Monday, February 28, 2011

traveling tinker

It's early Friday morning,
and we sit quiet at breakfast together,
when from far down the street we hear his cry.

The cry is distinctive, definitely not a sweet corn vendor,
nor another collector of recyclables.
Mark recognizes it first.
It's the cry of the traveling tinker;

the man with the portable,
pedaled whetstone slung over his shoulder,
crying out his trade.

Though we don't understand his words,
I can imagine how it must go...

'sharp as new! sharp blades for old;
sharp knives today!'

I watch his hands as the sparks fly,
sure and steady,

and then his face,
calm, full of dignity in his occupation.

The tools of his trade are few and simple;

and we aren't the only ones enthralled by his skill.
A gentleman walking by stopped to watch, too.

He deftly checks the blade.
Then accepts his payment with a nod,
asking only about 75 cents for 3 sharp blades.

He turns on his way down the road,
whetstone slung over his shoulder
calling out loud and clear...

'sharp as new! sharp blades for old;
sharp knives today!'

If the iron is blunt,
and one does not sharpen the edge,
he must use more strength,
but wisdom helps one to succeed.

Ecclesiastes 10:10

Friday, February 25, 2011

unique window

Our decision to homeschool this year was not made lightly; it came with much prayer, thought, and discussion. Like all parents making choices about their children's education, we want to be intentional and in obedience to the leading of the Lord.

We live close to a really great international school, with a committed staff of Christian teachers. We know that the school experience would offer opportunities that homeschooling doesn't, and that there are benefits to both methods of education. We are SO grateful to be in a community where we are given grace to homeschool, and also to participate part-time in school activities. This has been such a fabulous balance for us.

One benefit to homeschooling that we didn't take into consideration was the opportunity to become a part of the Davao Homeschool group that has formed just this year.

It's a group of families who have chosen for various reasons to educate their children at home. These families are pioneers, since homeschooling is very uncommon in the Philippines.

We gathered today for a time of fellowship and fun; to encourage and pray for one another in this task of teaching our children.

Kids and dads played soccer and basketball, munched on snacks, and had arm-wrestling contests...

...while moms shared stories, encouragement, ideas, prayer and laughter.

We are thankful for this sweet community, and for the unique window it's given us to get to know other Filipino families better; to share in common our similar goals, struggles, and joys!

In the process of coming to a unanimous agreement to homeschool this year, our family wrote out a manifesto of sorts - our reasons for homeschooling. (If you would like a copy, just email me - we'd be happy to share!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

go knights!

Last Saturday the girls' soccer team entered a local tournament.

It was held at the University of the Philippines, Mindanao

Elise, #1, gets some pointers from Coach Micah before the game

In order to accommodate more teams,
the soccer field was split in half, and they played
four teams at a time; smaller fields, shorter games.

Eight teams entered the tournament,
some high school teams,
some college teams.

The seating area for the teams and spectators
was a hillside off to the side of the fields.
There were a handful of chairs, too.

Amy rests with her team mates during a break.

Beyond the hill were houses and sari-sari stores.

A few spectators got smart and brought their hammocks!

Preparations for the games included things like
duct-taping broken cleats together

and gathering for a few last minute instructions
and prayer.

Elise played the goalie position for the first time.
Go Elise!

Amy played offense.

It was a long, hot day, under the glaring sun.

Evidently not everyone was as warm as I was.
This boy (above) wasn't the only one
wearing a stocking cap.

These men watched while taking a break
from building a road in front of the university.

And these cute girls spent more time playing than watching!

Amy warms up with the others on the dirt road
at the top of the hill.

It was a fun experience to play multiple teams at another facility,
and to see how a Filipino-style tournament
is run.

It began at 8:30 with a pep-talk by an older woman who sponsored the event,
and it ended with a variety of awards
(including an award for the girl who showed the most grace and poise on and off the field!)
and a get-to-know-you party at the end.

Thanks to our great coaches,
and to U.P., a great host!

Monday, February 21, 2011

red eyes and spiky hair

This little guy crawled across our path the other day.

We were wary about touching him,
having heard enough stories about poisonous caterpillars
to make us avoid any unknown varieties.

And this one, with his 4 tufts of brown fuzz on the back,
red eyes, and spiky hair, is not your average garden variety.

After doing some google-research, the most similar caterpillar we found
is the Olene Mendosa, or the
Brown Tussock Moth
found in India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Australia.

And, apparently, the Philippines!

No mention of poison, either.
So next time we'll have to capture him
and feed him his favorite foods:
avocados, orchids, and macadamia nuts.

Friday, February 18, 2011

hidden from sight

I stand beside her on a Sunday morning, touch her shoulder and whisper, “Good morning, Kelly,” wanting her to know by my voice who is near. To her blind eyes I am only another shade of darkness.

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”*

As the bread is passed from person to person, this emblem of His body broken, bruised for us, I hold the plate and reach out to take Kelly’s hand. I guide it to the bread, to a section easy for her to break off in this holy act of sharing supper at His table.

Her fingers close around the bread that her eyes cannot see.

I remember how His hand lovingly stretched out to me in my darkness, guiding me to Himself – to His body broken, wounded for me.

“Thou didst reach forth Thy hand and mine enfold;

I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea –

‘twas not so much that I on Thee took hold,

as Thou, dear Lord, on me.”**

In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”*

The wine is passed, and I take a cup, placing it carefully in Kelly’s waiting hand; a token of His precious flow of blood.

I wonder at Kelly’s trust to drink from a cup poured out with contents hidden from her sight; her faith to take a place at this table with others who are masked in shadow.

Then I recognize in Kelly’s blindness my own inability to really fathom the contents of the mystery of the cup I cradle in my own hands. My mind reels with how little I comprehend of the staggering cost of His life blood, spilled to give me a place at this table in communion with a Savior who is hidden from my sight.

Though you have not seen him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. 1 Peter 1:8

As Kelly needs me to guide her hands, so desperately I need You, my Lord and Savior.

What a privilege to be here at Your table; weak, helpless, but knowing that in Your sacrifice, in Your goodness and grace, You are all I need.

* from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

**from the hymn, I Sought the Lord by George Chadwick, 1893

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

around town

The other day we were out and about to run some errands.
Along the way I took some photos of a few things that grabbed my eye...

egg delivery trike
we've seen guys on bicycles delivering eggs -
with cartons like these perched precariously in front of them -
all the way up to their chin

this man is collecting recyclables.
can you see how his bag is hanging from his head?

in front of the junk shop;
a truckload of recycled cardboard

more junk shops;
repaired fans,
and all sorts of other things for sale

shouldering a load of goods home from the market

one more junk shop - wheels and tires

using a hose and a ramrod
to clean out the cement truck at a construction site
while the rest of the crew stands waiting

another siesta at the side of the road

one of those well-laden motorcycles

resting on the end of a jeepney
distrustful of this strange American taking a picture

Here even a walk up the street is filled with unusual sights.
I only wish I were better at capturing more of it on this camera.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

sweet love

By this we know love,
that He laid down His life for us,
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
1 John 3:16

Happy Valentine's Day
to each and every one of you.
What a perfect opportunity to remind those you love
of how much you love them!

There was a flurry of activity at our house this weekend,

a creative flurry
of paper and scissors and ribbons and hole punches and pens,

all to remind each other

of the love in this family.

And each one of these works of heart
are reminders of God's unfathomable love for us.

Not only in the sweetness of family love,
but in His gifts that make it all possible.
Life and health,
this day,
these resources,
time and energy...
we give thanks.

May we all be faithful emissaries in taking His love
beyond our four walls
to those outside who yearn for such a sweet gift,
such a sweet love...

"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

Jeremiah 31:3

cupcakes and valentines in Visayan
to share with our friends who come to the gate

And finally, our valentine for you,
with love, and with thanks to God for the gift of you
in our lives!

a Scherenschnitte cutting by Amy