Insights into these Shoes' Soul

Welcome to our blog! You'll get glimpses into the fabric of our lives... find out what is happening in our family, learn what our latest adjustment is to life in the US, find out what is going on in our minds, see what makes us smile, and hear what makes us tick. You'll also get ministry updates! We hope these insights into our souls will make you smile, keep you informed and challenge you to pray for us.

Monday, March 31, 2008

A uniquely American phenomenon (Airwalker)

For the last 3 months we have been making regular weekend pilgramages to Orlando and Tampa to faithfully watch Dawn and her club volleyball team play in tournaments. She was given a special gift to attend the club and it's been great at keeping her in shape as well as improving her skills. It is run by her high school coach, but isn't a function of the school. The practices are held at her school, so all in all, she is in good hands. We have attended all of the tournaments but one. It has been interesting to see these huge venues (Orlando Convention Center, Tampa Convention Center) set up with 25-36 volleyball courts and hundreds of girls playing volleyball games. And most of these with parents in tow! So Dan had to buy the Dad volleyball t-shirt ("Dedicated Dad, he pays, he drives, he practices, he waits, he watches, he cheers") and I had to buy the Mom t-shirt ("I used to have a life but now I am a Volleyball Mom"). We've toted our chairs and blankets (they keep those places freezing cold), reading material and camera everywhere with us. In the Orlando area we stayed with Dan's brother, Doug, to help save on hotel expenses. Thanks so much Doug & Cindy!!

These things are a unique phenomenon of America. It is a whole subculture with it's own activities, language, code of ethics, and dresscode! We've found it very interesting but have had fun. The team is a different makeup than the school team Dawn was on. They have fun playing together, but haven't been as successful as the school team. Here are some photos of Dawn at work. Yes, she really can jump that high! She walks on air!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Birthday and an anniversary

Ok, we won't mention much about the birthday! We gals have to keep some mystery alive! Suffice it to say that I had a birthday on March 24.

Now, the more notable event. Our 25th wedding anniversary on March 26. How can it be? Where did the time go!? Things sure have changed since 1983!! God has been good to us...2 great kids, the years of ministry in Haiti and now here in the US. There's been sickness, there's been health, challenges, good times, hard times, accidents, times apart due to ministry requirements, political coups, the list could go on. But we know without any doubt that God knew who was best for each of us. Thanks for taking such good care of me and being a fantastic husband, Dan!! It's been a great 25 and I am looking forward to the next 25. :)
I love you, Deb

Good Xray report

The xray of Dan's shoulder showed no damage to the tendons. The muscles are torn, which will be a shorter recovery time than tendons, so we are pleased about that. He has a number of movements that he can't do, so he has to be careful. Thanks for your prayers for him!

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Stupid Fat Cat and Frozen Peas!

Stupid Cat! Well, at least I want to blame the cat. At 6:45 a.m. this morning, I lifted our cat (ONE FAT CAT at 17 lbs.), Smudge, off my high dresser with my right hand. As I let go of the cat, I felt a sharp pain and heard a rrrrrriiiiipppp in my shoulder, then felt a searing pain. My morning and part of the afternoon then was spent in the doctor's office, at the pharmacy and in radiology getting an xray. The Dr. feels that at the least I have torn rotator cuff muscles and possibly tendons.

Do you know how much you use your right arm/shoulder when you are right handed?! It's been less than 12 hours and I already feel so handicapped. The doc. says that I can do some things, but she gave me a list of "don't do's" for the next 2 weeks. So don't call and ask me to help you move some furniture!

The doctor did tell me that frozen peas would do wonders for it. ON the shoulder, not cooked and in my stomach! I knew those peas were in the freezer for some reason.

Pray for quick healing. I didn't need this. I have several meetings and upcoming travels to make. With all that is going in the ministry, I don't need this distraction. I am thankful that it wasn't worse than it was, though! Stupid Cat!


Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Slam Dunk in March!

Sorry guys, this is not about basketball.  But I did get a "Slam Dunk" with Dunkin' Donuts!  On Thursday, March 20, they had a deal where the first 50 people through the door when it opened at 5:00 AM got 52 free cups of coffee, Coollatas, free coffee for a year,etc. It was only for our 3 county area.  Since I have a DunWelcome to DunkinDonuts.comkin Donuts very near me that I probably frequent a bit too much, this sounded too good to be true! I was the first one there, getting there quite a bit before 4am.  I was surprised as I expected more people.  (Other DK's had hundreds of people show up.)  So about 4 am with only about 10 people there, I called Deb to come over as well.  She was about 15th.  So we now have 104 free cups of various beverages from DK, good for the next year.  Very cool, or hot, as the case may be! 

This is the first time I have ever done anything like this.  (Sorry Rob you weren't here!  I know you would have been right there with me!)  It was an interesting time interacting with the various types of folks that showed up.  There were all types.  A boyfriend with his pregnant girlfriend, the retired couple, several construction workers, the housewife, a family with their 12 year old son, etc.  It was interesting how so many people, over 75 by 5 am would come out for free coffee, including these crazy missionaries!  Since Deb doesn't drink coffee, she said I owe her BIG time!

I thought later of how God has offered Eternal Life and a personal relationship with Him free for the taking, every day, all day, not just once a year.  How few take advantage of that offer, at their leisure, not having to get out of bed at 3:30 in the morning and waiting until the door to open at 5:00 to say a certain thing or prayer.  No, God is always ready and waiting to demonstrate His love for us by enabling us to enter into His presence just by asking His Son to be Lord of our life! Now THAT is a slam-dunk!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I ate my way through Chicago!

One of the joys of traveling is being able to taste the food of the different areas you past through. Since I have spent quite a bit of time in Chicago area in the past, (I lived there for 10 years during high school and my college years) and many visits since, I know there are several things you have to have on a visit.

There is nothing like a good Chicago Hotdog with all the fixin's. Yep, I had one! Actually I had at 4 or 5, but who's counting! They were great!

Another thing I had to have was an italian beef sandwich, dipped, with green peppers. Ahhh. So good! I do miss those! And yes, I had at least 2 of those as well. Portillo's Hot Dogs and Beef sandwiches are to die for! What a great place. Wish we had one here!

No, I haven't forgotten about the pizza. I also love Chicago Pizza! We had all you could eat at one of the gatherings at Arlington E. Free Church. I waddled out of there very satisfied!

And of course a good gyros is hard to beat with lots of sauce dripping out of it. Oh my! Yummy! Unfortunately I finally ran out of eating time! I only had one of them.

Actually I am glad I left when I did, my pants were starting to get tight! I came home fat and sassy!

To Chicago and back!

I am finally back in balmy Florida! Sunshine, 80 degrees, low humidity.....Ahhhh! I think I am still thawing out though! Being down here, you do forget how cold it can get "up there"! But even if the weather was cold, the fellowship was very warm! My time with the folks at Arlington Heights E. Free Church and Village Church of Bartlett couldn't have gone any better. Both missions conferences were a blessing to me. The many different speakers were interesting and challenging. I was able to make some good contacts for RMI for the future. There were several good contacts for potential new sister churches. There were also a couple of invites to conferences where there will be opportunities to share the Sister Church Program with many new churches.

I also presented (for the first time) our new RMI Impact Partners program encouraging those who have been impacted by RMI and their Sister Church to become more involved with RMI financially through pledged giving. So far there has been good response. Pray for many more to get involved with us through this initiative.

Thanks Dave and Kirk for all you did to make my time with your churches a great blessing! Love you guys!

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's Snowing!

I woke up to heavy flurries! Whoo hoo! I had forgotten how beautiful it is to see the snow falling amongst the trees. As I watched it fall, with a good cup of hot coffee in my hands and the fire roaring in the fireplace behind me, I was reminded anew of the beauty of God's creation. It was a very peaceful moment!

However, I think everyone else around me was not happy to see it snowing! Here in Arlington Heights, IL, they have seen record snow falls (over 50 inches) this winter. They are tired of it and are ready for spring. It is still very unseasonably cold. This past weekend it was still way under freezing. Yup, this Florida/Caribbean boy is COLD!

Dan (from Chicago)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Christmas in March

Yes, we still have bins and boxes still hanging around...some on the lanai, some in the garage and some in the house (office area). And they are wearing on my nerves! I want to finish with this unpacking! We have furniture, lamps, plants, etc. But we haven't finished unpacking everything, thus we haven't decorated the walls, hung the paintings & pictures or set out the various knick knacks that I know we have (somewhere).

Today I unloaded 2 bins and found some very surprizing things....I found a bin of casserole dishes and other kitchen items. I thought all my kitchen stuff had been unpacked within the first 2 months of our arrival! All this time I was wondering where those dishes had gone. I couldn't believe that I'd have gotten rid of them in Haiti...but things happened so fast in the last few months that I could NOT remember what I got rid of and what I kept! I'm glad to have found these dishes (a couple had been wedding presents), but now I'm going to have to find places for them in my kitchen - but that's a good problem.

Now there are 2 less bins on my lanai.

I also found a few Christmas things - again, I'd wondered these last 2 Christmases where those particular items had gone.

It was some pleasant surprizes. And it was a great day to do it. The high today was 77 degrees, while Dan shivered in the snow in Chicago at 7 degrees!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Velociraptors in our yard!

Think back to Jurassic Park. The velosiraptors were those pesky, persistant and very hungry "meat-a-sauris" that chased people around the Jurassic Park complex, munching on them when they could. They made a very distinctive sound when they "talked" to one another. It was loud, haunting and fear-inspiring.

A couple of months ago Dawn and I watched this classic movie. Since it was dusk, and Steven Spielberg did such a good job on those dinosaurs, we ended up closing all the doors, window and curtains. They were just a little too real. :) [Yes, go ahead and laugh at us!]

Several days later when Dawn and I were in the house when we heard those velociraptors outside in the yard. It really was those dinosaurs. The sound was exactly the same, identical! It was incredible. There were 2 of them, "conversing" back and forth. They were in the front yard, yet they sounded so loud it seemed like they were in the next room. It was unnerving! We were able to get within 15 ft. of them to get these pictures.

Know what they are? They stand about 4 foot tall. This pair lives in our neighborhood. They are sandhill cranes! And they are a joy to watch and have as neighbors. They are surprisingly unafraid of cars, or human presence. They just stood there while we took their pictures then went on their way seeking out bugs in the grass. So cool!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Chicago, here I come!

My flight is late, more than 2 hours late! As I sit here in the Ft. Myers airport, I look at it more as "2 less hours of 25 degree weather!" Man, my Florida blood is going to freeze in that kind of weather! Somehow I don't think my Columbia shorts and sport shirt are NOT going to be the thing to wear.

On the other hand, I am looking forward to being with all of my friends and partners in ministry at Arlington Heights E. Free Church and Village Church of Bartlett of the Chicago area. They are having their missions conferences one week after another so I will be in that area from March 7th to the 18th. Having just been to Haiti with the Arlington Team, we will have much to reminisce about.

At both churches, Arlington - March 7 to 12, and Village Church of Bartlett - March 12 to 18, I will be meeting with all of the Haiti team alumni. Those are always very encouraging times as we share how the Sister Church experiences, those "God Moments" have shaped our lives. I will also be sharing about how God is moving in RMI these days. We are excited about what lies ahead! Please join us if possible. Check with Dave Wardle (AHEFC) or Kirk V. (VCOB) for the dates, place, and time.

I will also be sharing a new program called, RMI Impact Partners. I am looking for those who have been impacted by RMI's ministry into their lives and experienced "God moments" while they were on their trip. As a result they want to be a part of enabling RMI to continue to impact lives in significant ways. (Would you consider becoming one of these partners with us?)

Pray for the opportunity to encourage one another and for continuing to see the Sister Church Partnerships advanced. Pray also for God's moving in folks' hearts for a desire to become "Impact Partners" with us, so together we can impact the world for Christ. This is our heart's desire!


Monday, March 3, 2008

I was too busy

Are you too busy to notice???!

Get in the Game!

The screams were deafening! Hundreds of girls, their fans, and their parents all shouting encouragement one to another as they tried to annilhate the other team! What a scene! Yes, yesterday I was sitting in a huge sports facility with at least 12 games going on at the same time. Volleyball Mania had come to Orlando for yet another weekend. Dawn's volleyball club, Southwest Sunset Club, was participating. And we, like loyal, faithful, volleyball crazy parents had followed along like a "posse" to cheer her on. We were armed with our camp chairs, a thermos of drinks, the requisite volleyball shirts ("Dedicated Volleyball Dad, he pays he drives he practices he waits he watches he cheers" and "I used to have a life, but now I'm a volleyball Mom".) books and magazines to read and a bag of snacks.

As I was watching her team play, with other games going on at courts right alongside ours, it struck me how much this whole scene was like the Body of Christ. First of all there was my team. I was shouting encouragement to them as loud as anyone. My wife says "TOO LOUD!". They were striving to work together, to back each other up, to set each other up to make the point. There was much energy expended to block the opposing team from hitting the ball over to their side, etc. The coach is on the sideline shouting instructions and encouragement, occasionally taking a time-out to re-group her team. They'd win some points and lose some points. All with the goal of being on the winning side.

Wow, I thought. This is what the Lord would want for my church that I am a part of now. Home team. All of us in the church are on the team. We should all be partners in the ministries of the church to enable it to reach its goal of "doing whatever it takes to develop fully devoted followers of Christ", locally and to the ends of the earth. We all have a part in the mission of the church. Some of us are "middle blockers", others "outside hitters", still others "liberos", etc., but all working toward the same goal.

As I looked around I saw teams from all over the state of FL. All playing to win with ferocious intensity. All desiring to reach the goal of victory. Wouldn't it be great if all churches were as commited to ministry as these kids are to winning? What a change there would be in our society. Everyone in the church would have a position to play and be expected to participate to the best of their ability. Our pastors and ministers would not be doing the work but equiping and enabling the members to fully participate. All for the goal of bringing the community to Christ and developing all into fully devoted followers of Christ. Instead, most of us are like the fans, sitting on the sidelines, yelling for our team, but not ready or up to the task of actually participating in the game! (My daughter would be saying about now, oh yeah Dad, I would really like to see you play...HA!) No sarcasm there! But the great thing is that God is just waiting to "kick us into play". All we have to be is willing to be a part of what God is doing! He will find just the right postion for us to play. He will equip us with just the right gifts and abilities to accomplish that tasks set before us.

Are you a part of God's team? Are you willing to get in there, work, sweat, hit, miss, encourage, participate, and work with others to see the Kingdom of God move forward? GET IN THE GAME!


Edjumacation - Who me?!

Yup, I am trying to get some more education. I have recently finished the application process to work at getting my MA in Biblical Exposition from Columbia International University, Columbia, SC. This is the same school I graduated from in 1980 with a BA in Bible. Because of that, I will only have to get 26 credit hours instead of 60! I am very excited about this.

I will be studying through CIU's "AIM" program, Advancement In Ministry. I will be doing some study via long distance learning, and then attending 2 2-week sessions a year. I hope to finish the end of 2009 if all goes well. We will see!

Pray for me as I hope to start this summer. I have been out of the "study mode" for many years now! This should be quite a challenge for me as I get back into the swing of things. Also pray for the finances to do this. I am beginning this by faith. I feel that the Lord is wanting me to get going on this, but we personally don't have the finances for it at this time. With Dawn in a private Christian school, and Devon at CIU, we are stretched already to our limit financially. I have applied for financial aid and we will see what transpires. Please pray with me for God's provision and direction as I begin this journey!

Kinda funny ..... our son and I in the same school at the same time! Besides the fun factor, it really does mean a LOT of faith for God's financial provision for us!! --Dan