Category Archives: work & ministry

Tiny little ship

I have nothing to write about, except that I’m going to Papua New Guinea the day after tomorrow.

Whoa. Just whoa.

It’s pretty much the only thing on my mind at the moment.

I can think of nothing else.

Excited? Way too small a word.

There is organizing and list-building and list-crossing-off and emailing and errands and laundering and packing and cleaning…. and and and… lots to do.

But you know what? It’s all for PNG.

I can’t stop thinking about it.

I’m probably not going to sleep for the next three weeks as the four of us share a cabin smaller than our kitchen. I’ll say good-bye to facebook and instagram and pinterest and blogging. I’ll have micro showers and wear the same two shirts every-other-day. I’l not be able to pop down to the shops when I run out of something or realize I’ve forgotten something. No nightly news or long walks around the neighborhood. No time alone. No googling when I don’t know the answer to something! *gasp*

I’ll be on a tiny little ship based out of a tiny little cabin doing tiny little work that will make a great big difference.

And you know what else?

It’s gonna be amazing.

And it will probably change our lives.

It will certainly change the future.

Ummmm, did I tell you I can’t wait??!

STOP.

Q for you: When’s the last time you were preparing to do something that you were SO excited about??

Love,
A

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.

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Extravagance just because

It’s day two in America and we are well and truly in holiday mode.

Aside from some crazy jet lag, everything is as perfect as possible. We are enjoying being unscheduled and moving slowly and having time together with our family.

There was a bag waiting for us when we arrived, put together from our church to welcome us.

It was full of some of our favorite American goodies that we can’t get in Australia – Cheerios, cheddar Chex Mix, Payday candy bars, Sour Patch Kids, A&W root beer, Reeces Pieces, pink lemonade, and kettle corn. There were even a few little gifts for the kids.

None of this is stuff that we need. (Um, who needs junk food?!)

But that was just the point – to bless us “above and beyond” the necessary. And to make us smile.

It’s amazing how little things can make such a big impact.

Being welcomed with a package like that – full of the treats we adore and miss – made us feel so welcomed, cared for, and appreciated.

As much as God wants to provide for our needs, he also loves to do things just to make us smile.

Extravagance, generosity, hospitality, abundance – those are all marks of our God.

Apparently our church family knows that too.

They reflect him so well.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When is the last time you were blessed to receive something you didn’t need, but wanted “just because”?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


We’re contending for the remote control while they’re contending for their lives

Mothers Day is in two days.

What an awesome holiday it is.

Hallmark holiday? Well, maybe. But I think it’s so important to take time to honor the amazing mothers in our lives. (Hi mom! *waving* Love you!)

I realized that although readers of my other blog are well aware of Bloggers for Birth Kits, I should probably post here too since some of my readers are different.

So here’s the deal:

In rural Papua New Guinea the rate of women dying in childbirth is one in seven.

Shocking statistic, I know.

But think about it as more than a number. Think about it in terms of faces.

How many moms do you know that are pregnant? How many do you know that have just given birth in the last year?

Divide that number by seven and then think again.

Ouch.

I know.

The good news is there’s a way to prevent many of these deaths through the distribution (and use) of clean birth kits. In the developing world the leading cause of maternal death is infection, and the kits provide things like soap and plastic gloves and a few other basic supplies that can help create a cleaner birth environment.

And the other good news is that these kits only cost about $2-3 to make. (Seriously.)

I’ve posted all about it here.

To date we’ve raised 3176 kits so far in the last two weeks. An amazing response.

Because the thing is, women love helping women. (And some men love helping women too!)

And every mother knows the love of a mama to her baby.

And no mother can fathom not living through the welcoming of that baby into the world.

So this Mothers Day, as you’re enjoying your breakfast in bed (hopefully!), I urge you to also think of the women in PNG and elsewhere that are contending for their lives (and their babies’ lives) as we contend for the remote control.

If you’re a mom, happy Mothers Day to you for Sunday. If you’re not, well then, happy Mothers Day to your mom.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Would you be alive today if you’d given birth in a developing nation? Would your mother??

 

Love,
A

p.s. The photo is of a package of birth kits I received today from a mom in America. Yay. Thank you. 🙂

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


When I just want to workworkwork

Some days, when all I really want to do is work. work. work., what I actually need most is to play.

There’s a very real part of me that feels the need to accomplish.

I’ve wondered if this is a negative thing – a drive to perform or a search for worth.

But I’ve decided it’s not. I feel free of those traps.

I’m an achiever, an activator, a make-it-happen sort of person. And I’m realizing that, by personality, this need to accomplish will never go away. It’s part of who I am.

And it’s not a bad part. It’s good.

I just need to know when to say when and realize that during this season, even though my wiring hasn’t changed, I have to change my expectations of what that looks like.

Because my reality is very much taken over by little boys who need a present mama.

(And that’s a good thing. I love them, so. And I want to be with.)

So on days like today when I want to workworkwork, I find it best to get in the car and gogogo. Get out of the house (and away from the pull of THE LIST) and go play.

As much as I love making things happen and accomplishing, I’m pretty sure I won’t be sending my kids off to school in a few years time thinking I wish I had accomplished more while they were home with me.

I also don’t want to be thinking I wish I had played and enjoyed them more.

It’s a learning process. Old habits die hard, but new ones can–and will–be formed.

And they are. Being formed.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What are you working to prioritize at the moment?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Why talking about money is fun, not boring

No one likes to talk about money.

At least not on a personal level.

We talk about investments and the economy and “out there” stuff, but most like to keep talk of their personal paychecks private.

Today I wrote a post about finances for another blog that’s soon to launch (where I’ve been asked to be a regular contributor – more about that soon). And, although I usually think the topic of finance is a little boring…

I was totally into it.

I mean, like really, really diggin it.

Because when you know God, and are connected to him, it becomes not just about numbers in a bank account or dollars in your pocket, it becomes about understanding him and his ways. (And, oh how I love knowing him and his ways!)

There’s a verse in Luke that talks about how he provides for the ravens and how much “more valuable” we are than them.

And that’s it! That’s the key!

God provides for us because we’re worth it. We’re worth it.

Did you catch that? Cuz it goes for you too.

He also provides for us because that’s who he is – our Provider. Capital P. That’s what he does. He can’t not be himself.

Money can be a difficult thing – when it rules us, when it seems we are in lack, when it’s squandered, when we idolize it, etc. But it can also be a really beautiful thing.

Jesus never shied away from talking about money.

So why do we?

We need it. We want it. We can even use it as a tool to worship him and bless others.

I’m so glad he thinks I’m worth it.

STOP.

Q for you: Do you struggle with talking about money? Did you know that God thinks you’re worth it?

Love,
A

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Love him with my whole heart, I do. (Dad)

Since watching it sail off into the sunset just a few hours ago, it seemed obvious that I would write about our ship tonight.

About the amazing people that are on their way to Papua New Guinea to give their very lives to others. About the ones that waved them off from the shore who have spent long hours preparing, assembling, building, welding, painting, cleaning, praying. About the many people that have rallied, given themselves, invested their time, emptied their wallets.

I was going to write about the people waiting on the other side of the journey. The ones who have hope rising because of the heart and help that the ship brings and represents.

And these are worthy things to write about. (I will.)

But then I realized that today is my dad’s birthday.

And maybe no one else in the blogosphere cares about reading a wee post from a girl about her dad… but I care about writing, about giving him space.

I have so many memories of my dad growing up. I kid you not, they are all happy.

He was just that good of a dad.

But you know what I always remember when I think back to him during our “little” years?

Bike rides.

And tennis.

And softball in the park and soccer in the yard.

Whatever was my current whim, there he was right alongside me, helping me to learn, helping me get better,

but mostly… just having fun with me.

What a great dad. Dependable, available, approachable, relatable.

Always giving, always fun, always involved (in the best possible way).

Sixty years of being the best dad (and now granddad) I could ever imagine having.

Love him with my whole heart, I do.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you remember your growing-up years with your dad?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


I don’t go to church. Or do I?

Whenever people ask me where I go to church I stumble and hem and haw and try to find words to answer their question.

The truth is, we don’t go to church. At least not in the sense that people are talking about.

Both Ryan and I have “home churches” that we love – his in Sydney, mine in Oregon. We love going back to those guys and feel totally at home there.

Those churches are places of friendship, connection, encouragement, and worship. They are places that we represent through our service. We consider ourselves an extension of them as we work here in Townsville.

But we don’t go to a place we call “church” every Sunday morning.

The thing is, we do have a church. We meet with a group of believers several days a week – working, serving, worshiping, praying, growing in relationship. We teach one another, we break bread together, we encourage and strengthen one another.

We actually are the church. It just also happens to be our workplace.

I know it’s hard for some people to get that.

They need a name, a denomination, a set of four walls.

So when I tell them that we don’t go to church, I can sense some of them cringing inside. (Is she really saved? Is she bitter toward the church? Is she *gasp* an independent?)

Newsflash, yes, I know God. No, I’m not bitter. And no, we are definitely not independent.

Sometimes I think we have far more community than I think is even comfortable.

(But that’s not really the point of church is it? To be “comfortable”?)

The point of church is to gather, serve, grow, teach, encourage, worship, connect. Be the Body.

So yes, I suppose I do go to church.

Nearly every day.

STOP

 

Q for you: What do you think church is?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


The launch. It’s coming.

I’ve been working for hours and hours and days now… getting ready to launch Bloggers for Birth Kits on my other blog.

That day is tomorrow.

And I can’t wait.

Funny how easy it is for a passion to spring up out of nowhere… Something like this that I’d never have dreamed of and yet it makes so much sense.

So many of my interests and passions combined: women’s issues, the developing world, birth, motherhood, service, YWAM, blogging, mobilizing, rallying people together, educating.

It’s a good fit really.

I almost didn’t do it this year because I feared getting too many donations.

Last year I wanted 300… and I got over 2000.

Um… hello.

This year, I don’t know…

I just want what God has.

I almost backed away, but a friend (who I barely know) challenged me. “Isn’t having too many a good problem?” she asked me in earnest. “Surely if that happens, God has a way of helping you handle it, right?”

BAM. Truth.

I suppose I’ve just been busy. And a little tired.

And the thought of lots and lots of emails and lots and lots of responding on social networks like blogs and twitter and facebook… is a bit tiring. (Especially when they’re primarily crammed in after 8:00pm at night when I’m already pretty wasted.)

And yet at the same time I feel completely energized by it all.

Doing something that has no (or little) personal benefit feels good, you know?

it feels right.

So here we go. In eight hours time Bloggers for Birth Kits Mothers Day Drive 2012 will launch.

Wish me luck! And come check it out here.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you ever given yourself to something and accidentally discovered a passion because of it?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Writing behind the scenes

There are so many reasons I write.

I love the creative aspect of writing. I love the way my brain works when I’m on the keyboard.

I love words. And rhythm. And piecing ideas together.

I love trying to make something–art or instruction–that is beautiful or enjoyable or sometiemes just plain useful to someone.

What many people don’t know is that I probably write offline far more than I write online. And between my six–yes six–blogs, I write a lot. (Only three of those blogs are public, mind you.)

BUt actually, much of my writing happens in emails. Just good old fashioned one-on-one, person-to-person emails. (“Old fashioned” – heh heh.)

Almost daily I get an email from someone who is asking for advice or prayer or encouragement, or who simply wants to share (and be affirmed in) an experience. Many of them are old students of mine. Some are friends, or friends of friends. Some I’ve met through blogging. And some seem to appear out of nowhere.

it’s an incredible opportunity to use what I love (writing) to be a blessing.

I don’t get paid for it. I don’t get famous from it. I don’t have anything to show for it.

But I love it.

Why? Because it’s tangible. I know I can help people… and I want to.

Yes, I can share my (at times limited) life and experiences… but more importantly I can point them to God, the One who gives life.

it’s a very private ministry, and extremely hard to quantify, but it’s a very valid one too.

The only problem comes when people ask me “what do I do?” (as in my work). I sometimes stumble over this question and usually just say I’m a stay-at-home-mom (plenty of work right there, folks!) and a part-time teacher. (Which is true.)

“Oh, and I write” I sometimes throw in there.

But mostly? Mostly I’m just me. Without a title. Trying my best to use what God’s given me to help out the next girl.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Is your “work” easily quantifiable?

 

Love,
A

p.s. I’m not always able to do it straight away, but I always try to make time to respond to emails and private messages.

p.s.s. I just realized that I was talking about emails as if they’re not online. Haha, oops. I suppose I should’ve talked about “public and private” instead of just on/off-line writing. I guess that’s what I get for writing without much forethought and with no editing! 🙂

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Little space, big dream

Later this year my family and I will be flying to Papua New Guinea where we’ll board the YWAM Medical ship, hole up in a small cabin, and spend a few weeks serving in villages where access to health care is limited.

Along with us will be teams of medical professionals – nurses, dentists, optomotrists, and more.

On board the ship we’ll run dental and optometry and basic health care clinics.

I haven’t been on an outreach like this in years now. Years.

To a YWAMer, that’s like slow death.

Ok, I’m being completely dramatic here. Nobody’s dying. (I’m not dying.)

But I am longing.

Longing to do what I joined this mission to do. Longing to be in the nations, helping people, helping people help themselves. Helping people to know God.

(To be fair, I’ve been doing all those things – in Australia. Just not “out there” in the developing world, which I love so dearly.)

Today we visited the Ship to look at hte rooms and decide where the best place for our little family to stay will be.

We chose a small room, where we’ll put a matress on the floor for Levi and Judah will share the bed with us. During the day, the bed folds up into the wall, leaving a small space for benches and a tiny floor area to play. (Most likely we won’t spend much non-sleeping time in there anyway.)

That little space created a lot of excitement in my heart.

Even though we’ve been planning this outreach for a long time now, today’s short visit to the Ship just made it all seem real.

This is happening.

Can’t wait.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you taken your family on an outreach before? Would you like to?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited