Thursday, September 04, 2008

"And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart..."

I cannot let this day go by without posting about our day. I have just had one of the most amazing days of my life. This morning, bright and early, Raphael and I walked down to the Radiologist to get an ultrasound... for me, not him. And the first thing the doctor said about 2 second after she started the ultrasound was, "There's the baby!" or... "Et voilà le bébé" to be more precise. WOW!

We just found out last Thursday that I was pregnant, but we didn't know how long it had been... and to be honest, I wasn't 100% sure of my pregnancy. My body works in such an unusual and funny way that it was really hard to calculate or be sure, so it wasn't until today that we got to know how pregnant I really am. Funnily enough I think it was Sunchi who found out before any of us because of the way she has been acting towards me lately. She just wants to sit on my lap (she has never been a lap dog) and curl up next to my belly.

I could say a lot about what this pregnancy means to me after almost a year and a half of marriage... about what the Lord has shown me in His word about children... I have learned many important things that have changed the way I see it all, but today I want to write about something else.

My dad pointed out to me that the baby's heart was made before his brain and how important that is... and that really made me think. See... when I was looking at the screen, I could kind of make out the head and the little spine as the doctor pointed them out to us... but there was one little thing that I didn't miss and couldn't miss... the heart, and hearing the heart beat of His/our/my baby! :) It's a miracle...

"Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." - Deuteronomy 6:3-7

This little baby doesn't look like much yet, but he/she has a heart... I believe he/she has a soul, and I think he/she is strong as I see how this baby has grown so far and how he/she is going to grow each day as the Lord wills... I pray that this little person will love the Lord with that little beating heart, with her/his soul, and with the little powerful strength she/he has... I was so humbled to see that this little being has that which the Lord asks of us. Our heart, our soul... our strength, and from each according to that which he or she can give.

I have felt unworthy of such a precious gift as I see my lack of love, mercy and grace unto others... and I ask myself how I could possibly bring up a child in the Lord... but thank God it is not about me or Raphael. It's about Him, and I know that all things are possible in Him, and that this baby is here with us because it is the Lord's good pleasure... and he/she is His to start with! That's what it comes down to when you live by faith.

I have a few photos to share... I won't post them right now, but they are coming!

I hope and pray that you have all been well and encourage you to continue in your walk with the Lord.

"Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"They that sow in tears..."

Lately I have been thinking a lot about harvest time, bearing fruit and blessings... I guess because it's Summer time and the market place is coloured with beautiful Summer fruits and flowers. I have never lived on a farm or had any fruits trees or vegetables to grow, but I can very well imagine how satisfying it must be to see the fruits of your labour and God's blessings. I also think much about it because I realize how much the Lord has blessed me and feel like we are bearing fruit ourselves, in a spiritual way. But I know that many around me are not feeling blessed or like they are bearing any fruit. Raphael and I can both see how the Lord is blessing us here in our home, our little village, church and family... but for some odd reason it seems like we are surrounded by many people, either near or far, that are going through very tough situations. It is one thing to have to deal with a mild headaches, a bad grade, missing a friend, criticism, a bad hair day or bird-poo on your head... all of these can be discouraging, but when you see others having to deal with deep depressions, murder of a family member, sexual abuse, chronic illness at a time when you think "Lord this is not a good time", having your dad thrown in jail while it is clear he is innocent, or no place to live, you know you have to take out your praying umbrella and cover your friends with it, and encourage your friends in your time of harvest...while they sow in tears.

Sunchi and I :)

We visited a friend near Aix-en-Province a few weeks ago and got to drive by some lavender fields that were just beautiful. While driving we noticed that there were some men collecting lavender with their reaping machine. I immediately thought of the verse about not reaping the corners of the fields so the poor and strangers could glean at the corners... and I figured that "hey, I'm a" So I asked my husband very nicely if he thought we could glean there. He was sure we could, but he also asked very nicely and the guys said we could take from what was left over...

I know my colours don't match, but you know, I just didn't care that day; the sky was too blue...don't you just love Sunchi's smile

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 23:22

Raphael ready to go swim in the lake...hehe

It was wonderful to glean on the fields; the smell was heavenly, and working on the field made me feel so useful, blessed, like I was in the book of Ruth... like I was collecting the Lavender I planted myself! It was wonderful, and we all enjoyed it. I was able to collect so much that I gave quite a big bunch to some of my neighbors, and have left over for my mother-in-law. It makes me happy to think that their homes are filled with the fresh scent of Lavender. I think our encouragements can also have the same pleasing effect on our friends. It doesn't change the circumstances, it is just a smell of something, but it smells like hope and that can make a big difference. I know I'd love some lavender if I was going through winter. But God has a wonderful promise for anyone going through hard times, big or small; His Word says that

"They that sow in tears...
...shall reap in joy."
Psalm 126:5

That's a great promise and the encouraging verse I've been using lately. If you are going through a time of plenty, don't clean the corners of your field, leave some fruit for those around you that are going through hard times or famine. If you are going through difficult times, be of good cheer, the Lord will see you through and He promises that soon, after the winter you will reap in JOY! And we'll be right there rejoicing with you, if not begging for a bite... but it's all good!

This is when I felt like Ruth or so...

There is another famous Bible verse about sowing...
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap Galatians 6:7... you know? But that's a whole different story.

God Bless.... :)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sunchi's Checklist

  • Traveled by plane in South America, the Caribbean and Europe.
  • Lived on a little Caribbean island for 13 years.
  • Chased Donkey's away.
  • Did a road-trip across Europe.
  • Been to Paris.
  • Stayed at a hotel.
  • Was kissed by two complete strangers in the streets of Aubusson.
  • Been stuck in traffic for hours.
  • Been to two weddings... and one still to come.
  • Been faithful all my life.
  • Retired to the French Riviera where a whole new life will start.
Well, we are back, and we are not alone. We brought back my little dog Sunchi from Bonaire. I have had her since I was 17 so it's a great joy to have her here in France. Maybe one day I can write about the day I got Sunchi, while I was in a hospital for TM. To me she is a reminder of where I have been and what the Lord has done in my life. Raphael and I were in Bonaire with family, then Holland for a friend's wedding, then Paris for work, then the middle of France for another wedding so we are happy to be back home. I have missed my blog friends and posting about our happenings.

The Lord is good, I just want to encourage people with this truth. It may not always look that way, or feel that way, but He is... and I can tell you that with a big smile on my face.

Well, that's it for now...I want to thank everyone for their sweet comments while I was gone, and leave you with a few pictures of our little traveler.

God bless~

Wedding in Holland...

Looking for mushrooms in the forest with Mamie...

Giving Raphael his B-day gift...

Looking at the fish...

Taking a nap after lunch...


Making new friends...

"Sunchi besame mucho!"

Using facilities in our hotel room...

Resting after a long day...

"Are you coming?"

Traffic Jam

Took hours...

New home sweet home...

(In case anyone is wondering, no she doesn't sleep in bed, but on our last day at the hotel she was allowed to sleep in the bed while we packed our things.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friday, May 02, 2008

Loooooooooong walk

I just wanted to post a few pictures Raphael took on his mobile from our walk yesterday. He had a day off so we went for a nice walk in nature. Before going we had a very nice study in I Samuel 1. I was really touched to learn about how God answers our prayers. It was just a great way to start the day.... so off we went on this walk. The weather was great, and my walking was quite good as well. Raphael showed me how to use two hiking sticks to see if that would help and it helped so well that on our way up he didn't even have to make an effort to slow down his walking, so that was very encouraging for me... So, we walked, and walked, and talked about heaven, and I kept asking him things that require a lot of imagination like... "If God gave you a country... would you like it to be an island or somewhere in a continent? What kind of vegetation would you put in it? What kind of animals?" and so on.... I know he doesn't like these kinds of questions very much because... they are so irrelevant, but he still answers as best as he can to satisfy me, and then I talk and talk and talk about what I would do if it were my case... all this while I'm still walking pretty well. I know he would much rather have me ask him how the internet works, for example... anyway. We walked and walked, and then after about 2 hours he pointed to where he wanted to take me... on top of a mountain, and I thought he must be kidding because how on earth would I get up there? But I just followed him... then after more walking I started to feel really tired and wanted to give up but he told me he wanted to take me just a little bit further up... so after walking and climbing a bit... he lead me to the very top and WOW, the view was amazing. then he pointed down to were we had parked the car and how much we had walked and WOW.... I just had to cry a little to think that just by taking little steps at a time you can get very far... He shared with me how it made him so happy to be sharing this walk with me. See.... my husband is a hiker... he loves to hike and climb... and how funny is it that the Lord gave him a wife that walks with so much difficulty. And yet... isn't that just like God?

Then we found a place to sit and we went through out prayer requests and those the Lord had answered already, and other blessings that we hadn't even prayed for but the Lord had done... and we prayed and just spent such a nice time on top of that mountain....

Then we had to go down... there were several ways to go back to the car, I asked for the shortest way because I was already kind of really tired. So we saw a path and chose to go on that one... there had been a warning sign hiding in the bushes but Raphael looked at his map and according to the map the path would lead us to the car. This path was smaller, going down, and had a lot of stones on it which made it very difficult for me... and after 30 minutes we hit a fence that prevented us from continuing and had no other choice but to turn back... The sun was already starting to set, we knew that we still had about two hours to go... and we had just lost 45 minutes going down and up this trail... my legs were getting heavier and heavier... and not only that but I was VERY discouraged. I knew it wasn't Raphael's fault, he was following the map, but still... walking up was easier, but much more tiring, and I knew once we were up we still had to go down the other way. Raphael felt really bad and I could tell he was a bit concerned about time. He put up the warning sign again (which said that it was a dangerous path) I just had to keep praying for the Lord to give me patience and a happy heart... Raphael also stopped after a while to pray for me because he could tell that I was having a hard time... I just kept thinking that all that was happening was like a perfect situation to discourage us after such a great moment of prayer. I knew that it was just the kind of thing that would make us forget how Good the Lord really is and it could have even gotten me mad at Raphael when it wasn't really his fault, so I tried to keep that in mind and just continue praying...

Raphael then decided that he was going to take me down on his back and that I should just enjoy the view... so that's more or less how we made it down.... and it was fun, it was good exercise for him he said, and it kept our spirits up. He carried me down all the way to the foot of the mountain and then when it was flat I was able to walk back quite ok. We left for our walk at about 14:30 and got back to the car at about 20:30... that was a loooong walk. On our way home we stopped to get some excellent pizza, and once at home my he prepared a foot bath for me. :)

I'm still kind of tired today, but... I'm just happy of the day we had.

On our way up... unawares of what awaits me... see those rocks up there?

View from the rocks i just showed you?

I loved that we could see the snowy alps... those are my favourite mountains around here...

Raphael took pictures all around with his mobile...

Super cool!

Too bad he didn't take a picture from where we parked... and too bad I can't load those pictures from my mobile for some reason...

Our first trip down the wrong path... again unawares...

This is where Raphael took me down... at the bridge

Picture of where we were! I can hardly believe it!

Raphael... always happy, and me thinking "Take me home!"... but happy too :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

God+1Year+1day+Raphael=Happy Me :)

On the 28th of April 2007 Raphael and I got married in a beautiful little church, on a beautiful Sunny day in Holland (!!!). It's been a year and a day since that day and it has been such a blessed year for me and Raphael. On our wedding day we received an album from one of my colleagues and her boyfriend with some photos of "my children" at the school where I worked... a souvenir to always remember them... and they also added some pictures of our engagement. At the end they put... "to be continued" - So I thought a year after I could offer it to Raphael again with some pictures of what this year has meant to me. So... a friend and I went to the beach in Cannes... she brought her cool pink camera and I brought a bag full of things to see if I could somehow make pictures of what love was for me...

All the pictures were taken by Tuuli, a friend from church... I thought she did a great job at taking them and going ahead with all my little crazy ideas. I would just set up things and she would snap away... it was great because often times I would like to take a picture of my hands or so, and I would need a third arm to take it.. so it was great to have Tuuli there. She admited she had never taken such pictures, but I think they turned out great. Thank you Tuuli!

I did edit the photos some to add text or colour...and make them a bit like what I saw in my head... didn't quite work as well because I'm not very good with photo editing programs at all... and I just had a short time to work on them, but it did get me interested in learning more about photo editing...

Anyway here are some pictures :)

The idea was to make a little album of what love meant to me in our marriage. So on one side of the album I put a "love is.." picture and on the other side I put a picture of what it was...

Because of my disability I find that love... or how Raphael shows his love to me is by being patient. Tuuli later commented on how the love I felt was coming from him was love from God, and she was right on!

"Love is..." "...Marriage"... to me ;)

Well... in this case I put what it was in the same picture... :)

Les Petits Nounours :)

I love the way my simple kitchen matches look in this picture. Had no idea they were so photogenic!

Tuuli wasn't sure love was really forever as it kept being blown away... but I assured her it God is eternal.

I have many more pictures that I used for the album but just wanted to share a few here...

In the morning we exchanged our old vows again and put on our rings for fun... Raphael gave me a huge bouquet with beautiful flowers and took me to a lovely restaurant in the evening close to our house. We just walked there and later walked back home in the cool of the night. We also got some phone calls that made our day! It was a lovely day to remember our wedding and the verses we used... :)

"My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."
Song of Solomon 2:10-13

To any young lady reading this that would love to get married one day I will say this..."I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please." Song of Solomon 2:7

It's not easy to hear to "wait", to "not look for" or "find" but it is so worth it when we do wait on the Lord... trust me, but most of all trust the Lord who loves us more than we can ever imagine. :)

God bless ~

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Net Hoy... o_0

Today is my little borther's Bithday, but I can't get in touch with him because his phone broke and there is no other way to get in touch with him... so I think this is the first year I will not speak to him on his Birthday... and that's sad... for me :(

So, I thought I would post a picture of him... and oh why not, I'll put my other brother in there too.. and wish him a Happy Birthday on my blog.

I won't say much about him because I don't want to embarrass him, but I will say that this little brother of mine does inspire me because of his maturity, his sensitivity to others, his really funny laugh, and how he can encourage his much older sister to be strong in the Lord, trusting always, only looking back to remember how God has been present in my life.

I didn't write a post for my other brother on his Birthday (which was last month) because I talked to him... but all I can say about him right now is that I have not seen him in way too long! He lives in Spain where he seems to love it, but God willing we will be able to see each other next month. I love both my brothers, I miss them, I wish I could see them more often, I think they are great guys and I just pray that they will both learn to put their trust in the Lord for all things. I've always been very happy with having brothers :)

Feliz Cumpleaños Carlos David!
днем рождения

Friday, April 18, 2008

What I've gotten myself into...

Raphael and I just returned from a short trip to Paris... we got to see family and share some good time with them. We even got to see a very old wedding album from his grandmother's sister... great-aunt I guess. That was fun! I don't have any pictures of the Eiffel tower, but maybe next time... we'll be going back soon God willing...

As I've mentioned before, Raphael and I have started a Bible study at home... it has been our prayer to have a study at home and now that we have one we are praying for those the Lord might want to send our way.... like our neighbors? We live on a very cute little street, and lately we have gotten to know our neighbors a little bit better and I have also started to go to an association on our street where they have activities for children and adults. The lady in charge would like to form activities that would allow people to share their knowledge with others in town. I thought it would be a good way to get to know people around so I have been going to get French lessons and have recently started going to their cooking courses.... well, Wednesday was my first class... we had a Tunisian lady over who taught us how to make "King's ears"... which is a Tunisian specialty... it was a very small group of ladies, but it was fun... and of course they asked us if we knew how to make any nice typical dishes or whatever... I don't know why, maybe I felt some pressure, but I actually said that I could make something (arepas I think)... so now they are all excited and the lady called me to ask if I could teach them how to cook something in two weeks... I don't recall saying that I knew how to make anything well... I told her I would think about it, I think I should make something because I do want to get to know these ladies and share with them... but I have no idea what I could teach... I was thinking maybe pancakes... they don't have pancakes for breakfast in France so maybe I can make some... it's not typical at all from where I come from, but it's the only thing I can think of that I'm quite good at, and I can make from scratch... the lady that was teaching us told us that she always has her hands in dough... she makes her own pasta and all! If anybody has any easy good ideas out there... they are more than welcome!

View from the villa with 7 gardens....

Today I went to Cannes with a friend. It might sound really fancy to some people... or not, but we just walked around, looked at nice shops, had lunch, talked a lot, walked by the beach, had a nice cup of hot chocolate, and played Scrabble at a coffee bar/restaurant... how cool is that! The Cannes Film Festival is in a few weeks so there is a lot of work going on. I took some fun pictures of Joanna on the "Red" carpet... with her camera. It was nice to have a girly day out, and Joanna is a lot of fun. :)

On train trip from Paris to home :)

As soon as we see the sea, we know we are almost home!

Today Raphael and I went to Menton, it's on the border with Italy. In the morning we taught some children in Nice and then we drove down to Menton. It was a beautiful day and I really do enjoy going out with Raphael... he's great, funny and he loves chicken! I don't have any pictures of Cannes or Menton, but I do have some other nice pictures... and I've noticed that people like pictures... so I will quit writing and post some pics...

Lady teaching us how to make King's ears...

Our street... :)

Et Voila!

Thank God for nice funny friends to hang out with, a super cool husband, King's ears and happy birthday to my brother!

The End -

- Not the End-

Raphael just mentioned that I couldn't put pictures of a pink villa without talking about what it was... I guess in case anyone thinks we live there. Well, we went there two weeks ago on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I told him I wanted to visit a garden and he took me to a pink villa with 7 gardens. It was a beautiful place in St. Jean Cap Ferrat. There is a link to the website under the picture... I also saw many beautiful houses/castles/villas today, and I think "Wow, that's amazing!" but what's even more amazing is that I'm sure no matter how impressive they are, they are nothing compared to what the Lord is preparing for us :)... can't wait :)