Monday, September 13, 2010

An Exercise In Gratitude

The other day I was shaking something out & the corner of my eye caught something very disturbing.  It was the skin under my arms shaking back & forth.  If you're a woman you know what I'm talking about!  I guess it's time for me to start participating in my husband's exercise classes!

In some ways God made our bodies very complex, but in other ways they are very simple.  Muscles for instance- you want them stronger?  You use them.  You don't use them, they grow weak.  I think the same applies to our attitudes, we can practice being grateful and that part of our attitude becomes stronger.  I want to flex my grateful muscles right now, and maybe you can follow my lead and practice some gratitude too.  I'm going to pick some things I would not naturally be grateful for & flex!

I am thankful for the bugs- cockroaches, ants, millipedes- that attempt to invade our home.  It means we have a home, and I know there are many people nearby who do not.

I am thankful for pillows made out of lumps of foam.  It means I have a safe place to lay my head at night, while children who live on the streets sleep in drainage ditches.

I am thankful for a car that has been nicknamed "The Blue Beast".  It means we are able to get where we need to go (most of the time) when we want to go (most of the time).

I am thankful I am homeschooling Nate.  It means he doesn't have to hate "going" to school because of not being able to meet other's expectations.  (Now, him hating doing school at home is a whole 'nother thing...)

I am thankful for cooking from scratch with ingredients that are limited or different from what I'm used to.  It means we have food in our house, even if it is not always what we want, while many people are wondering today where their next meal will come from.

I am thankful for things that are different, or new, or unexpected, because it means we learn to "just let go" of our expectations.

I am thankful for hard times and struggles and prayers still unanswered, because it means I draw closer to Jesus to lean on his strength and I live by faith- not sight.

Thoughts I had the other day:  If we never needed to use our anchor, we would never know how strong and sure it is.  If we never encountered a storm we would never know the relief that comes from finding a safe harbor.  If we never found ourselves in situations that were beyond what we felt we could handle, we would never know how God can give us His strength. 

The gift found in the midst of hard times is being able to know your savior more.  We get to see that His promises are true: His peace, His joy, His strength, His grace, is freely given & does not depend on our outward circumstances.  Just like the anchor, it is unchanging in spite of storms all around.

I pray you are able to flex your gratitude muscles today & in so doing you are brought closer to being able to "consider it all joy" (James 1).


 And, yes, I am even thankful for the feral (wild) cats that live outside our house.  Because, after all, being awakened at 4 or 5 am by the cat's meowing just gives me more time to pray (while I try to fall back asleep), right?

This post is also linked up to Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Please pray for us to find a TV.  Really.  We came here knowing the house we were going to rent was furnished but did not have a TV, but I really felt like we could trust God to provide us with an opportunity to find an inexpensive TV.  We even brought our Wii game system, believing we would find a TV.  Nate loves the Wii, and right before we left he got two new games that he really enjoys.  So, ever since we got here he has been waiting to play his new games again.  He has been begging me to go get a TV.  However, new TV's for sale here are very expensive- Mike says you would have to spend $500.  That's out of the question!

For Nate, the honeymoon of being in Rwanda seems to be over.  He asks everyday why we're not going back to America, and when he prays he says "I like to go back to America".  I think having his Wii operational would actually make a big difference to him.

Nate's two week "trial" period at the school is over now & they have told us that they are just unable to meet his needs.  He requires too much supervision & attention (constant, basically).  I brought a few homeschool resources with us for teaching writing and reading, plus I put out a request to the ladies in the Bible study I attend and received several items from them.  It really is a difficult task to get him to focus on his studies & actually try.  Plus I think he's bored just being at home.  Please pray for me: I don't know how to homeschool him, but it's the only option he has right now.  The school has offered to let him come in, with me staying as his helper, for two mornings a week.  So, hopefully we will begin that soon.  Nate misses the friends he made during his two weeks there.

KaLia has joined the band program at school and will be playing the flute.  The band instructor had some instruments available for rental, so for now we are renting a flute for her.  KaLia's birthday is this Friday (12 years old) and she has invited some friends from school to join her at a local pool to celebrate.  Now I just have to find some baking chocolate so I can make her a cake!  Or maybe it will be a banana cake!
Friday is also the day we may be going to look at some rabbits (to raise).

In the last several months Mike has learned a lot about exercise and it is his intention to lead some exercises classes while we are here (he brought donated exercise bands with him for this purpose).  He has started one in our home, and so far we have one other missionary coming a few times a week.  I think soon he will open up another day time class & hope for more participation.  Sometimes Nate even participates, as you can see in this picture here...

Thank you for your prayers for us & we pray you are living in the fullness of all that God has for you!

P.S. please pray for our rental house back in the US to be back in the condition to be rented soon & for God to provide renters for it quickly (our last renters just moved out but did not leave the place as they found it - to say the least...)