Snapshot Saturday

"Undercover Brothers"

You gotta love those faces!  Silly glasses, butterfly band-aids, globs of glitter, and all!  Ahhh....my boys. They're a rough bunch, my little rascals.  But they have a sweet side that melts my heart to molasses.

Speaking of molasses and other sticky (and often slow) subjects, I know I've been missing from blogland lately, but life (i.e. the laundry pile) has been demanding a lot of my attention.  Much has been happening (other than the laundry) that I can't wait to share and will share very soon!  

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Don't forget to enter my giveaway below!!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


tukula give away

picture of Melissa Terranova and the child she took in temporarily

Here is where my heart (the new heart--the one that God is breaking) has been taking me of late...

Where Melissa and Joe Terranova are following Jesus one day at a time, one step at a time.
Where they are not just letting God break their hearts for the people of Uganda, but they're committed to doing something about it.

I think what struck me the most about this couple I have never met, but have grown to love is the simple way they present their story.  In Melissa's own words,
"I get asked very often what I do and why I am in Uganda.   My answer to question number one is: I own a business.  My answer to question number two is: I'm following Jesus.   
I am not in Uganda because I own a social business that works with young tailors - I am in Uganda because Jesus called me to be a disciple and I said yes...then he called me to leave everything again and I said "I'll go" - reluctantly but I said it. THAT is why I am in Uganda."
They created a small business called tukula (translated it means "we grow") to help assist tailors in Uganda.

 My heart nods in agreement with their vision:
"...to bring real and tangible solutions to the world of poverty and aid through different means than just “hand outs” but rather “hand ups”.  We work to help those in vulnerable conditions by using entrepreneurial principles and innovative projects to achieve sustainability. 
Our current focus is meeting basic needs (water and sanitation) of those in rural village communities through the excess profit we receive from our tailoring business.
Our ultimate focus is to serve God and others with grace, love and peace."
Not only have Melissa and Joe walked away from everything near and dear to them here in the States, but they've committed themselves to walking beside their brothers and sisters in Uganda, to giving them a "hand up" with flesh on it.

I want to give you a bag from tukula.  Your choice.

All you have to do is visit tukula and leave me a comment telling me which bag you would like.  That's it.  I'll randomly draw the winner in two weeks.  

Send prayers their way and let's spread the word!  
my mombasa carry-all from tukula

Lately, God has been shaking me to my core.  I've been staring into starving eyes from the comfort of my computer screen and falling apart.  Something just isn't right with our "prosperity" mentality.  And it's not that money is the entire issue.  It's our love for it.  Our belief that somehow we deserve it.  How quickly we forget that Jesus asked for it all; that it never really belonged to us in the first place.

I'm reminded again of another season in my life where God performed heart surgery.  I was so distraught because I didn't know how we were going to help the few persecuted Christians my husband had met on his trip to Saudi Arabia.  I reached for His Word, desperate for a "this is the way, walk in it" command from Him.  "What do we do, Jesus?" I whispered, distraught over our meager bank account and the desire to give what I knew we couldn't afford.  The first words I read through a haze of tears were "Feed my sheep"  (John 21: 15-19) Jesus was asking Peter if he loved him and after Peter's quick assertion, Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."  And then he asked a second time.  And then a third.  God couldn't have spoken any louder.  His words cut me to my quick.

Joye, do you truly love me more than these?

Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.

Feed my lambs.

Joye, do you truly love me?

Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.

Take care of my sheep.

Joye, do you love me?

Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.

Feed my sheep.

Yes, Lord, I'll do it.  Every day show me hungry people.  Don't let me turn a blind eye.  Don't allow my heart to become hardened or overwhelmed or my vision too narrow.



We've been on a health kick lately.  I've been determined to pack more veggies and good enzymes into our diet, so we've been juicing everything but the kitchen sink.  Even our junk food lovin' daddy has jumped on the juicing band wagon.  The twins have always loved vegetables, so they didn't need much persuasion to drink the "green juice".  (our green juice concoction = spinach, cucumber, apple, pear, peach, blueberries, grapes, and lemon, a.k.a everything but the kitchen sink) Thaddeus, my picky little eater, was not that thrilled, however.  After a couple days of eating healthy, he decided he'd had enough.  

I walked into the kitchen to find this:
Bread pops.  
Pretty ingenious, I have to admit!


my dreamweaver

God is up to something.
Because my dreams are getting antsy.
They're beating at the door of my heart, demanding to be believed.
They've broken me for people I don't know, flowing tears from a bleeding heart.
Dreams to love hurts and feed souls.
Dreams to place hope in empty hands.
Dreams to follow Jesus anywhere...even here.
Dreams to see the impossible happen for just one person...for many.
Dreams to change this world...one ordinary day at a time....one orphan at a time...one young person at a time...one starving family at a time.

My dreams seem impossible to me.
And I could leave it at that.
I could ignore the dreams, the desire to see love become a movement, the yearning to become less so that God will become so much more.
I could accept complacency. 
I could accept that there will always be suffering.
I could tell myself that God really can't use me.  That the little I have to give won't matter.
And I have.  Many times.

But God used a little boy's lunch to feed four thousand people.
Maybe he can use me after all?

There's a phrase that keeps running through my head, dredging up faith.

God doesn't exist to make my dreams come true...I exist to make His come true.

God dreamed me into existence and He wove His dreams within me.
His love was the only motivation.

Love, like an arrow, must have a target.
And His love is aimed at the hearts of man.
I want to be a bow in His hands.


an afternoon tea

"T" is for:

Tea in the garden.
Under the trees.
Time melts by.
Truly scrumptiously.


a belated fourth post

America, America, God shed His Grace on Thee!

Our Founding Fathers once said:

"We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!"  -John Adams and John Hancock [April 18, 1775]

“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” -Patrick Henry "Orator of the Revolution" [May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]

“ It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.”  -George Washington

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” -Thomas Jefferson (excerpts are inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in the nations capital) [Source: Merrill . D. Peterson, ed., Jefferson Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), Vol. IV, p. 289. From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781.]


this is forever

"looking forward to forever"
Joel and I on our engagement eight years ago

My honey and I celebrated seven years of marriage last weekend.  Life interrupted our anniversary plans and we ended up staying home sick with sick kids.  I made a grand attempt at a romantic meal of my husband's favorite pad thai.  It tasted like soggy wet rice noodles.  But he ate it and didn't say a word.  Wise man!  He's certainly learned a lot in seven years.  (smile)  I was the first one to mention how terrible it was and we shared a good laugh.  No use crying over wet noodles. We planned to watch a movie together after we put the kids to sleep, but Legend had other ideas and my poor man ended up falling asleep on the couch.  A couple years ago, I would have been hurt that he couldn't at least keep his eyes open for such an important day.  But four kids and seven years have taught me a lot about expectations! 

I have learned the one thing I can expect in life is that the unexpected really isn't so bad after all. 

So even though we didn't have a romantic rendezvous in tropical paradise, we enjoyed a day together at home with our favorite people.  I pulled out boxes of pictures and we reminisced about the day we met and how we've changed (or haven't).  We laughed at Joel's continuously evolving hairstyles and my tried and true.  We remembered how we fell in love... the sweet friendship...the love notes...the first date. 

And we were reminded that staying in love is just as beautiful as falling.

We fell in love, and because we've already fallen into it, it's not something we can fall out of.  We make a choice to stay, or we make the choice to climb out.  And sometimes we've climbed out before we ever realize we've taken the first step.  We may choose not to forgive...first step.   Or we can't overlook wrongs...second step.  We stop appreciating the little things...third step.  We lose respect...and we decide to walk the final steps away.  And we think the next time we fall in love it will be different.   But love doesn't change, we do.

And so often we change for the better when God's grace makes something beautiful out of our messy lives.  I can't withhold forgiveness when I've been given it so freely.  My baby forgave me for soggy wet rice noodles and I forgave him for falling asleep.  Such is the way of love.

Episode Seven:  The golden oldies

View last year's episode here.


red, white, and blueberry spritzer

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!
Hope you have a snap, pop, and crackin' good time!  We've been poppin' firecrackers since Thursday! 

And just in case you need something to wet your whistle this Independence Day, here is the recipe I promised:

Beth's Blueberry Spritzer

1 pint blueberries
1 bottle Italian lemon spritzer (or soda water)
Fresh mint leaves

Crush a handful of blueberries in the bottom of your glass and fill your cup halfway with Italian spritzer.  Pour in the same amount of sprite.  Add a few crushed mint leaves, stir, and enjoy!


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