? What is it that leaves me feeling so powerless with not a drop of life or love to give to anyone? Maybe I've simply let myself drift away from the abundance of God, the life in His words, His power and His love.
So prone to wander, my little heart. Such a poor example of faithfulness--yet how clearly I can see His when again and again He faithfully takes back my straying heart to teach me to walk in the paths of life.

Monday, October 17, 2011


did i ever tell you how beautiful you are?

i am so proud of you

and the little boy you are growing up to be

the days pass here

far away from you

but my heart remains yours

and my thoughts everyday

are full of you

while others might not see

you are my precious one

i love you

missing you baby


did you know?

the One who loves you

even more than i do

is taking care of you

you will be safe in His arms

Saturday, October 15, 2011

a time to treasure

by Alanna

after 5 springs in a row
i get to see my first fall
and in Colorado too
it is unbelievabely beautiful
sometimes I am honestly bowed down in thankfulness and awe
that we get to live in such a beautiful world
[thank you Jesus]

i have received hopeful news
at last
from the other side of the world
and concerning the son of my heart
not conclusive news
no guarantees
just a small bit of hope

it excites me and it terrifies me
because i think i've come to realize
how little control i have over things, really
my life could turn upside down
or it could stay much the same
the important thing is that Someone is in control
He will take me where He wills
and do what He wants
and today i am okay with that
because He is utterly trustworthy
proven again and again
His love never fails

in the meantime
i am finally, slowly learning
thankfulness here
sitting with my family near the fire
riding bikes through crunchy leaves with little sisters
laughing with the twins i'm priviledged to nanny
kissing amirah goodnight
talks with my parents
the bookstore with my brother
[if i had no more time
no more time left to be here
would we cherish what we had]

sometimes i can be so impatient
to get back to africa
and i forget that that is what I feel called to
for life
so why not treasure what i have here
while i still have it?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall decorations scatter throughout the house, bright patches of golden yellows and reds, oranges and browns. The colder weather has come along with it, with slippers and jackets and fuzzy blankets. The trees are beginning to turn, dropping leaves across the sidewalks to match those on our mantel.
A dear friend has been and gone, leaving behind sweet memories, tasty concoctions mixed up in the kitchen together, and dozens of challenging thoughts. God is good to me, to give me such a purposeful friend who really makes me think instead of drifting through life. Our eight day together were so incredibly encouraging to my heart and soul.
How precious just to share the small things of life with the ones you love.
Today I'm remembering to be thankful for the small things...remembering just how important they are after all.