Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Words For The Year- Sink & Fail

I have been seeing all these blogs of women sharing the "word" God gave them for this year. Abandon. Hope. Simple. Good words. Well, I wanted a God word. So I started praying for one. Didn't quite get what I expected.

I go through phases or seasons in my life when I start to question things. I start asking "why" questions. I start doubting. "Am I missing something? Is this really what God called me to?" When nothing that I do seems to matter & I get sucked up in what seems like a never ending race. A race to get ahead. Ahead of what's coming next. I want to be prepared. I want to know what's coming. I don't like surprises. I want to be on top of things. No laundry backed up, no school projects left undone. I strive & strive, but at the end of the day, as I climb into bed, I wonder what in the world I did that day.

I am exhausted by the thoughts of being & doing all I think I am "called" to. Being the attractive, gorgeous, appealing, & understanding wife my husband wants. Raising godly, well-educated, world-impacting kids. Feeding my family healthy, organic food. Winning souls for Christ & impacting the world for The Lord. Being a sensitive friend who keeps up with my 1,000 Facebook friends on an intimate & personal basis. Being an example of patience, goodness, & gratefulness in EVERY situation. Filling my mind with wholesome knowledge by hours of extensive reading & study. DOING GREAT THINGS FOR GOD'S KINGDOM! (These are a few of the people I like to imagine myself as.)        
Beth Moore
Elisabeth Elliott
I'm tired just after writing that. And it is kind of ridiculous when you write it all out. The things we expect of ourselves are utterly crazy, but we expect it and want it all the same. And you know? None of these things are bad or sinful. They are all godly & Biblical desires even. But are they what God has called me to or what I have called myself to?

As I have been struggling with these things the past few weeks, I've had a nice, wake-up-call, slap across the face. You know the feeling? You need it, but it doesn't necessarily feel good?

There is a verse I have on my bedroom wall, one we are all familiar with. 

"Be still & know that I am God." -Psalm 46:10 (NLT) or 
"Cease striving & know that I am God." (NASB)

The word used for "be still & cease striving" is the hebrew word- raphah. The original way it is read is a verb that means "sink." And the short definition means "fail." What? "Sink and fail and know that I am God." When I am in the water, the last thing I want to do is sink. I fight with everything in me not to. And fail? But isn't that what the list of my "called tos" above equals? But I don't like failing. Failing is bad right? Not when I am failing in my own unrealistic expectations & giving in, sinking into what God has for me. 

I'm going to have every good intention of getting up & curling my hair & looking cute for my husband, but after being up with a kid all night, with my puffy eyes & yoga pants, I know He is God because He loves me just the way I am (And my husband does too for that matter!) I'm going to try my very hardest & fail at being an awesome Mom & never losing patience & then I'll know He is God & my hardest isn't good enough. I'll train & teach & pour into my kids today only to have the same attitudes to deal with tomorrow & I know He is God because He's the only one who changes hearts. I will be kind & soft spoken most of the day, but will blow the whole thing when I'm just fed up with the person & I will know He is God because He works so wonderfully in spite of me. 

This has been a hard one to wrap my mind around & I am in no way saying that we as women shouldn't have expectations or dreams. But make sure they are God's, not yours.

So, be still, my friends. Cease Striving. Sink. Know that He is God.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Typhoon Haiyan Relief Video

We were so blessed to be a part of the relief efforts during Typhoon Haiyan. We are so thankful to all of you who made it possible for these people to receive food, shelter, & the love of Christ!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

After Typhoon Haiyan

Please visit our ministry website to read about all the ways God has provided to enable us & others to help in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan!

Five Loaves & Two Fish

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What It's Like- Food (Pagkain)

And the answers to last week's food pictures are-

Dinuguan is a Filipino savory stew of meat and/or offal simmered in a rich, spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili, and vinegar. The term dinuguan comes from the Filipino word dugo meaning "blood". Not one of my favorites...I've only got up the nerve to eat it once.

A tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. The name rambutan is derived from the Malay/Indonesian word rambutan, meaning "hairy." The fruit flesh is translucent, whitish or very pale pink, with a sweet, mildly acidic flavor very reminiscent of grapes. My kids especially love this fruit & will eat as much as I let them.

We quickly learned within the first few days of moving to the Philippines that the main staple is rice. Rice for breakfast, lunch, & dinner. Like many countries in Asia, the livelihood of the Philippines is on growing & eating rice. There are actually several words for rice in the Tagalog language, depending upon what state the rice is in (uncooked, cooked, still growing, etc.). 

Little Josh's favorite restaurant, "Mang Inasal," serves a ball of rice wrapped in banana leaves. This is when he was 4 years old. He has since learned that the only way to eat at "Mang Inasal" is with your hands. (The reason it's his favorite.)

Trying my hand at rice harvesting. (All done by hand.)

If you have money to buy more than rice, then you have "ulam" which is basically anything that goes with rice. Some of the most common are dried fish, a variety of vegetables, meat, or eggs.
We have several favorite "ulams." I will share a few links to recipes if you would like to try them!

One of my very favorite things about living in the Philippines is the abundance of fresh fruit! 
Mangoes, pineapples, papayas, rambutan, bananas...there are actually 5 different kinds of bananas!
We have 2 mango trees as well as a banana tree in our yard. My personal favorite is a tiny citrus fruit called calamansi. It is similar to a key lime/lemon. It makes amazing juice & shakes & is great for seasoning as well. 


Our meals vary greatly depending upon what ingredients are available. We have a young Filipino couple who lives with us, so we usually have one Filipino meal & one American meal a day. 

Living on an island also equals lots of seafood!!! One of our favorites is fried shrimp, complete with heads, skins. & tails that you peel off to eat, & the kids' favorite- clam soup. 

Fresh shrimp

King Crabs
One big fish!

And here are a few links to our favorite ulam!

Thanks for reading my "foody" article! 
Next week is on shopping & getting around!
Ever ride one of these?