Thursday, December 24, 2009

House STILL for Sale

Well, the family that was interested in our house bought a different house.  So, we STILL have a house for sale.  I realized as I read the email that contained this information I have two choices - rejoice that God is in control or be depressed.  Today I will rejoice.  I had already calculated the time frame of where closing would possibly be if they bought the house and it was right smack in the middle of COP in January and I couldn't figure out how I would make that happen.  So I know God is in charge.  He knows all that is on the calendar and what the days ahead hold and He will protect us.

So, if any of you know of anyone who is interested in a house in Kernersville, we still have a beautiful home for sale.

I have been studying what it means to look for God's will lately and questioning whether God has a specific will for our lives or not.   I challenge you to think about the same thing.  Don't think about it in regards to what you have always been taught, but instead in regards to what scripture says.  Just begin to ponder this and in the coming weeks I'll post some of the things I have discovered.  WARNING - what I have always been taught in church is not necessarily what is taught in scripture.  I am always amazed at how excited I get about scripture when I take time to actually dig into it.

Today is Christmas Eve.  Enjoy it!  Spend some time making memories (see yesterday's post).  Relax in what doesn't get done and make the most of what does.  Worship the Saviour whose birthday we are about to celebrate.  Remember, there are no promises of another Christmas Eve just like this one, so savor every moment.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Making Memories

If I spend a lot of time thinking about my life I can list a lot of regrets I have, but this mission journey has repeatedly pointed out the same regret - I spent too much of my life living on a promised tomorrow and worrying about perfection of things for today.  I have worried too much about things looking perfect, being just so, and doing all that it took to be sure that I thought everyone was happy.  Along the way I forgot to stop and make some memories.

Now don't get me wrong - I have a bunch of wonderful memories, but I also have a bunch of stuff that I could have done without and made more memories instead.  I have spent too much of my life striving for perfection at the expense of missing out on relationships and new friends.  I have lived with the mentality that tomorrow I will stop and do "that."  It took beginning to walk this mission journey to let go of the promise of tomorrow and to start living today like it could be the last one spent with the friends and family that are nearby. 

We do not know our time frame for arriving in Spain and I find myself wanting to stop and spend a few extra minutes with people instead of things, just in case this is our last Christmas, New Years, Groundhog Day, snow season, ...  Hannah has requested "one more of everything."  In other words, she wants one full year before we leave for Spain.  I heard myself saying to her that we aren't promised tomorrow so be sure you live today as if it was your last day here.  Later I realized I should heed my own advice.

God does not promise us tomorrow.  In fact, in James it is called sin to so confident in tomorrow that we boast of it.  James 4:13-16  "Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. " 

This Christmas season I pray that people have seen a difference in me.  Things are little simpler at my house - not quite so many decorations, a lot fewer gifts, a huge reduction in baking (sorry to those who usually get a tray of tretas), and a lot less stress.  I pray that through this season I have instead spent time in relationships instead of things. 

We will be in Michigan in January and this has caused a lot of reminiscing about the years we spent living in Michigan.  We have been telling the kids stories after stories and then we stopped and wondered why we had so many great memories and no contact with anyone from there.  So we have had a great time looking up and reconnecting wtih people from Michigan.  Scrolling through facebook pages and seeeing faces that we haven't talked to or thought of in years and with each face sharing new stories.  We cannot wait to actually see a few of these friends face to face while we are there. 

When the day comes that we step on that airplane and are headed for Spain we will be able to take very few things - but I intend for my heart to be bursting with memories.  I pray that I never lose sight again of the fact that we are not promised tomorrow and that I grab every  moment of life for things that are lasting - relationships here on earth and in eternity.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scott on the Radio

As Siloam Missionary Homes and Conference Center continues to follow our journey our next episode of their radio show will air on Saturday, December 26 at 3:30.  But you can get a preview here. 

Siloam Missionary Homes is following three families who are on a mission journey with different focuses and thee different destinations.  You will hear about all three journeys in this episode.

Thanks for your support and encouragement.

Cookie Dough Truffles

I first had these truffles at a Cornerstone WEE school Thanksgiving feast and then a dear friend, Marsha Judy shared the recipe.  For some reason we only make these at Christmas, but when we decide to make them we eat several batches in a row.

Cookie Dough Truffles

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c thawed egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla extract
 1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 c miniature semi-sweet chocolate morsels
12 oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tbsp shortening

Beat butter at medium speed until creamed.  Gradually add sugars, beating well.  Add egg substitute and vanilla; beat well.  Add flour; beat well.  Stir in miniature chocolate morsels.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Shape mixture into 1" balls.  Cover and freeze  balls until very firm.

Place 12 oz pkg of chocolate chips and shortening in a bowl; melt according to package directions (either stove top or microwave).  Quickly dip frozen truffles into melted chocolate mixture, coating completely.  Place on wax paper to harden.

Yield:  3 1/2 - 4 dozen
Store in refrigerator.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jumping for Joy

This morning in my email were the words that we have been waiting to hear...

"Dear Scott and Cindy,

I am delighted to inform you that the Missionary Personnel Committee has reviewed your documents and references and decided to put you on ‘approved candidate’ status. This means that we are asking you to complete the application process and we are inviting you for an interview which will take place during COP in January."
We have been approved to move on to the next step in the process of becoming full time career missionaries for SEND International in the country of Spain.  I am so excited I can hardly sit still!  So much for what I am supposed to be accomplishing in my office today. 
And as for the house... we showed the house a 2nd time yesterday to the same family.  They have narrowed their search down to two houses, and we are one of them.  We are just praying that God will reign supremely over the sell of our house.  We selfishly would like this to be it, but we will trust that God has a perfect Sovereign will and will bring to pass what He needs to happen in His timing to accomplish His plan.  What a great place to be!
Thanks for your encouragement and support and prayers and questions and excitement.  This is the journey of a lifetime and we are so glad to be sharing it with you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Real Estate in December Continued...

We just got a call requesting an appointment for a 2nd showing on our house for tomorrow morning.  In the morning I will bake an apple pie or some pumpkin bread and make the house feel like a home.  We invite you to join us as we continue to pray that this might be the family that decides to buy our home.

And while you are praying about that, tomorrow morning is also the time that SEND's personnel team will be meeting on our application.  Pray that we will continue to get positive feedback and we will proceed to the next step of the application process.

Real Estate in December

Just as I decided that we would probably be done showing the house for the rest of 2009, we got a call yesterday that someone would like to see our house this morning.  Thank goodness it was clean this time and all I have left to do are the floors (which by the way I have decided I will not mop or vacuum for at least a month when the house finally sells).  It's cold, foggy, and a chance of rain - but someone is still house shopping.  Pray that today may be the day that we sell our house!  I can think of no better Christmas present.

Monday, December 14, 2009


When those times come that I begin to question whether God really knows what I need most in my life I just have to look at Alex.  We believed our family was complete and then God gave us a wonderful gift - a third child, Alex.  I look back more than eleven years ago and I wondered at time if God really knew what I needed at that point in my life.  But he knew Alex's personality and disposition before he formed him in my womb and He knew that it would be Alex who brought perspective to all of life.

Alex is impossible to punish as he can find something to do to entertain himself and those around regardless of what is at his disposal.  At the moment he is grounded and unable to use anything that requires electricity (including things that run on batteries as they require charging - yes he asked if he could use his game boy since the battery was charged).  Long story as to how he got to this point, but he is fixing it.  The problem with this punishment is that now he thinks I am his personal entertainment.  Saturday night he wanted to know if we could play a card game since he couldn't watch TV.  Still trying to figure out if I played cards with him did I encourage the behavior that got him grounded?  Yesterday he told me that he missed his electronic toys, but it was ok - it gave him more time to read a book. 

But today I was reminded once again one of the many blessings Alex brings to my life.  We were blog hopping this morning.  You know, go to a blog you are following and read their latest post, then click on a blog they are following and read it, and then click on one they are following, and etc.  Amazing the people you meet and the things you learn!  We started with a blog from a family in Spain (the mom of the house broke her knee yesterday, so please pray for Julie - lots of decisions and pain).  From there we went to another blog of a teacher in Spain at the missionary school Alex will probably attend.  With only the excitement possible of a 11 year old boy we watched every video and looked at every picture on her blog.  As he exclaimed "look!  That is what I might be doing next year - I can't wait!" God confirmed once again he knows best for our lives.

First he blessed me with Alex.  When I take life a little too serious Alex steps in and shows me life is meant for laughing and living.  Second, he called us to missions.  Many parents are afraid to surrender to missions because of what it might do to their children.  I cannot think of any more confirmation that God considered the kids in the calling than Alex's excited proclamations this morning.  Third, God will direct if we seek Him.  We believe that Spain will be our international destination in this journey and God is generating an excitement in the kids through other missionaries.  That can only be a God thing!

God is good and God does know what is best! 

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Morning After

Just a quick update regarding our home visit...

We had a great time!  Dinner was delicious (even if I say so), but the company was fabulous.  We chatted for 6+ hours yesterday.   We learned so much about the process that is ahead of us and about the culture in Spain.  We laughed at stories of mission work and shared our excitement with her.  By the time she left last night we all felt like we had made a new friend.  She answered a lot of our questions about the future and really made us feel comfortable.  God was good and present last night!  To Him I give all the praise!

Thank you to all who were praying yesterday.  Every prayer was answered.  Again, the only way I can describe this process is "the ride of a lifetime" and I am determined to enjoy every minute of it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Menu Is...

Today is our home visit from a personnel team member of SEND International, the sending agency we are applying with.  I have stressed all week over the menu, which table to eat at, what to wear, how to squeeze in Alex's homework before she arrives, and a whole lot more crazy details.  Today I have changed my focus.  I will enjoy cooking dinner for her, as I rarely get to use my gift of hospitality due to the rat race life we use.  I will not stress over how perfect my children need to be.  I will not stress over whether she is going to like everything I serve, I am sure there will be something she likes.  I will not stress over whether I answer every question perfectly, nor will I stress over whether my kids and Scott answer them perfectly either. 

Today I will enjoy the process.  Today I will view this as an opportunity to share our passion for reaching the lost world with someone else who shares the same passion.  Today I will rest in the fact that God is in control.  Today I will be a "Martha" throughout the day, but come 4:00, I will be a "Mary." 

Pray for us to keep our focus on enjoying the process instead of stressing over the tiny details that really don't matter.  Pray for us during the home visit (starts between 4 and 4:30) that regardless of our words or the food, she will hear our hearts and passion.  Pray that she will recommend our continuing in the process when she leaves.  Pray for her safe travels today as she flies from Michigan to Raleigh and then drives to Kernersville.  Pray that when enters our house she will find a home that is welcoming and full of the Holy Spirit.

And to all of you who have watched me agonize over the menu for tonight...I have gone to the grocery store, so no more changes...

Pot Roast with potatoes and carrots
Rice and Gravy
Green Beans
Watergate Salad
Yeast Rolls
Cheesecake with Ganache Icing

Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Dash

I went to a funeral last night of a dear man from our church.  He lived nearly all of his 80+ years for Christ.  You could see it in every aspect of his life.  At the funeral the following poem was read.  A challenge to us all.  Will you take a moment to pray for the Caudle family as they mourn the loss of this great man and yet at the same time celebrate his homecoming and then consider how will you live your "dash?"

The Dash Poem - by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend

He referred to the dates on her tombstone

From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came the date of her birth

And spoke the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered most of all

Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time

That she spent alive on earth.

And now only those who loved her

Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;

The cars, the house, the cash,

What matters is how we live and love

And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.

Are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left,

That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough

To consider what’s true and real

And always try to understand

The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,

And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives

Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,

And more often wear a smile

Remembering that this special dash

Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read

With your life’s actions to rehash

Would you be proud of the things they say

About how you spent your dash?

©1996 Linda Ellis

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cheers for Scott

Right in front of my eyes I am watching marriages fall apart, both in and out of the church.  It's heartbreaking the number of families who are slipping away and the church is doing nothing to rescue them or hang on to them.  I heard a pastor say once that a church is only as strong as the marriages within it.  So true! 

Scott and I have had our own struggles.  We both can think of times when dissolving our marriage seemed to be the best and only option.  But only by the grace of God did we hang on.  At the beginning of our marriage we committed to never consider divorce, but we skirted around that commitment.  We joked about it when things were rough.  We essentially separated within our own home (silent treatment, sleeping on the couch, ...)  A few years back we decided that we didn't particularly like the marriage we had any more.  Life was too long to live that way.  So we started over.  We made a new commitment to never consider divorce or even separation as an option.  We agreed that there was nothing that could come our way that with God's help we could not overcome.  We determined the foundation of our marriage would be God - not just by going to church together, but by praying together and studying the Bible together.  Wow!  Amazing things that God can do when you put it all in His hands!

But today's post is not about the trouble we had at one point in our life - but instead a public cheer for Scott (another lesson I learned in the troubled waters - I gripe too much in public about what He doesn't do - he does a lot of good things that ought to be shared instead).  It has been a long week and another long week lies ahead.  He stayed home from church last night with Hannah because she was sick.  I came home to laundry washed, dried, and folded AND he had cooked the sausage I need today for a work party.  You know, I can just melt in his arms when he does these kind of things.  So Scott, I want to publicly thank you for showing your love and care for me in such a tangible fashion.  I love you very much!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's a Family Thing

Well, originally we started this blog as a family and planned on all of us posting on the same blog, but somewhere along the way the blog became my blog so Scott has started his own blog.  Should be interesting to follow our journey from two different perspectives.  Hopefully you will relate to one of us as we travel along this road.  His blog is at

Friday, December 4, 2009

Radio Show Airs Tomorrow

Siloam Missionary Homes in Snow Camp, North Carolina will be following our journey to surrendering to missions. Each month they will update our progress on their radio show called "A Place Missionaries Call Home." This show airs on 830 AM WTRU along with a few other stations across the country.

You can also listen to all three segments below.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hands and Feet

First - an update from yesterday - after pitching a temper tantrum with God and coming back to being ok with God's timing and the peace that comes from being willing to surrender it all to him the day began.  It was a crazy day!  It was a stressful day!  It was a day that ended with the makings of a migraine - but right smack in the middle of it God said..."I heard you!  I still hear you!  I want to remind you that I am in control and I do care about you."  Our house has been on the market for 8 weeks - it has never shown on a weekday and it has never shown in bad weather and it hasn't shown in two weeks, so I have gotten kind of lazy about being sure the house is always in showing order.  In fact, yesterday when I left work it was raining and it was a Wednesday and there were dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor and beds were unmade and Christmas decoration boxes were open in the living room and half the house was decorated for Thanksgiving and half the house was decorated for Christmas and....  At noon the scheduling desk for house showings calls and a realtor wants to show the house at 3:15.  At 2:00 the scheduling desk calls again to schedule another showing at 4:30.  As much as I'd like to say the day ended with an offer on the house, it didn't.  But the day did end with my knowing, without a doubt, God does care.  He loves me and he cares for me and although He would much prefer we skip the temper tantrum to get to that point, He still loves me afterwards and He was willing to show me in a huge way.  (by the way, the house has never shown twice in the same day either)

Now on to the title of this post - Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest says today "I have to deliberately to give my sanctified life to God for His service, so that He can use me as His hands and His feet."  Makes me wonder and ask - what will I do today - not after we eventually get to the mission field, but right now right where am I to be His hands and feet.  I have to remind myself that this journey we are taking doesn't have a final earthly destination and quit focusing on the end and watch for the now.  I wonder how many opportunities I have missed over the last year by focusing on the "when we finally get there?"  May today God find me faithful in being used as His hands and His feet.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Temper Tantrum On It's Way

It's not fair!  It just isn't!  I'd like to sit down in the middle of my floor (of which I still own) and pitch a big, loud, fully explosive temper tantrum!  (ok friends - this is an honest post - so go ahead and admit to yourself you have wanted to do so recently too!)  I want to have a temper tantrum just like any child who has been told no by their earthly father, but I'd like to pitch one at what my heavenly father has said so far.

We still own a house!  It isn't fair.  I have asked God repeatedly to sell the house and yet his answer has been "in my perfect timing."  I know, I know!  That is really what I want - his perfect timing, but in the midst of chaos and mess and more there are times I think I would prefer my timing.  I learned yesterday that a friend sold their house in less than a week.  They didn't have a plan as to where they are going.  They are selling to move "up."  That is where my focus changed and I allowed sin to enter into my desires regarding the house. 

Follow this path of thought - 1)  we surrendered to missions - that is a good thing, God is proud; 2)  we commit to selling our material goods - that is a good thing, God is proud; 3)  we list our house on the market for the right price for the market, not what we would really like - that is a good thing, God is proud; 4)  we ask God to sell the house quickly so we can cut our housing expenses to be able to pay off some bills and save for the mission field - that is a good thing, God is proud; 5)  we are selling our house in this market for a spiritual reason, not an earthly reason - that is a good thing, God is proud and is going to bless right now, before he blesses "less spiritual reasons."  Anybody else see where I ended up at temper tantrum instead of peace?  Now please note - this is not the path I took from the beginning - only yesterday when jealousy and pride and all kinds of other sinful thoughts were allowed into my brain.  It was fast and it was easy and I was into full blown temper tantrum with God before I even realized it. 

So today's quiet time had to take a turn from my normal plans.  I could picture God sitting with me just listening and watching my temper tantrum (you parents of preschoolers can picture this too) waiting on me to turn to him and listen to Him.  Waiting on me to stop wanting my way so bad that I couldn't hear what He was saying.  Wanting it in my timing so bad that I couldn't trust that He really knew what was best for me, even though I can't see why waiting is best.  Waiting on me to take my eyes off everyone else and put them back on Him. 

How blessed I am that I do have a heavenly father that didn't just throw up his hands and say "when you are through with this temper tantrum and can be more spiritual and righteous, come find me, but until then you are on your own."  (I can hear me, a parent, saying something similar, can you?)  How grateful I am that my heavenly father never left me in the midst of my fit, never stopped loving me, never wavered in his plan, and most importantly - is willing, able, and wants to forgive me for the sin that led me to the fit.

This journey can be bumpy at times.  Sometimes the bumps feel like huge caverns in the road.  Most of the times these bumps come because I have put my focus back on me and what I can and am doing and want and taken them off the "driver."  Praise God that He never leaves the journey.  Thank God that although he knows I am going to veer off the road occasionally, He is going to stand firm in His direction and plan.  And be careful - it only took a few seconds to take control of the situation, let pride and jealousy fill my brain, and downhill went this journey. 

"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)  will be my prayer today.