Saturday, July 27, 2013

A week "off"

Ivan's in Wisconsin and I'm hanging out in Indiana, having a week off to enjoy with daughter Tina and SIL Sharon. I arrived at Tina's about 7:30 last night, ate a most delicious grilled ear of corn slathered in a tasty butter sauce, and was in bed by 8:30. A rockin' Friday night.

But boy, was I glad to crawl into bed (which I'm still in since it's only 6 a.m. as I write this, and I don't want to wake everyone else up). I'd only gotten four hours sleep the night before, and had been going, going, going all day long.

I started out Friday by getting together with some of my friends for a morning of crafty fun. I finished sewing the blocks together for the baby quilt! I still have to choose fabric for the borders and then add those, but the hard part is done. Whew! All that hard work was assuaged by the delectable goodies different women brought to the gathering :)

Then it was back home to pack, clean, pack some more, clean some more, load the car and finish cleaning. I should tell you that the house was a DISASTER! While trying to get Ivan ready to leave for Wisconsin on Thursday, I had opened ALL our suitcases and strewn stuff all around, looking for a small item (which turned out to be in the dresser, after all that).

But it was fine that stuff was everywhere, because I needed to go through it all anyway. There's a possibility that a family heading to Uruguay might be able to take a few boxes for us in their container, so I sorted through all our junk stuff belongings to see what we could live without until next March when we'd retrieve our things. No guarantees they'll have the room in their container; I'm supposed to hear back from them this week. I optimistically packed three boxes -- just in case.

Are you wondering what we can live without for the next 8 months? No? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. Books, fabric, bedding, and winter clothes. And should I get word that they have room, I'm going to grab 3 dozen pint-sized canning jars to add to the mix. I picked up a couple of those storage bags where you vacuum out the air, shrinking the size of the package by about half. I put all the fabric and some bedding in one, and the remainder of the bedding and clothes in the other. I'm a big fan of those bags and have used them often in the past.

Not sure what all we'll be doing this weekend, but I don't care. I just enjoy hanging with my daughter and her husband. They're fun and cute and they feed me well.

And I know Ivan's having fun, 'cause he's sent a few photos already. He's attending not one, but TWO air shows: a smaller show in Broadhead, Wisconsin, and then the big EAA fly-in in Oshgosh. It's been over 20 years since the last time he went, and he's pretty excited. Later in the week his brother will be joining him, and he's looking forward to more time with him too.

So as much as I miss him, I know it's going to be a good week for both of us.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to pray for your missionaries

[This is floating around the internet, and it's too good not to share! I'm not sure who to credit it to, but I doubt they'll mind that I'm posting it here.]

Do you sometimes seem to “get stuck” when praying for missionaries? Are you frustrated because your prayers seem general or shallow? If so, here are some specific things you can pray for when you are interceding for missionaries.

1. Love for God
Overworked missionaries can become service-oriented rather than love-oriented. Pray that your missionaries’ love for the Lord will deepen, and that love for him will always be their prime motivation for service.

2. Love for Others
Yes, missionaries are human, and just like you, sometimes they have trouble showing love and respect to those “difficult to love” people-either their missionary coworkers or nationals. Pray that the Lord will make your missionaries’ love “increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

3. A Deeper Relationship with God
Missionaries’ schedules can become so packed that they might skip or skimp on their time with the Lord. Pray that your missionaries would follow Jesus’ example. It’s hard to imagine any missionary having a busier life that he did; yet he consistently sought out time alone to commune with his Father.

4. Spirit-Controlled Lives
Just like the rest of us, sometimes missionaries have a tendency to do the Lord’s work in their own energy and human ingenuity. Pray that all of your missionaries’ actions will be under the control, and by the power of, the Holy Spirit.

5. The Fruit of the Spirit
As you pray that your missionaries will be under the control of the Holy Spirit, pray that the fruit of the Spirit-the very beauty of Jesus-will be manifest in their lives.

6. Wisdom and Knowledge
Strong-willed missionaries often come into conflict when two or more of them have opposing viewpoints. Pray that missionaries will have the wisdom of God, which James describes as “first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).

7. Courage
Imagine your missionaries making the same prayer request Paul did in Ephesians 6:19: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”

8. Receptive Hearts
Pray for divine providence, that the Lord will lead your missionaries to people whose hearts will be open to hearing and receiving the gospel message.

9. Disciples
Pray that your missionaries will experience the joy of leading others to salvation, and of “teaching them to obey everything [Christ] commanded” (Matthew 28:20).

10. Strong Faith
The apostles once made a direct request of Jesus: “Increase our faith!” Pray that your missionaries will have great faith that will lead them to ask great things of our Lord.

11. Steadfastness
Pray that your missionaries will follow Paul’s advice to the Corinthians: “Stand firm.  Let nothing move you. Always give fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

12. Strong Family
Cross-cultural living can magnify even small family conflicts. Pray that members of missionary families will be drawn together, not torn apart, by living in a new culture.

13. Protection
Missionaries are prime targets of the enemy. Join Jesus in praying to the Father: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

14. Material Needs
Missionaries often face harsh living conditions, and may have to struggle to meet basic physical needs. Pray that the Lord will supply all their financial and material needs “according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

15. Health and Strength
In today’s increasingly violent world, missionaries face not only sickness, they may also be victims of crime, civil unrest or political upheaval. Pray that the Lord will grant the measure of health and strength that will bring his greatest glory and the greatest good for the missionaries.

The next time you sit down to pray for your missionaries, use this list as a guide to help you pray specifically. And pray for your missionaries consistently. They need you, and the Lord needs you to help fulfill his Great Commission. Your prayers count!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fun Times

Thought I'd get up a quick post, and share a few photos. We've been a bit busy, with a three-day trip to Algonac and Lapeer in mid-July plus a couple of all-day outings.

We were able to spend a few hours with my biological dad, and I was encouraged to see him doing better than I expected. Well, I honestly didn't know what to expect since I hadn't seen him in 24 years, although from our occasional phone conversations I wasn't hopeful. But overall he's doing pretty good for a fellow who will soon celebrate his 86th birthday!
Not the best photo, since it was taken with the phone, but better than nothing.

I've talked about our obsession with antique cars, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I pushed Ivan to speed just a tiny bit so we could catch up and pass this gorgeous chunk of metal:
Although we see antique cars on the road in Argentina, too, we never see this kind.

I took the camera to Shipshewana on Friday, where we met up with family to see "Half-Stitched", but failed to take Which makes me sad, because we had quite a group, including two of my friends from Michigan. At least Tina took a great photo later at her house, when Rita stopped by with mom and "Aunt" Margaret*:
*We call her Aunt Margaret even though she's not related. Margaret and her late husband, Jim, were also missionaries in Argentina. Now Margaret and mom are next-door neighbors at Grace Village. 

In addition to the travels, we've continued our quest to digitize our photos. No small feat! We've been married 34 years, and both of us have photos from our childhood as well, so we have THOUSANDS, filling nine photo boxes plus a couple dozen albums. It's been my responsibility to sort through and pull out duplicates as well as the multitude of not-very-good photos. Y'all remember when we used film, and you never knew how many shots would actually turn out? Well, my record was pretty pathetic -- and for whatever reason I saved even the really bad ones -- so now I'm culling about 3/4 that we're not even bothering with. That still leaves a LOT of photos for Ivan to scan though. BUT the end is in sight. It will take another week or so (depending on how many "free" evenings we have) but we're down to the final two boxes. Woot!

I'm really excited about having access to our photos again. We're planning to "store" them in three different locations: on the iCloud, our family flickr account, and some type of flash or pen drive. Eventually I'd like to create photo books with some of our favorites, although I want to think that through and figure out whether it would be better to do it by date (maybe by decade?) or by topic (vacations, holidays, etc)?

Yesterday we shared at a church that was having their annual "Picnic in the Park" Sunday, and the weather was PERFECT. The extreme heat and humidity we'd been experiencing gave way to cooler temperatures with barely a hint of humidity, and the sun was shining after a night of rain. It was one of my favorite Sundays yet -- and not just because the service was followed by a potluck picnic :) That kind of venue makes it a lot easier for us to connect with more people, and really have time to talk with them. Which is one of our goals this furlough, so whenever possible, we like having more time than just a Sunday service.

Progress on the baby quilt continues, too. I have 8 more blocks to appliqué before assembling the blocks and then adding borders. I started out by doing machine appliqué but wasn't happy with how it looked, so started over and am doing all the appliqué by hand. The colors -- aqua, gray, white and lime green -- make it look more suitable for a boy, but if it's a girl I will add magenta via more appliqué and the binding. We'll find out the end of August whether it's a boy or girl, and we're all looking forward to that!

Can you believe August is just around the corner?! July has absolutely flown by. We'll be heading out the end of this week for a three week loop down to Indiana and up to mid and then northern Michigan.

Ivan will drop me off in Grand Rapids on August 14th, on his way back to Jonesville. I'm meeting up with two friends and attending the AQS Quilt Show that will be held at the DeVos Place Convention Center. On Thursday I'm really excited to take an all-day class with Katie Pasquini Masopust. We'll be mixing it up with paint, fabric, and canvas and along with traditional stitching we'll be cutting and re-assembling our work to create a unique piece of wall art. It will definitely be a stretching experience for me, moving me outside my comfort zone. But I've watched Katie several times, on the old HGTV series, Simply Quilts, as well as online at The Quilt Show, and she's a dynamic teacher. Then Friday I'll tour the quilt show and check out the vendors.

This will be my first time attending a big quilt show in over 20 years, and I am almost giddy with excitement. Along with the class, just to see the hundreds of creative, inventive quilts that will be shown, and learn about new products that vendors are sure to have on hand... Can you imagine anything more fun for a quilt enthusiast?!

So what are you looking forward to this summer? Or has it already happened? Did it meet your expectations?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Slower Pace

I am REALLY enjoying the slower pace now that we're sticking close to "home" on weekdays. I'll tell ya, last furlough about did me in and I was determined to avoid making some of the same mistakes. [Instead, I'll try to make new ones ;) ]

And the biggest mistake we made last time was not planning our schedule well, so we ended up bouncing around constantly. They could have added us as part of this official definition:
<ex·haust [ig-zawst]> 
verb (used with object)
1. to drain of strength or energy, wear out, or fatigue greatly, as a person: "I have exhausted myself working."
2. to use up or consume completely; expend the whole of: "The Hoyts were exhausted at the end of furlough."
3. to draw out all that is essential in (a subject, topic, etc.); treat or study thoroughly.
4. to empty by drawing out the contents: to exhaust a tank of fuel oil.
5. to create a vacuum in.

This time around, clustering the longer trips has made a huge difference. We had that almost-month-long travel binge at the beginning, we'll have two weeks on-the-road in August, and another two week trip out to California in September, but otherwise we are planting ourselves in Jonesville.

Aside from the more relaxed travel schedule, we're just enjoying time with our people. We've been able to go to several picnics as well as just hang with friends either at their place or ours. Our days have been filled with visits and catching up, good food and even better conversations.
 Don looking at the photo book I created, about the first year of construction on our lot in Argentina.

This morning Ivan rode with Dave to deliver a part to an MG collector in another town. We owned a few MGs back in the day, and Ivan continues to harbor an affection for the little British imports. I spent the morning making green smoothies for a friend and developing an affection for her new Vitamix. Those machines are amazing.

Living out in the country has its adventures. We drive over to the church when we need to use the internet, and on our way the other morning we had to stop while wild turkeys crossed the road.
This is one of many photos I snapped because they just kept coming! There were a total of four or five adults and dozens of little turkeys. We kept thinking they'd all gone across when suddenly more would pop up from the bank on the left and start waddling in front of the car. We've seen our share of deer, chipmunks, squirrels, and ground hogs too.

Saturday we headed to the weekly Farmer's Market held in downtown Hillsdale. What fun! I loved being able to get fresh lettuce, leeks, three kinds of tomatoes, blackberries, and blueberries. Plus, it was another opportunity to see old friends. Like Katja, who we've known for 24 years; we met her family shortly after moving to Michigan because they homeschooled too.
She was showing a little fellow how to operate the spinning wheel. I learned that in addition to her gardening and natural textile ventures, she also runs a day spa.

Progress on the baby quilt continues slowly. Days go by without a chance to work on it, but whenever possible I'm carving out time. My goal is to have the top pieced by the end of this month.

I'm behind on paperwork. Again. *sigh* I have two months worth of reports to work on, and we really need to get a prayer update out too. What can I say? It's on my "to do" list, but spending time with people keeps winning out.

I'm a little jealous of the short amount of time we have in the states, and I want to spend as much of it as possible with those we only get to see every couple years. [Can you tell I'm trying to justify my procrastination with the paperwork?]

So what job or chore are you putting off?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Looking at the pictures I've taken over the last month or so, I was struck by how I'm drawn to created objects.

Of course.
This is just one of many photos I've taken while visiting numerous fabric stores over two states.

But any kind of created object is fair game. As we were driving to the Art Museum in Indianapolis, we passed this mural on the side of a building:
I really have a thing for murals on the sides of buildings.

And then once we arrived at the Art Museum, before we even entered a gallery we saw this in the front lobby:
I also have a thing for bicycle art.

And for starburst mirrors, like this one at Meijer's:
Yes, I like 'em even though I know their "star is fading". [Sorry, couldn't help myself.] I took that photo a few weeks ago, and then saw this tutorial on Addicted2Decorating. And I actually like the one Kristi created even better. Looks like I have some creating of my own to do in the future.

I could blame my fixation on interior design on the fact that we just moved into the casita last September and will be building a house in the next few years. But the truth is, I've been fixated on interior design since I was a teenager.

My original plans after high school included interior design school.
Obviously God had other plans.
But my love for making things pretty never abated. I've still got notebooks with ideas on what to do in homes we've lived, going back over 20 years. I think that's when I got a little more intentional about the process. Before then my "look" was whatever we had on hand; we used a lot of hand-me-down furniture and accessories for many years. But with the advent of shows like Decorating Cents and Room By Room on PBS, and the debut of HGTV, I started taking notes and clipping pictures out of magazines. I ended up with two big binders of clippings, to say nothing of the notebooks full of ideas and notes.

These days I pin rather than clip, being a big fan of both Pinterest and Houzz.

One of the things I really like about Pinterest is that I don't have to limit it to interior design. I can pin recipes, quilting tips, craft ideas, party decor... I'm up to 47 boards and almost 3,000 pins there. [So far my Houzz account trails far behind, although I do actually spend more time reading the "This Week on Houzz" articles than I do looking at pictures on Pinterest. I'm just not saving as many photos on that site.]

I have both apps on my iPhone too, so that when I have some downtime while in line somewhere, or traveling, I can check out all the pretty pictures.

Here's one I came across yesterday, and it made me think of Rita who collects nativities.
Maybe one of these years you could create a gingerbread nativity with the grandkids, Rita!

But I don't find ideas just online. I was flipping through magazines recently when this caught my eye:
What a fun idea -- creating a clock out of paint chips. I thought it might already be on Pinterest, and while there are a lot of other paint chip clocks, I didn't find this one.

 So many ideas, so little time.

What have you created lately? Something for your home? A new recipe? A gift?