Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thank You Paige

This is 4 year old Paige Bennethum saying good-bye to her daddy before he leaves for deployment to Iraq. I guess more accurately this is Paige Bennethum NOT saying goodbye to her daddy.

I have a four year old. She doesn't like daddy going to work in the morning. She REALLy doesn't like it if daddy goes away for the weekend. So I wanted to take the time to say "thank-you" to Paige, thank-you Paige's mommy. We DO understand your sacrifice, we understand what you are fighting for and you have our undying appreciation. You also have our daily prayers for your daddy's safety.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Kaity's first day of school

Yes you read that collection my sweet baby girl is starting school. *sighs*. Well Pre-K home-schooling.
But when you are the mother of said sweet, baby girl. That is starting school. She has been asking me about going to school since she was 2. Ever since then she has been counting the years, thats right counting the years until she was five and could go to school.
Needless to say she is a LOT more excited about this change in her life than I was! I actually had to put school off for about a week because her curriculum books had not arrived by the time that I had told her we would start, this did NOT go over well. We have been going for a week now and every day I have to come up with more work for her to do because there is no way that she is ready to be done by the time that we are done going through what the curriculum says we are supposed to cover for that day. Now granted the curriculum isn' t quite as ambitious as I was thinking it was going to be. IN the first SIX weeks of her math curriculum I am supposed to teach her how to count to 10 and how to write the number one. (woah). IN the second SIX weeks I am supposed to teach her how to count to 20 and how to write the number two. Now to be fair writing the number two is tricky for a four year old, but somehow I think we might be able to cover that in twelve weeks of trying since she already knows how to count to 29. After 29 she thinks it's 100. I'll deal with that week 13 of school.

As for me, I don't deal with change well. I can hear the gasps now coming from those who have known me for so long and are shocked to hear that. I don't deal with my kids growing up well, and well I am not a very organized, routine oriented person. I know some shocking revelations this morning but honesty is the best policy and I have heard that admitting you have a problem is the first step towards fixing said problem.
It has been fun. It is exciting to see the passion she has for learning, oh how I pray that I can help her keep that passion for learning. We have been learning Bible verses as part of her Bible curriculum. If you are a parent I can NOT stress enough how much I wish that I had started this with her earlier. Being able to memorize something and quote it back to me is something that I always assumed she would find frustrating and something that we would do 'later'. Well it is one of her favorite parts of school. It is so tangible for her, when she quotes back a verse to me from memory she knows that she has really learned something that she didn't know before. She can rattle it off to anyone that she happens to come across in her life and thereby show them that she has learned something. In doing so she has effectively taught her brother her memory verse. So now I know that I am at least two years later teaching her scripture memorization than I could have been.
Oh well, no looking back we move forward. So the next time you see one of my kids, ask them what Genesis 1:1 says. You won't be sorry. :-)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Have YOU forgotten?

"They say, time heals everything. But I'm still waiting.".

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where is my mission field?

This post could also be  titled "African Mission Trip Part II".   OR "somewhere in the middle" 

 Tim and I went to Africa to work with TIMO.  It's a mission that places teams with un-reached people groups on the continent of Africa.  We went because we were both feeling like God was possibly calling us to full time ministry and some doors opened for us to visit Africa.  Before we went we prayed that God would make His will clear to us before we came home, and we prayed that Tim and I would both be on the same page.  I couldn't imagine much harder than one of us flying home wondering how soon we could get back and the other flying home wondering how we could ever  face going back.  
  God answered our fingers are aching to write "sort of".   But that would be unfair and blatantly untrue.  God answered our prayers.  Flying home we both felt that God had made it clear to us that we were not being called to the ministry in Africa we thought we were being called to.  Both of us....same answer.   Isn't that what we prayed?  Then why is the answer so hard to accept?   Honestly because it's not the answer we expected or really wanted to hear.  We both went on the short term trip assuming that all was going to fall into place for us to go back full time as soon as possible.
  So now we are back to my original question.  Where is the mission field that God is calling us to?  Something that God seemed to talk to both of us about while we were in Africa was that we were not doing enough HERE.  In a lot of ways Africa is a far more open country to hearing about the word of God than the USA is.   In a town meeting we went to they opened with "WE greet you in the name of our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ", THAT would NEVER happen here.  In a lot of ways I think we have found more effective ways of sharing the gospel with the un-reached in Africa than we have of sharing with 'over-reached' here.   
  Here's the problem.  For me personally, sharing the gospel seemed a lot easier over there.   

So what now?  I don't know.  I wish I did.  We are back in the United States and back to working and living and I sooo don't want to find that we have put our hands to the plow and then turned back,  I don't want to have "reckless abandon wrapped in common sense".  

Have you heard Casting Crowns song "somewhere in the middle"?  

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle

Do you ever feel like a song was written for RIGHT where YOU are in life? 


Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

Well this is it.  It's really here.  Tomorrow afternoon I am going to be getting on a plane for a 22 hour trip to Tanzania Africa.  I can't begin to share the excitement, and anxiety I am feeling.  We have a pretty good idea of what our itinerary is going to be when we get there which makes it nice to prepare, but at the same time there can be no doubt that there will be so much that we are unprepared for.  IT is a culture and a language that we have NO familiarity with and although we have been told and are trying to just focus on the two weeks before us, you really can't stop yourself from thinking that we are doing this in order to prepare for possibly  spending a lot longer portion of our lives here, for raising our kids here.  What are you looking for in a country and culture when you are wondering if this can be 'home'.? 
  Please keep us in  your prayers,  keep our babies in your prayers the thought of leaving them is becoming unbearable.
  Alright well since in just about 24 hours I am going to be getting on a plane I think that I should probably go and start thinking about packing...
   Oh come on don't act surprised anyone who knows me had to know that I hadn't packed yet. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Point of No Return...

All right the title is a litttle dramatic but after a lot of talk and discussion and prayer,  it is weird to have hard evidence that this trip to Africa is going to happen.  WE bought our tickets this morning!!! There is no turning back...We are leaving April 21st and returning May 5th.   We are flying into Mt. Kilimanjaro airport.
 We will be spending the first few days to a week in En Gedi.  The Timo-aim headquarters in Tanzania.  That will give us time to learn all about how Timo works and to get our bodies adjusted to Africa time.  They are 8 hours ahead of us and our flight to get there is about 22 hours all told so I am thinking they know what they are doing when they don't throw us right into working! 
  After that, there were several options as to where we would be going for the actual work site but it is looking like we are going to be going into Southern Sudan.   Our  missions pastor said it was 'interesting'  to fly into the airport in Southern Sudan because you fly in going up the mountain to slow the plane down and you leave the airport flying downhill to get up enough speed for flight!  I am thinking  interesting might be the understatement of the year! 
    Our goal while we are there is to get as far as we can in building accommodations for a timo missionary who will be living there full time to minister to the people of Southern Sudan. 
  I can't begin to tell you how exciting it is to even THINK about being a part of something like this! 
THe two weeks by themselves are exciting enough and for most of us a once in a lifetime opportunity.  But for me and Tim as we look around to see if maybe this is something that we are looking to commit to long term the stakes go even a little higher! 
  The hardest part right now is thinking of leaving my kids stateside while we go over there.  We have never been away from them for more than two NIGHTS at at time and now we are looking at two WEEKS! 
  Alright well....keep us in your thoughts and prayers PLEASE...we leave two weeks from tomorrow.!!!! TANZANIA HERE WE COME. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rome is burning!! hmmm...where did I put my fiddle...

Two hundred years ago, Thomas Jefferson said:  "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical." 

"President Obama on Monday  signed an order to life restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research,  a move he said rejects the "false choice" between science and morality"

"Warren Buffet says the economy has 'fallen off a cliff" 

I am SURE that allowing federal funding for stem cell research is definitely what we need to get the economy going!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Every year my mom and my sister go away for a girl's weekend away.   Usually, Ok pretty much every year we go to Lancaster, PA for shopping.  WE go to the outlet stores and find all the local consignment shops.  Well this year we decided to do something different and we headed to Boston, MA for the weekend.  Why we didn't head south I am not sure I will ever understand, but for some reason we thought it would make sense to head North towards colder weather.  
  What a great weekend.  We stayed in the Hilton which is a beautiful hotel.  For Friday and Saturday we bought trolley passes to get around Boston.  It was perfect.  Our tour guides were great, very informative and it was a great way to see Boston.  We hopped off when there was something we wanted to see, or when we suspected that their might be a consignment shop near by, then we hopped back on to learn more about the great history of that town.  
  We had some GREAT seafood.  For the record an 'oyster shot' is not a clever way to sell you one raw oyster.  It actually involves beer...and a LOT of hot sauce.  Do NOT recommend.  However, the actual raw oysters were know the ones without the Sam Adams and tabasco sauce.  I am not sure that the lack of that stuff made it more appealing to my sister who still shuddered every time I put one of them in my mouth but I thought they were delicious.  
  We found a 'tapas' bar with $5 tapas,  and a consignment shop with $12.50 red coach shoes in MY size!! 
  We sat in the hot top, watched chick flicks and just generally had a great time. ....till next year ladies....Saratoga perhaps? 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Remembering Mom-Mom

My Mom-Mom passed away Janurary 17th, 2009.   Wednesday was her funeral.   Growing up in South America I never had the kind of relationship with my Mom-Mom that my cousins had who grew up living right by her.  My mom's relationship with her parents was often strained as well so there was also that dynamic added to our relationship.  That being said, you can not deny the legacy that has been left by my Mom-Mom and to be honest with you family legacy means a lot to me.  I care about what has come before that has made me and my life what it is, and I care deeply about what we leave behind to our kids.  Speaking of legacy I get THAT from my mother.  She has always mentioned how important it is to her what she be remembered for, and that she wants to be remembered.  
  I think that is why my Mom-Mom's funeral had such an impact on me.  I remember the last time I saw my Mom-Mom alive.  It was a couple of months ago, I went down with my mom and my sister and based on her health we knew then that there was a good possibility that it would be the last time we would see her.  She was soo happy to see us and she referred to me and my sister as the 'grand-babies'.  That took me off guard.  I have kids of my own now.  I have made my parents grand-parents and I can tell you that I had not thought of myself as being a 'grand baby' for a LONG time.  
  The funeral service was beautiful and so well done.  There was a time given for testimonies and there were plenty of people who came up to speak about the impact that Grace English had on their lives.  There were plenty more who would not speak because they knew that they could never get through it without breaking down in tears.  My Mom-Mom was feisty.  A week or so before the funeral my own mom for the first time heard the song " I hope you dance" By Lee Ann Womack.  She mentioned after the funeral that the song definitely applied to my grandmother.   She sometimes  had to fight in order to get out on the dance floor of life, sometimes the song she danced to was a sad song,  but let me tell you I don't think she ever looked at the choice to sit it our or dance and chose to sit it out.   She was truly a 'dancer'.   It's something she has instilled in my mother and my mother is doing her best to instill in  her own children.  I still haven't worked up the courage to go line dancing with  my mother, but I am fairly certain she's not done asking. ;-) 
  The service ended with a clear salvation message.  My Mom-Mom is in heaven, she would want everyone she knew to be able to join her there some day.  She'll still be dancing. 
   One of the songs we sang was especially poignant to me.  "Because He Lives".   It is obviously very fitting for a funeral service.   The final verse says  "And then one day I'll cross the river.  I'll fight lives final war with pain, and then as death gives way to victory I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives".  
 Mom-Mom has fought her final war with pain, she HAS seen the light of glory.  What struck me was the verse we sing right before that "How sweet to hold a new born baby, to feel the joy and pride he gives, yet sweeter still the sweet assurance this child can face uncertain days because He lives".  
  It's almost like the author was dealing with my own 'circle of life' thoughts while he wrote the song.   Old ones die, new are born.  What is important doesn't change "Because He Lives".  
   What legacy are we leaving?  When our children and grandchildren sift through what we have left behind?  Will they want to follow in our footsteps? Will they long to 'dance'?  Will they 'find us faithful'?  Will their lives 'be worth the living just because He lives?".  
  My dad prayed at the funeral.  In his prayer he mentioned that we don't necessarily  think about Heaven as often as we do, but we do think about it at funerals.  That made me think about my daughter because she is obsessed with Heaven.  She is constantly asking questions about what it is going to be like there, always asking when we get to go there....always.   This is something that she is anxiously awaiting.  Thinking of Kaity  made me a little sad because sometimes you mourn as much for what you didn't as for what you did.   I don't know that she has ever met my Mom-Mom.  Also, I know how important my parents are in the lives of my children and it made me sad that I never had that with my grandparents and "now I never will" I thought to myself.   But you know what?  That's not true and that's the beauty of Heaven.  Some day Kaity and I both will cross the river and we will have the rest of eternity to continue our relationship with Mom-Mom.  Why?  Because He Lives. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This is Tanzania

As some of you know, and some of you don't.  My husband and I are considering the possibility of going to Tanzania, Africa as missionaries. 

 God has been working in our hearts for a little over 6 months and at this point we are praying that God would show us open doors and closed doors and give us the grace to accept them for what they are.  We would have to sell our house, which is not nearly the easiest thing thing to do these days.  But we are fully confident that we are proceeding following God's call and He will work things out according to HIs perfect plan regardless of where that has us living a year from now. 
    It's kind of a cool story about how God brought me and Tim both to this place in our lives, some parts of our story are intertwined, in some cases we  were both on our path completely alone getting to this point, and yet here we both are ready to go to Africa and terrified and exhilarated at what comes next.  
Tim is in Mississippi right now on a  completely different missions trip and when he comes back we will be getting serious about planning a two week trip to Tanzania to get the lay of the land, sort of see what our role would be and kind of feel out if it is going to be a good fit. 
  With all this in the works I thought I would find some things out about Tanzania.  Can you believe how beautiful the pictures are??!?!?

I also found out the population is about 38 million.  They are 30% Christian, 35% muslim and 35% "indigenous beliefs".  Zanzibar which is next door is 99% muslim.   The age structure is 43.7% 0-14 yrs., 53.6% is 15-64 yrs., 6.2% 65+.  The life expectancy rate is 45.64 years so it makes sense that they are a fairly young society.   The HIV/AIDS rate is 1.6 million or 8.8% of the population.  
  They are also considered to be one of the most stable countries in Africa with very  little internal conflict or problems with it's neighbors which was encouraging to hear about the country I am considering raising my children in! 
   I hope you will come along with us on this journey.  We will need all the prayers that we can possibly gather not only if we go but even on this side as we make our decisions.  
  More to come......

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Thought for the day...

For every un-reached people group in the world there are 6 HUNDRED churches in this country.