31 July 2008

Thankful Thursday

"Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Amplified Bible

It would be easy for me to thank God for the loving relationships He has established in my life. In fact, I do thank Him daily for my beloved husband, my family, my church family and for the amazing friends He has brought into my life. Paul however teaches us to be thankful in all circumstances. So.....

Today I choose to thank You, Lord God for those relationships in my life that are strained at this moment in time, knowing that Your work is being done even when I can't understand it. I choose to thank you for those relationships that have fractured and seem beyond repair, for You alone know when people need to move on and move out of my life. I know that there are lessons You wish me to learn from those people in my life that drive me crazy, so I thank you for them as well. Thank You for loving me enough to do those things that are best for me even when they might not be the things I myself would opt to do. You are my God, my King, seated on the throne and Lord of my life. Thank You for choosing me to be Your child, in Jesus name.

To read more Thankful Thursday posts, do visit Sting My Heart. Thank you for Iris for hosting!

30 July 2008

Growing Faith

One of the many blessings I received when we moved to our country home was the chance to have a dog. I had owned house cats for years (indoor only), and people thought of me as a "cat person" not realizing the total fool I am for dogs. I simply was waiting for the right time and place to invite one into our lives. My years of urban apartment dwelling and a lifestyle that included very little time spent at home did not lend itself to properly caring for a dog. Cats, though they love our company, can be quite self sufficient as long as they have food, water and a clean litter box. Dogs that live indoors need someone to come home at reasonable intervals to walk them. With acres of space and no neighbors in close proximity, it was time to add a canine member to our family.

Enter a three month old border collie crossed with husky or malamute and who knows what else. Thinking border collie, I was expecting her to be black and white, not the lovely cream and tan ball of fluff Rick brought home in a box. She had crisp and engaging clear blue eyes and so much fur that we were calling her "polar bear butt". Was it love at first sight? You bet! I knew that I was to name her Faith. Young and small as she was, the joke became "Oh, you of little Faith."

She would become an outside dog, but until she was old enough to have all of her shots she spent most of her time in the house with me. One day I was working on the computer and she was curled up near my feet and I began to sing "My little Faith is growing, my Faith is growing bigger everyday." Immediately I sensed the Lord speak into my spirit "That is exactly as it should be."

Faith has grown to be a beautiful, energetic dog that seems to enjoy every moment of her life. She lavishes us with affection. She shows us the same unconditional love that our Heavenly Father desires us to walk in. When she sees me, she comes running towards me in bounding leaps.

No longer can it be said of me "Oh, you of little Faith" for now indeed I have "a bounding Faith". And again I hear my Father say
"As it should be, My child. As it should be."

28 July 2008

I've Been Tagged!!

Sam from Journey Through Faith tagged me for Six Random Facts. My very first tagging!

First I have to post the rules.... (yes, there are always rules)

1) Link to the person who tagged you.

2) Post the rules on your blog.

3) Write 6 random things about yourself.

4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.

5) Let each person know they have been tagged, leave a comment on their blog.

6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Now in no particular order, six random things about me:

1) I am back in school now, at the age of almost 52. I am going to finish my bachelor’s degree which I began at Colombia College Chicago many, many years ago. Back then I was working toward a major in Fiction Writing. Now I am a distance student at Christian Leadership University. God changes some things, but others remain the same, for I believe I will be majoring in Prophetic Ministry and Christian Arts (still writing).

2) I love cinnamon, the look of it, the smell of it and the taste of it. It is warm. It is spicy. It is comfort to my bones.

3) I have an unusual affection for two of Hallmark’s most popular e-card characters Hoops and Yoyo. I have stuffed Hoops and Yoyos. I have a Hoops and Yoyo Christmas cd. I fantasize about Hoops and Yoyo creating a worship album, for I just know that their worship would be extravagant. No, I do not quite idolize them, but, Rick did have them put on the cakes for my 50th birthday party!
4) I have a 5 disc stereo in the bedroom that I load up with worship cds and let them play through the night as we sleep. It improves the atmosphere. The devil can’t stand when anyone worships God and just can’t bring himself to hang around! Often I will wake up to hear exactly the lyrics God needs me to hear.

5) God has given me the gift of hearing the sound of chimes when He desires to speak to me about something.

6) I try my best to appreciate all of God’s creation, but for the life of me cannot quite understand why he made mosquitoes. Here in Manitoba they’re often called the provincial bird.

That's it for my six random facts. Now, I am tagging the following six awesome women of God:

26 July 2008

More than meets the eye

On July 1st we took off alone to some less visited areas of Riding Mountain National Park, avoiding the crowds that were gathered at Clear Lake for all of the usual Canada Day festivities. In the beauty of His creation we both feel God’s presence more acutely.

Rick, as always, stayed busy snapping pictures with his still relatively new digital camera, purchased before our Uganda journey. We are both quite taken with the native wildflowers and many shots were captured.

Once home again, we plugged the media card into the computer and took a quick look at the pictures. Some very nice flowers indeed, we thought.

A few days later, with more time available, we decided to take a better look. Here was a nice shot of some sort of daisy type flower with strange pink balls on the edge.

We decided to enlarge the view to get a better look at them. Now we could see the pink balls better, but we also noticed something on the white part of the flower that looked like it might be an insect.

We enlarged it yet again to find a wonderful shot of an odd green bug.

This encouraged us to look closer at more of the photos.

This is a picture of a dried reed. When enlarged we found a damsel fly.

Enlarged again there is also a lady bug near the upper left corner.

It seemed that every picture we looked at began to show us more than we expected, and certainly things that Rick didn’t know were there when he took the shots.

I believe this was God teaching us to look closer. He was showing us that there is always much more than we can see with our natural eyes. He desires to enlarge our spiritual senses in the same way our computer enlarged the digital photos.

Forgive me Lord God for so often being content with my natural abilities and not asking for Your divine revelations. Help me to open the eyes and ears of my spirit, to be in tune with what You hear and what You see.

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." Hebrews 4:13

Cafe Chat Week of July 26th

The question asked this week was: "What would be the title of a book about your life?"

So many answers are swirling about in my mind I don't think I can settle on only one.

  • Saved From The Fire (and Into the Master's Furnace)

  • How Did I Get Here? Only God Knows

  • From Winding Roads to a Narrow Path

  • Learning to Break the Alabaster Box

  • Moving From Fear to Faith and Freedom

25 July 2008


Okay, it's time for a bit of confession and repentance. I get very testy when I don't have internet access at home, as these last few days have again shown me. In my journal last evening, while we still had no phone line, I wrote:

"Lord God, I know all things are within Your control, and You have a plan that I often do not understand. I want to be able to abandon my own will and be obedient to Yours. In the midst of my frustration at having no telephone and no internet, I realize that You are at work here. There is something You are trying to accomplish. Forgive me Lord if I have come kicking and screaming, whining and complaining. Forgive me for forgetting that if I have nothing but You I still have all that I need."

Leave it to our all knowing Father to arrange things in a way that will show us where our hearts are and open our eyes to priorities that may be misaligned. The internet is a tool, a marvelous tool, but it should never become our life.

19 July 2008

Back in Kampala

Our building work for Watoto was completed, we were back from safari, and still had a few days before we had to leave for home. One of our hosts Bonny decided to give us a tour of the city.
We were stuck in one spot in traffic for more than half an hour, until our driver decided to back up, pull through a gas station and drive around on different streets to get us to a point where the flow of traffic was moving again. I remember talking with the Lord, telling Him I would go where He sends me, but please, please..... I've become too used to the wide spaces of country life to cope with congestion like this. Here are Boda Boda (motorcycle taxi) drivers near the largest and busiest market in Kampala, waiting to take people and their purchases home. We couldn't believe some of the things we saw carried on the backs of these small bikes, chairs, sofas, stacks of lumber and more.

Those who could afford the rent had space in this market, others, like this watch vender/repairman had his portable cart across the street.

18 July 2008

An interuption in the story

The story of our trip to Uganda is not quite complete, but I feel I must come back to this moment in time for just a little while. I have been trying to finish the posts about Kampala in December 2007 and it is already July 2008 in Manitoba, Canada. Life continues to move on even as we attempt to chronicle it all.I woke the other night and noticed that my digital clock read 3:33. I knew that the number was significant. The next morning I turned to Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." This was a direct confirmation of word God had spoken to me the day before: "Do you believe that My desire is to share with you the things that I am about to do in this season?"

After I finished journaling and talking to Jesus about all this, I sat down at the computer to read the morning's emails. In Rick’s daily verse was Psalm 119:2 “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.” Another confirmation. I am always so delighted when our Lord does that!

This is indeed a new season. In my life as a woman of God, in my life as a wife, in our lives as a couple, in our lives as a church body and in the life of the church entire, the bride of Christ. There is a stirring, a shifting, a sifting taking place. As much as we sense change, there is even more beyond the horizon that we cannot yet imagine. God is asking us to grow hungry for more. He is asking us to seek Him for Who He is, not only for what He can do. He is asking us to fully walk out the Word "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5

14 July 2008

Journey home to Kampala

As mentioned in the last post, we were shuttled across the Nile in small boats to meet our buses which had crossed on the ferry the night before. I have always liked being on the water, and so though some were nervous, I quite enjoyed the ride.

I admit I was sad to be leaving the beauty and majesty of the wild animals behind. Happily there were still more friends to encounter as we traveled.
Now that's what we would call "big horn"cattle! It was the day of the big monthly market, and all along the road we saw people walking with their animals, produce, clothing and other wares to sell.

Our driver pulled over to let us take pictures of this vast expanse, simply saying "Now this is Africa!"

We saw baboons on the side of the road and they saw us too as we had crackers to feed them from the bus. Rick was able to get a photo of this mama and her baby.

We all nearly shouted for joy (and relief) when we approached a school yard with its accompanying outhouses! As the first of us left the bus, the children scattered, afraid. It was as if they had never seen mzungu (white people) before. The watched us with great curiousity, keeping their distance at first.
I usually do not spend much time thinking about or speaking about "toileting" but putting pride aside, I will share the following tale.

My delight at finding bathrooms was extinguished when I discovered they were "stand over a hole in the ground" stalls, what one of our Scottish team mates called "squatties". Earlier in the trip when I encountered these I had chosen to wait for the type of facility I was more used to. We used lots of toilets that had no seats because they had given up on replacing them when they were repeatedly stolen, but even with no seats, they were familiar. At this moment though, I realized I had best take advantage of the opportunity presented to me, and so, boldly taking new ground, I both relieved my aching bladder and conquered my fear. It truly was a moment of victory. There was time to walk around a bit and stretch our legs. I suddenly noticed children standing around me, squealing and pointing at my feet. My first thought was that there was a snake beside me. This was quickly followed by a second thought that they had noticed something that I may have picked up on my sandal during my bathroom adventure. The truth was that they had noticed the tattoo of a cat on my left ankle. Upon learning this, I began to make meowing noises, which brough more squeals, smiles, laughter and handshakes from them all! What a silly mzungu they must have thought I was. During this time, Rick was watching a girl who was busy watching every move I made. Here's a close up of her face. I am intrigued by the intensity in her eyes. We saw similar intensity in the faces of other children during our time in Uganda.

An early morning

It was hotter here up north and much more humid. One had to simply reconcile themselves to a constant layer of sweat on their skin. We were warned very strongly NOT to keep our balcony doors open due to bands of raiding baboons that could appear at any time, (we heard stories of people who didn't heed this advice and lost cameras, purses, and various other valuables as the bandits came through) and with no screens we didn't want to leave them open to insects either. I was surprised, however, at how easy it was to sleep, even knowing that the power is turned off for hours in the middle of the night and that the ceiling fan above our bed could not move the air about and cool us. We knew we had a scheduled departure time of about 8 AM and woke early enough to catch the sunrise from our balcony.

We had a long days ride ahead of us, and for practical reasons (mainly lack of rest stops) I again was afraid to eat much and had only one cup of coffee. All of us were watching the time, planning a final run to the bathrooms just before boarding the busses. A few minutes after 7 we were told we were leaving, now! You can imagine the scrambling, the grumbling, the complaining..... and the mad dashes to every available bathroom. We were reminded yet again that schedules are simply something created so they can later be rearranged with only the explanation TIA (this is Africa).

The ferry was undergoing scheduled repairs and our buses had crossed over the night before. We walked down to the river to be shuttled across in small boats. The walk gave us the opportunity to view lilly pads and our final group of hippos.

12 July 2008

Giraffes, antelopes, water buffalo. The second game drive.

We got back to the lodge for lunch, this time a sit down meal. None of us really needed all the food we were eating, since we were spending our days sitting on buses and boats, but we ate and savoured none the less.

Time again for an afternoon rest and swim before our second and final game drive.No, I don't mean a swim with the boys (as Rick called them). We let them enjoy their mud hole without interfering.
These giraffes almost look as if we had posed them.

Yes, I have always loved giraffes. Had to remind myself this was not an episode on Animal Planet. This was Africa and we were hereAn oribe, a small antelope with lovely stripes in its ears.

Ugandan crested crane, the national bird, has all of the colors of the Ugandan flag.

The bushbok is the favorite prey of leopards. We did not see any more lions. We never got the chance to see leopards or hyenas, and one of my other favorites, the zebra, does not inhabit this part of Uganda. Any disappointment at what we had missed, however, was overshadowed by all we had seen.

Not just another boat ride!

December 4, 2007

After a restful sleep we enjoyed a splendid breakfast buffet at the Lodge. How can there be anything wrong with a day that starts with fresh passionfruit juice? We were quickly whisked away for our next activity, a boat ride on the Nile.

There were hippos everywhere! Pod after pod after pod. We would see heads sticking out of the water, and there were always too many to count.

A colorful bee-eater!

I was happy to watch this crocodile from the safety of the boat. He looked to be out for his morning stroll, although I'm sure anything that came across his path would be breakfast.

I had to keep reminding myself this wasn't just "another" boat ride. We were on the Nile River!! It was hard to supress my excitement. It was harder still to contain my awe at all God had created. I suspect that pictures of me would have found my eyes wide and mouth open.

From the river we were able to see a much different view of Murchison Falls than we had from the top. There is so much power in the water that we could see foam for miles down river.

After we got as close as the boat could to the base of the falls, we turned around for the trip home. Keeping our eyes turned to the river bank we saw a large herd of elephants, antelopes, hippos and more, all sharing the same space. We could certainly learn something about the way they co-exist.

Of course they also eat each other, but that's another story altogether.