Sunday, July 28, 2013

when sinners say 'i do'

This weekend we participated in a marriage retreat through our local church.
The emphasis was on demonstrating mercy to one another in marriage, 
as God has so lavishly demonstrated mercy to each one of us.

What a great reminder to model our relationship after the marriage of
Christ and His bride, the Church;
a model that transcends any earthly cultural model for marriage.

 These two beautiful single ladies, Lil and Annie, 
lovingly served, prepared food, and decorated for a very special closing dinner,

where we celebrated God's good gift of marriage.

A very dear couple, Allan and Nora
 The retreat ended with a renewal of vows to one another,
and though it was a little different than an American marriage retreat,
with a puppy running under the tables,
and all of the couple's children in attendance, too,
it was very sweet; an event we'll never forget.

There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship,
communion or company than a good marriage.
-Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

summer means...#2

Summer means having the time to learn new things...

like Statistics through an online Udacity course,

with lots of data and laughing over the German Professor's accent!

Time to learn through good books as you 'read in' 
(as opposed to sleeping in!)

 Time to learn how to rescue friends' flood-water soaked photos...

 ...and new recipes to share with family and friends.

Time to learn some aeronautical engineering 
with early-morning R/C flights together,

and technical repairs to damaged air craft.

Time to learn some new photography techniques,

photo by Elise
and to self-teach new skills like oil painting.

To everything there is a season
and a time for every purpose under Heaven...
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

o for a thousand tongues

O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of His grace! *

Even as a little girl I loved this old hymn.
But I always thought the imagery odd,
envisioning myself with a thousand tongues.
I mean, that's just plain strange.

The author, Charles Wesley, began his education early at his mother's knee.
English was his first language, but his mother knew and taught Charles in
Greek, Latin and French.

Charles later graduated from Oxford with
a Masters in Classical languages and literature.

I now realize that such a man, as he wrote that hymn,
was not envisioning himself with a thousand tongues.
(Am I the only one who ever interpreted it that way?)

He was imagining a chorus of praise
in one thousand languages
from all around the earth and throughout history
all singing together the glories of our God and King!

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine it with me...
one thousand languages from all time and all places,
lifted in unison to sing of the triumphs of His grace.

No wonder Wesley wrote a hymn about it.

My gracious Master, and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of Thy name. *

So that every tongue, every tribe
can join us when we lift our voices on that great day...

*Taken from the hymn, 'O For a Thousand Tongues' by Charles Wesley

**Note:  There are now almost 7,000 known languages in our world.  Maybe the hymn should read, 'O for 7000 tongues to sing...'

Friday, July 12, 2013

summer means...#1

...time with friends to talk... games...

“There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship
 than a mutual taste in literature.”
P.G. Wodehouse

...and just hang out!

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous 
that you realize just how much you love them. ”  
Agatha Christie

“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet.
Even longer,' Pooh answered.”
A.A. Milne

Monday, July 8, 2013

Raisa's salsa

 What do you do when your family loves salsa,
but the cheapest jar of salsa you can buy locally is over $4?

Well, we did buy it, and we used it sparingly.
Until Raisa told me that she knows how to make it.  
(Why did I never think of making it?)
Raisa is an enthusiastic young Filipina woman who is a Foodie at heart,
eager to try new recipes, and to learn everything she can.
When we returned to Davao in January, she was looking for some extra work,
and was willing to come as our helper for a few hours each Monday morning.

Raisa starts out her work week by preparing bread or tortillas or muffins for us,
a huge blessing when we bake almost all of our own breads
in a perpetually hot, sweaty kitchen.

Besides, Raisa is just plain fun to have around.
And Raisa knows how to whip up salsa with a kick.

So instead of our paying $4 for a jar of salsa,
Raisa now provides us with a batch of 5 jars for just over $2.
And it's delicious.

Raisa's Salsa 
(recipe adapted from Judy C's.!)

3 yellow onions, diced
1 1/2 c. green or red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 T chopped chili peppers w/seeds (add more for hot, less for mild)
6 cups chopped tomatoes
4 tsp brown sugar
2/3 c apple cider vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1/2 c tomato paste
2 tsp cumin

·         Put all of the above into a big pot and cook it all for 20 minutes on low heat

·         When cooked, blend it all together in a blender (or a food processor if you have one!) for a few seconds, depending on how chunky you like your salsa

·        Pour into jars and allow to cool before covering

·        This freezes well, if you can stop eating it while you still have enough left to freeze!
Thanks, Raisa, for all you do!

Saturday, July 6, 2013


the coast of Cebu, Philippines

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

all fear is gone

Today I sat in the chair as my new dentist cleaned my teeth.
Yes, in these parts the dentist does that job.

As I sat, I realized how tense I had become; 
my fists were clenched, and even my toes felt taut.
It was then that my dentist began to sing out
 her voice muffled just a bit behind her mask:
"Because He lives,
I can face tomorrow,
because He lives,
all fear is gone..."

As she continued to sing,
I smiled somewhere between the suction tube and the clamps stretching my mouth wide,
that God had inspired my Filipina dentist to remind me
right there in the chair, to relax and trust Him.

Have you ever been surprised by the tools God has used to remind you to trust?