Joint Mission

August 12, 2000, Brian and I were married at the church where I’d been working for the summer with the youth. We both knew that we needed to pay off debt before we could go abroad and felt like God was not directing us to go anywhere right away. We decided that in about 5 years we’d go serve God somewhere exotic. Shortly, we found a new church and found a great group of young couples whom we spent lots of time with studying God’s word, praying, playing, and even traveling. We worked (Brian as a computer programmer and myself as an ESL teacher), enjoyed time with friends and served in the church.

After a few years, we looked into Wycliffe again. We had Wycliffe recruiters who lived a few miles from us at that time. But, still God said: Not yet. Another couple years passed, we made some more contacts and looked into different opportunities in France several times over the years with different organizations and contacts. Always it seemed like God said: Not yet.

Before too long, our family began to grow. And, more kids came. We were happy where we were and yet still interested in the opportunity to live abroad, especially since I believed God really had called us to go, at some point. While raising our young kids, Brian continued to be an integral part of the worship team at church and I continued to lead Bible studies for women and teach kids. I also volunteered as an ESL teacher through the Arab-American Friendship Center and then later at the local library. I helped with our local MOPS group for several years where I learned a lot about leading a group, delegating and being humble. At various times, we’d sense God’s call and seek Him more, but each time God said: Not yet.

We just celebrated 15 years of being married with an amazing trip to Turkey. As of a month ago, I still heard God saying: Soon, but not yet. But, very recently, God said: Soon, very soon.

This past year has been one where we became convinced that God was calling us to go, but we weren’t sure where or how. So, we sought the advice of some wise folks and started looking at various opportunities. We talked to lots and lots of missions agencies, organizations and people. We attended some conferences and looked at jobs. We prayed and asked others to join in praying for us. For a few months, it seemed like we were moving along and God was opening doors and directing us, but then it seemed to slow down and even stop completely. God was saying: Wait.

I had a really hard time with that. I did not want to wait anymore. It’s not that I’m in a hurry to move, but I really want to know what the future holds for our family. I want all the answers and I’d like them spelled out in detail before it all happens. But, it was over this spring and summer that God really showed me how to wait on Him and to trust Him. I’d still like to know what lies ahead for us, but I understand that God is sovereign over all and He is at work – around the world so that many will come to know Him and live with Him forever. He isn’t only interested in the short-term, but our eternal futures.


The Continuing Saga

In jr. high, my faith first became my own and I chose to follow Jesus, not just go to church or do what I thought was right (though, I did continue to do those things too.) It was also in jr. high, that I was challenged to start reading the Bible on my own. Read it daily, think about what you read, write down some thoughts and then live out what I was learning. I always excelled when given an assignment, this was no exception. The goal was measurable, achievable, and I was held accountable. There was a small blank for number of days in a row, that I filled in every day for almost a year before I missed one, and that was only because I went to an amusement park and didn’t get home until the next day. I didn’t stop then though, I was hooked on reading the Bible and getting to know God and His ways. I can’t imagine how I would’ve survived as a teen without that. It is through God’s word that I came to truly believe in Jesus as my Savior and Lord.

I was discipled by ladies in the church, who taught me how to study God’s Word and patiently answered my questions and asked me hard questions about choices I was making. In high school, I went on trips to various places in the US and abroad to serve and sing and share the gospel. These things were growing in me a desire to travel the world and live any and everywhere, serving and living for Jesus, so that others might know Him too. One of the trips that I did was a mock-missionary camp. We went to the jungle and lived a rustic existence far from modern civilization. At JAARS, Jungle Aviation And Radio Service, a support branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators, I learned about the great need for people to go and translate the Bible into thousands of languages that did not have the Bible in a language that they could read or understand. They might not even have a written alphabet at all. This was very interesting to me, someone who took all the language classes offered at her high school (include computer ones!) I came home from this trip sweaty and stinky, but excited about the mission field.

As I was deciding where to go to college and what to do with the rest of my life, I attended a huge missions conference, Urbana, and was challenged and encouraged by so many options and ways to share the good news of Jesus around the world. Also, the great need, especially in the 10/40 window, was impressed upon me. It was here, that I first got hold of a book that I’ve used ever since, Operation World. This is a book that details the nations and needs for prayer around the world. Now, I get a daily email reminding me to pray. At Urbana, I connected with some folks at Wycliffe again and also with some other missions agencies. I felt pretty certain that God was calling me into full-time missions, but needed to get educated first. So, I started applying to colleges and intended to study something international. I applied for received a scholarship from our church for students who would go into missions after university.

When my first international course of study, business, was a complete failure for me, I transferred to the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in Linguistics (Language Science). I became involved with the campus ministry now known as Cru. Through this ministry, I was discipled and learned to disciple others. When I studied abroad in the south of France, I met two girls who were doing a year internship with Cru and we partnered together in ministry there. I traveled with them and several others to Tunisia where we prayed and met with staff at the universities in Tunis. During my time in France and at U of M, God taught me to love and teach women and children, especially those of Muslim background, to study His word and to know Him through the Bible. It was also during the time in France, away from my long-time boyfriend and best friend, Brian, that we grew certain we wanted to get married.

As we spent our senior year of college, engaged to be married, we had a lot of talks about our future together. The couple who mentored us made us hash out a lot of our dreams and expectations before we got married. So, it was discussed that, at some time in the not too distant future, we would go into full-time missions overseas, or at least we were willing to go.


More or Less

With the start of the new year, 2015, I had every intention of making some resolutions and so on and so forth. But, here it is nearing the middle of February and I am still putting it off in favor of other things to do. Those other things are fun, of course.

I just celebrated my 37th birthday. I would lie and say that I’m 27 again, but my kids keep telling me how old I am and as I’m getting used to hearing it, I’m not as scared as I was by the number that sounds a lot closer to 40 than I ever imagined myself. I still feel 27, and yet I’m a lot smarter and kinder and thoughtful than I was at 27. I think I look pretty close to how I did then, but my eyesight isn’t all that great and I don’t have a lot of time to stand around staring at my reflection in the mirror. So, I could be much prettier.

I think I’ll stick with that version. Smarter, prettier, nicer than ever before.

Let’s hope it just keeps getting better.

Honestly, things don’t get better without a fair amount of work and a decent plan. Now, it’s time to come up with a plan for this year.

This year, I’d like more celebrating the little things. More time spent playing and talking with my family. More relaxing. More working. More thinking of others. More helping. More trust. More clarity. More moving forward. More of God.


This year, I’d like less complaining and whining (from my kids especially but also from me). Less time wasted on the computer. Less stress over meals and cleaning. Less arguing. Less trying to make myself appear _____ (good, perfect, successful, wise, beautiful, happy.) Less worry. Less doubt. Less figuring things out. Less of me.

The gist is this: more of God and less of me.

That is a pretty lofty goal. And, not very concrete or well-defined. It’s not really measurable or attainable either. But, with God all things are possible. More of God in my daily life might look like more of all the other things I want to see this year. It might also look like what I cannot yet imagine. More of God will definitely look like less of me. More of God might also look like less of things that I might want more of.

So, this year I resolve to pray, serve, teach, love, and live for God and with God, and to forget about me… More or less.


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!”



I wasn’t going to make any New Year’s Resolutions this year, just because I hadn’t thought about it at all before New Year’s Eve when Brian and I were talking about it. However, I think there are a few changes I like to see in myself this year…

So, I plan to be intentional in finding and then restoring a treasure that I lost some time ago. (not my wedding ring… that has already been replaced!)
I would like to review my life goals every month, so that I can remember what I want to do and who I want to be when I grow up.
And, I want to stop waiting and start doing.



So, my husband is working on a problem with one of their busiest promotions. You should check it out and enter your adorable children in the photo contest, if you have any. And, I will update with nothing at all really.

We went to the zoo this week and enjoyed the most perfect fall day. The kids had a great time and we were all so exhausted that they continued their nap and I joined them for an hour after we got home. Then, we walked to the park with some good friends. I enjoy days like that, but usually follow them with days like today where we stay home and don’t do much of anything fun.

I’ve been researching the life and times of David king of Israel as preparation for the new Bible Study on his life starting tomorrow morning. I love this type of study and found lots of interesting pieces of information, but not really much that will be noteworthy enough to share with the group.

The kids got haircuts and Josiah looks like a little boy now. He lost all his sweet mullet curls…

I talked on the phone to my closest far-away friends in the past two weeks and am so glad to reconnect with each of them each time I do. Too bad I don’t call more often.

I’m really trying not to complain, but it isn’t going so well. “To be a good steward, I need to be thankful and content.” This is exactly what I wrote in Eila’s preschool notebook and I really want to model that for her, especially since I already see her struggles with this.

Finally, I’ve decided to stop highlighting my hair (for the health benefits of not doing it) and am debating if I should chop my hair instead. I need a second opinion (or as many opinions as I can get) on what type of cut I should get, if any. I do have several limitations and I am not really willing to negotiate on these: I need a style that works for my straight, fine, thin hair, one that does not require blow-drying or styling of any sort (other than brushing it). It must also be one that is flattering to me, because I really am very vain and lazy.



A few weeks ago, I started to feel like I needed to be sure that I was getting enough of all the nutrients and that I should probably find a good multi-vitamin to take. After several months without dairy and eating what seemed like an awful lot of chips, I was really wondering if I was not getting all of what I needed. And, I’d been wanting to start Josiah and I on probiotics (I got Genestra) since we’ve not been eating yogurt or kefir as well as take some fish oil, which I’ve heard is really good for those with skin problems. So, I went to my local health food store and asked the friendly staff who recommended Her Daily Vitamin.

I must have been really low in my B-vitamins, because after just a few days I was full of energy and felt like a whole new woman. I could tell a huge difference and was loving the results. Now, after several weeks, I’m back to my normal self. I feel pretty good most days, but other days I’m really dragging. I think that the vitamins are worth taking and I’m continuing even though they cost a ton… When they run out, I’ll probably see if I can find a cheap, but good-quality whole-food vitamin – do those exist?

My kids don’t really like the fish oil, but they love the mango-flavored liquid multi-vitamin that I got for them. I’ve been mixing Josiah’s probiotic and fish oil and vitamin all in his orange juice and he doesn’t notice it at all. Eila drinks plenty of kefir and just takes the fish oil (with many protests) and vitamin (begging for more) straight. I’m glad I’ve started to do the probiotics especially with Josiah, but I wonder if (well, realize and know that) we should see a nutritionist or dietitian. I’m open to suggestions.

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Child Safety Seat Review: Apex 65

When Josiah had outgrown his infant carrier carseat, we decided to move him to Eila’s (Gray Britax Roundabout) and get her a new one that would last her until she would be done with carseats and boosters, so after much research and hemming and hawing we ended up with the Brown Alpha Elite Apex 65.

I love the Roundabout, except for the price tag, so I knew that I wanted a car seat that had some similar features and was equally well-rated for safety. The features that I was most interested in for this new car seat included: five-point harness for up to at least 65 pounds and booster seat conversion after that, easy pull tightening/loosening system for adjusting the harness each time, and comfortable ride for the lovely occupant. We wanted to be able to use the LATCH system as well. Being easily washable would be nice, but it’s not really realistic in a car seat.

So, in my research, I narrowed it down to the Apex 65 and a Britax. There are lots of Britax models that would work for the harness, but I figured I’d still have to buy another booster seat except with one: Regent with a 5-point harness up to 80 pounds and for up to 53″. In either case, I figure that Eila will outgrow the height before the weight, but I could be surprised. Eila is currently around 34 pounds and 38 inches at almost 3.5 years. She is very average sized (50th percentile). I visited several stores to try to find the Regent and see how big it really was, but never found it. I did see the Marathon and knew that the Regent was considerably larger, so I wasn’t really sure how it would fit in my little Mazda Protege5. With the really big difference in price, I had to go with the Apex. Here are some stats compared.
Regent (harness to 80 pounds):
Seating Compartment Height (in) 27.75
Seat Area Width (in) 12
Shoulder Width (in) 15
Harness Slot Heights (in) 12 / 14.4 / 16.75 / 19.1
Buckle Strap Depth (in) 7.4 / 9.4
Product Weight (lbs) 25
Exterior Product W x H x D (in) 21.5 x 30 x 25

Apex (harness to 65 lbs., booster to 100 lbs.):
Seating Compartment Height (in) 28;
Seat Area Width (in) 13.5
Top Harness Slot Height (in) 17.5
Buckle Strap Depth (in) 4.0/ 7.0
Product Weight (lbs) 17.2
Exterior Product W x H x D (in) 19 x 28.4 x 20

Most of the time, I feel like it was a great decision for our family. The car seat fits in our tiny backseat without any trouble, but there is no room left even for a very small person to sit in the middle. When we want to take more than 4 people in our car, we can only do so illegally, so, of course, we don’t do that! 🙂

The giant Apex 65 takes over the backseat, but on the plus side, Eila has tons of room in it. Honestly, she still looks like you could fit two of her in the car seat and once she did invite Josiah to come sit with her – they both fit (while the car was not running). She can cross her legs and take a nap; her head will still rest easily on the wings. The crotch area fits her snugly, and is not tight yet, but there is not much room for growth. She is already on the third set of slots (our of four).

After about a year of use, there are some regrets in not splurging, but I think if given the choice I’d pick the Apex 65 again. The main complaint that I have is in the tightening and loosening of the straps. We adjust them with each use (as everyone should!), but it is really hard to pull it tight enough. Sometimes, I pull so hard I pick the seat up and it still isn’t as tight as I’d like it. Since this is a feature that I had specifically wanted and that is used every time we get in and out of the car, it can be more than a little annoying, plus it effects the safety, which is the whole point.

The arm rest covers were removed by Eila as soon as she sat down and they remain on the floor of the car (I attempt to replace them every so often only to find them removed again…) The cup holder is removable, which is a good thing as it sticks out from the right side of the seat quite a bit. Eila is currently very interested in making sure that the cup holder is in its proper place to hold her water, but it is a little low and far forward for her to reach it easily while strapped in. She is able to strap herself in, but struggles to get the snap for each side of the buckle between her legs. Unfortunately, I’ve pinched her leg in the buckle a couple of times, which shows how it is a pretty snug fit (or that I wasn’t paying attention).

As for washing the cover, I’ve only done so a few times, but it was fairly painless and cleaned up great. The brown color hides dirt pretty well. I read that only the brown ones have the EPS foam in the head rest, but I don’t know if that is true of newer models as well.

The car seat was fairly easy to install and tethered to the back without any problem. Tightening the latch strap proved to be the most difficult and making sure that there wasn’t too much sway was tricky, but not too bad. I wouldn’t want to install it regularly, but it only takes a few minutes really. Although, the Roundabout is ready in about half the time (still rear-facing, but I don’t think it should make a difference in installation time.) is a fabulous site with lots of great info. If you want other options for big car seats/ boosters, check under the Front-Facing and Specialty Models section.

When shopping for a new car seat, it’s a good idea to check out the NHTSA.

So, the Apex 65 is big and not so easy to use, but the price is right. I got mine for just over $100 including tax.

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Cloth vs. Disposable

I feel like there should be more choices in diapering than just cloth or disposable. I know that there are some out there who don’t diaper at all, but that isn’t really a diapering choice although in some ways I can understand the idea of not training a kid to go in a diaper only to untrain them later. It’s the Baby Whisperer‘s mantra of: Start as you intend to go on…

I can’t decide which diapering choice is better. I like the cloth because I feel like it must be more comfortable (when not wet) and lends itself to easier and quicker potty training. I also like the reduction in garbage as well as the cute designs offered in cloth. I didn’t know it before, but I really appreciate not having a scented diaper with cloth diapers. I don’t really like doing laundry at all, so cloth diapering only adds to this chore. I also feel a little bit badly for leaving Joe in his diaper far too long at times as it must be very uncomfortable all wet.

Pros in disposable diapers include being able to hold more liquid waste than anyone would imagine a diaper could possibly hold (but not solid…). So, I like being able to use only one diaper at night and how that diaper is relatively slim. I also like the small size of disposables for traveling and not having to bring them back with me. On the flip side, I can’t stand the smell of disposables and the cost is outrageous!

So, I cloth diaper mostly at home except overnight. When we are out and a diaper change is needed (rarely), I have disposables in the diaper bag, so that’s what I use. At home, Brian usually uses disposables. Since I’m often the one at home; the balance is toward cloth, for now.

I’m curious. What do you use? And why?

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ISTP/J Mother

I’m not sure which type I am… You can vote with your opinion, if you want. The last question/choice was really hard for me as I crave order for myself, but I think as a mother I really struggle to provide order and maybe get rid of more boundaries than I should.

Your type is: ISTP — The “Give ‘Em Their Space” Mother

“My feelings are my own business. Not theirs. So I honor their privacy too.”

* Non-intrusive and respectful of differences, the ISTP mother gives her children the personal space they need to develop as separate, self-sufficient individuals. As children grow and mature, she enjoys observing how each one becomes his or her own person. She seeks to accept and honor each child’s interests, opinions, and choices.
* The ISTP mother does not believe in authority or control for its own sake. Instead, she favors a non-directive approach. Yet she has high expectations for each child’s self-discipline as a key to self sufficiency.
* To these ends, the ISTP mother wants to “be there” for her children—to meet their basic needs and keep them safe. Her goal is to help her children think for themselves and take responsibility for their own actions.

Your type is: ISTJ —The “Responsibility” Mother

“I have a serious love affair with to-do lists. I could sit for hours reading, organizing, and rearranging my weekly calendar.”

* The ISTJ mother has a highly developed sense of responsibility: for work, home, family … particularly her children. Whether she’s overseeing daily baths or insisting on a 10 p.m. curfew, her efforts are largely focused on providing her children with order and routine. She wants them, regardless of age, to be able to count on her and the structure she provides.
* In carrying out her commitment to her responsibilities, the ISTJ mother is organized, industrious, and detail-oriented. Because her focus is the day-to-day realities of life, her children are likely to feel secure and well provided for.
* The ISTJ mother also sets a good example and provides her children with practical guidance on being a productive, responsible individual. Still, with all her seriousness, she may delight family members with her quick wit and observations about the details of life.

Learn more at

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