Wednesday, October 31, 2012

5 Gifts You Can Give Your Children

5 Gifts You Can Give Your Children is a contributor blog I wrote for Intentional by Grace

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

As a woman and mother, do you realize you are in your own at-home ministry? In the book “The Ministry of Motherhood” by Sally Clarkson, she explains that children need an unwavering spiritual compass to lead them through life, one that we mothers provide as part of our ministry.

*To check out the rest of the story, click here

Monday, October 29, 2012

On a break...and on to adventure!

Sorry for the delay in posts, but last week was our fall break - we survived midterms! Hooray! So we celebrated by taking a break - from blogging, from school, and from Canada. We traveled back to East Tennessee to visit family. (Please do not be offended if we do not get to spend time together as this trip was mainly for the grandparents to have some one-on-one baby time, and seeing us was a mini-bonus!) Without further ado, here are some of our adventures from last week.

We had plans to fly to Tennessee on Friday evening so that Adah could sleep on the flight.
Super Baby Spann
We took our exams early during the week and had all day Friday to pack our bags and empty our refrigerator. At 6 AM on Friday morning, Kevin received an automated wake-up call from the airlines telling us our flight has been cancelled. What?!? Now being awake, Kevin called to speak to a human being in an attempt to try and get some more info on our flight. It was indeed cancelled, with no explanation; but they were happy to accommodate us. Our next flight was Sunday. Not later on Friday. Not Saturday. But Sunday morning. Kevin, being the ever patient pilot/mechanic, tried to find out about other options: departing from Montreal, departing from Vermont, arriving in Knoxville, arriving in Nashville, arriving in Atlanta, arriving in Charlotte, arriving in Lexington, etc. Nothing could connect us to a location near Tennessee anytime before we would arrive Sunday on the regular flight. So, Sunday was our only option with an 8 AM flight. Luckily, they put us in a hotel in Montreal Saturday evening so that we wouldn't have to drive 2 hours with a 5 month old at 4 AM.
Sleeping in between flights
We had a 5 hour layover in Chicago, but baby cooed her way into many people's hearts. She did great on the flight! She nursed a little and even took a pacifier for the first (and only) time! Some people even commented  they didn't know a baby was even on the plane!
Sweet baby, even after missing all her naps!
After arriving in Tennessee Sunday evening (flying and waiting all day), we spent the next week in a whirlwind of family visits and cleaning up our old house (which is on the market). We have no idea where the time went.
Four generations: Me, mom, Great Aunt Ruby, and baby
The following Sunday morning, bright and early, we headed to the Knoxville airport to fly back to Canada. Unfortunately, the airlines had other plans....again...  The baby was not registered (even though we registered her in Canada for the flights and payed her taxes).  We waited while airline personnel worked hard to find the problem. Three agents, one phone call, 10 printed-off ticket mistakes, and one hour later, we rushed to make out flight. We arrived at the gate with 2 minutes to spare!

After grabbing a quick bite to eat during our layover in Chicago, we settled down for a short wait for our next flight (30 minutes)...until it was announced that our flight was delay due to mechanical issues. Kevin knew right away that we were on the same airplane we were on before, coming from Knoxville. During the flight, he noticed the anti-ice system wasn't as it should be, causing a loud noise during flight. 2 hours later, the mechanics deemed the airplane to be airworthy and we were on our way. Adah was a trooper! She nursed and slept happily while Kevin and I began to watch a movie on our laptop.

Halfway through the flight, Kevin noticed that the airplane made a very long turn and was heading back towards the sun. He gave me a look that said, "oh no." Sure enough,  a few minutes later, the pilot announced we were headed back. The anti-ice system issue was still not fixed and we had to turn around before we got into an area where ice had been predicted. (For those of you unfamiliar with flight mechanics/travel the plane is equipped with the anti-ice system to prevent any possible ice build up on the aircraft in order to keep the weight down/improve visibility and proper airflow over the plane).
Sleepy baby is trying to play
So, after a one and a half hour scenic tour over Michigan, we arrived back in Chicago. Luckily, by the time we walked back in to the terminal, the airlines had already arranged for another plane to take us to Canada. We waited an hour for them to clean it up and fuel it and we were on our way! We touched down in Canada (bags and all!) at 6 PM and slipped through customs and baggage quickly (Canadians love children and you get to cut to the front of the line)! We made it back to our car and drove home and had Adah in bed by 10 PM.

We are thankful to be back and are ready to finish up our first semester of French. We were grateful to everyone along the way who helped us through the airport, the kind airline service people who worked hard to get us where we needed, and all the random strangers who did not complain when our tired baby refused to take a pacifier on the flight home! God is so good!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sanctuaire de Beauvoir

Friday was field trip day. What an exciting day for us! We had the opportunity to go with our fellow classmates to sight-see Quebec while testing out our French skills! We got to visit an historical Catholic Church, Sanctuaire de Beauvoir
This beautiful little church was built in the 1920's (we think that's what she said anyway) and was built completely out of stone...The view isn't bad either! It sits atop a big hill, looking out at the beauty of Canada!
There is a quaint little path behind the sanctuary full of beautiful statues. We only took a few pictures, but I linked a website with some more pictures on this page.
Brrr!!! It is cold!
The "tour guide" was a sweet woman with a beautiful testimony of faith. I did not take her picture but we did enjoy getting to know her better over lunch. Though our teachers requested the woman speak only in French during the tour, she spoke English quite well so during lunch we got to use our native tongue to make sure we got the correct context of what she said.

Here are some pictures of inside the little sanctuary:
The Sacred Heart of Jesus statue
The wall is lined with crutches given up after a miraculous healing!
Beautiful stained glass window!
We had such an great day learning about the history and some of the culture here in Quebec! The school has us go on these outings for several reasons. Firstly, it re-enforces the French we do know. Second, it builds up our courage and faith in our abilities to be able to communicate in another language. Third, these trips help us to understand more about the culture so we can be more effective in relating to the people here. We are not just focused on the future ministry in Africa, but ministry where ever we go so we can be servants of Him. Fourth, they are fun. That never hurts either.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Pray on Words

Pray (verb) \ˈprā\: to address God with adoration, confession, supplication, and thanksgiving

My nightly prayers have become a ritual. I have had years of practice. I usually start off with my childish, “As I Lay Me Down to Sleep” poem mostly out of habit; then go into something with a little more theological pomp, usually “The Lord’s Prayer”. Next, I go through a daily list of things to thank God for: thank you for my husband, thank you for my baby, thank you for my family, thank you for MAF, thank you, thank you, thank you, etc. And last is the good part, where I begin my list of prayer requests – be with me God, guide so and so, watch over such and such, give my friend strength, etc. But lately, I feel a lacking in my quality time with God. Sure, I give God thanksgiving. I am truly grateful for who and what I have in my life. Yes, I confess certain things that have been on my heart and ask God for forgiveness. And I definitely spend a lot in supplication! But what about adoration, praise, honor, and affection? I have to say 99.9% of my prayers lately are full of “requests.”

When I first truly understood what it meant to be a Christian, I never asked God for anything. When most people said the word “pray” they were using the word “need” synonymously and avoided the whole part about praise. I did not want to be “that” person who simply “used” God as a big cosmic Santa Clause. It took years and a lesson about the Prayer of Jabez before I understood that it was OK to ask God for help. That is what is so special about our relationship with God. What kind of relationship do I have with the maker of the universe that I didn't feel comfortable asking him help – do I not trust Him to help me or that He would even care when I ask?

But over the years, I feel my prayer life has turned from 99.9% adoration to 99.9% requests. I feel so guilty about my prayers! I have been focusing on what He does and not who He is! I have not been focusing on God! There are multiple parts to prayer, so why am I only doing half of them? No, I am not saying I am going to stop praying. And no, I am not going to stop my prayer requests and supplication. What I am doing is I am vowing to praise God more, which also means spending more time in prayer (Good thing!).
Why have I gotten lazy in my prayer life when we have such great examples of prayer in the book of Psalms? I have my instruction manual; I just need to apply it!

Do you have a part of your prayer life that you feel you need to work on?