Monday, July 30, 2012

Torch passing

The Olympic Opening Ceremony provided some great moments ...

the Queen and James Bond, (love that gutsy Elisabeth II) 

Mr. Bean and Chariots of Fire, (reminded me of the Sesame Street version of Chariots of Fire when the girls were little)

the young kids jumping on the lit up beds, (Peter Pan)  

and getting tucked in by a host of Mary Poppins figures. (I saw the movie Mary Poppins in Viet Nam when some GI's invited our family over.)  

But my favorite moment of all came near the end ... so I was so glad I had stayed up late.

seven young British athletes

I loved the symbolism of seven young British athletes receiving the torch, stopping to thank and hug their mentors, lighting each others' torch and then together lighting the iconic cauldron ... the classic symbol that the Olympics has begun.

This bit of the opening show reminded me of two characteristics that I highly value:

          1. honoring those that go before us. Those young athletes stopping to greet and hug the British medal winners that have gone before them made me very happy.

          2. passing on what the older folk knows to the younger generation. Each of the seven young athletes had a mentor that chose them. The mentors were former medal winners.

Hmm ... I think I have read these great principles before:

Romans 13:7 - "Give honor to whom honor is due."

II Timothy 2:2 - "And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men (and women) who will be able to teach others also."

lighting the 206 pedals of the cauldron
Do not even get me started on the symbolism of the synergy of these 206 pedals coming together to make the ... Olympic Cauldron. 

*Who are you honoring?

*Who are you investing in intentionally?

image onetwo

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What I do when I am a bit stressed

We all know that life gets stressful ... for all of us. I have had a lot on my mind lately. One thing I do when I am a wee bit stressed out ... is to putter. I love puttering and it always makes me feel better. 

This morning I was puttering by cleaning out the basket I keep on the kitchen table. It often becomes a catch-all for my bits and bobs. Lots of notebooks, magazine clippings, a present I need to mail etc. 

As I was looking at a cute lime green notebook, hoping to be able to toss it, I found lots of quotes that I had copied. They were really good. 

 Glenda's notebook quotes:

*To fully understand grace, I must fully understand that I bring nothing to the table.

*Make your home as comfortable and attractive as possible and then get on with living. There is more 
to life then decorating. (Albert Hadley) 

*The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain 
in our uncertainty. (Oswald Chambers) 

*Let's be patient and trust the treasure
we look for is hidden in the ground on
which we stand. (Henri Nouwen)

*Watch your words, for they may
become actions. (Thomas Krausse)

What do you do when you are stressed?  


Monday, July 23, 2012

Two Cups of Coffee

Just like you ... my life can get a little overwhelming.

Saturday morning I woke up:

          *with a lot on my mind (family, life, ministry stuff)  
          *with a lot on my plate (ministry picnic, dinner guest -
                all fun ... just busy) 

          *a deep sense of tiredness

We left the house early to meet our friends Gordon and Rita, who had driven in the night before. Rita is a good friend from our years in Minneapolis and now we are ministry partners with WorldVenture.

All we had was 90 minutes and two cups of coffee

As we slowly sipped our coffee, we talked fast. We covered all our favorite topics ... our lovely daughters, our sweet husbands, our highs and lows, stage of life stuff and Jesus.

Just 90 minutes with a dear friend and two cups of coffee ... and we both walked out encouraged and energized for a busy fun day.

So ... get our your french press, your tea pot, your seltzer water ... and invite a friend over.

We need each other.


I would love to share a cup of coffee with all the sweet Soli Sisters. 

I am linking today to my coffee loving friend Paloma.

The Coffee Shop              

Monday, July 16, 2012

Home is where the heart is

Dad and Dorothy in their new apartment
How did that ten day trip go so quickly? I just returned from Spokane where I was helping my dad and his wife, Dorothy, move and have a huge sale.

Dad and mom built a beautiful home 12 years ago when they returned from overseas ministry. (I have to tell you that story some time ... it is a beautiful one of the Body of Christ acting with honor.) 

Just a few weeks ago, Dad decided he was done with caring for a big home, a huge beautiful yard and garden and shoveling lots of snow. 

He and Dorothy put their home on the market and it sold in three days. And now they are mostly settled in their new lovely place.

While I was home in Spokane, a lot of people asked me, "Are you sad the house your dad and mom built is being sold?

That was easy for me ... "No, home is were the heart is."

So, my heart is ...

           with Dad and Dorothy in their new place
           with Jenny in her apartment
           with Christy in England
           with my brothers and sisters in Spokane
           (it was so fun to be with you)
           with Dave here (or wherever he travels)

My heart is so blessed to have a wonderful family ... wherever they live.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to win friends and influence people ... blogging style

Blogging for me is about two things:

1. making friends. (non.bloggers find this amazing, but yes, blogging leads to real, genuine, fun, caring friendships)

2. having influence. I write my stories and lessons for my daughters and any other women who want to learn from my almost 60 years on terra firma. (guys welcome, too)

Today, I want to show you one easy way to expand both your blogging relationships and your influence. It is easy ... but I still needed help from my sweet friend, Suzanne, at the gorgeous blog Privet and Holly.

When I was a new blogger, she wrote me and asked me if I would enable my e.mail setting on blogger, so that it would be easy to keep in touch. When I wrote her back that I did not know how to do that ... she took the time to send me specific instructions. 

I have exchanged e.mails with Suzanne and now many other blogging friends. This easy change has strengthened friendships.

Suzanne is here to help you make this change, too. I followed her directions and it worked. But if I told you ... not so much. Pop over and visit Suzanne and her easy directions. Thanks, Suzanne. 


7/29 Tonight as I am watching Olympic swimming, my blogging friend, Ann, is hosting a Gold Medal blogging tips event. I am happy to share this post with you.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Top ten things I ALWAYS take on a mission trip

I have a little philosophy that has worked well for me in life, in marriage, in parenting and when traveling on a short term mission trip.

My philosophy is this ...control what you can because there is so much that you have no control over. (a shorter way to say this is ... be intentional)

When I am on a mission trip, I cannot control

          *the weather

          *my teammates

          *my team leader (even when it is my husband) 

          *if I get sick

          *if we are too busy

          *if I get asked to do things I do not enjoy

So, to help me to have a good attitude about all of the above (and many other things I cannot control), I ask God to give me extra strength AND I bring along a few things from home that are just for me. (remember ... control what you can control)

Ten things I take on a mission trip:

1. Comfortable well broken in walking shoes. Almost every mission trip I have been on has required lots of walking. (which I love) But the wrong shoes can make you miserable.

2. A few favorite snacks from home. For me this is protein bars, cashews and black licorice. You never know when you will be stuck somewhere and be really hungry.

 3. A few small gifts that you can give friends that you meet along the way. (the pastor's wife that is hosting you, the sweet old lady that offers to do your laundry, the kids that pull on your heart strings, folks that invite you into your home for dinner)

 4. A small photo album of your family, home, pets and hometown. It is a great conversation starter as people are always interested in your life.

 5. A small ziplock of laundry bits and pieces ... a tiny piece of fels-naptha to remove stains, a small bottle of liquid soap for hand laundry and wet wipes for quick spot removal while you are out and about.

6. A small ziplock of vanilla tea lights and matches. 
(to help your temporary home smell better, provide ambiance and I have even read by candlelight, when the rest of my team was sleeping)

 7. Clorox wipes come in handy if you end up staying somewhere less clean than you like.

 8. A small ziplock with office bits and pieces ... colored index cards and post-it notes, (to make lists, and write notes of encouragement to your team) a favorite pen, a child-sized fiskar scissors and tape.

9. A small ziplock of medicine. Our family is rather low maintenance in the medicine department, but I always bring advil, imodium, (for tummy troubles) my normal vitamins, emergen-c and a few bandaids.

10. And my favorite, I have saved for last. A few favorite pillow cases. (soft cotton and pretty prints that cheer me)
These come in handy if my bed is not as clean as I like, if I get the flu and would like a clean pillow case,you get the idea. (trust me on this one ... they hardly take up any room and you will be thrilled if you need it)

And for free, I am going to throw this one in ... a small sewing kit with safety pins ... you never know when you will find this handy.

One summer we were on our way home (exhausted) and got stuck in a long customs line where they were searching everyone's luggage. A young customs agent said to me, (really, I am not making this up) "if you have a safety pin that I can have, I will let your family through without opening your bags." 

I quickly popped into my sewing kit for a safety pin, she pinned her pants where she had just lost a button and off we went, one step closer to home. 

My friend, Cathie and I on a mission trip to Moldova.

image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Friday, July 6, 2012


You will remember my sweet young friend, Laura.
I introduced her to you before. Well now her wee boy is a bit older and she is pregnant with their second child. And her Marine husband is away for six months.

Yesterday, I got a Happy Independence Day card from Laura, with a new picture of her son. (oh my!) Before I show you, here is the Rudyard Kipling quote Laura included: 

"All we have of freedom,
all we use or know -
This our fathers bought for us,
long and long ago."

Isn't he a patriotic cutie?

I asked Laura if she would share TOP TEN WAYS YOU CAN HELP A MILITARY WIFE WHILE THEIR HUSBAND IS SERVING AWAY FROM HOME. Laura sent this back to me in about ten minutes ... so I think it came straight from her heart. 

1. Pray. Pray often. Pray hard. Pray specifically. Ask the military wife in your life, how you can pray for her. Let that person know that you have been praying for her and her family. These are some of the most encouraging words I hear.

2. Invite her to your events. Even if she has to say "no" to that dinner or party, feeling included is so important. 

3. Be practical. Whenever my husband has left with the military, that is when things go wrong. This is when our car breaks down, our insurance has issues, or I get a cold. 

One practical thing you can do is to offer to drive her around - even if it is just on your own personal errands. Maybe a trip to Target with a friend is all she really needs. Or drive her to a doctor's appointment (especially helpful if she is pregnant or has young kiddos.)

4. Meet her near her home. Sometimes driving to meet you in your neighborhood is more daunting than you might think. So meet at a Starbucks down the street from her home, rather than somewhere across town.

5. Help with exhaustion. Chances are, if the military wife in your life is like me, she is just plain tired. Her kids that sleep through the night are waking up since their Daddy left. She is adjusting to sleeping in a bed by herself. 

Bring her a pizza, so she does not have to cook. Take her kids to a park so she can get a short nap. 

6. Listen. Sometimes all she needs is an open and sympathetic ear. Whether or not you can offer advice is not really important. But listening really helps.

7. Rather than reminding her how hard her situation is, remind her of how strong her God is.

A military wife does not need a reminder that her husband is in danger, or how hard it is to be by herself. Trust me, she knows. Please do not say, "I don't know how you do it." She doesn't know how she does it. She just does what she has to do. 

8. Ask her if she has any specific worries or needs that you can help with. Losing the security of having your husband around can cause all sorts of fears. Offer to install deadbolts on her doors. 

9. Treat her. I know that as a military wife, it is easy to get so wrapped up in just managing day-to-day life. So, treat a military wife to something fun and extravagant. It does not have to be expensive. A copy of your favorite magazine, a gift card to Barnes and Noble, a new pretty mug. It is nice to be remembered.

10. Act on the tugging of your heart. Do not assume that someone else is taking care of it. If the Holy Spirit is prompting you to help a military wife, it is probably because that military wife needs it desperately ... and you are just the person for the job.

I want to share that my husband is currently on the other side of the country, not the world. He is not in a combat zone, so I can talk to him often. This is not the case for many of the military husbands and wives around our country. They desperately need your support, love and prayers. It is much harder to be the one left behind and the feelings of isolation can be overwhelming. 

YOU can make a difference in the lives of service members and their families and it will be deeply cherished.

Thanks so much, Laura, for sharing these practical ideas with us. I want to encourage you to find one military family and do just one or two of these things. It will be a great starting point. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freedom ... is not free.

Sunday afternoon, Dave and I went to an Independence Day concert at The Moody Church. I am still a bit of an old school music girl that truly loves the full choir, orchestra, piano and pipe organ. So my soul was very happy. (Thanks for inviting us, Daniel.)

They did a medley of the theme songs from each branch of the military. During each gorgeous piece of music, anyone who served in that branch, past or present, stood. There were a lot of tears and a lot of loud cheering. 

My mind had already been thinking of the sacrifices made for our freedom ... both from those who serve and from their families that stay home. 

I have been thinking of some of my friends:

          *my blogging friend, K, whose husband is
            in a dangerous place overseas

         *my sweet friend, Laura, who moved back 
           with her parents, while her Marine husband
           is away for six months. Laura has a young son
           and is pregnant

          *my lovely blogging friend, Julie, whose
            younger son just joined the army, making
            her the mom of two soldiers

          *and our good friend, Nate, who had recently
            visited us and told us stories of the many 
            times he almost lost his life as a Marine and
            the time he was shot in his legs

These are so many more and each deserve our love, respect and prayers.

Come back Friday to learn from my friend, Laura, TOP TEN WAYS YOU CAN HELP A MILITARY WIFE WHILE THEIR HUSBAND IS SERVING AWAY FROM HOME. Her list is very heart felt and practical.

Do you have family or friends that are currently serving our country in the military?


Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Forgotten Member on Your Short Term Mission Trip (part two)

Several of my friends left this week on mission trips. It is a good time to return to our topic of the forgotten members on your team ... ie. the ones that stay at home.

As I mentioned in part one, I have gone on my share of mission trips and I have stayed home, too. Staying home is harder. And a smart "goer" will honor their family members that send them ... as they are an important part of the team.

Annual Paris party ... making some fun for our kids on a mission trip.

Things you can do during the trip:

1. Stay in contact as much as possible during the trip. During the early days of Royal Servants, (I stayed home the first three summers) we actually wrote letters (remember those) and enjoyed a few very expensive phone calls.

Now with the internet and skype, it is so easy. I know immediately that Dave has arrived safely, as well as what fun thing he just had for lunch.

I love having all the details of Dave and his team ... so I can pray well. (And I feel very loved when Dave is on another continent and hunts down an internet cafe.) 

2. When you are sharing with your loved ones at home the great things that God is doing on your trip, remind them that they are a part of it. They, too, are "laying up treasure in heaven."

3. When you are the one that stays home, ask for help when you need it. Let your family and your church family know how they can help you.

Did we really drag our wee kids around Europe? Yup, we did.

Things you can do after the trip:

1. Always, always, always bring home presents ... for everyone that stayed home. Good presents.

2. At the first possible moment after Dave's return from a trip, we spend several hours together catching up ... my stories, his stories. Lots of stories.

3. One thing I did for Dave was to prepare our girls for his  jet lag and sometimes emotional and spiritual exhaustion.

We had an often quoted saying in our ministry, "Dad is coming home on Monday, but he won't really be home until Friday." After lots of hugs, kisses and presents, I kept the girls happy and busy while Dave rested up.

Then I was due for a nice long break, too and the girls got plenty of time with Dave.

LI pray this is a great summer of ministry for mission trips around the world ... for those that go and for those that stay home. 

(Photos are from some of our early mission trips.)

Linking with Jen and the lovely Soli Sisters.  

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