Our missions journey to date has been full of lots of waiting and unknowns. That is sure to continue.

We started to have a clearer picture of what the future might hold in November 2015 when we became members of Wycliffe Bible Translators. December marked the official invitation for us to go to Cameroon. And so, we ended the year with a lot more answers than we started with.

In January 2016, we attended the orientation course, Equip, in Orlando. We learned a lot. Among the lessons we learned that we can plan, but God has the ultimate plan, which may not match ours exactly. Then in February, our Partnership Development (PD) began. We sent out our very first newsletter and began to tell people about what we planned to do (because we finally knew some of those answers!)

Early in March, it became clear that we would have to go to France for language study and so we began researching and learning about that.

As we began to try to learn more in preparation for our move, we were connected with a family in Cameroon and got our buddies in April. (We really do wish this had happened much earlier, maybe if a full year earlier!)

We sent out another newsletter in May and reached the halfway point in our monthly financial partnership promises. This cleared the way for us to attend a required training in NC in the fall.

In June, we decided to attend language school in a small village in the French Alps. From the CCEF, we learned that our classes will start on January 3, 2017.

Now it is July and we are the missionaries of the month at our home church. That means that we are talking in front of the church one Sunday, doing a presentation with some families from our church and that we are being prayed for specifically each Wednesday at prayer.

August and September will be more PD work for us and hopefully our Wycliffe ministry will have a full partnership team. We will send out information to our prayer partners about a specific day to pray for each other each month. We’ve already been praying for each of our partners and this will help us to be more orderly about it. This is also when we will have a garage sale and possibly put our house on the market.

The Intercultural Communication Course (ICC) is another training for Brian and I. So, we will be going to JAARS in NC for the month of October (and one week of November) to study and learn as much as possible to help us in our transition. The plan for the kids is to stay in school and live with their grandparents while we are gone. Brian will likely leave his current job in October as we will be working full-time as missionaries (in training).

We will all need to go to Chicago for a visa interview in November. If all goes according to our plan, we will have our visas in time to leave for France at the end of December 2016. I am also going to try to make a last trip to LA to visit my sister and her new baby girl that should be born at the end of November!

So, January-June 2017, we will be studying French in France and then if everything works according to my plan, we will be fluent and ready to return to the US for a quick visit with family and friends in July 2017. Then we will move to Cameroon by August 2017 so that the kids can start the new school year in our new home.


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.


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.


Passive Voice Day

It has been declared that today is Passive Voice Day. These simple joys aren’t being missed. Indeed, fun is being had by all (linguists and other grammar nerds).



My firstborn now has two adult teeth and an extra set of molars growing in her mouth. Before I can even accept this information, she’ll be getting her wisdom teeth pulled. She turned six a few weeks ago and asks every day to get her ears pierced. Despite being sick, she competed in her second gymnastics meet and was determined to stick it out even though it was really hard – because it seemed like the right thing to do. We’ve had to institute parent controls on the computer and time limits on the Wii. She can’t say or understand anything in French. What happened to my baby?

Tonight, we cuddled and looked at the American Girl Doll catalogue. She still asks me to lay down and cuddle with her for a few minutes each night, but she doesn’t need me to sing anymore and she says her own prayers. We have a dance party at least a few times a week and I’m still told to follow her lead. The highlight of her day is often “Tickle Time.” And, every morning she needs a few minutes of mom-time before her day can begin. I hope that never changes…

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Glottal Stops

Thaddeus is starting to talk and all his words end with glottal stop or vowels. He uses several different initial consonant sounds. The linguistics nerd in me cannot help but wonder why and if this is typical for early language acquisition. I know that English, especially my particular brand of English has many glottal stops. I also recognize that perhaps these sounds are slightly easier for my little guy to make when compared with the fricatives and lateral sounds of English.

Eila and Josiah both were exposed to a great deal of English and French as infants and had a some words from each language in the early stages of speech acquisition, but I don’t remember or didn’t notice if they followed this pattern as well. Maybe I’ll research it further, but for now Thad is up from his nap and wants down. “Mama, I wa duh. Bah! Mama!!!”


Best of Times

There are some parts of my life that I wouldn’t trade with anyone – no matter what. Several moments like that occur everyday and I want to treasure and remember them! Here are few examples of precious events over the past two weeks… being the apple of my husband’s eye, vacuuming the rug with Eila and Josiah each using a toy vacuum to help, reading books in Eila’s bed while nursing Josiah, Brian taking care of everything so I could sleep for two days, waving to Josiah and that being the funniest thing he has ever seen, sharing zerberts with the kids and them spitting on me in return, ribbing Brian for wanting another computer, saying to Brian “what can I do to keep Josiah from falling out of the stroller?” as Joe slams his head into the cement at Zoo Boo, and hearing Eila say “I love you, Mommy!” and Josiah shake his head furiously and laugh “Nnno!”


The Art of Saying No

I used to think that I was a balanced person who knew when to say no, even if I didn’t always know how to do so in the best way. But now, I am feeling very over-committed and am not sure how I got this way. What’s more I have still more things that I’d like to be involved in and yet know that I really cannot do anything else.

A wise woman (my mom) recently chided me that it’s better to do one thing well than to do a million things. That gentle reminder has been haunting me as I have been praying over and deciding what and how to do everything. There are lots of areas of life that I am passionate about and even more that I’m interested in and even more that I like might be cool. Some of these include: almost anything my husband cares deeply about or is pursuing for the moment (photography, music, astronomy & space travel, but not computer games), mothering and helping mothers, discipleship, language learning and teaching, breastfeeding, scripture study and memorization, being healthy – exercise and food, and especially building relationships with family and friends.

I can’t do everything, but I want to. It seems like the trick is to figure out how to make as many of my interests overlap as possibly, so that I can do it all. Really, I think the trick is being content with what God has for me right now and not running ahead or lagging behind him. I really am like a toddler in *so* many ways. If only I could master that favorite word of toddlers! Hee hee.

Of course, there are some things, I have no trouble saying no to, but those are probably the things I should be saying yes to!


No Accent?

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)Midland(“Midland” is not necessarily the same thing as “Midwest”) The default, lowest-common-denominator American accent that newscasters try to imitate. Since it’s a neutral accent, just because you have a Midland accent doesn’t mean you’re from the Midland.Personality Test Results
Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.


Reflective Listening

It really works. I find it very cheesy to practice and be practiced on, but I always feel listened to and cared for. It is especially helpful in difficult relationships or situations. Everyone has times where you just don’t know how to respond to someone, but reflective listening has really helped reduce these occurrences for me. Reflective Listening is a technique to really listen and love others. The basic idea is that you start with a hedger and then state the feeling and thought of what you just heard.

I often want Brian to listen to me, to help me problem solve, to care and share in my life & experiences. The most helpful use for me recently has been when a friend has been gossiping. I used to never know what to say and still frequently forget or don’t think to really listen, but when I do, the gossip changes from gossip about someone else to really sharing about self and growing up personally. It is a privilege to be able to participate in someone’s growth just by listening and caring for them, especially when it could have been a very negative situation resulting in hurt and pain.
Here are some other useful articles on reflective listening:

from Communication in Organizations

7 Don’ts

Are You Listening? (PDF)


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