Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Clean Water

Emily from Chatting at The Sky asks what moment are you waiting to live to the hilt. This photo represents one of the best moments of my life...only it goes on for about 20 years. This photo is of a woman in the Dominican Republic. My cousin Myles took this photo last year when he went on a missions trip with local churches from our area. He sent me the photo for one particular reason. My family bought this water filter last year during a fundraiser for the trip. It cost $50. It's priceless though. This water filter will give a family of 18 people 90% clean water for 20 years. This organization, brought these filters to the D.R. in pieces, put them together, and then, painted my name on it. That was an unexpected gift to me. I had no idea they were doing this with each filter. The MOMENT I saw this picture, was a very special moment.
This past year my boys earned 10 cents per sticker for various actions. We put each sticker they earned on a calendar. By the time the D.R. fundraiser came around, they had earned $40 worth of stickers and put that towards a purchase of one of these filters. We put in the rest and purchased a second one as well.
The moment I'm waiting for--I probably won't even experience it. But, it's happening some time this week. The missions' team is in the D.R. as I write this. They may be installing our filters this very second. They may paint our names on the filters again. They may not. But, sometime this week a very deserving family will be drinking clean water and we helped with that. What a blessing and moment it is for my family. I'm not proud of us...I'm so thankful to God that we can somehow do something in His name. Is it a lot? No, but it is a very special moment that I'm privileged to share.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Painted Dresser

I interrupt this program with important stuff: a few photos of a dresser I painted for my youngest son's bedroom.

I painted this a couple of years ago--yikes three years ago for my baby's nursery. It really took me under an hour to do it. I had a mix of blues and white and just painted away. I then added hundreds of dots for detail. Then, sponged the top with white. The dark of the wood actually shaded the top quite well under white paint. I sealed the top of the dresser with brush on varnish (which costs just a few dollars per bottle.)

I have a second dresser that needs painting and this is just the kind of inspiration I need to do so.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More from my journal...

So, where did I leave off...oh yes. My journal entry.
Ah, thank God we can pray and leave things in God's hands. Then, we don't do things like mail a letter across the Atlantic to a South African man you can call a stranger, know it will take seven to ten days to even arrive there, yet check our own mailbox fifty times within those seven to ten days actually thinking the man of your dreams already responded. Yeah. That was me. What can I say? I even journal'd out a timeline of when I may get a parcel from him.
I began telling close friends about my encounter of the strange kind. Mostly, I only told the Christian ones. I'm sure they prayed. Everyone seemed to accept this strange new friendship.
I read through my entire journal last night. I wrote in that journal from June of 1996 through March of 2009. I'm so glad that I did. What I see sprawled througout that journal is this, "I prayed..." on every single page.
The other thing I wrote was that I couldn't stop thinking about this man from the day we first typed words to one another that night of June 28th.
July 4th 1996 I wrote:
"I felt kind of sick today but had a pretty good day. I want to write what I'm feeling, down. Then, maybe I can get it off my mind. I'm thinking of Ryan. Why I don't know. I wonder if this is from the Lord or not. I dont' feel anxious or obsessed. I'm just thinking-thinking will he write-my letter takes 7-10 days, then his will take 7-10 days, that's about 2-3 weeks from July 1st. Am I learning patience? Or is this not even of Him? I need to pray about it.
Then I did a little math projection of division. I divided 3 into 52 and got 17. Duh. So, I think I was trying to figure out how many times in one year we could write to eachother. (Wow, I am a dork.)
Then I wrote:
?Psalm 37...delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart...
...Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

At my old church, the one I was attending at the time, we had a visiting speaker who was from South Africa. I knew he was from Durban. That's how I initially got excited about talking with Ryan that first night. Alison had said something like "hey here's this guy from South Africa" and I remember thinking...I just heard that man speak and he's from South Africa. I don't know why it was a big deal, but I made it one. So, I remember telling my friend Donna all about this. Donna was my home fellowship leader and kind of like a second mom to me. She made a comment about seeing if Ryan lived close to where this preacher was from. So, I looked on this map that I had. I was shocked that Pinetown in South Africa was a suburb of Durban. I investigated!
In my journal on July 5th I wrote:
I was shocked when I saw on the atlas that Pinetown is right next to Durban. By the scale it was less than 10 miles . I had prayed last night and just asked God for peace. I asked God to intervene in all of this if His hand wasn't already on it. I know God will work in this situation no matter what. I prayed today that God would speed up the mail and that Ryan would write back a long letter. I don't know why I'm thinking about him so much. It's not like obsessive or anxious, it's more like peaceful thoughts...and also this week was my vacation so I had some free time. It's funny because normally if I meet someone the first thing on my mind is, do they know God, are they saved (that's if I'm interested ha ha) but w/ this I haven't even thoguht it really. It's like hey, if this is of the Lord, He'll take care of Ryan, He'll prepare him.
Just peace.

More to come...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Anniversary Month My Marriage Story Part One

I'm REPOSTING this to include in Chatting at the Sky's Link Party. I promise to continue the story soon! Since Emily shared her anniversary celebrations, I thought it appropriate to repost the beginning to my anniversary story.
So June is my anniversary month. It's the month I met my husband...and the month I married him. In. The. Same. Year. Yes, in the same year. We met in person on June 6th, 1997. We married June 28th, 1997. Everyone thought we were crazy. Many thought it wouldn't last. Well, this month, we're celebrating 12 years of meeting and marriage.
So, how did this crazy thing happen?
Well, on June 28th of 1996 my mom kept telling me to go to this new place, an internet cafe.
I reluctantly went with my best friend, Alison. I had never been on the internet before. I thought it was STUPID!
We both managed to get on two separate computers. There were all these weird CHAT ROOMS...which I had no idea what that meant. I thought it was so dumb to CHAT to strangers.
I mean FER REAL--I had just earned an A PLUS on my final paper for my Problems in Computer Technology class. We had studied Bill Gates, this new internet thing and predictions for future technology. I was all about how this internet thing was evil and would rid the world of personal relationships. Yeah, I was super smart and everything.
I was also a single Christian girl that had vowed not to date until God brought along my husband. I prayed for every single guy I came into contact with and always asked God to steer relationships. I was single for three years on that fateful night of June 28, 1996. My A Plus earning self was unaware of just how big of a foot would be inserted into my big fat contradicting mouth. Good thing I trusted God with my prayers and desires. He answered back in such a magnificent way. Because I truly think I married my soul mate. And, he's amazing.
SO, back to the story.
So my friend was chatting to this guy (my man) just saying hi. It was all very innocent. We were just in awe at the technology! So, she ended up telling him about me and he asked for my user name--so then I clicked on his username which was "Bud." Well, "Bud" and I ended up typing back and forth for four to five hours. I was at that internet cafe until about, gosh, three or four in the morning maybe. At one am, the internet cafe manager had told me he would stop charging me and the rest of my time was "on him."
So, off went the conversation between Bud and me!
We typed about loads of things, our lives, our families. I shared my faith with him. He told me all about his family, I told him about mine. Several times, we typed the same thing at the same time. The eighth thing we typed according to my journal was ((((((((one of our names)))))))) which was an internet hug. I had so much excitement in talking to him. I was in love. Weird. Yes. But, I was infatuated with what I was reading. We both typed how weird we both felt. There was a "connection." The worker at the internet cafe overheard me telling Alison over and over what was going on. When I said, "he wants my details..." all the crowd advised me not to give out any personal information. I was glad to have all these bodyguards! So, I shared that with him and he gave me his details. South Africa.
Gosh. I had known that from the start, but to then write down his information. Ugh, he was so far away. We typed good-bye back and forth for an hour. We even made comments about what if one day we tell our grandchildren about this. Something clicked with us and though completely incomprehensible and unusual, we both felt the same thing. We liked each other. I felt my heart pounding though. This felt real and deep and pure. My heart felt invested, suddenly, quickly, irrationally invested.
So, finally I said good-bye, but not without promising to stay in touch by writing to one another. I never considered that I could be in touch through the internet again--because after all, this was my only experience with the internet at the time. I didn't even have a computer at home, so I guess I'd be visiting that internet cafe again soon once I realized I could!
We left building and drove home, my bestie and I. I must have talked her head off. I was so glad that she was there and experienced the whole thing with me. My heart was full. But, I did what I always did when I met a guy. I told the Lord all about it. "Lord, so now I'm in love Lord" or something like that. Seriously, I said to my friend, can we pray about this. And while she drove, I prayed. I prayed that God's hand would be on this. If I were to never to talk to this guy again, let it be. If I were to just pray for his life and salvation, let it be. If I were to meet and marry him, let it be. The next day, I decided I was going to try to find this man's number, I started to wonder if it was all real. I did journal about it. In a new notebook I had never written in before. I must have known I'd want those words later on. I didn't mention the part about how the picture he had sent my friend wasn't his real picture. I don't like that detail, so I usually leave it out. But she always remembers! : )
I stayed up that morning until about 6am composing a letter to him. I remember writing several drafts. Then I decided I needed to call him before I sent off my written words and photos to make this this was a real live person. I certainly couldn't trust my heart even though it was full with hope and romance.
I Googled. No, I didn't. Remember no computadora then! So, I called operators who told me how to contact international operators and I was able to get my man's number. And, I called. It wouldn't connect. It wouldn't ring. It wouldn't go through. Busy signal after busy signal. I couldn't find him. So, I stopped and prayed. And, I tried once more and then he answered. Oh my goodness, I now heard him.
In my journal I wrote down the conversation this way:
R: hello?
me: Hello, is Ryan there?
R: speaking
me: hi Ryan
R: yes
me: Hi, this is Katrina
me: Were you sleeping?
R: Well, it's the middle of the morning here...
me: It is? What time is it?
R: It is almost 11 actually 10:30 [at night, so I must have startled him from a deep sleep]
me: Oh, I'm sorry it's 4:30pm here. Don't think I'm crazy I just wanted to know for sure about you before I wrote.
R: Oh of course, you never know with the internet...
me: Look it's costing a lot to call so I can't talk but, you don't think I'm crazy do you?
R: I thought we already went over this? [Even sleep his dry sense of humor comes through]
me:Yes, but I think I'm crazy, I've never done this before.
R: Yes, well it is costing you, but I'll be waiting for your letter and all your details and your pictures. [ I just about died when I heard him say this, I would have married him on the spot after hearing him say this, he sounded so yummy!]
me: OK I'll marry you, I mean I'll mail it tomorrow.
No I did not say that!!!
I said "OK I'll mail it tomorrow."
me: bye
R: bye

I wrote in my journal: I can still hear his accent. I can't believe I called. But, at least I know. He didn't sound happy, but I did wake him up. I prayed for God's peace to cover me in all this. I wrote a 3-page letter and pictures. Now I have to wait 7-10 days 4 it to get there and wonder if he'll write back. Either this was a totally spontaneous thing ? part of God's plan or he's done this before. If the latter is true my feelings will be hurt but what can I do. That night there is no way to hoax what we spoke of, typing the same things etc. I pray for peace in all this, and for continuation only if its God's will. It is so exciting though and scary. I wonder will he find me ugly (pictures) or what I don't know. Will he write? Peace, Peace, Peace only from God------ July 3rd 1996.

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Mommy: Please honey, give mommy some privacy. I'll be out of the bathroom in a minute.

Toddler: [opens bathroom cabinet door and peaks inside, looks puzzled]

Mommy: Please baby, mommy needs some privacy, remember we talked about privacy?

Toddler: [thinking about something] Where is it? Is it in ya' bag?

Later in the living room:
Daddy: [teasing the boy] "Don't you hug my wife! That's my wife."

[Toddler squeezing mommy's face so hard that it doesn't tickle. Then grabs mommy by the hair/ears/face and plants a big kiss on her lips. Turns to daddy as if he just defeated him.]
Toddler: "HAAAAAA....I kissed yooooour Life!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Encouraged by Ruth

We've been in our new church for over two months now I believe. Wow.
It is a wonderful place and we are definitely awed and abundantly thankful for God's provision in providing such Christ centered and Christ loving people for us to follow and worship with. I know that when people leave churches, sometimes they wander and visit for what seems to be forever or they simply get discouraged and go...nowhere. We (the man and I) are quite aware of this blessing and hope that our hearts heal soon and we can begin to fully accept that this is where God has us. I think we already are. There are good days and bad of course. As I write this, it's a good one.
Last night I was driving home and I heard a preacher on the radio (the ONE Christian radio station we have in our state) and he was speaking of Ruth. He quoted Ruth's famous words to her mother-in-law after just having become a widow: Ruth 1:16 But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
Ruth 1:17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you."
I was so encouraged when the preacher followed with stating that he recently wondered about Ruth's own mom and dad and family--why had she not decided to go back there, to her comfort zone (surely.) She made a decision to continue in the life she was progressing toward. How devoted she was, of course it must have been so uncomfortable. Even though Naomi was her mother-in-law and she obviously cared for her, the relationship couldn't have been a deep one since Ruth wasn't married very long before her husband died and she became a widow. Her words showed that she cared more about Naomi than herself and wanted to "make" Naomi's God her God as well. The Lord definitely had a plan and was leading Ruth.
I am so encouraged by Ruth's determination and decision. For the past week or so, I've been feeling so grievous over the loss of our congregation that we served and fellowshiped with for eight years. I miss that family that I've left behind. But, God had us move on and I must be determined to honor that and let my heart move on as well. The way Ruth stated what her life would now be has caused a decision in my heart and mind as well. It's amazing how someone's life that is so completely unrelated to you can be used in such an encouraging way. Thank you Ruth for the encouragement. Are blogs read in Heaven? Maybe I'll be able to thank her some day myself, Lord willing. If your listening Ruth, kiss my babies for me. And my Grandmas. Don't get all theologistical on me, I'm not really chatting to Ruth--or am I?
I'm so thankful to God for having Ruth's life be recorded so that I may draw wisdom from her.