Monthly Archives: March 2018

March Wrap-up and Review

It is the end of March. Could someone please tell the weather that March is over and we want spring weather. There is snow in the forecast for the next few days. Even with snow I see signs of spring — lambs in the field, daffodils blooming, and trees beginning to bud. I love the bits of home that spring is coming.

What have I done this month? How am I doing reaching my goals?

I finished reading through the Bible in 90 days. If you have never done that, I challenge you to do it. It only took me about 30 minutes a day. Reading it at a fast pace you see things repeated that you miss at a slower pace. You read large portions at a time and get a big picture instead of just small bits. I actually read all of Revelation in one sitting. Now I am working on a slower pace using a journal to record thoughts for just a chapter. The journal I am using is this.

We finished our study in I Thessalonians in our small groups. I wanted to dig a bit deeper into that study both as I prepared our discussion time and just for my own study. Paul wrote that to encourage a young church who was facing opposition. So many of those truths apply to us today.

In follow up on my thoughts about quitting.  I am beginning to study Nehemiah. The little bit that I have begun has already gotten me excited about this study. I am looking forward to sharing more with you.

I read six books this month. A few were from my shelves — reading and deciding if I want to keep them. This book was one that I really enjoyed this month. It is one that I will keep. It had some deep truths which made me pause and think but I could easily read it. I will write a bit more about the book. The picture that he gives of peace has really given me something to think about.

We had fun hosting some friends from the States for a week. We showed them some of the area where we live. York is a favourite place to visit. It has been 2.5 years since we have been there. We walked the city walls, walked the streets, saw the Minster, and went to a museum that was new to us but we all enjoyed.

The other think we did with our guests was go to a football match. That was the first time we have done that. I am glad that I took the suggestion to dress warm. England won in the last few minutes of the game.

I still have a list of unfinished projects but managed to complete one this month. I finished a table runner that just needed the binding sewn on. That is finished. Only nine more projects on the list.

I am struggling with the physical goal. Just being honest here and letting you know my struggle. It is something that I need to ponder and put a plan in place.

My new favourite recipe this month has been Chicken Tikka Masala. I love the spice and a bit of yogurt.

I am ready for April. We are looking forward to some family time and then another visitor.

How was your March? Did you make progress?

3.21 World Down Syndrome Day

Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

Today is World Down Syndrome Day.

It is time for some of my random thoughts about parenting and loving someone with Down Syndrome. World Down Syndrome Day and her birthday usually cause me to reflect a bit.

This year has brought new changes and challenges. Last year Miss K turned 13. Yes, that means she is a teenager. I don’t really think of her as a teenager but she will tell you that she is 13. So I guess I need to face that reality. At times she does act like a teenager. The other week her room had things all over the floor. I sent a photo to my sister-in-law as proof of a teenager.

Thirteen and a half years of parenting a child with Down Syndrome, what have I learned?

Do not put limits on what they can do. Miss K loves dance and currently while I write this is at Tap class and after that is modern dance. She was scheduled to do her ballet exam but it was postponed due to snow. There are so many other ways that I know not to put limits on her. I want to give her the opportunity to try and see what she is able to do.

Children with Down Syndrome dream of what they will do in the future. Miss K is very specific with what she wants to do. She wants to be a doctor at Children’s Hospital and help sick children. She ignores the fact that we tell her she needs to do lots of school work.

Each child with Down Syndrome is unique. Whether it is their abilities, their interests, or their skills, each one is unique. Their medical needs vary.

Living with Miss K for 13 years and a half years has kept us laughing, a few tears, some moments of frustration and praying. I think that is called parenting.

Miss K has an incredible memory for some things. She can remember the dessert she had at someone’s house. She can remember the snack you bought her when traveling. Some things she just can’t remember — math facts, to wear her glasses, and a few other things. I guess if it is important to her she will remember it.

Miss K is very observant and does not want to be left out of things. She is jumps in and joins in to life. She wants to try anything and everything. In her mind it is easy. She wants to learn to knit and it is easy for her. Recently she has been copying stories. She has seen the things that other children at school write and so she copies and does what she can.

Life with Miss K has not always been what I might have dreamed but I am not sure I would change any bit of it. I know that God has a plan for her life. I know that God preserved her life in the beginning and he continues to do that.I look forward to the next year and all that God will do in and through her.

So on the World Down Syndrome Day, do you know anyone with Down Syndrome? Tell me about them in the comments.

Beth

I no longer “Choose Joy”

I no longer choose joy

I Choose Worship.

So why Choose Worship? Why do I no longer “Choose Joy”?

Choosing joy sounds like it is from within me that I am working to find joy. Choosing joy sounds like I am working to find joy in a struggle or situation that might not have joy.

Worship puts the focus on God. Worship focuses on who God is and his character. I am no longer dwelling on me but looking to God.

Worship takes my eyes away from my situations and struggles. It is easy to look at our situation and the struggles and not see God in the midst of it.

So a few months ago I was struggling. Things were difficult. I did not choose joy. In fact I did not have any joy. I was not even looking for joy. I was crying out to God to work in the situation, praying, reflecting on how God has worked in the past.

I love reflecting on Exodus and how God rescued his people in his time and in his way. He heard their cries and acted. God goes before them. He works in ways they cannot imagine.

Anyway, my prayer turned to worship and worship gave way to joy. I had not planned to have joy. I was worshipping. The situation had not changed. It was still difficult but I had focused on God. I looked away from my struggle and saw God.

Paul and Silas where in prison as recorded in Acts 16. They found themselves in a difficult situation. They were active in worship though praying and signing hymns. This worship was directed to God. They did it not expecting an earthquake and to be released. The response to difficult situations was to worship. Joy came but as a result of worship.

David had this same understanding of praise and worship. In the beginning of Palm 69 David cries to God, “Save me.” (verse 1) He further describes the situation with words like I sink, come into deep water, the flood sweeps over me, and many others words that describe a difficult situation and a struggle. But as we look at the end of the Psalm David is saying, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” (verse 30) David’s response is one of praise and worship.

So worship does lead to joy but it comes from focusing on God, what he has done in the past and with confidence of who he is in the midst of our struggles.

How can you worship God in the difficult situations and struggles of life?

Begin by singing hymns and songs that focus on who God is and what he does. Hymns like “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art,” “It is Well,” and so many others can begin to draw our focus away from our situation and focus on God.

The other aspect of worship is praise and prayer. Praise God for who he is and what he has done.  Recall through both in your own life and through the Bible the many wonderful things that God has done.

As you worship, you will find that you have joy.

How about you today, do you have a difficult situation, can you choose to worship.

Beth

A Life of Inspiration

My great Aunt Dora was the eldest of my grandfather’s sisters. She was born in 1910. In 1936 Aunt Dora worked at  Spanish Mission in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida. She spent 8 years ministering there and during that time learned Spanish.

When she was 34 and 11 months, she entered nursing school just squeezing in as students had to be between the ages of 18 and 35. I was impressed recently when I learned that she was awarded the Linda Richards medal for the state of Colorado.

Aunt Dora lived a life As He Leads. Just before going to Europe for three months 1950 she was asked if she would consider going to the mission field as a nurse to either Ethiopia or Honduras. Before going to Honduras she was able to take a midwifery training course and then when that finished she took a tropical medicine course for nurses in Nicaragua.

In the summer of 1951 she was commissioned to go to Honduras. I enjoyed reading the ways that she trusted that God was in control and guides her steps. She was to sail from New Orleans but the ship sailed with her. She then boarded a plane for Havana, Cuba where she there met the ship that she was to have gotten on in New Orleans.

Aunt Dora was in Honduras until 1963. Then she was at a clinic in Belize from 1964 to 1967. At that time she came home to care for her mother. She worked in a doctor’s office and taught Spanish. She did continue to go to medical mission trips to Spanish speaking countries.

When I was growing up Aunt Dora lived in the same town that I lived. We saw her and my great grandmother at various times. I remember sitting on a sofa in great grandma’s living room and looking at cabinets full of various items that Aunt Dora had brought home from Central America. Aunt Dora taught Spanish at the school that I attended. I don’t think I learned more than, ¿ Cómo está usted?

Aunt Dora had a special name for me. She called me “birthday girl”. I was born on her birthday. Aunt Dora never married and so I was given some of her special things — her doll, a beautiful postage stamp quilt, and some dishes.

In some ways my life had similarities to her life. I was the oldest of four. I spent time living overseas not Central American but Asia. I went to graduate school when I was 35 and 11 months. I wondered if I would remain single as she was but I did get married.

Aunt Dora wrote a book about some of her experiences in Central America. The title of that book is, As He Leads is Joy. As He Leads was the motto for her graduating class at Eastern Mennonite College. She added the two words,  is Joy. I love that those words give a bit of how she responded to all that God lead her through — leaving family and living in Central America, having her father drown while visiting her in Honduras, having her journals stolen but then returned, a stroke later in her life.  The stroke did not stop her, she learned to write with her left hand, use a typewriter, and did some hand sewing. She died March 2009 having served God faithfully.

When I began blogging a few years ago, I used the title of Aunt Dora’s book as the title of my blog, As He Leads is Joy. Just as Aunt Dora believed that so do I. I know that God guides my steps and as I follow him there is joy.

Beth wearing a dress from Mexico.

 

 

February 2018 in Review

In some ways February can be a difficult month. The newness of the January is gone. February is still grey and cold. It is short and we are on to March. Last week we had signs of spring now we have views of winter.

My word for 2018 is Grow and my goals all relate to that.

1. Grow deeper in my relationship with God

I am really enjoying reading through the Bible in 90 days. Reading through in 90 days gives you an overview. I tend to remember things that I recently read and see things repeated like bits of the prophets are repeated in Chronicles.

The focus for A Fruitful Year was Love. I spent various times reflecting on God’s love and thinking about how I love others. Having those thoughts helped me at times to ponder how I was acting and reacting. I tend to be thinking a month ahead so I did quite a bit of thinking about Joy in February. I will share some of those thoughts in the next few weeks.

We have been studying I Thessalonians in our small groups. I am going through my notes and putting them into a notebook to have for reference.

One resource that have been using a bit more this month is The Bible Project. I have found the book overviews helpful as we did our I Thessalonians study. The visual aspect just helps me to see and understand better. Yes, I am a visual learner.

2. Grow in health and strength

This has been a struggle. I was ready to quit but I know that for my health it is something that I need to keep working on. I know some of what needs to be done and it is hard. It requires self-discipline.

3. Grow in my relationships

This requires me to be intentional. My husband and I enjoyed lunch out at one of favourite places. The kids and I had some outings. I took time to write to friends. The bonus is I have also used a number of note cards and post cards.

Our hospitality time this month was a bit different. I am considering the single guy from church that was doing some work here and happened to be here at lunch so he joined us as hospitality. It was opening our home and sharing our meal. We also had two gals here for dinner and music.

4. Grow my blog

I will be honest I have struggled a bit in this area this month. I can’t really pin down the struggle exactly. I knew what I needed to do but doing it is something new and moving into territory that will stretch me. In the past week I had a conversation with a friend that was encouraging me. So while I have struggled I had direction and a bit of excitement. I will say that it is still stretching but I am ready to do it.

Watch here for more details on what is happening.

5. Grow and Enjoy my hobbies

I caught up on scrapbooking. Well, scrapbooking with the photos that I have printed. I did place an order for more photos so there will be more scrapbooking to do.

I finished four books which when I looked at how many I read in February 2017 it is less. I have four that are in various points of the book. Yes, I have read multiple books at a time.

Overall it was a good month. I took some time the other day and reflected on the good and the struggles of February. The good list was longer than the struggle. The struggle list helps me know where I need to focus or adjust.

How was your February? What did you accomplish?