Monday, January 31, 2011

season's end

It's over.

One more season of girl's basketball ended
with a tournament a week ago.

Elise scores with a free-throw

Amy jumps for a shot

Posing with a competing team after the tournament

This weekend we hosted the team for an end-of-season party.

Lots of awards and honors,

lots of energy,

lots of interesting food,

lots of games,

lots of nationalities,

a few unusual names,

lots of laughter and camaraderie.

Thanks for a great season ya'll!

Friday, January 28, 2011

presuming on riches

How little it takes sometimes
to bring a bit of joy to a child's life.

As we work to build bridges of trust and of kindness
with these little ones who come to our gate,
we see faces light up,
and smiles beam.

But kindness
is sometimes taken as a right.
Thanks are neglected.
More kindness is demanded the next day.

How do we impart something of God's love
without creating unhealthy expectations?

We have no easy answers.

Then I read it, in Romans, words that humble me.
Words revealing that God faces
the exact same challenge with me.

Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness
and forbearance
and patience,
not knowing that God’s kindness is meant
to lead you to repentance?
Romans 2:4

How often does He also bring joy to my life,
prove Himself trustworthy,
demonstrate kindness?

And yet I, in my poverty,
with ingratitude
and with an attitude of entitlement,
presume to look for more
instead of responding with thanksgiving
and a change of heart and action.

In His faithfulness He uses even this
to teach me more of His goodness and patience...

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

creative media

So, what do you do if you're a homeschooled 5th grader,
and your mom has to leave for an hour one morning to get fingerprinted
at a government office for official documents?

Well, if you're Michael, you grab your mp3 player,
and your new mini-speaker (a gift to your dad
from a local business, which he then gifted to you)

and you record all of your spelling words,
with a 15 second gap between them,
replaying it to yourself
so that you can go ahead with the day's spelling test.

That's an A+ in creative media.

Monday, January 24, 2011


"What dreadful Hot weather we have!

It keeps one in a continual state of Inelegance."

–Jane Austen

The climate here in Davao is a very warm one -

the average temperature is 89.6.

The heat can be draining,

especially if you don't work in an air-conditioned place.

In the heat of the day, it's common to see people enjoying a siesta in unusual spots...

on a shelf...

in a jeepney...(we see this all the time!)

in a nipa hut...

on a picnic table
(I've never seen anyone picnicking on these!)

on dog food bags in the local pet store...
(boy, am I glad he didn't wake until after I took the photo!)

at a resort...

back in a jeepney...

on top of a delivery truck...

We've seen so many nappers that we almost don't notice them anymore!

(our home has two air-conditioners -

one in the computer room which we use rarely,

and one in the master bedroom, which Mark and Barbara use at night.

Other than that, for relief from the heat, we live by fan alone.)

For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm
and a shade from the heat;
Isaiah 25:4
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

gecko infusion

I opened the lid of my electric teapot at lunchtime
to find the remains of a fat, pink, drowned gecko.
It wasn't pretty.

And the really troubling part of it was
that I had stumbled out to the kitchen early that morning,
flipped the switch and boiled water for my morning cuppa tea
without looking inside.

Yes, you are thinking what I was thinking.
"Was the gecko inside when she made that tea?!?"
Well, I'll never know for sure,
but geckos are most active at night.

I grabbed the pot and headed for the yard

while my mind reeled with what I should do.

No, not with the remains -
those I dumped unceremoniously in the back corner of the garden.

But what should I do?
How will I respond to this intrusion of my teapot?!??

I mean, this is disgusting.

After taking a few deep breaths,
and because God is patiently teaching me to accept His gifts with more grace,
I chose to give thanks.

1. thanks that it wasn't a bigger or hairier something
2. thanks that I actually own an electric teapot for things to drown in
3. thanks that i hadn't been stricken with illness from gecko-infused tea
4. thanks that this isn't a regular occurrence in our home

what are you choosing to give thanks for today?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

birds of the air

I paused a moment to look out our front window this morning

on my way to grade even more geometry proofs.

There, in the little oasis of our green yard,
I saw this gift from God -
an Olive-backed Sunbird
delicately sipping from
a Bird of Paradise goblet...

Look at the birds of the air:
they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?

Matthew 6:26

One more reminder of the One who cares for me;
who provides for my needs.

And which of you by being anxious
can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:27

Not I.

Thank You, God, for this beautiful reminder of your perfect provision!

Monday, January 17, 2011

this little piggy

Wherever there is a big celebration here in the Philippines,
you are likely to find
Lechon Baboy;
a whole roasted pig, cooked over coals.

We were at one of those events yesterday,
but we both forgot to bring our camera,
so unfortunately the photos are of cell phone quality.

Ronnie looked like an expert as he chopped the meat.

There was quite a spread of food -
cassava root rolls,
quail eggs,
lots of rice,
and even a chocolate cake!

We have to admit that there aren't too many Filipino foods
that we have developed a deep affection for yet.

But it's fun to try these new things, and to have friends who laugh with us as we do.

When Ronnie placed the pig's long skinny tail on the meat platter, I just had to ask,
"Will someone eat the tail too?"
Nora broke out in laughter.
"Oh, NO!!" was all she could manage to say
as she grabbed the tail and pulled it off the platter.

"When you enter a town and are welcomed,
eat what is set before you."
Luke 10:8

So thankful I didn't have that tail set before me...

Friday, January 14, 2011

long held captive

It's January 14th, and, to our joy, Christmas cards are arriving!
Long held captive in a post office somewhere,
piles of Christmas mail waiting until the holidays were over
to be distributed.

So cards posted from the U.S. on December 17th,
or on December 7th,
are now beginning to arrive!
It's a whole new season for joy here in our home,
as each mail brings fun newsy letters,
photos of beautiful growing children,
cards with a quick signature, reminding us we are thought of!

We will display every one,
and they will remind us of you throughout the year.

So THANK YOU to every one of you who sent your greetings...
we LOVE to hear from you...

At any time of the year!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

cocks are not only for crowing

One of the local means of entertainment is the Cock Derby.
Cocks are raised, nurtured and loved in preparation to fight for big stakes,
sometimes six at a time.
It's not uncommon to see men walking down the street
cradling their favorite fighting cock gently in their arms.
These birds can be worth a lot of money.

If you live around the corner from a "sports complex"
like the Davao Matina Galleria,
you might be in for some pretty loud and late nights.

Michael's been casting around for a new hobby...
what do you think? ;o)

how about stamp collecting instead?

Monday, January 10, 2011

family photos

James Bautista, the friend of a friend of ours, spent a little while with us in December, taking some photos of our family. The following is a selection of some of the shots he took. We had a fun afternoon with James!

But the lovingkindness of the LORD
is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children's children;

Psalm 103:17