Friday, April 29, 2011

A Deadline and Some Honesty

When I started this blog my hope was that through some honest sharing someone else may believe that they can be used by God on the mission field - whether at home or on the other side of the ocean.  I had always believed that missionaries were "super Christians" and I knew I wasn't, yet I also knew that God was calling. 

Today is one of those days where I share that there is no "super Christian" on this side of the blog.  I have my moments (and sometimes days) of panic and feel the fear creeping in.  There are days where I struggle to find my way to my knees because the task seems overwhelming and I find myself frozen.  There are days where the tears flow much more freely than the laughter.  There are days I fail to look to Him.  There are days I am just plain scared!

This week has been sprinkled with those moments and this morning those feelings just moved right in to my desk (where I was working) and sat there.  As I have shared before this process has many steps and lots of timing to be coordinated.  I knew about the VISA and partnership timing and I knew about our desire for Hannah to start the school year in Spain, but today that desire was changed to a deadline.  High School students must begin by September 15 of the fall semester.  Even as I type those words the tears fall - not sad tears, but ones of fear.  The "what ifs" fill my mind.  The panic feeling begins to creep up (or maybe flood in would be a better description).

Now we are facing a deadline - not a hope or a wish, but a deadline.  So what does that mean...
  • We must be at 100% in August - we are at a little more than 56%.
  • We must get VISAs in time to arrive by September 15.
  • We must sell this house.
But even as I type this and whisper a prayer a song creeps into my mind:

I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day

I do know who I believe in, I am persuaded, and I will cling to that.  But you know, sometimes that grip is just a little harder.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Passports Arrived

The kid's passports arrived today.  Gulp!  That means the VISA process really begins.  All of the paperwork on our side has been requested and we are in a waiting stage.  Now the Spanish paperwork can begin as well.  Beginning to feel a little more real!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I don't often just post a link to an article, but this article is challenging.  Makes you think.  Would love to hear your response after you read it.

Stripes Update

Last week I wrote about the kid's bathroom  (if you missed the before pictures click here)and its need for change.  I promised an after picture so here they are.  I think it turned out pretty good.  Of course I brought home a total of 10 different shower curtains before I found one I liked and several sets of bathroom rugs.  But I am here to say, ALL home improvement projects are finished!

Monday, April 25, 2011


No, I am not getting a divorce.  One of our assignments before we can leave for Spain is to read 400 pages relating to the culture of Spain.  Needing to check something off my list and Scott knowing that he has a seminary class to go, we decided to tackle the reading.  I was dreading it, but instead am overwhelmed by what has happened in my lifetime that I totally missed. 

Divorce was not legal in Spain until 1981.  Franco and Catholicism insured that.  It was one of the by-products of their sort of democracy.  Interestingly enough, however, that by 2007 Spain had the highest divorce rate of all of  the other European Union countries. 

As I was reading this history book (I know for many of you that is a surprise in itself) I really saw how God had once again been preparing me for Spain.  Scott and I are happily married today, but there were days when I thought we too would be a statistic.  I'm sure most of us can say that.  The difference for us is a commitment to our Lord and to our vows.  We believed in forgiveness.  We knew a love that was greater than any of our faults.  We had something to hold on other than the faults of the other. 

I pray today that God will continue to send His Holy Spirit to protect our marriage.  I pray that our eyes will remain on Him.  I pray that our dependence on Him will shine through as we prepare to meet couples in Spain who may have walked the exact same steps we have walked yet believe the freedom to walk away is greater than the faith to stay.  Just one more reason the light of Christ is needed to be shown in Spain.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

There Will Be No More!

I am finished.  There are no walls left to paint, no doors left to paint, no trim left needing attention... the house is painted!  Hannah and I just finished her room.  That means since January I have touched up or repainted everything in the house except for my bedroom.  I am finished!  No more painting for me!  Hope anyone who comes to see the house will appreciate all the painting, for I am done.  (By the way, it is all painted a beautiful color called "Cream in my Coffee.")

And just in case anyone wants to know, I hated painting before I started this marathon and I hate it even more now.  As for our next home in Spain - I do not care the color or the condition of the walls - there will be no painting!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dancing the VISA Dance

50% was our first goal and we made it and started the VISA process.  It seemed all so simple - gather a few pieces of paper, turn them in to the embassy, and get the VISA back - then when we reach 100% get on an airplane.  Sounded easy.... but our coach at SEND called it a dance and I didn't really know what she meant -until last week.

There are two parts to dancing - 1)  knowing the steps and 2) timing.  I can figure out the steps and keep them in order, but I have no control over the timing.  Of course, this process is another lesson in faith!

Here is the process ahead of us -

  • Supervisor in Spain request letters of invitation - once they are received we have 30 days to present our completed application to the Spanish consulate in Washington, DC
  • Be fingerprinted and complete a FBI criminal background check
  • Gather the following paperwork:
    • New copies of birth certificates and marriage certificates for everyone - they must be hand signed and issued within the last 90 days - of course I was born in Florida, Scott in Cairo, and the kids were at least both here in Greensboro
    • New passports for the kids because they had less than 12 months left on their passports (thank goodness Scott and I were good)
    • Letters from the doctors that say we have no communicable diseases, addictions, and mental health issues - of course we all have different doctors with different processes for this
    • Letter from SEND saying we have international health insurance
  • Send all the official documents off to the Secretary of State in the state they were issued to receive an Apostille Letter (stating they are official and legal documents)
  • Take all the documents to a certified Spanish translator
  • Finish all this within the 30 days of the letter of invitation being received and make an appointment with the Spanish Consulate in Washington DC and all four of us go apply in person
  • Wait.....Pray... Wait... Pray
  • When the consulate's office calls and says the VISAs are ready we have 30 days to pick them up and 30 days to register an address in Spain

So we know the steps of this dance, but have to trust God for the timing.  We cannot leave for Spain until we are at 100% of our monthly support and have sold the house and etc.  This is where the dance gets fun and could involve you.  If you are praying about joining our financial team, now is the time.  We have no control over the timing with the embassy - they could be fast or they could be slow.  All our paperwork has been requested and we hope to start sending things off to the Secretary of States this coming week.  Our fingerprints are sent off.  Now we just wait and "dance."

I've never been a good dancer - I have no rhythm - so this will definitely be a dance controlled by God!

Home Improvement Project

The kid's bathroom just needed refreshing.  It needed a deep cleaning.  It needed to feel different.  So in a casual conversation with my dad on Friday I asked how big of a mess would it be if I took their shower doors down.  He assured me it would be easy and not too bad.  After he left I grabbed a screwdriver and figured, what could it hurt?  I'd loosen one side and see what it looked like.  One side looked like it would be ok - so down came the doors.  In the process of taking them down they kind of fell apart so I started to pray it would really be ok.   Sure enough - it looks so much  better!  Of course I waited to tell Scott until I was finished.  Boy was I glad it turned out ok!  Next project - sand the stripes and paint the walls!  Check back in a week for the finished project!  When someone finally buys this house they are going to have a completely freshly painted house - sure hope it works!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter Pageant

If you live anywhere near Greensboro you are invited to Cornerstone's (5736 Inman Road, Greensboro) Easter Pageant.  A dramatic presentation of the life of Christ - from birth to resurrection.  Includes drama and music.  Free childcare is provided for children ages newborn through Kindergarten and includes snacks, games, crafts, and more.  No tickets are required.

Friday, April 15 - 7:00 (doors open at 6:30)
Saturday, April 16 - 7:00 (doors open at 6:30)
Sunday, April 17 - 4:00 (doors open at 3:30)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's Been a While

Someone asked the other day why I wasn't blogging - well, because life is incredibly busy!  All with good things and answers to prayes, but busy.

Quick recap -
  • We hit 53% of our monthly support yesterday.... God is moving in people's hearts and we are getting closer to the land where God has placed our heart.  In the last 6 weeks we have added partners to our Spain Family in all sizes - from $20/month to $500/month.  Some look like monthly gifts while others look like annual gifts.  No two are alike, except in the fact that they are all gifts to God and His work and we pray that they will be used for eternal changes. 
  • We started the VISA process last week.  It is exciting to be doing something concrete on this side of the 50% that is part of the controller of our departure date.  I'll write a whole different post on this process, just suffice for me to quote our supervisor "it builds character and faith."
  • We re-listed the house on Friday and are praying for lots of showings and offers.  The realtor is still finishing up details of the website and publicity, but you can take a peek at it at by clicking on the word house.  If you know of anyone looking for a house in our area, send them our way. 
  • Scott is in the Easter Pageant at church and I am in charge of childcare so our days are filled with practices and details.  Mark your calendar and join us the 15th and 16th at 7:00 and the 17th at 4:00.
  • Scott is experiencing changes at work that keep reminding us that our days in this area of the world are numbered.
  • Hannah has finished the required part of her Girl Scout Gold Award and is diligently workings towards finishing up her paperwork.  She is continuing the project out of a passion for the students which makes me very proud.  She hopes to be able to have her Gold Award presented to her at McIver Education Center - a school for autistic students where she has been working.  That means she needs to be approved before the end of the school year.  One of the aspects of her project is to have people "following" her project - so check out her blog and click follow or leave a comment.
  • Alex's days are filled with school projects and soccer practice.  Guess what that means my days are filled with?
Are you tired yet?  The days are full and yet my heart is at peace and excited to see what God has planned for each day.  I am not bored to say the least!  Check back in a couple days and I'll fill in the details.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spanish Lesson

A few weeks ago through a string of God planned appointments Scott and I were introduced to Donald and Olga.  Donald is from Georgia (the state) and Olga is from Spain.  We emailed a few times and then invited them to dinner at our house last week.  It was a great night!  We exchanged stories and sat around the table for a couple hours just developing a friendship.

Over dessert we discovered that she was from Vicalvaro, a town near Madrid that we visited when we were there in Spain.  We shared pictures and even connected her with our co-worker that lives there for her return visit next month.  The world became so much smaller in those moments.

We then arranged for Olga to meet me at church yesterday for a tour of our preschool for their little boy and then we'd go to lunch.  Over lunch I had my first Spanish lesson.  Oh my!

After an hour I could tell you that I had eaten a hamburger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion and that I had two sons and one daughter (and their ages).  We discovered I cannot roll my "r"s and that my memory is very poor.  We laughed a lot.  In exchange for her teaching me Spanish I am helping Olga with her English.  She struggled with the word squirrel and we laughed over her plan to just call it a big rat instead.

We are going to meet every Wednesday over my lunch hour.  Does she really know what she is in for?

I realized that learning Spanish may be my biggest challenge I have ever faced.  I am learning a lot about faith as we try to sell our house and raise our support, but I think my biggest step in faith will be believing that God will enable me to master a new language.

Pray for Olga to have patience with my poor language skills.  Pray for me as I live out my faith in this relationship.  Pray for lots of laughter - otherwise there will be lots of tears!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hard Decisions

Although the last two weeks have been filled with celebrating our partnership progress (today we are at 49%)  they have also been filled with some hard decisions.   One of the biggest decisions we have had to make is regarding the house.  It has been on the market in excess of 18 months and we still own it.  We prayed, we cried, we agonized over this decision.  What wisdom would God give us?  His answer was not easy and both required another step of faith.

First we felt God saying to take it off the market for a couple weeks.  My first response, "but wait, God!  What if the exact person who is supposed to buy the house is only looking during those two weeks?  What if we miss them?"  His first answer - "am I not God?  Am I not all knowing?  Am I not the god who holds the universe in my hands?  and if I am, then why do you fret over such a small thing?"  Unfortunately I had to wrestle through the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and a whole lot more responses before I said "ok - you are God and I trust."

Second we believed God was directing us to start totally over.  Start with a new realtor, a new sign, a new listing, a new outlook, .....  This was harder than the first thing He said.  We love our realtor.  She is a dear friend.  She has done more than any realtor we have ever worked with.  She has helped clean and paint.  She has loaned us personal things to stage the house.  She has worked hard for us and put up with our dragging our feet and complaining about the process.  Yet, in all that we still believed God was giving us direction.  I cried out to God to make it ok and he said "she serves the same God you do - am I not big enough to handle this too or have you found my limits?"  Don't you just hate it when God gives you a big "slap in the face?" 

That conversation with our realtor was one of the hardest conversations I have had to have lately.  I cried and fretted and yet God was present.  She was disappointed and a little hurt, yet her character has shown through.  She has been able to continue to be a friend while our business relationship takes changes.  She has been a beautiful picture of a Christian woman and friend.  I know she was disappointed and even hurt, yet her words and behavior and spirit have well represented the Christ she loves and serves. 

I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone trying to sell or buy a house in the Greensboro area.  She is a hard worker and gives you her all.  She is willing to pull out all the stops to sell your house.  She would be the 1st realtor I would call if we had to do it all over again.  Do you need a realtor?  At least give her a call before you make a decision.

The question now is - where are we now?  The house has been off the market for about 1 1/2 weeks and will go back up on the market tomorrow.  We have interviewed and questioned and researched realtors intensively.  We have prayed over this decision.  When the house finally sells, I'll tell you how God "blew our socks off" during this interview process.  We have chosen a realtor who is in Kernersville and who has an understanding of this bedroom community and loves it.  And once again, we begin the "house is on the market lifestyle." 

Will you pray for a couple things for us?
  1. That that the house will sell - quickly!
  2. For our original realtor - that God will bless her business - one that she is basing on His principles
  3. For our new realtor - that she will know exactly what needs to be done to market our house to the right people

49% ...

We are at 49% - less than $100/month needed in partnerships to be at the 50% mark.  We are so excited!

We were given the go ahead today to begin gathering paperwork for our VISA.  The official process will not begin until we are actually at 50%, but we can begin to get things in order.  Could tomorrow be the official day?

As we celebrate being so close we also know that this is only half of the race.  We must continue at this pace to reach our goal of moving at the beginning of September.  Have you been considering partnership?  It would be great if you would let us know now.  Your partnership can begin in a month or two or even three - but your commitment counts towards our percentage immediately.  Just ask us how!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Blessing of a Mixer

I "bought" my first appliance today for our new apartment in Spain!  I say "bought" because actually I just put a hold on a mixer that is for sale through a virtual garage sale.  A family that lives in Spain is leaving Spain and selling lots of their furniture and appliances and etc.  Our supervisor's wife knew I really wanted a nice mixer when we arrive and promised to look out for a used one.  Today she emailed me about a red kitchen aid mixer that was for sale as well as some other furniture.  I claimed it and have been giddy with laughter all day.

I know a mixer should not have that kind of impact on a grown woman, but look at this as a lot more than a mixer.  Look at it from this view point:

..... Our supervisor believes we are coming!  Who would offer to buy a mixer and furniture for a family on the other side of the ocean if they didn't believe a day was coming pretty soon where the items would be claimed? 

.....  I have always wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer and there has always been a reason not to get one.  I have thought of all the things I will need to give up and do without and yet God has allowed me to have the mixer I have wanted for years.  I know it sounds crazy to many of you, but to me I see the mixer as a blessing from God.

.....  A mixer and maybe a bed and a kitchen table,  the first steps toward a home.  We aren't going to Spain to a sterile, cold apartment - we are going home and we are already beginning to make it.

Laugh with me and rejoice me - I bought a mixer today!

Monday, April 4, 2011


So much for catching up on the blog today - it will have to wait another day.  Today is day 3 of a headache.  Although it is better, it is still there.  Not sure if it is all the paint fumes in the house, pollen outside, the crick in my neck, or what... but for today - I'll go to work and do what must be done and then spend the rest of the day doing nothing.  Check back tomorrow - lots to tell!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I sat down to write a post this morning and my brain is on overflow!  We had an incredible dinner last night with new friends, she is a Spaniard from the area we will be serving and he lived there for three years.  We have had to make some hard decisions in the last week and I want to share the lessons I have learned from there.  We are celebrating that God is almost daily bringing new partners.  I was asked yesterday were we disappointed we only hit 48% by our goal and I want to share why I cannot be disappointed in God's answer.  I have much to reflect on from the life of a friend who so quickly came to an end last week.  And then there are the daily things that I want to share about- the house, the paintbrush that seems permanently attached to my hand, and etc. 

If I were to write all of this at one time you would quit reading before you finished and it is all still a little jumbled - so for today I write that I am praising God because He is a creative God who answers our prayers in ways that are beyond our imagination.  I'm heading to pick up the paintbrush again and perhaps tonight I will write a little more detail.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I attended the funeral of a dear friend yesterday.  Although we only met a year ago, he made a lasting impression on my life.   And as I listened to the things that were said about him and his relationship with Christ from friends who have known him for 25+ years my respect for him grew even greater!  May people say some of the same things of me when my final day here on earth arrives!

One of the pastors said:

"God does not allow suffering, but He never wastes it."

I have pondered that quote all night.  No commentary on my part coming, but I would love to hear your reaction.  

Busy day ahead, but check back tomorrow so I can tell you of my dinner plans for tonight!