The Next Step

While in some ways the waiting to figure out what we are doing is over. In many others, it has just begun. As of November 1, Brian and I became official employees and members of Wycliffe Bible Translators. We are currently in training. We are taking several weeks of online classes and then our family will head to Orlando, FL for two weeks where we will enjoy the warmth and sunshine. Oh, and also attend more classes and training sessions to prepare us for the next step in our adventure.

The immediate next step is to gather a team of people who will partner with us in obeying God’s call for us to go. We need prayer partners and financial partners and those who will encourage us no matter where we go or what we do. We need people to come alongside of us, to lift us up and encourage us, especially when our close family and friends won’t be alongside us physically.

Our first assignment: advocates for the Bibleless peoples of the world and team building. This part will probably be the most uncomfortable for my introverted husband, as we’ll be talking to lots of people and answering questions about the world, and also about our lives and how and why we are doing what we are doing. Which begs the questions: What are we going to be doing?

Well, the short answer we are going to be working with minority language groups to further the cause of Bible translation. Brian will be doing much of the same work that he has done for the past 15+ years. He will be working as a computer programmer, coding and developing tools for others to use. The difference for Brian will be the end result, instead of lining the pockets of Coca-Cola and the like, he’ll be working on programs for linguistics and others involved in Bible (and health, education) translation to use in their work.

For me, after many years of using my linguistics degree to teach ESL, I will be moving in a different (and very welcome) direction. I will be working with a team of linguists to train locals in linguistic fundamentals so that they can work on their own translation projects. I may work in developing dictionaries, writing systems, and/or grammar and text analysis. I am excited about the possibilities as well as doing hands-on linguistics research and language development.

Our kids will be working on all the same things they are now (and hopefully making great progress, especially in responsibility and kindness!) They will be continuing their education at school and playing hard in their free time.

Now, you might be wondering where we will be doing all of this… well, so are we. God is working it all out (we are trusting and praying for that!) and hopefully, we’ll know that by the end of this year. We won’t be going to our next assignment (in that yet undecided location) until we have a great team partnering with us and all the other details are in place – probably at the beginning of 2017.


Clear Direction

Sometimes I need some help to figure out just what is the right thing to do. So, I will generally try to talk to some people who might be knowledgable and consequently helpful to me. Or, I might read books or search online for some expert advice.

This week, I needed some help decided the best course of action. In this case it was pretty urgent and I didn’t have time to read any books, but I did have some time to call and seek insight from my friends and my doctor. But, after all the input from others, I still didn’t know what to do. It was then that I FINALLY realized that the One who has all the answers in my friend and I could and should pray about this! It seems so obvious now and I am ashamed that it took me over an hour to realize that while I had prayed about the situation, I hadn’t asked for wisdom from God.

Now, I needed wisdom to know where to take Thaddeus, my little guy with a gash in his head from a collision with the corner of our coffee table. The small hole in his head was not life threatening in any way, but seemed deep enough and thick enough that he could possibly need stitches to fix it up nicely or just some steri-strips. So, I hemmed and hawed about whether I should take him to our doctor that night (the earliest I could get an appt) or go to urgent care in the afternoon (more immediately). Finally, when I prayed I asked God to just tell me clearly, so I could know for sure what the best thing was for Thaddy. I said, “I wish I would just clearly hear a voice telling me ‘Take him to urgent care!’ or ‘Take him to the doctor!'” Generally this is not a method I would recommend for prayer, but in my desperation, I simply cried out to my best friend and the One who knows and controls everything.

Well, I prayed as I drove to pick Eila up from school and after I told Eila what was going on (not even 5 minutes later), she said very loudly and forcefully: “Take him to urgent care!” I mentioned at this point that I had just prayed for God to tell me clearly if I should do that and she said, “I told you: Take him to urgent care!!” Then, Josiah joined in and I would have to be a complete fool not to recognize God speaking through my children and answering my prayer loud and clear. I may have been foolish to not ask God sooner, but I am no fool, so I dropped Eila at the gym and headed to urgent care. Amazingly, there was not one other person at urgent care. We had a great doctor with no wait and great care. She decided that he definitely should get stitches since his cut was still bleeding lightly and was very patient with a nervous little boy while she fixed him up. We left with a very happy boy who said “I don’t like stitches, but I like stickers!”



Pain hurts. Seeing those you love in pain is itself painful, and it’s even worse when you cannot do anything to ease their pain. I don’t like to sit by and not help when help is needed. But sometimes there is nothing that I can do to help and even my prayers feel weak and wasted.

There are too many hurts in this world that I cannot fix and cannot help make better.

I know that God is big and mighty and good. I know that one day He will take away all the pain, but right now it hurts.


Parenting Advice?

As a mom of three kids and someone who likes to tell others what to do, I often get asked about what parenting techniques and strategies I use with my kids. I get lots of requests for recommendations for what works, what books I recommend, what practical advice can I share. Moms often share their stories and examples from everyday life, looking for help, sympathy or just to share with someone who might understand. I recently read a post at Practical Theology for Women that I agree with completely, including the book recommendations and secular parenting logic.


Jury Duty

Last Monday, I had jury duty.

It seems like everyone thinks this is tantamount to being buried alive. I got sympathetic sighs and sad head shakes as well as sorrowful tales of woe along with several apologetic phrases when I shared that I had this on my calendar. The last time I had jury duty I was less than thrilled to be going because of the dilemma it caused to me as a nursing mother.

This time, however, I had no reason not to look forward to this day out of the house, away from my normal responsibilities. I was actually really looking forward to a whole day to sit in a room and read. Well, it didn’t happen exactly like that. I did get a little reading in, but then spent most of the day hearing the trial of a young man and acting as a member of the jury of his peers who determined that he was indeed guilty of felony firearm. The trial was quick and straightforward. Yet, I was really afraid of getting it wrong. I really wanted him to be not guilty.

Despite having had jury duty several other times, this was the first time I have actually served on a jury. I found this service informative and sobering. I must also admit the judge’s reading the instructions was a bit long and repetitive, but it drove home the point of our task and the challenge we had to decide the outcome based on the facts with a presumption of innocence. I found the experience of deciding another’s culpability to be very daunting. While I think we made the right decision in this case, it is terribly sad to me. I am all for justice, but am ever more grateful that Another is the ultimate judge and jury in life and that he offers grace and mercy to those who believe that He came to save them and follow after Him. All of our choices have consequences. For this young man, he’ll be spending a minimum of 2 years in jail, but I hope that he will find the One there who can transform his future and that justice will lead to grace.



It seems like everywhere I look, I’m hearing about, reading about, learning about what it means to have community. I live in a city with a pretty big community center where I spend lots of time taking kids to classes or taking classes myself. But, I don’t think taking classes is what community is really about. I think community is about belonging. It’s about sharing things in common and sharing even when we don’t have things in common. I think community is about being together – learning, laughing, loving, living. What do you think?

I’ve been seeing lots of around my community and wonder if someone’s story might be: Community? Community. Mine could be restated that way.



I love the idea of neighbors helping each other and people coming alongside to support one another. I just hate to be the one to need the help. More accurately, I hate to have to ask for that help. I don’t like to inconvenience people, but mostly I don’t like to talk to people that I don’t know really well. I especially don’t like to ask acquaintances for favors.

Today, though, I did it. TJ was sleeping and I really didn’t want to wake him up to take Eila to school. So, I ran over to my neighbors house and asked her to come over and stay at my house while I took Eila to school. She was more than happy to oblige and it was a huge blessing to me. Maybe she’ll be more inclined to ask a favor of me now… for some reason that would make me feel better.

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True Religion

Caring for orphans and widows is a very clear command in the Bible. There is simply no excuse for not helping those who need it, and the benefits are many. A simple way to care for orphans, without adopting or fostering them, is to support those who do. Here’s a link to one family that is selling shirts to raise funds to adopt a child from Ethiopia. Go. Buy. Love.

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One More Thing

Okay, two more things to be thankful for are health and help.

I made a special trip to U of M today with Thaddeus and am so thankful for my good friend, who graciously agreed to take both of the other kids even though J was throwing up last night and not only that, she made us dinner too!

Thad has had a pretty rough go of this cold that he got from Siah and was having some signs of breathing trouble, so we were sent to the ER and after a brief check by several doctors, he was given the all clear with just a stuffy nose.

So, thank God for friends who help and for baby brother’s health.

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Compassion by Command

Brian and I recently finished a small group video/discussion series on having a heart for and helping the poor in meaningful ways.

We watched God Bless the Child and it was heart-wrenching. It may have been even more troubling for me as a mom and pregnant woman, but watching a mother and her daughter suffer and have to make really hard choices in really bad situations was not fun. It was, however, very eye-opening to me and moved me to have a greater compassion for those in my same stage of life who are really struggling with the basic necessities in life.

As a church we are packing and delivering 100 Boxes of Love to families in the local area who aren’t able to afford a Thanksgiving dinner this year. Usually, we’d deliver this to downtown Detroit, but this year with things not so good in the economy right in our community we have many families in our town who are in need.

Covenant House of Michigan is hosting a candlelight vigil that might be an easy way to get started in helping others.

For the Christmas season there are lots of ways to give and spend less on gifts for those who don’t need them and instead help those who really do. is one place to get inspired and get ideas from others who are trying that this year.

Aside from what I’m already doing, I don’t know exactly how I am going to put my compassion and concern for the poor into action with my kids, but I do know that I will be doing more with each opportunity and involving my kids with me along the way so that they will continue to have a heart that sees and helps rather than walks on by those in need.

*Oops, I wrote this a while ago and forgot to publish it. So, some of it is outdated… We delivered the boxes of love to some families nearby and had the kids help with that. The vigil was last week… sorry.