March 20, 2012

It's time...

I've found the pieces to my last few posts somewhere
in my blog draft file, waiting for the final edit and publish.

This morning, I found these,
just a few black and white memories from last Summer,
asking for narration of some sort.
The last unfinished post in my drafts...
and what I feel is meant to be my last post here too.


No, I still love telling stories.
My life still abounds with inspiration,
and I'm not tired of writing. 
(Small chance of that...)

But it's time. 


I'm continuing to snip the Internet-related strings from my life,
as I'm led to limit the distractions,
and focus attention where it must be.

Life here is so very short you know.


So thank you faithful readers!
I will be leaving the archives so you can still
come and "visit" now and then.
Leave a comment if you would like to contact me,
I will still get them. :)


"Only one life,
'twill soon be past,
only what's done for Christ
will last."

C.T Studd

March 8, 2012

163,000,000

In a way,
this post is my way of announcing a new character,
and wow, is she a cute one -
but the circumstances surrounding her arrival 
 have become something especially deep and sweet to us.
As much of a joy as she has proven to be,
that first day, she was a reminder of much more important
things in life.

Introducing 
Phronsie. 

{The name comes from the book "The Five Little Peppers" -
fitting as we now have five dogs. Yes; Five.
}

It was late September.
I was preparing to leave,
we were busy with Fall in general, 
and definitely weren't in the market for a needy puppy.
We were perhaps looking for an additional 
sheepdog - but German Shepherd mix?
No thanks. :)


I'm the softie when it comes to cuteness,
so it still surprises me that it was Mom on her own
that brought little Phronse home.

It would be hard to leave this girl behind.


She was maybe 8 or 12 weeks old,
but the first thing I saw were her eyes,
they were much older eyes,
they seemed to know things that little puppies don't usually know.


She was so thin.
Where there should be a round little puppy tummy,
there was nothing,
and her skin sagged over her little bones.

She was so tired.
She tried to wag her tail to be polite,
but that was the best she could do.

Mom found her wandering in a nearby cornfield.
The neighbors said she had been shy and ran away before,
but by the time Mom saw her,
she just couldn't run anymore.


It began to hit me when Mom handed her to me,
and I felt that thin little body just melt.
She was ready to give up,
she knew we were her last chance,
she had to trust us.
I could see her deciding to.

It was those first few minutes and days with Phronsie 
that gave me a teeny-tiny little glimpse into issues much deeper.

As we loved on her, fed her, and watched her blossom,
it made my heart ache.
She somehow helped me understand things that
I had struggled to grasp before.

She's just a dog.
Yes, she's adorable, yes she's pitiful -
but if just a little dog can tell sad stories with her eyes,
can move us with her hungry whimpers,
if just a dog can capture our heart and our sympathy,
and can convey the miracle and transformation of a rescue -

what else are we overlooking in this world?


163,000,000

It's an estimate that most likely misses the mark;
but there are at least that many orphans in the world.

Not puppies in a pound,

Human Souls.
Created in the Image of God.


As I watched little Phronsie grow,
witnessed the weight come back,
and the boundless joy and security of her little puppy life return,
I found myself thanking our Heavenly Father.
He cares about the sparrows that fall,
and uses even little dogs to remind us of His great
faithfulness.


If we are His Body,
than we must be His hands and feet here on Earth.
Don't ever let the overwhelmingness of the world's problems
cause us to forget that He is not limited.

He is the ultimate Redeemer of lives.

And He is the One that gives the grace and resources
to accomplish all that He calls us to.
For His honor and glory.





Here's the Happy Girl as of last month. I think she will always have the eyes that talk, we've never had such an expressive dog. Her eyebrows are something else. She's so goofy and happy, but she's grateful too. I didn't think dogs could be grateful, but she just is. She didn't know what was up with the chewy rubber bicycle seats, or why it wouldn't be a good thing to eat them. All of them.  But she's learning, and we love her. :)
A lot. 

February 10, 2012

Learning to Adore

{Dominican Flowers}

     I've been at a loss for words, but still longing to share what the Lord has begun leading me through. Well, an email popped into my inbox last night from one of my favorite blogs, a blog that generally leaves me teary-eyed and greatly encouraged; filled with stories centered on a family and their journeys of adopting their four beautiful African kiddos. And last night's post just simply said everything that I hadn't known how to say. If you're dealing with an angst of being perfectly content in the Lord and where He has you, and yet constantly longing for more...of something; I think this post will be a great encouragement to you as well.  

January 30, 2012

Our New Lambs...

While playing with our camera, and my video software, I came up with this little glimpse of our sheep herd. :) It was mainly supposed to be an experiment to figure out a few things for another project I've been working on, so I only spent about 15 minutes on it - but it turned out to be a good way for you all to see how cute these little guys are. :) (Please excuse the mud. They do have options of drier places to go...it's just that their favorite patch is pretty waterlogged after these days of rain we've had.)

January 24, 2012

Going Back.

I fell in love with the Dominican Republic the first day I spent there. (And that day was just a little over two years ago now - one week after the devastating earthquake in Haiti.) I think it might often be shrugged off as just a tourist spot, a cruise ship stop; I know I was guilty of thinking that once. It is truly an amazing place - banana trees, ocean, a rugged mountain back drop, and a fascinating eclectic mix of Spanish and African culture, in the food, music, and even the distinctive look of the people. I felt so blessed to be there once, and hoped, but hardly expected to go back. But I did.


My Grandpa, little brother, and I just returned this past weekend from 10 days there.


Our mission was to finish up construction on a local church building.

In a funny twist of providence that only the Lord could
have planned -
it turned out to be an enlargement project on a church my
Grandpa had helped build 35 years earlier. 

He hadn't expected to ever find that church again,
let alone return to work on it once more with 
two of his grandchildren. 


It was amazing to be able to work alongside
the pastor, and even his own small grandchildren,
as we improved and repaired their home and church.

l-r: Missionary, my little buddy- Aylin, and I.
I knew absolutely nothing about tile and grout;
but after three days of non-stop tile work,
I feel pretty proficient. ;)


Despite the fact it's a country hidden in the Caribbean mirage,
it's still a hurting place. 


As much as I struggled with the Creole accent last time,
I truly didn't expect to understand much of anything -
(I certainly haven't studied any Spanish in the past two years.)


So it really struck me as a blessing from the Lord
that my comprehension, and even ability to have basic
conversations was so much greater this time.

I love it when the Lord makes it so obvious that it's Him.
Not me. 

My brother and I found photographer backdrop heaven...

And we found the propane guy again...

And we still complain about gas prices?...   ;)
(That may or may not be in Pesos...)


The increased ability to communicate, along
with lots of insight from a local missionary couple
helped to expand my understanding of this beautiful place. 


In the area we were working,
the clinic down the road receives several
cholera cases a week.
Sanitation, especially unclean water, contributes to this. 



"Dengue Fever" and other mosquito borne illnesses are also
a somewhat common issue.



The Haitian communities especially, are struggling.
Extreme poverty continues to hide in the shadows
of nearby resorts. 



And yet...
The Church is alive and well there.
What a blessing it is to worship alongside Dominican Christians.


Their joy is vibrant.

It doesn't matter how little they have,
or what struggles they are up against.
They testify that their God is greater -
and He continues to show Himself faithful.

A little friend at a local Haitian Church.
And as I've said before -
it becomes more and more evident,
it's when you have nothing else -
that you discover that He is truly all you need.

A 3rd trip seems unlikely, but my Grandpa's been back
8 times...
So we'll see what the Lord does in the future.

On the tearful morning we all parted,
the message exchanged was:

"No Adios, Hasta Luego!"
(Not Goodbye, See you later!")
 

10 year old Aylin, (pronounced Ilene) and I.
Work buddies. :)

Meanwhile,
We're back home;
 at the moment. :)

January 4, 2012

Two Years.

Hello Friends!
     Perhaps you noticed the season of unannounced silence that descended on Kate's little nook of the blogging world? Has it truly been five months!? Well, I sat down to put together some sort of explantion half a dozen times I guess, but eventually decided to indulge in the mystery of simply disappearing. Today though - marks two years since Shirley Goodness and Mayhem's inception, so I'm back for an update.


     Truth is, it was conviction about Time that called me away from blogging for awhile. The Internet was truly stealing my life away with moments here and there, and the Lord's pricking, (and eventual pounding over the head) of this realization brought me to a choice. As if there was really a choice to be made. :) It was becoming more and more clear that it mattered very little what I felt I was "accomplishing" with my days. Striving for a sense of "time-well-spent" was proving to be a complete waste, my delight must come from abiding in the presence of my Savior, not checking boxes off of my self-compiled lists. So, I deactivated the Facebook, unsubscribed from lots of things, and yes, stopped blogging. I've been looking for an adjective to describe these past five months, and gave up. :) It truly is a peace, (and joy) that passes all understanding. 

{A daily miracle; sunset over the lake.}

     The timing of my Internet "fast" was perfect. (Like everything the Lord leads us through!) It was within the week just after all of that, when the Lord made the next step I was meant to take very clear to my parents and I both. I have been nothing short of completely satisfied (and thrilled) to be right where the Lord has placed me with my family for this season, but when the opportunity came - the Lord gave us so many assurances that this time of seeking Him intensely was part of His plan. 

{A day at Lily Lake. Yep. Sun spots.}
     
     That was the week I applied, and was accepted to spend nine weeks at a place called Ellerslie. I knew next to nothing about Eric and Leslie Ludy only a year ago. I recall hearing about them only a few times before a friend of mine went last Fall. Soon after that another friend introduced me to the treasury of sermons on their website, which my family has continued to be greatly blessed with in the year since. I also saw Depraved Indifference for the first time around then. (Of course, I definitely think you should watch it if you haven't!) A year later, it suddenly became obvious to us that Ellerslie was meant to be more to me than just an online resource. They have plenty of information available on their website if you want more details about what a semester there is like, as words now fail me in describing that too.


     I've been home for three weeks, and think I will simply continue to always be awed at what God has done. My time there seemed so short, and yet I'm amazed at what the Lord packed into my life in just two months. If you've been blessed by Wrestling Prayer, Bravehearted Gospel, Set-Apart Femininity, or others of the Ludy's books, then you have had a taste of what we were encouraged with there - definitely an overwhelming blessing. But even in this short time of being home, the Lord has only continued the work that He has begun. It has all grown so obviously clear, and though I think I knew it before, I know now, that it's not about me, or Ellerslie, or my life, it's just all about Him.    All.

{Then sings my soul: How great Thou art.}
  
     And thus I've begun 2012, chastened each day by the smallness of my view of the Creator of the Universe, but Daring to Ask for More, seeking His face, surrendering all. Trusting Him to bring to completion the work He's begun.


      I'm not sure if I will make a complete return to blogging or not. As you can imagine, with a five month break, there is plenty to be shared, so we'll see. 


     In the meantime, I'll just finish up with these few snapshots of my Colorado adventure, and thankful praise of God's faithfulness in all that He does. His timing is perfect. Down to the second, perfect. 

{The Lake}

"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts."

Isaiah 55:9

{A snow covered campus.}




"Forbid it Lord that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood."

August 1, 2011

Why Sheep need Shepherds...

A sheep will be a sheep;
that's all there is to it.
So while it might be a little disappointing to find the patriarch
of our flock in this predicament, it's not all that surprising...


Well, hey - Woolly smelled some yummy chicken feed,
and there was nothing else to be done.
As you can see, it backfired for the poor guy.
The rest of the herd ran from him like he was some
terrible monster. Pretty funny.
The best part had to be his "amplified" bleating for help...

Good thing we noticed though...
he would've been mighty thirsty after awhile.


And we are like Sheep...
Where would we be without our Shepherd?