Friday, April 30, 2010

Snapshots from Senegal

We're Back!

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It was so good to see some of you over at POSTCARDS FROM SENEGAL. Thanks for joining us on our incredible journey!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Sweet 16, Princess

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday dear Playmaker.

Happy Birthday to YOU!!

We celebrated on Sunday with


( giant 6' foot sub)




& fun

which included badmitton & board/indoor games - but who knew
a water balloon launcher would generate SO MUCH fun :)

And even ....

a little dancing :)

before all was said

and done.

She'll actually turn 16 while we're in Africa so stay tuned for more along this line.

Thanks for the photos Doc! When you're around it's like having our own personal photographer :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Postcards from Senegal

While we're in Senegal we'll be staying in Dakar. Dakar is on the most western tip of Africa. Technology being as it is you can follow us virtually everywhere we go via Postcards from Senegal. The first time you checkin over there, you might want to scroll down to the the first post & work your way up in order to get a better feel for where we'll be. We leave Thursday. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Deep Impact

My husband thinks my last post comes across as being rather defensive. He's right. I know he is. Perhaps it has something to with the fact that while I've been focused on my girls' commitment to sexual purity, I'm reading a trashy novel --- literally(!) it is a novel about A LOT of trash! "No Impact Man" and I seem to have big differences about why we believe what we believe in so far as the environment is concerned. But even so, we've come to many of the same conclusions concerning where our "disposable society" is heading - and trust me - you don't want to go there.

I digested the staggering statistic that 80% of products were made to be used only once & then considered that sex appeal is used to market so much of that trash - and then followed that train of thought where it led - and, well.... you don't want to go there either.

Anyhow, I just tho't to share one conclusion that No Impact Man & I have both come to. He says it well after realizing & pointing out that at any given time, we all want something & when we get it, we just want something else. This perpetual cycle prompted him to ask...
"If we want to demonstrate our membership in the human race, if we want to fit in, where on earth did the idea come from that we have to do it by having or aspiring to have exactly what everyone else has .....?"
& to conclude that ...
"We'll do, or can be tricked into doing, almost anything for the promise of love."

And that's it...that's basically what prompted my previous post. Sorry if I sounded harsh - or rude - or offended anyone. It was purely out of concern about our "get whatever you want when you want it by using sex appeal to buy and sell almost all of it and throw it away when you're done" culture and the impact it might have on my girls who stand in stark contrast to it based on their commitment to remain sexually pure.

I guess No Impact Man and all his "trash talk" is having a rather deep impact on me ....& I haven't even finished his book yet!

Perhaps I should take a break and heed Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Why love is patient...

Not sure why I feel compelled to write this addendum to my previous post. I just do. I think perhaps it's because I can almost hear the thoughts of some who don't see the point, to the effect that we are setting our girls up for failure by encouraging them here.

No doubt the commitment both of our girls have made (Playmaker - 3yrs ago, Strike - just recently - see previous post) - each to remain pure for their future husband - is HUGE and at times, is likely to be extremely difficult to keep. They stand in stark contrast to a culture in which, according No Impact Man, ...

a staggering 80% of trash today is stuff that was made to be used only once. be more accurate, I should have said 80% of products are made to be used only once.
- And I'd go so far as to assert that sexual undertones are used to market almost all of it.

If you ask me, THAT is a set up for failure. Is it any wonder then that this perverted/disposable mindset has polluted virtually every aspect of life, even to the point that many young ladies believe the lie that they themselves are of little worth- and many, if not most, who commit to sexual purity give up long before they intend to? Following this train of thought where it leads, it breaks my heart to even try to imagine how they must feel afterward given what our society does with the aforementioned 80% of used merchandise.

Our girls' intent reflects a sense of self-worth (value!) that they find in their relationship with God -- something they just will not find in a world where most everything as God intended it to be for our good, has been polluted almost beyond recognition. Tho' He won't force them to obey His precepts, they choose to because they understand the protective boundary His precepts provide from harm ... disease, unwanted pregnancy & emotional turmoil, just to name a few. Inherent in their choice to submit to Him here is evidence of the trust they have in Him & the love they have for Him, which all stems from having some idea of how much they are loved by Him according to His perfect definition of what love is:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13: 4- 8

Over the past few years Playmaker's purity ring has generated conversations with both girls & boys. Some are surprised that she'd openly admit her intent and they seem a bit perplexed. Not that it matters, but much more often than not her peers admire her for it, tho' some seem almost envious because she cherishes something that they've long since given (thrown?) away.

It's been said that "You only have one 'first'." There's truth in that. The big difference our girls aspire to, is to have only one, till death does them part. If this were something we forced or bribed them to commit to then I might tend to agree with those who think we're setting them up for failure. But as long as their commitment reflects the desires of their hearts, I trust the keys to their success will be kept safely hidden within the choices they make accordingly. Only time will tell if indeed they are successful. In the meantime, most definitely and by all means, we will encourage them toward that end.

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Love is patient....

Love is patient,...

love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13: 4- 8


Strike and I searched high and low for this ring. Somehow she just knew what she was looking for even tho' she'd never seen it. Eventually, she thought she may have found it - tho' she wasn't certain - so ... we waited. It was hard to walk away from that one but it wasn't long before we happened upon this one and she just knew without a doubt(!) that this was it - this was the one ... the ring she knew she wanted to wear day in and day out to serve as a symbol of her commitment to keep herself pure for her future husband. We purchased it on the spot - even knowing full well that she'd still have to wait (a month or more!) to wear it because it had to be sized. Ironically, after waiting all that time, this ring she chose from all that she had considered somehow seemed even more beautiful than she remembered it.

While considering "all of this", it occurred to me that in many ways, the search for this ring is likely to parallel the search for the one whom it symbolizes Strike's commitment to wait for. In one sense she knows who she's looking for. Surely, among other things, he will be kind, humble, generous, forgiving and faithful. Most likely she hasn't met him yet, tho' I suppose it is possible that she has. All I know is that I can't help but wonder, who IS this guy? Where does he live? What does he look like? And how will Strike know for sure that he is "the one"? I pray that he will be patient too - and worthy of what she is saving for him - because in much the same way this jewel beautifully reflects the light, Strike's commitment to remain pure for her future husband clearly reflects the desires of her heart.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD and He
will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37: 4

Monday, April 5, 2010

Let's go fly a kite

Weatherwise, this was the most beautiful Easter I ever remember in New England.
Spokes went for a long bikeride
& the rest of us went to church & then made a beeline for the beach!

Strike & Daddy

This ....

& this...

were our focal points much of the time.
We named this fellow Einstein :)

Look Mom! No Hands!

Playmaker has kiteflying down to a most efficient method.



Me and my shadows :)

When the day was done, I had enjoyed two of my favorite things;
making memories ....
& a friend :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Lamb Story

Bunny over at Henley the Great Dane Says Boof posted this recently. So timely & meaningFULL.

The Lamb Story

(by The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson)
(ENCOMPASS, March 2005, P.2-3. News from the AMERICAN ANGLICAN COUNCIL MISSION and MINISTRY NETWORK By the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, AAC President and CEO)

Most of us have trouble remembering what we were doing on a particular day even months ago, but now 34 years later, a particular Sunday afternoon in March 1972 still stands out in my memory. March of that year found me completing my first year as rector of St. Mary's Church in Malta, Montana. ...

A parish member, Harold, was always looking for ways to build a better understanding of the country and people into this new young priest. On a particular Sunday in March, he wanted to drive me to a sheep ranch south of Malta to show me what a ranch looked like during lambing season.

We drove the 30 some miles under a stormy March sky and arrived at a large ranch where a Basque family cared for sheep in the tens of thousands. Harold had called ahead, told the family that he was bringing his priest down, and asked them to show us their lambing operation. As we got out of Harold's pickup, someone in an old, warm-looking coat came over to greet and welcome us.

Spread out over several acres were four or five steel ware-house buildings; each seemed to hold several thousand sheep. Our guide explained that the sheep outside were watched closely during the lambing time, and when the ewes were about ready to birth their lambs, they were brought into the shelter of one of these large sheds

As we walked toward the door of one of the buildings, I saw something that I was not prepared to see, and for which I had no frame of reference to deal with. City raised, I had heard, and now I could see that ranch life was hard. I could tell that economy and bottom-line financial viability preceded sentiment when it came to livestock. As we came to the door, we passed by a large heap of dead lambs, at least 50, perhaps a hundred. And all were missing their fleece! The pile of small lambs was 10 or 12 feet across and four feet high, and their poor little blood-stained bodies were already hard in the chill Montana March air.

Of course lambs die; I knew that! Sheep seem to die too easily, more easily than other livestock. It would be expected that some would die in birth or from disease, all cooped up as they were in large numbers in these sheds. But was bottom-line profit so important that they needed to skin the poor little things to make an extra dollar on such a small fleece? My urban mind raced ahead, already passing judgment on such practice. I was upset, offended and feeling argumentative over this.

As we went into the relative warmth of the building I turned and asked, "What was that pile of dead lambs all about?" The guide kept talking as he walked us to a pen: "Lots of these ewes give birth to twins, and for some reason known only to God, they will reject one and keep the other. Nothing we can do will change their mind. If we were a small farm, we might bottle feed the rejected lambs, or one of the kids might take a 'bum' lamb as a 4H project and raise it. That won't work here, we've got hundreds of 'bum' lambs, and we can't afford to loose all of them, just because their mama doesn't want them."

Passing an enclosure with just such a ewe, one lamb beside her and another penned in a corner, we came next to a solitary ewe. "This one lost her lamb after it was born. It's one of those in that pile you asked about. Sometimes they just die. So we have a ewe without a lamb in one pen and a rejected lamb in the next, but a ewe will only nurse its own; it won't accept another ewe's lamb. That's why the dead lambs are missing their fleece," he said. "When one dies we take the fleece off, cut leg holes in the fleece, and put it on a rejected lamb. We take some of the blood from the dead lamb and rub it on the forehead of the abandoned lamb, and then take it to the ewe who lost her lamb."

"She smells the fleece and recognizes the fleece as her own," he continued. "She sees the blood on the lamb's head and licks it off, and she can taste the scent of her own body in the blood of her lamb. She cleans the new lamb and claims it as her own and lets it suckle. In a day or two, her milk passes through the body of the new lamb, giving it the scent and taste of the mother, and the adoption is complete."

I left the ranch overwhelmed by the experience of death and life and the sheer number of sheep being cared for. And even with the good of the adoptions, I felt sorrow for the abandoned lambs and all the death. It made my calling as shepherd of three small Montana congregations look so much more manageable, so much more enjoyable. It was some years later, during the Easter Season, that I saw our story in the lambs. It was an image of Christ as the knowledgeable shepherd, and Christ as the dying lamb, offering his fleece. And God the Father, as a mother sheep who looks at you and me, [by faith] wrapped in the fleece of Jesus Christ, and with the blood of the lamb covering the stain of our estrangement from God. When God the Father looks upon you and me, it is the wrapping of Jesus that He sees, (as St. Paul said, "put ye on Christ Jesus"), and the blood, the salty taste of the blood, is the same blood shed on Calvary. And God sees his own, and claims his own, and we become his own, by adoption and grace.

My note: If you've never read "Our Covenant God" by Kay Arthur, I highly recommend it - as it explains covenant concepts found in Scripture that this story illustrates beautifully.