Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our Big News!

Oh, did I mention that we had a baby? Ha ha!

It occurred to me today that not everyone who reads This Pilgrimage follows my other blog, where I posted our big news!


Jeannette Abigail was born in our home in San Juan, Guatemala, on December 22, 2009. She weighed 10 lbs, and measured 21.5 inches long. I posted about her birth at my blog Curiously Wrought, if you are interested in reading about a quick, no-nonsense birth. This baby did not dilly-dally! :o)

She's healthy. She's beautiful. She lights up our home. Praising the Lord for this precious little gift!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Charles Spurgeon on Christmas

I know some people think I have some strange ideas about certain things. My family and I are not your typical Christian family in many ways, but to be honest, we don't feel that "typical" should describe true believers. Are we not called out of the world to be a peculiar people? (Deut. 14:2; Titus 2:14; I Peter 2:9) Not that we do or don't do things just for the sake of being odd, but when we study God's Word and decide to walk in His ways, we do stand out from the "typical" variety. I would hope that from my blog posts, my ultimate motive comes across: that I want to be a true follower of the Lord Jesus and His Word. If I can share truth, and provoke another believer to consider it, then perhaps I have gained a fellow pilgrim with whom to walk the narrow path.

I think most of my readers know our stand on Christmas and other holidays which have no Biblical origin. It is a lonely stand indeed, but even if it's not popular, I believe it is right. We do not hope to have a lot of company in this, but I must say it is very encouraging to discover that a godly preacher that many hold in high esteem felt the same way about the observance of Christmas as we do, and proclaimed it boldly from the pulpit on Christmas Eve.

"We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. (Charles Spurgeon, Sermon on Dec. 24, 1871)."


Not that Spurgeon is the all-in-all authority on matters of doctrine and practice of the church. But his points here are true and correct, and biblically sound. Christmas and the traditions that surround it have no place in the homes and hearts of the followers of Jesus.

Did you know that the observance of Christmas was outlawed in Colonial America for years? And it did not become fashionable to celebrate it until the mid-1800's. Why did our godly forefathers feel that way about it?

I challenge you to look into this deeper. Here are some articles to get you started:

The Plain Truth About Christmas Good information from both secular and religious historical sources.

The Pagan Origins of Christmas
From a Messianic-Jewish point of view.

YouTube Christmas documentary video

"..What communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial: or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

II Corinthians 6:14-18


NOTE: I do not endorse nor agree with all of the content of the above-mentioned websites, but am taking advantage of the facts they present about the origins of the Christmas festival. I do, however, endorse AND agree with all of the scriptures mentioned above. :o)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ahh, the SWEET life..

Remember THIS POST about the bees who adopted us and our back yard? Well, take a look at what those little creatures have been up to!


Daniel found a beekeeper and asked him to come out and help him take a look at our bees. They cut open the computer box that the bees had occupied and found this beautiful honeycomb!


We are thrilled about this sweet surprise from the Lord! Daniel learned all he could about how to handle the bees, and the bee guy gave us a smoker, which is used to calm the bees while they are being dealt with.


The bee guy said these are excellent honey bees, and very docile. These are bees that people WANT to attract, or go out and purchase. And they simply came to us. I think the Lord sent them. :o)


We cannot allow them to stay in our cardboard box because it makes harvesting the honey difficult. (Not that we complain about mounds of luscious honey in the comb.)


..So the guys began to carefully remove large portions of honeycomb, and the bee guy tied them to the panels of the artificial hive Daniel had bought. These panels can be inserted into a honey extractor in the future, which will spin the honey out of the panel without damaging the honeycomb.


Our bee guy found the sections where bee larvae were, where he knew the queen would be. He said once she was in the new artificial hive, the other bees would follow.


Looks like the transfer is going beautifully. I hope they like their new home!

Meanwhile, back in the house...


We have this beautiful comb in three big bowls, draining the sweet honey out. Yesterday at church we presented our firstfruits to the Lord and asked His blessings on our bee hive, and shared our abundance with the brethren.

One nice aspect about beekeeping is that it really does not require much time or expense. Another is that raw, natural honey is so nutritious, and renders many health benefits. I'm so thankful that we will be able to harvest our own now. Thank You, Lord!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Living what I believe..

"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all." I Timothy 4:15

Do I really believe all that I say I believe? Am I wholly given over to the tenets of sound doctrine? Do I meditate on these things, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in truth?

Lord, I want to ponder the truths in Thy Word; meditate upon them; give myself wholly to them; profit from them! Let me not be a believer in name only, but a true Believer, a disciple of Jesus, who walks in Your ways.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fall Snapshots

We took a walk a few days ago, and had fun snapping some photos outside with the children.


My lovely young maidens are becoming lovely young ladies!


Little ones grow SO quickly, and it's not long before the seasons change...


...and your little boy is suddenly looking like a young man.


And your little girl is leaving behind her babyish ways.


Savour them while they are little! Every word they say, every kiss, every hug...


..Every impish grin. ;o)

I love it all!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving comes but once a year...

It's a cool, crisp Autumn day in San Juan Ostuncalco. The corn is all dry on the stalks, rustling in the wind. The morning air is like crystal with a bit of frost on the edge until the sun rises to oversee the bustle of harvest.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving with a couple of other missionary families yesterday. The fellowship was nice, and the laughter hearty! My soul is full of gratefulness for God's blessings, for the abundance of His provision, for friends and family with whom to share the abundance. God is so good to us!

I have to admit that even though each year I very much look forward to Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday all year, I always seem to feel a little let down the day after. Did we truly honor God on this day we set aside for Giving Thanks? What did we offer as a sacrifice of thanksgiving? Was He pleased? Or was it just all about the special meal?

There is a danger in assigning Thanks Giving to one day on the calendar. Perhaps I am not the only one who lays great expectations on that one day, and when they do not all come about there is disappointment to deal with afterward. Could that be the reason that there is so much depression around this and other holidays?

I was reading Psalm 92 when it struck me that giving thanks and singing praise to Him is to be a daily thing, not a Thanksgiving Day thing..

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To show forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.."

This and many other psalms show that praise and thanksgiving are to be offered up daily! Doing so is a daily reminder to us of His great works, and it makes us glad on a daily basis. Praise Him!

Thanksgiving comes but once a year, but Giving Thanks is for all year 'round. Let us thank Him today, too, for all His blessings on us!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Look Who's Two!


THERE'S our sweet boy!


It's so hard for this mama to believe that two years have already passed since our littlest man was born. Joel adds so much fun to our family!

TWO things I love about him:

1) His eagerness to learn about the world around him.

2) The way he snuggles, even if he is stingy about kisses. (Working on that. :oD)


We took this video of Joel several weeks ago.. Every mama thinks her baby is a genius!

video

Joel's name means "The LORD is God", and it is our prayer that Jehovah will be his God and his Lord all the days of his life!

Happy birthday, little man! We love you so!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where oh Where has Tammy been??

At Vacation Bible School, of course! I know, all of you in the States have VBS during the summer months. We have it in November/December because the children here get their big break from school at this time of the year.

It has been a fast and furious week. VBS always goes by so quickly, and it's always a great time for serving others and building up our team of believers in the church. This week was no exception! I plan to blog about it and post several pictures, but that will happen at The Daniel Coates Family blog, our other blog which has been sadly neglected.

Meanwhile, I have much catching up to do here at home (speaking of neglected, lol), which I will certainly get to right after my nap. :o)

I'm glad to be back in Blogland!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Alive and back with his family!

For those of you who were praying for the situation I posted about recently, the young man was RELEASED last night. The family asked that details not be posted, and so I have kept this post generic, and removed previous posts about it. They thank you all for your continued prayers!

Praise God!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sweet Jessica's birthday

video

Can a mother be too proud of her little girl? I am struggling with that right now, as I attempt to write what is in my heart about our firstborn, our daughter Jessica Faith. The Lord gave her to us eleven years ago, and we were so ignorant, so unsuspecting of the treasure we had acquired in her.

When she arrived, I became a mother. I learned for the first time what it was like to carry a part of me outside of my body. So small, so vulnerable, so beautiful, she quickly won our hearts. Our lives had changed forever, and we never looked back.

As she grew, we learned so much about ourselves, about humanity, about God. We denied ourselves so that Jessica might have what she needed, and it was our joy to do so! We taught her God's Word, and promised to teach her to walk in His precepts. In training her, we were being trained in valuable life and ministry skills. We made mistakes. She readily forgave, and adored us as the gods in her little universe.

All too soon, she was no longer a toddler, but a spunky, happy little girl full of boundless energy. Her younger sister had arrived by then, and she eagerly took on the task of showing baby sister the world. How she made us all laugh! I might have kept her a little girl forever, but God knew better. He knew the best was yet to come..

As the years passed, I marvelled at her intelligence, her charm, her individuality, and her growing faith. She often surprised me with the thoughtful things she said, many times displaying wisdom beyond her years. I wrote many of those things into a journal, lest I forget them. We often talked about God and the Bible, and she loved to sing about Him! One day, she told me she wanted vida eterna, to be with God forever. That day she gave her heart to Christ.

And now she is eleven years old. Practically a lady! She chooses for herself to love God, to walk in His ways and seek to please Him with her life. She still adores us, her parents, but she knows we are not perfect. We still make mistakes. And she still graciously forgives. Whereas once we led her entirely by the hand, now she is beginning to walk by our side in this grace of the Christian life. I catch a glimpse of who she is becoming. A Christian. A lady. My friend. I am breathless at the thought that this beautiful person is my daughter.

Thank You, Lord, for giving us our Jessica for these eleven years!

And now, here are eleven things I love and admire about Jessica:

1) Her sweet, friendly personality.

2) Her kindness toward others.

3) Her willingness to help her mom.

4) She is so good with handicrafts and sewing.

5) She loves to give to others.

6) She loves and honors her parents.

7) She enjoys helping care for her younger siblings.

8) She readily memorizes God's Word, and is quick to recall key passages.

9) Her godly desire to learn how to be a keeper at home.

10) Her lovely, feminine ways which delight those around her.

11) Her sweet Christian testimony she maintains among her friends.

Happy birthday, sweet Jessica! I love you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recent Bees-ness

For as long as I can remember, honey bees have been invading our house. They usually dispatch a small squad, and two or three get into the house so that I have to swat them (which I dislike doing). Well, I've come to realize what they have been up to! It appears that their colony has grown to the point where they want to split off and start a new colony. GUESS where they think they are moving to? Our back yard! Daniel took these photos this morning.


This is up in the top of Daniel's tool shed. This computer box seems to be the perfect "hive".. small opening, lots of room inside.




That was this morning. Now it is afternoon, and the number of bees out there has at least quadrupled, and the buzz is almost deafening!

H - E - L - P ! !

I don't know how to be a beekeeper, but I think they are adopting us!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Charity

This morning's devotional thought was I Cor. 16:14 "Let all your things be done with charity." This word "charity" is the Greek word agape, which means love, as in affection or benevolence. It's thinking and acting toward a person with kindly affection, and giving willingly of oneself for their sake, desiring to promote their prosperity and happiness. Some things are easy to do with love, but ALL things? Not so easy..

When it comes to performing certain tasks, doing them with love comes almost naturally. Things like making a gift for someone, or fixing up a surprise for a spouse. But what about the daily, mundane things, like washing dishes? picking up after someone? changing a stinky diaper? It's not always easy to conjure up affection while doing some of those! But the verse above says ALL things.

Agape love simply does not come naturally to any son of Adam or daughter of Eve. It takes effort, on purpose. Most of the times it takes denial of self and feelings. It's just not possible to feel affectionate and benevolent toward others, while having a mental pity party for yourself! ..But I'm finding out that that is one of the beauties of doing all things with agape. Once "self" is out of the way, there is real joy in doing those mundane tasks!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Protecting yourself from H1N1

Well, the "Swine Flu" vaccine is out, but the reports on its safety are wishy-washy at best. To me, most vaccines involve more risks than I am willing to take, for myself and much less for my children. Have you considered all the possible side effects of this new H1N1 vaccine? It is something to think about before you allow it to be injected into your body.

There are other means to protect yourself from not only H1N1, but also from any strain of flu this season. Here are some ways that you can take charge of your own health, reduce your risk of flu infection, and minimize the gravity and length of illness should you contract the flu virus in spite of your best efforts.

* Think "rabbit food". Try to incorporate more raw veggies and fruits into your diet. They are packed with immunity-boosting goodies, and will also help cleanse your body of impurities that build up in your colon and make you sick. Have you ever seen a rabbit catch the flu? I thought not. ;o)

* Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are any foods that come pre-packaged and are far removed from their natural state. Frozen dinners and snacks, even "healthy" choices, contain preservatives, flavor enhancers, and others ingredients that compromise your health and immune system.

* Take your vitamins. A good quality daily multivitamin, and maybe some additional C, will help to fill in the gaps in your diet and boost your immune system.

* Eat fresh garlic. Garlic is one of my favorite remedies for flu, colds, and other infections. It is a powerful natural probiotic, shown to be effective even against viruses. You can cut up a clove into little slivers and take them like pills, but of course a spoonful of honey can make a chopped clove of garlic go down a lot easier.

* Get some exercise. Research indicates a link between regular, moderate exercise and a strong immune system. Try taking a thirty-minute walk each day, or some other exercise that will be easy for you to stick to.

* Get enough rest. Ever hear the phrase "sick and tired"?Wear out your body, wear out your immunity. A tired body simply cannot defend itself against diseases. For me, seven or eight hours of sleep at night leaves me rested, but it might be different for you. Go to bed at a reasonable hour so that you get the rest that you need.

* Wash your hands. This one is pretty obvious, but it is SO important. We make it a habit to wash our hands before eating, after doing anything outside, as soon as we get home from church, grocery store, anywhere. We also try to teach the children not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth with their hands.

I hope these tips are helpful to you, and that you and your family will enjoy a safe, healthy Autumn and Winter! Oh, and don't forget to pray. :o)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Miracle in the making

I just posted an update on my pregnancy with baby #7 over at Curiously Wrought. Go take a look!

Monday, September 21, 2009

My son makes a movie

This is what happens when our son makes off with the camera..

video

Watch his reaction near the end when he hears his Daddy call from the other room. So funny!

Harvesting onions




...I love the smell of wet earth-and-onions...






My "pickers" are so sweet! :o)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Finished a dress


I finished this jumper dress today! I made it with lots of room for a growing belly. The bodice is lined with natural muslin. This was a fun project, and I tried a new technique, French seams.


French seams were actually very easy to do, and while my side seams are not perfect, I love the smooth finish underneath! Will definitely be using this method again in the future, since I don't have a Serger to finish the edges.



Roomy patch-pockets.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Prego...


100% natural. Traditional. That's me.

Hubby says I can be a little saucy at times, too. ;o)

Monday, August 31, 2009

got milk?

Daniel brought home some extra milk today...

Ten gallons extra!


(It was a good deal, ha ha.) So I started thinking about what to do with so much milk.

The first thing that came to mind was to make queso fresco, a soft cheese. After looking around on the internet and finding several recipes, I combined a couple, and this is what I ended up doing:

Heat four quarts of milk to 180° F (82° C), stirring constantly. (Be careful not to scald it.) While stirring with a wisk, slowly add 1/4 cup white vinegar. (The milk will begin to curdle.) Continue to stir for 10-15 minutes. (I left the heat on low, to maintain the temperature.) Line a colander with a fine cheesecloth, and pour the curdled milk through it. Allow the curds to cool for about 20 minutes, then gather the four corners of the cloth and hang it, suspended over a bowl or sink until it stops dripping (about 5 hours). I helped it by squeezing it periodically.


The solidified cheese can be broken apart and salted to taste, or left unsalted.


We use queso fresco in lasagna (instead of ricotta), tacos, sprinkled over tostadas with beans and salsa, and on top of bean dip. It's delicious!

After the cheese-making process, I ended up with about three quarts of whey by-product. Any ideas what I could do with that? I was thinking of chilling it to pour over cereal, or using it for pancake batter or biscuits.

So, just nine more gallons of milk to go! I am freezing some of it, but maybe some of you cooks out there have recipes that use milk as a key ingredient. Let's hear 'em! If you like, post it on your blog, and I will link you here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How does your garden grow...


...Like crazy, with all the rain we have had! We've been harvesting lettuce and onions for a while now. The broccoli plants are huge and bushy, but no broccoli yet.


The squash is doing well, in spite of the frost damage we had a couple of weeks ago. Its vines creep along the ground under the corn, and Daniel trained it up one wall of the enclosure.


The tomatoes look promising. These are the plants that Jessica and I started from seeds. They did NOT like the transplant process, and I worried that we might lose them altogether. But they are surviving, and we were so excited when they finally bloomed!


...I'm already dreaming about salsa...

Friday, August 21, 2009

I received an email this morning that said this:

"The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."

Sounds good, doesn't it? But how true is it? That depends on how you look at it.

One way to read that saying is that when you are in God's will, He will protect you from physical harm. Are we always protected from harm? What about my brother, who got punched in the face one time for witnessing to a fellow? Did he suffer harm because he was out of God's will? Are the brave believers who suffer torture and death for their stand for Christ, out of God's will?

While I have heard of and experienced many times God's blessings and protection from harm, I do not believe that being right with God is an automatic shield of protection from physical harm.

Another way to read that saying is that when you are in God's will, His grace can keep you in spite of adverse circumstances! We who are His own can experience security in His grace, whether experiencing a storm or smooth sailing, and peace that no one around us can understand. If you have been a child of God for any length of time, I'm sure you can identify!

Even though we are walking with the Lord (and sometimes because we are walking with the Lord), Christians WILL suffer adversity and hardships. The difference is that those who have a relationship with the Creator are able to rise above those circumstances and ride out the storm with calm assurance instead of fear and uncertainty.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rainy Sunshine!

Don't you love it when warm rain falls from a sunny sky?


Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God...


Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains...


He giveth to the beast his food...


The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Praise the LORD!

Cristianismo Falso, the promised outline

I promised to post the notes from that great sermon we heard at the youth meeting last weekend, and I waited until I could borrow the preacher's notes. I took my own notes at the meeting, but I was holding a toddler in my lap at the time and, well, you can imagine what my notes look like!

So now I have obtained the original outline from the preacher, and guess what. It's the same stuff that I managed to scratch onto the back of my song sheet! I can't believe he preached all that he preached, in between the lines of this simple outline! But, without further ado, here it is, translated loosely from Spanish:

Text: Acts 5:1-11 (The account of Ananias and Sapphira, and their fatal hypocrisy.)

(After reading the passage, the preacher opened with some comments about the sin of Ananias and Sapphira. Their sin was not in holding back a portion of the money from the sale of their property, but rather it was their hypocrisy. They were not true disciples, but hoped to be thought spiritual and benevolent by their act. They were willing to deny themselves IF it brought to them some kind of benefit. They thought they could serve God AND mammon. And they hoped to fool the apostles, the church, and even the Holy Spirit, with their lies. We can learn from this how the God of Truth hates lies, not only direct lies, but also words with double meanings, meant to deceive.)

Signs of a False Christianity:

as exemplified by Ananias and Sapphira

I. Lack of Pure Motives. Their motives were not to give an offering, nor to honor the Lord, but that others might think well of them. *Why do you do the good works you do? Just to be seen of others?

II. Lack of the Fear of God.
It did not matter to them that God saw what they did, because they did not fear Him. *There are people who call themselves Christians yet live as though there were no God at all!

III. Lack of the Truth. They lied in order to accomplish their own purposes. *No lie stands alone; every lie is accompanied by more lies. *Who did Jesus say is the father of lies? *"Ye are of your father, the devil."

IV. Lack of Life. They lost their lives, literally. *Ephesians 2:1 "And you hath he quickened, who WERE dead in trespasses and sins..." *Colossians 3:9 "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the NEW man..."

A prayer was made at the end for those who might be living a life of hypocrisy, trying to fool God and those around them into thinking they really are Christians, when in truth there is no life in them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Musing

Monday is always Catch-up Day around here. Between weekend activities, and the fact that practically NO housework gets done on the Lord's Day, there is always plenty to catch up on.

So while I am at it, I think I'll do a little catching-up on This Pilgrimage..

This weekend we enjoyed a wonderful Youth Meeting with a few other churches in the state. Our group prepared some special music with a chorale, acoustic guitars, and flute. The preaching was just excellent, and I think I am going to post the outline here later. Signs of a false Christianity. Convicting.

'Tis rainy season in Guatemala. The house is cool during the day, and nights are cooler. I haven't been blogging much because we have dealt with some illness, and I myself am still coming out of the fog of a monster ear/nose/throat infection. We don't take antibiotics unless the situation is out of control, which almost never happens, so we use a lot of home remedies around here. My favorite? Garlic Lemonade, a hot drink that feels sooo good on a sore throat. (That recipe is right here.)

Another reason I've been MIA, in a word, Facebook. My brother persuaded me to sign up. He said we can keep in touch better, and I'll find so many old friends from my past on there, and catching up is so much fun! All that is true, but it certainly does create a time conflict. My blogging friend Jungle Mom told me that "the younger folks prefer Facebook, the busy people want Twitter, and the rest of us like Blogger." That sounds about right! Facebook can be fun, but Blogger is where I can be stretched. I have found that great is the temptation to simply post one-liners on Facebook, and never get around to a blog post, which requires much more thought and effort. Repenting!

So now that I have expunged my guilt here, I must go refill my cup with hot tea and get back to household duties. May you all have a happy Monday, and a blessed week!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Does Jesus feel welcome in our homes?

An old friend of mine has got me to thinking about Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. They are mentioned several times in the gospels, and were very good friends of the Lord Jesus. They lived in Bethany, which was located just about two miles from Jerusalem.

This is the Mary who anointed Jesus with expensive ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair. This is the same Martha who toiled in the kitchen, complaining to the Lord that her sister had left her to do all the work. Both sisters expressed the tiniest smidge of doubt when their brother Lazarus had died and Jesus showed up four days "late," so they thought. It makes me smile when I think of how I can relate to these very human people!

With all their quirks, these three, Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, had a home in which the Lord Jesus felt welcome. Several times when Jesus was in Jerusalem, pressed by crowds, selflessly ministering to people, teaching those who would listen, and being wearied by hypocritical Pharisees asking pointless questions in order to trap him with his words... we see Him at the end of the day, resorting to Bethany to rest in the house of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.

What was it about these particular people that made Jesus feel welcome in their home?

I think, first of all, they were humble. Humility is willingness to yield. Humility is the absence of pride. When humility hears a Word from the Lord, it says, "I will obey." Jesus could recognize pride immediately, and always rebuked it. No doubt Lazarus, Mary, and Martha must have been humble people.

It follows that they were also obedient. Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." A simple thing, even if it is easier said than done sometimes. There is no clearer demonstration of our love for God, than our obedience to Him.

Due to their obedience, I believe they were people who lived a holy lifestyle. Holiness is very underrated these days, and many preachers never preach about it, because it makes people uncomfortable. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [lifestyle]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."

Lazarus, Mary, and Martha were not without their flaws, as we have seen. But I think the key to having a home where Jesus feels welcome is found in our heart attitudes. We should be aware of our shortcomings, willing to listen to His Word, and ready to yield and make changes as He deems best.

An attitude like that is like a big, cheery sign on the door that says, Jesus is welcome here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Picture post!

This post is going to be a little bit random, but it includes a few shots of my parents' visit, as well as some photos from around Guatemala. Enjoy!

Shopping in the market. Strawberries were less than fifty cents a pound!

Checking out the chickens..

Busy in the kitchen one morning.

At the Iglesia Bautista La Esperanza.

Going shopping near downtown Xela.

Mom & me at a restaurant in Antigua. I {heart} my mom!

Hospital Privado in Quetzaltenango, where we took Dad to have blood work done while he was here. (Doctor's orders.) See the smile on his face? That's relief that it wasn't so bad after all! ;o)

Artwork in the market.

A park in Parramos.

These are the pilas, where women come to scrub their family's clothes over stone surfaces, rinsing them with the water you see. Most homes here have their own pila, including mine. It really comes in handy for big clean-up jobs and for scrubbing stains or rinsing mops. But as for my laundry? I'm so blessed to have a washing machine! :o)

This is Oscar, our weasel - er, Dog, I mean.

This is Mom & Dad at the airport. Sad day!

Here is one of the pieces of Mayan stoneware dug up by a neighbor of ours. Many pieces of ancient Mayan artifacts are kept and preserved by the government and/or in museums, but who knows how much pottery and statuary are in the homes of the people who find them? Some of them appreciate the history and take care of it, like this fellow does. I want one!

Jocote marañón, a fruit brought up from the coast. Notice the strangely-shaped "stem"? That contains what you know as a cashew nut!

Woman in Guatemala City.