Archive for June, 2010

Tuesday Topic: What Makes Home Feel Like Home?

A perfect question right before the “Home Sweet Home” photo challenge!

From Phyllis: What makes a place feel like home to you? (I take great comfort in the fact that heaven is my real home, but here I’m asking about “home” on earth.)

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)


Last Chance!

We have some fabulous pictures for the “Home Sweet Home” photo challenge! If you want to join in to share your pictures and have a chance to win a fun prize, today (the 29th…any time zone) is your last day! Click the link for details! Email photos to:!

Mark 10:29-31 on Leaving

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” – Mark 10:29-31

Do you remember the last day that you really felt the price of having “left?” There are so many days when we go about life as normal, joyful and truly enjoying the journey that God has us on. The price of leaving family, friends, and familiarity are never forgotten, but praise God for the richness of His grace and love as He so often showers us with blessings and fulfillment no matter where He sends us.

There are those days, though, when despite those many blessings, we can feel almost physically the loss of having left. As much as we would like to reason with ourselves and spare ourselves pain by making ourselves  believe that we haven’t given up much, there is no way around the fact that leaving these things comes at great expense.

I’ve had a few of those days lately and God has brought me back to this passage yet again as an encouragement and promise. My second little nephew was born last week, and while the joy of knowing that he is here is amazing, I feel the loss as the closest that we can can come to bridging the 4,500+ miles separating us from him is to see his sweet little face in photos and over Skype (praise God for Skype though!). That has led me to think all the more about our own baby who will arrive in just a few short weeks and how his loving grandparents and aunt and uncles will experience that same loss of only seeing him or her on a 2D screen rather than holding and hugging our little one like they have been able to do with our other two at the hospital so soon after birth. That too is a great loss for us as well.

I love that our all-knowing and personal God gave a verse to us for moments just like these.  He knew fully the price that He was asking us to pay to follow Him, and in His love for us and deep understanding of our hearts, He assured us with complete certainty through His everlasting word that it will all be worth it. Praise Him for the moments when we get to experience these promises as truth “now in this time,” and praise Him all the more for the ways that we will see this promise in its fullness “in the age to come.” I love that God spared us from having to reason ourselves into believing that it would all be worth it by promising us absolutely that it will be.

Have you had any days recently where you’ve felt the price of having left? Are there any ways that we can be praying for you in this? Does anyone have any encouragements to share in this area that God has given you as you’ve experienced these same emotions? You sacrifice IS worth it! May God bless you as your rest in this promise today!

(Post by: Ashley)

Don’t Forget!

Just a few more days left to send in your photos in for the “Home Sweet Home” photo challenge! Please send them to me at by the 29th of June (I’ll wait for the date to pass in all time zones to be fair).  Just for fun, here are a couple more examples from our first home in Russia:

Day #1  in our flat (thus the exploding suitcases). I liked to call the style of this apartment “death by patterns.”

This was taken several months later. My loving husband took down the largest of the “wall rugs” in this room and bought me a solid beige carpet for Christmas! I learned that I am quite sensitive to visual over-stimulation and felt so much more peaceful with the patterns tamed a bit!

(Post by: Ashley)

Children And Scripture Memory

Truth transforms lives. This is something that we believe but too often do not practice. I thought about this as 2010 approached this year, how I say that the very Word of God holds such transformational power as the Holy Spirit uses it to speak truth into our lives, but how I contemplate and store up these words much less often then I ought to. What an amazing gift we have been given that we have access to the very Word of God…wow!

As a parent of young children I never thought about having them memorize scripture until they were “older,” perhaps five or six, until I watched my almost 2 year old memorize entire songs on her tape player (yes we are one of the few family that still listens to tapes). I picked a verse that I thought was applicable (Mark 12:30) and started saying it with her at every meal. Within 3 days she had the verse memorized. This was almost 2 years ago and she has now memorized 12 verses, which is far fewer then she is capable of.

This year we are trying to work on memorizing a verse a month together. It has been a challenge for me to remain consistent in saying it with her every day. I find that as I work on helping her memorize and understand the scripture God gives me greater depth of understanding into passages that I thought I “understood”. This has also served to be a great parenting tool. We memorized Ephesians 6:1 and when discipline needs to happen around here we use this verse to help her understand that God desires us to obey our parents.

Probably one of the most exciting things is how God uses my daughter’s scripture memory to speak truth into the lives of adults around her. She often wanders around reciting verses, meaning that the truth of Scripture is then heard, and with the power of God then has the ability to transform hearts of those whom she comes in contact with. For our family, scripture memory is a vital part of being missional, not only to those in our community but to our own children as we build in them at a very early age the truth that they need to navigate life and be transformed through the power of Christ.

When did you start working with your children on scripture memory? What are some things that you do to give the Word of God a prominent place in your home? Do you have any helpful ideas to share about how to help children learn the Word of God?

(Post by: Amie)

Tuesday Topic- Challenges and Conveniences

Overseas living certainly comes with its interesting challenges, so what is one unique daily life challenge that you face where you are living? It also comes along with many blessings that one wouldn’t expect, so what is one thing that you actually find easier or more convenient than life in the US? If you’re in the US, what is one convenience that you are grateful for and what is one thing that you would enjoy being free from by living in another culture? Please share!

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)

Photo Challenge: Home Sweet Home

(The entry to our first apartment in Russia, where I remember experiencing every emotion of culture shock and adjustment.)

We talk a lot here about our various homes. Our home on the field, the “home” or home town that we left when we headed overseas and that we return to on furloughs, and our eternal home in heaven as well. For this photo challenge, I wanted to give everyone the chance to “invite everyone over” by sharing a photo or two of your home (overseas or in the US, depending on where you live)! It can be a picture of a favorite room, the front of your home, a place that evokes strong memories, a culturally unique aspect of your home, or of a place in your community where you feel most at home. Pretty much anything goes!

(The kitchen of our 2nd apartment, and a place where I have connected with God perhaps the most deeply during my entire time overseas.)

Please send your photos to, along with a caption (including you location), by June28th! Please also leave the address to your blog if you would like me to link back to you. The winner (chosen at random….there is no competition for the “best” home) will receive a $15  gift certificate to their choice of either itunes, Snapfish , or Amazon! I can’t wait to see the  homes that you’ve been blessed with!

(The playground at our 2nd home; a place where I spent much time playing with my kids, met and spent hours with a dear friend of mine, where our community gathered every evening… a place that I miss very much.)

(Our bedroom in our current home. This is the prettiest and brightest room that I think I’ve ever had, and one of the most relaxing as well. A gift that I’ve truly enjoyed.)

(Post by: Ashley)

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