Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fall is Coming!

After a couple of months on the mountain, we're finally starting to settle into a routine. Rusty is working weekends now, but doesn't got in until after lunch on Saturdays, so we've started a new Saturday tradition! (Some of you will remember our regular Saturday morning hikes when we were in Cameroon :)). Our local Farmer's Market opens on Saturday mornings, so shortly after breakfast we packed into the car with tote bags and cool packs in tow and headed for Boone. What a Farmer's Market it was! It was the first time we'd been on a Saturday (it's also open on Wednesday evenings), and it was packed! It's not hard to see why--a huge parking lot was flanked with rows of white tents and open air booths, most with tables of brightly colored produce, although some artists set up shop with photographs, pottery, jewelry, and other handmade goods. We let the girls strap on their quilted elephant backpacks from Cameroon to help carry our goods in, so they wore happy smiles as we strolled around the loop. It was a beautiful almost-fall morning. Rain clouds were sailing away on the breeze and autumn leaves glittered in the sky with every gust. It made me anxious for fall!

After our marketing was complete, we headed back to the car and drove a couple of miles to the Greenway Trail for a jog. It was the perfect weather for a mid-morning jaunt, and we thoroughly enjoyed trapsing through parks and next to streams and even through a tunnel of arched evergreen branches at one point. The air smelled like nature's own potpourri, scented with the leaves of trees and flowers and the morning rain. Rusty and I are always amazed at how beautiful the mountains are, no matter the season or weather. Each change has its own beauty.

Well, honor of the much anticipated advent of fall in the mountains--and my recently acquired fresh produce from the market!-- I'm posting a link to the recipe for one of our favorite quick breads: Chocolate Zucchini Bread. When the weather gets cooler, it always puts me in the mood to bake! This recipe is moist and tasty, and makes two loaves so you can put one in the freezer and break it out when the first one is gone (or if you're like us, you probably won't need to freeze it before the other one is gone!). I usually leave out the melted unsweetened chocolate so that it's less like a dessert and more like a snack, especially for the girls, and it is still slightly sweet and delicious. A slice of bread, a cup of tea, and a chair out on the deck overlooking the mountains...there must be something like this in heaven! :) Enjoy!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

(Do) I Love You

Isn’t it ironic at times how the older we get—and hopefully the deeper our walk with the Lord grows as a result—we so often need to return to some of the most basic teachings of Christ? Today I found myself doing just that.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

Love. An old and familiar topic. Is it really a new commandment? Isn’t it an old one dating back to the Mosaic commands of the Pentateuch? Sort of. It’s there. But Jesus puts a different spin on it here. Not only are we to love our neighbors as ourselves (Lev. 19:18); now we’re supposed to love them like Jesus would, with the intended result that they will see Jesus through our lives, and know that we are his disciples.

It’s easy for me to feel pangs of immediate defeat when I even begin to measure my “love life” up against Christ’s. He loved perfectly; He loved unto death on a cross! He is love! Still, God commands us to love this way. My only conclusion is that he will give me the power—through his Holy Spirit—to love in a way that is fleshly impossible. And one tool that he often uses to accomplish his work is his Word.

So I turned to another familiar passage: 1 Corinthians 13. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a refresher on the characteristics of godly love. But—as so often is the case—it wasn’t the verses I was thinking of that were so convicting to me. It was 1 Corinthians 13:3: If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Yikes. So I can give someone everything I have and even give my life for them without loving? Absolutely. One commentator says about this passage: “Love cannot be measured by actions alone; motives must be assessed to determine what is loving.”

When reflecting upon how this truth applies to my own life, I must ask myself: When I give my time to my kids but do it with an attitude of irritability and resentment, am I really loving them? When I let out harsh words toward my husband, but inwardly justify it by the thought that I would really do anything for him, am I really loving him? When someone hurts me and I decide to “kill ‘em with kindness”, am I really loving them if my heart isn’t in it? Tough questions. But ones that we must ask ourselves if we want to grow in love the way Jesus loved.

So today I’m praying for myself—and for those I know and love—that we will demonstrate our commitment to Jesus to the world not only by how we help each other in the kitchen, watch each other’s kids, write on each other’s facebook wall, or pick up each other’s clothes and toys, but also by the attitude of our hearts. May the words of [our] mouth[s] and the meditation[s] of our heart[s] be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Another Cross-Country Adventure

We returned late last night from the last (we think!) of our summer vacation road trips. We spent several days with family on Hilton Head Island, then returned via Simpsonville, SC so we could visit with more family that we hadn't seen since our return from Africa. It was fun--we had great weather, lots of pool time, a trip to the shipyard, some good seafood, and the girls had a blast playing with their cousins. Rusty and I snuck in a Starbucks date, an afternoon tennis match, and a couple of runs without the jogging stroller. Rusty did, of course, manage to find a place to stick his fishing pole in the water while we were on the island as well. However, after a couple of interruptions from alligators, he ended his efforts. :) We had a great trip, but as always, it was good to come home--even to our temporary one! :)

Which brings me to other news some of you may be wondering about. We still have not found a full-time job for Rusty now that we are back in the U.S., but the Lord did bless us with a part-time one that just started today. Rusty will be the weekend manager for the Buckeye Lake Rec. Center on the back side of the mountain. It's a great fit for us because he'll still be able to job search/interview/visit potential churches during the week but still make some money on the weekends. We're thankful for the opportunity and he is looking forward to beginning the job.

We're thankful for your continued prayers and encouragement as we wait for the Lord to lead us to our next place of ministry. Hope you enjoy the pictures of our island fun!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tweetsie Railroad!

Today we enjoyed the unexpected blessing of getting to spend the whole morning with Sophie at Tweetsie Railroad! We ended up with three free tickets, so Sophie, Rusty and I threw the picnic basket in the car and headed out early for our big date. We started the day's events with a good old-fashioned Tweetsie Railroad train ride (complete with the badly-acted-out Cowboys vs. Indians routine :)) then headed up the hill to the rides for Sophie-sized kids. We eased into it with a couple of rides on the carousel and then headed to the rides that Sophie had to ride all by herself. It didn't take long for her to get the hang of it, and even though she was covered with chill bumps (sorry to those of you in hot places, but it was COLD here this morning!), have a huge smile on her face! We rode the chair lift, fed the animals, and enjoyed the rides. Then we hit the "K-9's in Flight" dog show on our way out and drove to the greenway to have our picnic lunch. We had such a great time and were so thankful for the chance to spend some time with "just the three of us." What a blessing!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

First Day in Business

Well, today was my first official day in business with Wiggle Worm Art. In the process of trying to make some wall art for the girls' room here at Beech Mtn., I found that I really enjoyed doing it. So...I decided to start a small (very small at this point!) business and sell my art! I craft customized wall hangings for children's rooms out of acrylics, fabric, buttons, and other embellishments. I filed all of the paperwork yesterday and started business today! Today was "Crafts on the Green" on the mountain, so we had decided to have a yard sale to make a little extra money while we're in transition. I figured that was a good opportunity to set up some of my pieces and get the word out about Wiggle Worm Art. I was able to talk with lots of moms (my biggest fans so far!) and grandmothers, and give out lots of business cards, so hopefully I will begin filling orders soon! Visit to see some samples. If you are reading this and are interested in ordering some art for your child, grandchild, or as a gift for a friend, mention coupon code FFD001 when you send your request (by emailing or calling 828.719.0321) and receive 20% off!