Monday, November 19, 2012

Month of Thanks (Week Three)

Joshua woke up with a fever Friday morning that lasted off and on for the rest of the day. It's Monday and the poor baby is still getting over whatever he had.  No fever, but he hasn't eaten or drank much and isn't doing a lot more than laying around.  I felt guilty for leaving (I had the final weekend of Ladies' Retreat to get to), but baby sitter extraordinaire, Meredith was here and Bobby wasn't far behind so I told myself they could give medicine as easily as I could and was on my way.  I also bought the coolest thermometer ever because a typical thermometer is out of the question for Joshua.  You just point it at the forehead and sweep the beam towards the temple like you're scanning groceries at the self-checkout and it gives you the temp. in three seconds!  I always feel a little robbed when I think about how it's almost 2013 and we still don't all drive hover crafts, but technology like that sort of makes up for it.

All of this leads me to being grateful so here is week three (actually eight days because there are 16 days left in November) of the Month of Thanks.

15.  Healthy children.  Although I realize that Joshua is not completely healthy, I do believe he will be one day, and as difficult as ASD is, we are blessed in that he doesn't have some of the behavior issues or other problems like seizures that many children on the Spectrum do.  He also isn't stuck in a hospital with Leukemia or some other (immediately) life-threatening disease so I can only be thankful for that.  And Caleb is one of the healthiest toddlers I've ever seen so that is a huge blessing as many families with one child on the Spectrum usually have more than one or more than one that is sick in some way.

16.  Football.  Bobby and I just bought tickets to the Longhorns' game on Thanksgiving Day as an anniversary gift to ourselves.  Since we got married November 25, our anniversary is somewhat overshadowed by the holidays and the last couple of years we just haven't been able to do much to celebrate.  So this year we decided to splurge a little and just do something we never give ourselves the time to do.  Not to mention, this is my first game and Bobby's first since he was a kid so we are really excited.  I'm thankful for something we both share the same love for and can enjoy together.

17.  Provision.  We were just able to pay off some bills that have been hanging over our heads for a while now and it feels awesome.  It's always nice when you get a little extra breathing room every month.

18.  America.  As angry as it can make me, everyone who was born here is blessed to have been.  Whenever it feels like it couldn't get worse, go look at some of the other countries you could live and how they run their government or treat their people.  It could be better here but it could also be much worse.  If you don't have rebels kidnapping your children and forcing them to become killers then I think you can be thankful you live in America.

19.  Indoor Plumbing.  I always name that one because I do not like the idea of no running water or using a hole in the ground as a toilet.

20.  Make-up.  Because Peveface needs some make-up to look presentable.

21.  Laughter.  It cures a multitude of ills.  So thankful for the people in my life that keep me laughing.

22.  Coffee.  It's the little things, right?

I'm so ready for Thursday to get here and to celebrate my sixth anniversary all weekend.  Did I forget to mention that Bobby's mom is taking the boys for a few days?  Yay for sitting around the house and doing nothing!  How are y'all spending your holidays?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Month of Thanks

Someone told me today that I needed to write something.  I mean, she basically forced me.  So, here I am, PJ's, laptop, and Funny Girl on the TV distracting me with her flare for the funny and fabulous.  I'm trying to think of everything that's happened since I last posted but because I have a flare for procrastination and forgetfulness, I'm not coming up with much.

Bobby's job got pushed back so he'll be here through the holidays which is awesome.  Our anniversary is in eleven days and Thanksgiving is in three less than that, but we still haven't made any concrete plans.  I'm only not stressing about it because I keep forgetting that it's next week.  Mental note to make plans tomorrow.

I'm really behind on the whole thankful thing people are doing for the month of November, so let's just get caught up with that, shall we?

1.  Jesus.  So thankful for eternal mercy and grace.

2.  Bobby Gene Pevehouse.  There are no words for how grateful I am for that man and all that he adds to my life.  He still thinks I'm pretty and his kisses still make me fuzzy-headed.

3.  Joshua Allen Pevehouse.  So thankful that God chose me for him.  He is the sweetest of sweet boys.

4.  Caleb Brant Pevehouse.  Thankful for his precious laugh and sense of humor.  And that his labor and delivery were so easy.

5.  Electricity.  Being a pioneer woman would have been extra hard.  I'd be all like, "I'm so excited to watch  my favorite television program.  Oh wait, that hasn't been invented yet.  Guess I'll go chop some more firewood so we can take our hot bath for the week."

6.  Food.  We take for granted the options for food we have.  Nothing sounded good to me tonight so I still haven't eaten dinner.  And I had a pot of roast, potatoes, and carrots on the stove.  It's a luxury to be picky.

7.  My Jeep.  It's difficult living where we do and not having personal transportation.  We are very blessed to have two vehicles.

8.  Music.  Really, I always start to sound dramatic when I talk about how much I love music, but I actually love music that much.  There is nothing that articulates human emotion better.

9.  The Bible.  I don't know where I would be without the Word.  Never has there been or will there be a more firm rock of foundation.  Without those promises I would have crumbled a long time ago.

10.  My bed.  Another thing us Americans like to complain about.  I could be sleeping on the ground but I think I'll gripe about how my pillow-top mattress is too soft.  So grateful for that big bed.

11.  My house.  Same point.  Thankful for a roof over my head.

12.  The Internet.  I hate it a lot but it has been such a lifeline since Joshua's diagnosis.  Not to mention I would never have become friends with the "someone" I talked about earlier.

13.  Friends.  Talk about lifeline.  My friends are the same as family to me.

14.  Family.  All of them.  Family is our root system.  They keep us grounded and from getting blown over.



What are some things you're thankful for?  I'll be back with the next week's worth in a couple of days.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The 'C' Word

"If you [merely] love those who love you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you?  For even the [very] sinners love their lovers (those who love them)."
Luke 6:32 AMP



I'm just going to say it.  There are times, usually when I'm on Facebook or the general internet, that I hate the fact that I am tied to this word, 'Christian'.

I wasn't going to write this post tonight.  In fact, I have an entirely different post that I started a couple days ago and was going to try and finish.  But here I am, and there are some things that I just have to get off my chest.

Why are you saying you don't like that word, Sarah?  Don't you consider yourself a Christian??

I'm glad you asked.  Yes, I do.  And as such, I do my best to live the way the Bible teaches.  I'm not great at it, but I'm better than I used to be.  I have adopted the attitude of never passing judgment on anyone because we are all equally undeserving of God's mercy that He has offered us.  And I'm not even successful with that a lot of times.  So none of this is to put condemnation on anyone.  But do you think if we are going to be representing Christ on this earth as His body that we could maybe act like it?

See, right there...I got some of your attention.  You're all like, Yeah! Amen!  But wait just a second.  I'm not talking about the people you think I'm talking about.  There's a good chance I'm talking about you.  (Actually, don't get paranoid, because I'm not running names through my mind as I write this or anything.)  I'm not talking moral sin in the way of basic do's and don't's of the Bible.

I'm saying, if you are a true follower of Jesus and are attempting to lead people to Him, it would probably help if you were nice.  I can't tell you how many times I see someone arguing the Christian or, dare I say it, conservative side of an argument that I would typically agree with, but I end up wanting to punch them in the face for making the rest of us who aren't ignorant, hateful people look bad.

Yeah, I know that's not a very "Christian" thing for me to want to do.

My point here is that the church has taken this strange turn where we act like we have a right to name-call or speak in a demeaning or condescending way to people just because we believe we are right.  You may be right, guess what?  Jesus still doesn't want you to talk to people like that.

Well, sometimes the truth hurts, Sarah!

You're right.  Sometimes it does...at first.  But then it's supposed to set you free.  Are you setting anyone free?  If the truth you are speaking is your attempt at love, then shouldn't the recipient be able to tell?  Because if, to them, you just sound like a rude, jerk, then you're not being very effective in your approach.

Jesus never encountered a sinner that He didn't speak total truth to, but it's interesting, you never read where someone was totally put off and offended by what He said...well, except for the religious people.  The sinners just embraced Him because they knew who He was.  Do people know who you are?  If you never spoke a word to them would they be able to tell Who you're following?  The Bible says that they would know us by our love.  But the world doesn't see us that way.  It's the total opposite actually.  Conversely, Jesus was never offended by someone else's sin...well, except for the religious people.  He knew that the healthy were not supposed to need a doctor but that the sick did.  All of us who call ourselves Christians were once sick too.

Why are we so easily offended by people?  Over petty things?  Facebook has made it so easy for us to dismiss people with the ability to "un-friend" them.  Don't like what someone has to say?  No problem, I'll just un-friend them.  God will put another laborer in their path.

Now, if you're having this reaction that makes you want to say that I'm all greasy grace and no balance, I will pray that you will (for those who know me) remind yourself of my personality and that I am nothing like that.  But I get the feeling a lot of times like we are focused on problems and not solutions.  That we are putting a face on our enemy and justifying it to ourselves.

The greatest commandment is to love God and love others, right?  Then why is this not the foundation of all our actions and decisions?  Is what you are saying (or typing) motivated out of God's pure Agape love?  Honestly??  Because maybe you need to evaluate your tone or attitude.  You can argue with me on this all day, but think about the fact that you are arguing with someone who is telling you to love someone more.  I'm not saying enable someone more.  I'm not saying keep your mouth shut and never speak what's on your heart.  I'm just saying make sure what's in your heart is filtered through His and that your words line up with His too.

And most importantly, quit being a jerk.

"Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us)." 1 Corinthians 16:14 AMP

"It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.  Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]."  1 Corinthians 13:5 AMP


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Plans

I fixed a toilet yesterday.  I mean, FIXED it.  Took the tank off and replaced all kinds of stuff and everything.  I love doing things like that because then I feel really accomplished when it's done.  Stay at home Mom, maid, cook, chauffeur, and now plumber.  I've always thrived in really structured activities and that's one of those things I have in common with Autism.  Anything that comes with step by step instructions, I am all over.  Putting toys and furniture together.  Fixing things.  Recipes.  When my brother and I played Legos as kids, I always followed the directions exactly.   If I was going to try and build something on my own I was completely lost.  To this day, I need a plan.  I don't have trouble adjusting or adapting if things go a different way, but to go in with the idea of just totally winging it makes me crazy.  If you know the people I am in ministry with, you're laughing right now because this part of my personality has been challenged since the day I met them.

Ironically, Autism is the other thing that has pushed all of my plans over a cliff.  I think that is the hardest part for most parents because we all have ideas in our minds of how life will be for our children.  School and trips and friends.  Autism forces you to re-route everything you had in mind.  And then in a strange twist, turns planning out every day tasks into a well-oiled routine necessary for life to continue on this new path.  Now, if you were at all spontaneous before, you no longer have that luxury.  Granted, kids in general sort of do that, Autism just intensifies it, I guess.

My point here is that I like structure and preparation and planning.  But, sometimes no matter how much of that you do, things happen and plans change.  Not to mention all of the stuff that you just can't ever prepare yourself for.  Bobby is leaving next month for work.  He'll be staying in a hotel and coming home about six nights out of the month for three months.  This will be the longest we've had to do this for.  The difference is that this time I will be over an hour away from everyone that kept me occupied all of the other times.  I'm trying to psyche myself up for it and mentally prepare but that includes realizing that I am going to get really emotional in the middle of it.  It happens every time.  I know it's not the worst thing any couple has ever had to do.  It's not like the women whose husbands are over in Afghanistan while they're giving birth or anything. But it will be difficult for us, nonetheless.  I will plan as much as I can but when it's midnight and I'm trying to go to sleep in that big bed by myself, it's going to suck.  Sure I can turn on the TV but if the boogeyman shows up, I'm on my own.  I will be reading a lot of Psalms right before bed, I can assure you.  All in all, I know that we'll make it through just like we have every other time, I'm just hoping it goes by quickly.

So that's what I'm currently planning for.  I suggest y'all plan for three months of whiny, I-miss-my-husband Facebook posts.

"This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction: that Your word has revived me and given me life."
Psalm 119:50 AMP

Friday, September 7, 2012

Apparently, it's not all about me...

The past week has been non-stop.  The garage sale is over and I am still recovering.  If the amazing Janeil Henderson hadn't helped me out, I don't know how I would have gotten it all done and ready in time.  People are for real about their garage sales, let me tell you.  We opened the garage door at ten til six and had people waiting for us.  We were still trying to move things out into the driveway when they had already started piles and were asking us what we would take for things.  It was still so dark out we were having to use our phones as flashlights in the driveway!  It was so nuts, but we ended up doing really well so all in all it was a good time.

Apparently, Labor Day weekend is our designated time to steam clean the carpets because we did the same thing last year (http://pevefacefaith.blogspot.com/2011/09/picking-up-slack.html).  Bobby also did a lot of cooking and Buddy and I did a lot of laying around trying to come back to life from the garage sale blur.  It was perfect for me because quality time is my primary love language.  I really wish I had some pictures to share but I'm horrible about stuff like that.

So last night the regular season for the NFL began with a Cowboys win over the Giants.  In my world, the beginning of a season doesn't get much better than that.  I've been wanting to do a football post, and that is definitely a good springboard for one, but today I've got more important things to say (yes, more important than football).


Gal 6:2-4
2 Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. 3 For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another's load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself. 4 But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor. 
AMP

I think we've probably heard this verse a thousand times.  Maybe we even think we know what it means...maybe we actually do know what it means...but to what extent do we actually obey it?  If you read it in context it is talking more about enduring the faults of others with mercy, not necessarily the type of burdens that we usually associate with it.  But I believe the word 'burdens', when used figuratively, entails a lot of things, including the trials of life that we all go through, and the emotions that go along with them.

Through this journey I have become very aware of how difficult it is to get someone to become concerned with a cause when that particular cause doesn't affect them personally.  It's a sad fact, but fact it is.  We are much more concerned with things when they are suddenly thrust into our personal bubble, and are no longer just unfortunate situations that happen to "other" people.  My whole life I knew about the dangers of drunk driving, and thought it was horrible and selfish and wrong.  But it wasn't until it crashed into me, taking the life of a dear friend (and dear friend's daughter), that it became personal to me.  I am now much more aware of what an issue it really is.

The same goes for Autism, obviously.  My struggle recently has been the frustration of feeling like no one gets it, really.  Please hear my heart, and don't take this as me being judgmental, but people can listen to you and hear what you're telling them all day long, but rarely does it become a burden on their own heart.  I am just as guilty of this as the next person.  I've been so concerned with Joshua that I felt exempt from having to deal with anyone else's problems because, if I'm being honest, they usually feel miniscule and petty in comparison.  But that's just not an acceptable attitude to have.  We all have burdens and they're all different. None of us are going to walk the same path and therefore we can't compare ours to anyone else's.

I feel like as the church especially, we could all take a look at ourselves and question how much we think and pray and intercede about things that don't have any effect on us personally.  How much time do you spend thinking about what you need to tell someone and correct them on, instead of just interceding for them?  How much of your time do you spend in prayer over other people instead of yourself and your family?  If we want people to share our burdens, then we have to be available to share theirs, even when we're walking through difficult things ourselves.  I'm not saying it's wrong to be focused on things that are close to you, just that I wonder what would happen if we put the same passion into things that are a big deal to others.  What would happen if you fought someone else's battle with the same intensity you fought your own?

I think of when Jesus said to seek the kingdom of God above all else and He would make sure all of our needs were met (Matthew 6), and how maybe that applies to bearing someone else's burden even above your own.  In America especially, we have been conditioned with a "self-preservation" mindset, even in the church.  The focus is fixing yourself, when in reality we are here to serve others and simply allow God to be on the throne of our soul (mind, will, emotions).

I am trying to remind myself of this whenever I get caught up in my little family circle.  I try to remember to pray for other people and other things besides Joshua and Autism.  I try to remember that we are all at different levels of this walk and there's no judgment or condemnation at any stage.  And most of all...it's not all about me.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

This and That

Caleb almost set a teddy bear on fire today.

Yes, I'm serious.

I had just pulled a load of clothes from the dryer and was beginning to fold them on the couch when I look up and see Caleb, who has crawled up onto a chair at the kitchen table, dangling poor Blue Bear over a lit candle, preparing to drop him.  I yelled like he was about to catch himself on fire and apparently scared him enough to make him pull the plug on his horrible plan.

He has also pulled a nightstand down on top of him, fallen off a dresser, and busted his nose on the concrete in the past couple weeks alone.  Oh and we can't forget a bloody lip last night that we never discovered the cause of.  Joshua actually isn't so accident prone anymore.  Although, the last thing he did was fall 15 feet from our second story so I'm pretty thankful he's reeled it in some.

Boys.

I've been trying to go through two houses worth of stuff the past couple weeks in an attempt to get ready for a garage sale I'm having this Saturday and it's made me painfully aware of how my babies are not babies anymore.  Bags and bags of clothes that I will never put on another infant.  We decided we were done after Caleb came along so this is not a new concept for me to wrap my head around, but there's something about seeing those tiny clothes and shoes and blankets that reminds you how little they were and no longer are.  All in all though, I'm excited to be cleaning out all of the clutter and getting things more organized around here.  Rosh Hashanah is right around the corner and what better time to get a fresh start on things, am I right?

Speaking of which, we are re-applying for the scholarship that has paid for Joshua's ABA so far.  We aren't sure what our chances are for a renewal but we figured it couldn't hurt to try.  Pray that the progress Joshua has made so far with the program will motivate them to continue helping us.  This would be another huge burden lifted from us.

I plan on writing a post solely devoted to football in the next week or so but I have to make mention of how close the season is.  Just one week left until I get to pull my hair out over the season opener for the NFL and less than four days until the Longhorns kick off their season in NCAA football.  Some people look forward to the holidays, I look forward to this.  It's the most wonderful time of the year, after all.  Or something like that.

Anyway, how is your week shaping up?  Anyone as excited over this upcoming season as I am?



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Five. Years. Old.


Josh 1:9
Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
AMP



One of these days I will post things more than once a month.

I had to take a minute and acknowledge today, August 23, 2012, as being Joshua's fifth birthday.  Five.  Oh, the things that can fill up five years so easily, so quickly.  Bobby and I have always described our years of marriage as "full" years.  Our anniversary rolls around and we can't believe how much has happened or changed in such a relatively short amount of time.  Kid years, as any of you parents know, are much, much shorter.  You always here the cliche, "They grow up so fast," before you have children, but then you have them and you realize it's not cliche (except that it's used so often), it's the absolute, God's-honest truth.

Joshua's first five years have not been the typical years of most children, but they have been overflowing with love, not just from us, but from all of our family and friends.  He is adored by so many and we are so very blessed by this awesome support system surrounding us on all sides.  From the moment he entered this world, he's been causing us to age at record speed, scaring the crap out of us with his brushes with death.  But he has also shown us the hand of God in those same instances, and I have never been more aware of the ever-present host of angels watching over us.  He has challenged us and inspired us.  He has brought us overwhelming joy and the first glimpse at unconditional love we ever experienced.

His birthdays tend to be very bittersweet for me, because every year passed is another we can't get back, another reminder of the obstacles he is facing.  This was supposed to be the year he started kindergarten.  I was supposed to be buying school supplies and dropping him off and crying all day over how big he is getting.  Instead I am crying over what he is being robbed of and missing out on.

This is where I say screw that.

I am going to celebrate the life of the sweetest boy to ever grace this earth.  I am going to be grateful for the privilege of being his mom and getting to walk this walk with him.  I am going to praise God for the hope I have in Him that things won't be this way forever and one day (even soon) he will get his first day of school too.  The faith I have carries me over the anger and onward to the promise.  Joshua has a promise and the passing of time doesn't take away from that.  Dwelling on the hard part would be a disservice to him and I won't do it.  It's a happy occasion to say he's lived another year and grown leaps and bounds from last year. So I'm going to be happy, dangit!

My baby is five years old today and I'm so happy he's my five year old.
Happy Birthday, Joshua Allen :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Emo Coaster

Tonight, I blog.

Lots of times, more so recently, I have to make myself sit down and write.  Then there are times like tonight, where the words and thoughts and ramblings are screaming to get out.  The emotional and mental overload is too much and I need a way to empty and restart.

I want to start off by saying I would hate for this blog to become my own personal pity party where everything I write about is how hard life is and blah blah blah.  If there's something I can't stand it's self-pity and a victim mentality.  There are just usually too many things in life to be thankful for when we measure it up against the grand scheme of things, and I hate wasting energy feeling sorry for myself.

Like right now, Joshua is doing so well.  He's said, "all done" MORE than once at school (side note: I use the term school loosely.  He doesn't attend a typical school, it's an all day ABA program that is basically year round) and is picking up the potty training more and more.  He's improving with his use of the picture system they created for him to communicate with and flies through any new programs they give him.

But then there's the flip side to that, which is what has me so needing to write.  His gut is in horrible shape and I'm having to decide whether or not to switch him back to only smoothies again.

And so it goes with this thing we call Autism, one step forward, two steps back.

Over and over and over again.

If there was ever a life issue that was an emotional roller coaster, this is it.  Something happens that gives my faith a boost, and then that thing seemingly evaporates.  Or we have a stretch where it feels like we aren't making any progress, and then all of a sudden Joshua does something big and I'm encouraged right when I need it.  Up and down and backwards and around.

I know people wonder why I am doing any of this at all...why I refuse to accept that this is just the way life will be for him...but I'm not sure how anyone who is a parent could ask that question.  You never quit fighting for your kids.  You just don't.

And then there's this:
"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."  John 10:10 AMP

That is our promise if we believe it.  I wouldn't have chosen this ride but I'm thankful for the hope I have for an end.

I mean, after all, you don't jump off a roller coaster right in the middle because you're scared, that would be worse than finishing.  So you white-knuckle that bar, scream like a pansy, possibly vomit or wet yourself or both, and just ride that baby to the end.  And once it's over, it doesn't seem like it was so bad after all and you're off to the next one.

Great, now I have Red Hot Chili Peppers stuck in my head...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Big Picture

"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."
1 Peter 5:7 AMP

Once again it's been a while since I've written.  I have excuses but I won't bore you with them.  I'm racking my brain with what has happened since I last updated, but all I can think of is that Joshua is in the middle of potty training.  And let me just tell you, for a non-verbal, nearly five year old, he is killing it.  Sure, we haven't gotten the pooping in the potty part down yet, but the kid is all on top of the peeing part.  He is even beginning to come get me when he needs to go and yesterday attempted to go on his own.  I am so excited about all of this I can't even begin to explain it.  If you only knew the role poop has played in our lives the last couple of years...Well...it's been too big of a role, I'll put it that way.

Sometimes when I start to contemplate the way life has turned out so totally different than the way Bobby and I envisioned it, I laugh a little...but only to stifle the sob that wants to rise up.  Then I think about how much better we are still off than many other people and try to imagine what the bigger picture looks like.  Because if you're a believer in God, then there's always a bigger picture.  And most often, it's much bigger than we can imagine...and much, much bigger than our tiny bubble of reality.

I know this "A" word has ruined me forever.  Even when Joshua is fully recovered, I know in my heart that autism will always be a part of my life in some way.  I have faith for right now, and I have faith for our family, but that just isn't big enough.  My faith is extending to others in our situation and to the autism epidemic as a whole.  I am burdened...so deeply, so intensely there are no words, for the children that are being lost inside themselves.

Most of my day is spent either thinking about autism, or trying not to think about autism.  Hope for Joshua isn't hard for me.  Hope for this entire generation that is being stolen is hard.  It mostly feels overwhelming and impossible but if there's any verse in the Bible most of us have heard a million times it's

"But He said, What is impossible with men is possible with God." Luke 18:27 AMP

I have this need inside me for this season of our lives to count.  For it to not be wasted years that we can't get back and in the future we just try to forget.  I don't want this journey to be something that happened to us that we struggled through until we made it to the other side...something that we just survived.  I want this to be used.  I want it to develop something in me.  I want to be a better person at the end of it.  I don't think I could face myself if when this is over I just say, "Whew!  Glad that's done!", and go on with life as business as usual.

It would be justice for Joshua.  But it wouldn't be enough.

There's a bigger picture at work here that hasn't fully developed in my mind's eye.  It's still blurry and I can't pretend to know what all it entails but I know that if I'm open to it, eventually it will come into focus.

So for right now, I'm not stressing about how we will pay for Joshua's therapy next year.  I'm not going to stew over the emotional toll it has taken on Bobby and I.  I won't even complain about this never-ending daily routine we've been forced into.  Instead, I'll let it all fade into the background of the light at the end of the tunnel where we are embarking on a brand new season of life...one where our personal fight has been won and we are free to fight for others.

"Jesus answered, It was not that this man or his parents sinned, but he was born blind in order that the workings of God should be manifested (displayed and illustrated) in him."  John 9:3 AMP

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Unmerited Favor


Zech 9:12
Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you.
AMP


Yes, that verse again.

Last night Bobby and I were talking about how far he has come in his career since we got married.  It's no secret (though it may be to some of you reading this) that Bobby was in prison for a while before we met.  He was assured that he wouldn't make more than minimum wage the rest of his life and he didn't anticipate much different when he got out.  But this man of mine has a drive and ambition, coupled with a spirit of excellence and diligence, that has helped bring him to where he is today.  He's working in a position now that most in his field have a college degree for, where he only has his GED.  I have watched him over the last five years work himself from the very bottom up...from not even being able to turn on a computer, to being able to teach himself how to use a brand new software for his field.  From being a pipe welder, to getting his foot in the office, to planning and then scheduling, and now basically managing a whole group of planners for a multi-million dollar job.  He is always attempting to do better and learn more...as he says, he has no ceiling.

I am so proud of him, for the man that he is, and the example he will be for my children.  For making the most of every opportunity he was given and never taking anything for granted or growing apathetic in his work.  He doesn't always enjoy it, but he always does it with 110% of effort.

And as proud of him as I am, I am even more grateful for a faithful God who has opened every one of those doors.  We both know that without the supernatural favor of God, Bobby wouldn't be in the position that he is.  The more I read that verse, the more aspects of it I see.  Reading it right now in this context, all I can think of is how directly to Bobby it speaks.  I can see him walking out of that prison and God looking down and reciting this to him.  Not letting him settle for what man would tell him is his fate, but urging him to grab onto the hope of life in God's amazing grace--His unmerited favor towards us.  

The past five years as I watched Bobby step from one stone to the next, I also watched God come through time and time again.  Every time we were presented with an obstacle, it was removed.  He may never be early, but He has always been right on time.  And every time my faith in His promises has grown.  The journey of Bobby coming out of the shadow of his past has prepared me in every way for the journey we are now on with Joshua.  All of those now seemingly tiny trials have seasoned me in the testing of my faith, leading me up to this one.  So now I can look at it and see it for what it is, an opportunity to persevere in faith and hope, to give room for God's glory to be shown boldly, without question.  I know that if I can persist through this and make it to the other side, then I can persist through anything.

Luke 18:8
 I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth? 
AMP

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Love...Modern Technology...OR The Power Went Out Yesterday and I Almost Went Crazy

Yesterday after I got home from picking up Joshua, some bad weather blew through and knocked the power out for almost three hours.  Three.  Hours.  Now, I live in the south and am familiar with the aftermath of hurricanes where we have been left without power for weeks.  I also lived in the country for a while before we moved here and the power went out on a regular basis there, most of the time for no apparent reason.  So no electricity is not that big of a deal to me.  However, I've never had the experience with both boys being the ages they are now, or Joshua being so aware of his surroundings that Toy Story being abruptly shut off is an unforgivable offense.  Power outages and Autism do not mix.

On top of the electricity being out, AT&T's service was acting screwy and my phone battery was near death.  Bobby heard that the traffic was backed up for miles and miles so he decided to stay at work so he could be making money while he waited instead of sitting in his car screaming at all the morons.  He ended up staying two and a half hours later than he would have so it was just me and the small children.  There may or may not have been an argument about how long it took him to get home because I may or may not have been about to pull all my hair out.  Speaking of which, I'm realizing that if I actually pulled my hair out all the times that I feel like doing it, I would be crazy-Britney-Spears bald.

So anyway, there we are, in the near dark.  Joshua throwing a tantrum every so often because I still haven't turned his movie back on, Caleb taking the opportunity to get into everything I don't normally let him get into, and me...channeling my Hunger Games persona, going over in my head what furniture might make good fire wood or how long the food in the house might last us before I would have to resort to hunting the birds in the back yard.  I would die almost immediately in The Hunger Games, by the way.  Then, finally, the power beeped back on and it felt a little to me like the end of Lord of the Flies when they're all rescued.  All of a sudden the exaggerated drama dissipates, and life returns to normal, minus a decent dinner and baths because by now it was eight o'clock.

At any rate, this little episode inspired me to bring back the "I Love..." posts.  I know it's not Monday, but really, who cares?  Today I'm thinking of all of life's modern technologies I love and am thankful for.  I know people have survived centuries without them and many still do, but instead of feeling spoiled for enjoying them, I'll just feel blessed and appreciative.


  • Electricity.  And everything that is powered by it.  Lights, refrigerators, ovens, central A/C, etc.
  • Indoor plumbing.  We take it for granted, but how many of us could handle going outside in an outhouse, or worse, a hole in the ground?
  • DVR.  It's one of those things most of us lived without most of our life, but now I would never be able to watch TV without it.  Which actually probably wouldn't be the worst thing ever.
  • Internet.  It is a huge time-waster, but it has become invaluable to me in the past year or so.  Especially since we've moved, it's one of the main ways I keep in touch with people and it would be really hard to be without it for too long.  Not to mention I've got at least one really good friend I wouldn't even know was it not for the ability to connect over Facebook and blogs.  Plus, you can literally type in a word or question in a search engine and find everything you ever wanted to know about it.  That's pretty ridiculous and awesome.
  • Smart phones.  I hated them for so long and now I'm one of those people that drives me nuts.  Mostly though, I love text messaging.  Another way I keep in touch with everyone.  What would I do with myself if I couldn't text song lyrics or random thoughts to Joy all day long?
  • Digital music.  Seriously, so convenient.
  • Modern appliances.  The dishwasher, washer and dryer, coffee pot, vacuum cleaner, slow cooker, etc.  I would say microwave...which I use...but I think they probably are horrible machines.  To quote Ellen, "I blame the microwave for most of our problems.  Anything that gets that hot without fire...that's from the devil."
  • NFL Sunday Ticket.  Directv makes me so mad, but they've got us attached to the Sunday Ticket.  I mean, EVERY football game EVERY week??  How do you turn that down?
  • The iPad.  Another thing I hated in the beginning but now love.  I never would have bought one if not for Joshua and it has been the best investment for him.  Not to mention, it helped save my sanity for a while yesterday when the power was out.

What are some of the modern technologies you love?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prisoner of Hope

Lately, we have had some awesome progress with Joshua.  If we are Facebook friends, then you probably saw my posts about him saying 'drink' and 'sit down' last week.  This was preceded by more than a week of perfect bowel movements, which you may or may not know, is miraculous in itself for him.  We have been working hard on getting his gut healed with bio medical intervention probably more than we have anything else and it seems like it's finally happening.  Also, the weeks before that I had asked everyone who intercedes for him to begin targeting his gut and eating issues specifically when they pray.  So now here we are, he has been eating things that are not SCD legal, but mostly GF/CF, and his poop has been great.  That's when I really started taking extra notice of his behavior and lo and behold, that's when he said those words.  


Just to reiterate for those of you who aren't as familiar with all of this...When I say Joshua is non-verbal, I mean NON-VERBAL.  Zero words.  Zero attempts at words.  So for him to say not one but actually three words that were discernible to his therapist is HUGE progress.  I am so grateful and eagerly awaiting the next thing he says and praying I get to hear it.  I actually think he told me to 'go' the other day at the back door but I'm not 100%.  If you go long enough not hearing anything, you second guess everything you do hear, because you assume you're just being hopeful.  I guess now I will start paying more attention to the sounds he is making.


"Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity] you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity."  
Zechariah 9:12 AMP


I have been marinating in this verse for a couple weeks now.  The phrase 'prisoners of hope' struck me in my heart.  I've asked myself a hundred times, what does it mean to be a prisoner of hope? 


It's no longer being captive to worry and anxiety, but being so tied to that anchor (Hebrews 6:19) that we cannot escape it.  Not just being held firmly stable by it, but guarded by it also.  Taking refuge in the stronghold instead of being oppressed by it.


It's an odd choice of words, actually.  When you think of being a prisoner, you don't think of it being something positive.  While thinking about all of this I remembered this story I'd heard about a family of slaves.  There was a law passed freeing some slaves, but then another that if you did not return to the state you came from then your freedom was revoked.  So part of the family would be forced to be separated again if they wanted to maintain their freedom.  So the one family member legally bought the others, so that he technically owned them, but only so they could stay and live out the rest of their lives with family.  So by the law they were still slaves, but in reality were treated as free because their owner was family.


There is so much symbolism in that I can't even go into all of it right now.  But it's much like being a prisoner of hope.  I am shackled to the hope of abundant life because I believe wholeheartedly in the promise of salvation in Jesus.  Hope owns my thoughts and my speech.  I don't do anything unless hope dictates it.


It is hope that has led me this far on Joshua's journey, and it is hope that will see it through.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just a Few Pics


I realize I haven't posted anything about our trip since we've been back so here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.  I'll have something with a little more substance coming soon.


He is basically against smiling in pictures.

This was on the ride out and it's probably my favorite picture of the trip.

Fish.  We didn't catch as many as we had hoped but we did leave with some.  Janeil laughed at how I kept saying that Bobby and I caught more fish than everyone else, but it's true.  I mean, it's not a competition or anything but...if it was, we won.  These are about half of what the group caught over our whole trip.  We ate most of mine before this picture was taken, I think.

 I realize most of my pictures were taken at sunset, but I could never get over how pretty it is coming straight down into the water.  No land on the horizon is exciting and daunting all at the same time.
Notice how I'm the only one not holding up the fish.  And I actually wasn't the only female on the trip, the other is taking the picture.

 I'm such a girl in my pink fishing stuff.
And that, my friends, is a good-looking man right there.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Letting it Out

I don't know what's worse...


Emotions that are quick to surface...so quick they make you look totally out of control, or emotions you don't know are even there until they've got you by the throat.  For the record, I hate emotions in general.  I hate that I have them when I don't want them and I hate when people I do stupid things because of them.  I'm a firm believer that we have power over our emotions, but usually only once they've initially shown their face.  I realize they are helpful to the human experience, because without them we'd all be a bunch of crazy sociopaths, but balance is key, and, like most things we humans deal with, achieving balance in this area seems difficult.


This is something I personally feel like I've made huge strides in.  I mean, if you compare me now to me six or seven years ago, I would say I'm much less led or controlled by my feelings than I used to be.  Not always, and not always immediately, but I generally try and check what I'm feeling against what I know to be real or put it in perspective of a bigger picture.  Line it up with Scripture and see what wins out.  Everything I'm supposed to do and should do to make sure I control my emotions and they don't control me.


Here's the problem (that I literally only noticed ten minutes ago)...


True to my personality, I've swung to the opposite extreme instead of the middle.  I'm realizing there are a lot of times now when I just don't let myself feel anything at all.  I know this started as a survival skill when things with Joshua began to heat up.  I've dealt with depression since I was a teenager and I had to find a way to keep myself from crawling into bed and never getting out again.  Not to mention this season also coincided with a time in my life where I first started getting jaded about relationships.  


The result, I'm recognizing right now at this computer, is that any time I start to feel anything more than typical every day stuff, I shove it down like I'm burying it at the bottom of a drawer.  Like I said, I know I've somewhat needed to do this just so I could function, but now I'm exhausted from it.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes we need to feel it.  Sometimes we need to cry or yell or freak out.  I need to let myself feel all of the bad stuff because how else am I going to get it out of me?  I know I'm starting to sound very shrinky but this is what I'm thinking about tonight.


I feel guilty for Joshua.  I know it's ridiculous, but there it is.  I feel like I did a million things wrong and maybe if I hadn't things would have gone differently.  I know in my head I shouldn't feel that way, and I would tell someone else they shouldn't feel that way...but right now I have to acknowledge I do.  If for no other reason than someone else might recognize they aren't the only ones and be able to let go of it.


I feel sad over a relationship in my life that has mostly come to an end.  I am almost more angry at myself for being sad, because I don't want to care but I most definitely do.  I thought I was just angry...apparently I'm much more than that.


I am angry that my child is carrying this diagnosis.  I don't want to be angry about it, and I am less angry than when we began...but still.  Injustice makes me angry and he has suffered an injustice.


The awesome thing is that God knows my heart more than I do and none of this comes as a shock to Him.  I can let all of this crap out of me because He knows what to do with it even if I don't.  I don't want to be an emotional mess all of the time but I also don't want to be a robot.  Here's to remembering that sometimes we just need to let it all out.


"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."  1 Peter 5:7 AMP


"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and sorrows]."  Psalm 147:3 AMP

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tidbits

Jesus freely forgave the woman caught in adultery but said...



John 8:11
...I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on SIN NO MORE. 
AMP (Emphasis mine)


The only people He ever publicly rebuked were the self-righteously religious.  But on the cross He still said...



Luke 23:34
 ...Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
AMP


What is there to learn from this? 


Mercy is not conditional or based on who is deserving.  It is not the freedom to continue in what we have been forgiven of.  It is for EVERYONE, ALL THE TIME.


And neither the secular world nor the church has accomplished this balance of forgiveness.


Should we have mercy for those who are full of remorse for what they've done and promise to never do it again?  Yes.  If they do it again, should we still have mercy for them?  Yes.  If someone has no remorse for what they've done, should we still forgive them and desire God's mercy for them as well?  Yes.


If Jesus didn't seek to condemn the sinner or the zealots who murdered Him, who is there left for us to seek condemnation for?





Rom 3:21-24


21 But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets, 


22 Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 


23 Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives. 


24 [All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, 
AMP





Thursday, April 26, 2012

Encouraging Words

When I picked up Joshua today, a therapist that I'm less familiar with walked him out.  I've only spoken with her a couple times before and I'm not even sure what her name is.  Actually, I only know two of their names, so I guess that's not big news.  I feel bad asking because some of them have been there from the beginning and I should probably know them by now.  But I digress.

As I started strapping him into his car seat she told me about his day, that he did well with keeping his shoes on, and only chewed on his shirt once.  He did all of his programs, he babbled a lot more than she's ever heard him, and she even heard a few new sounds out of him, like he might have been attempting actual words.  I looked at Joshua and said, "You want to say something so bad, don't you, bud?"  Then she paused (or was it hesitated?) and said, "I really believe he is going to say something one day."

Suddenly, I realized that was the first time I had ever been told that.  I mean, of course, all of our family and close friends believe that, but I'd never heard it from a professional.  Usually, the most common thing parents hear on diagnosis day for a child on the spectrum is a list of all the things they will most likely never do.  Talking being number one.  God has shown me extra grace in that I've never had to listen to that lecture.  Oddly enough, I haven't encountered a single discouraging person on this journey and I know how big of a blessing it is.  Maybe there were thoughts, or conversations after I was gone, but nothing in front of me and I am so grateful for it.

But, as I noticed when this woman said these words to me, I'd also never heard a definitive, direct statement of faith in what Joshua WILL be able to do some day.  Most ABA therapy is centered around provoking speech.  Even still, I always make sure to check and see if they are still keeping his speech a main priority of his program.  In all of these conversations I still can't think of another time one of these women have looked me in the eye and said they believe it's going to happen too.

I honestly had no idea how bad I needed to hear those words today.  It hadn't even occurred to me that I was missing them, but when she spoke, something stirred up inside of me.  It happened so quickly, I immediately just replied with, "Well that's what we're waiting for."  But as I drove off I wished I had thanked her.  She might not have thought too much about it, but there was something in her voice, like maybe she saw something in him for the first time and wanted to make sure I knew that she did.  

Whatever her motives, it made my day and I find myself sitting here now with a renewed resolve.  This is amazing grace...that extra push for the final stretch right when we think we're about to hit the wall.

"And blessed (happy, to be envied) is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord."  Luke 1:45 AMP

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Perspective

Bobby is a lot of things.  Most things are reasons I love him so much.  Some things I love him in spite of.  And still others are somewhere in the middle.  This post is the result of one of the "in the middle" things.  


Bobby has become my blog motivator.  Not in the way you might think, where he would subtly encourage me to write something new...more in the way a coach might provoke a player to try harder by letting him know how bad he is.  Let me clarify...He LOVES my writing.  He does NOT love how long it takes me to write a new post.  So whenever he has gotten annoyed with checking the site only to find there still isn't anything new, he let's me know about it.  Tonight he said, "Man, you really suck at blogging.  You write something like once a month."


He's really insightful like that.  Of course, I'm just picking on him for picking on me, but he's right.  I haven't put enough energy into keeping this thing going lately.  I'll think about it and put it off in my head, but when Bobby says something about it, I suddenly have a clock ticking in my brain.  So even though he's a goober about it, I appreciate the push.


So here we are.


My big news for today is that Joshua is now officially a kisser.  He has started puckering his lips and leaning in for kisses within the past week.  He also has done it consistently and not just one time, which is big because sometimes our victories feel short-lived.  But this victory I have been celebrating since last Friday.  Now, I love both boys the same and Caleb's kisses are just as precious and seriously melt this Momma's heart to mush, but we have been waiting so long to enjoy this sign of affection with Joshua that it's hard not to treat it as a huge accomplishment.  Things are starting to spark inside of him and it leaves me eagerly awaiting the next thing we will get to celebrate.


Caleb has started saying so much in the last couple weeks, it feels like he's aged six months.  He is repeating almost everything we prompt him to, except (STILL), 'Momma' and 'Daddy'.  We both feel like we have waited too long to hear those names called and I am not at all dreading the day that I hear it 100 times in an hour.  


It's all about perspective.


I have had to work extra hard the past few months to remind myself of this truth.  Our perspective on our marriage, our kids, our daily routine, and life in general, controls how bumpy or how smooth the journey is.  How burdensome or how light.  How exhausting or how peaceful.  


And it's not just what perspective, but Whose...


Our feeble minds just don't see things the way God does, or the way He intends for us to.  We are so inclined to view things in the context of our circumstances at the present time, instead of the context of life's bigger picture.  And usually, HORRIBLY, we base our perceptions on emotions.  Emotions that come and go as quickly as a celebrity romance.  I'm no stranger to this and I'm trying really hard to change it.  


I'm reminding myself that the things that sway me and stress me out and make me angry are so trivial compared to the problems many, many people in this world are facing.  I am blessed beyond comprehension.


I'm reminding myself that even when life seems to be pulling Bobby and I in opposite directions, I know that man's heart and it is as pure and big and soft as I could ever hope for my own to be.  


I'm reminding myself that regardless of what happens on a day to day basis, I know that the end of the story works out for my good.  


Ultimately, I'm reminding myself that usually the way we view things...so limited and incomplete and boxed in, is completely opposite of the raw truth.  






"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord." Isaiah 55:8 AMP


"Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand."
Proverbs 19:21 AMP

Friday, April 13, 2012

Blogging is Hard

I suck at blogging.

Eventually I will post something on a regular basis again.

But probably not soon.

The End.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

March Newsletter from the Salyers in Mozambique



Salyers in mozambique
March 30, 2012

Not What I Expected
I was hoping to get to Sapamoto before 6:00am because the church meets early and goes quickly to their farmlands because the Vervet and Samango monkeys and the Baboons wreak havoc on their crops. It had rained all night and I knew that the trail would be tough but it exceeded my expectations. Even though I left the house at 4:45am, I did not get to Sapamoto until about 8:00am. As I attempted to cross the river before Monapo, I could tell that I was going to fall so I jumped off the motorcycle and tried to catch it. My feet slipped on the rocks and the motorcycle fell on me. The water was only about mid-thigh deep but the Yamaha 450WRF is very heavy and getting out from under it was a mission! When I finally arrived, (and boy was I a wet, muddy, disgusting mess) everyone had already left, except for Assimo-Tepa who is the church leader. He cannot speak Portuguese, and I cannot speak Makua-Meetto. I wanted to find out how the meeting went so I set out to try to find someone left in the village who could speak Portuguese. As I passed one large bamboo fence I could hear voices so I stuck my head in and found a group of women grinding corn. I asked if they could speak Portuguese and they pointed to a group of men in the corner under a grass covering. So I walked over and asked if any of them could speak Portuguese and they all pointed to one guy who reluctantly admitted that he could. After the normal greetings I asked what the meeting was about. They said they were the men from the mosque and were having breakfast. So I immediately went into “save a Muslim” mode. After one and half hours of teaching, the Shehe (pronounced “shayhay”) who is the teacher/leader in the mosque, asked if I would return to teach them some more. We agreed that I would come back on Friday and teach in the mosque.

Preaching in the Mosque
Before Friday came, the Heaton family from Pemba came for a visit to our house for a few days and I invited Tim to go with me to the mosque on Friday. Tim works with the Mwani who are Muslims in the Pemba area and I knew he would love an opportunity to go the mosque. And I figured if the Muslims rioted and killed me then Tim could tell what happened. We rode to the mosque on motorcycles and Tim who had only ridden a dirt bike once before in England, only fell twice. Once was when I stopped abruptly in front of him because I needed to pee. And the other time was when a little girl ran out in front of him. But to his credit, in the course of two days of ministry, he managed eight river crossings without falling. When we got to the mosque, we found it to be in bad condition. The rains had caused one outside wall to fall. If you will remember, the mosque had closed back in September or so because we had made so many converts in Sapamoto. But when our leader Exébio went on a drunken binge, many of the church members fled back into the mosque. So when I went into the mosque I saw some familiar faces. Tim knew some mosque etiquette such as take your shoes off before entering and step in with your right foot first. We came in and sat on a grass mat and had to endure about forty minutes of normal Muslim ritual. Boring! I am soooooo glad to have REAL life in Christ instead of dead religion. After their stuff was finished the Shehe said I could share. In the front of the mosque is a small room in the front middle where the Shehe stands to read the Koran. It is a kind of Holy Place for them. But since it was the only place where I could sit and every one see, I asked if I could sit there and I sat before an answer came. The Shehe seemed uncomfortable with that so he stood behind me. I was using the Look, Listen, and Live material. It is a large book of pictures with an MP3 player that narrates the stories in Makua-Meetto. There are eight books. Book one begins with Creation and includes the Tower of Babel and the flood, Job and Abraham and then ends with the birth and ministry of Jesus and his sacrificial death. I could tell it was eating the Shehe up that he could not see the pictures so he eventually went and sat down. At the end of the presentation, I asked the Shehe if they would like to see the other seven books and he said they would. So we scheduled for me to return to the mosque the next Friday to show book two.

Second Visit to the Mosque
Wouldn't you know it, rain was falling when I left for the mosque and the elephant grass was wet and laying over into the trail. The visor on my motorcycle helmet was fogged up so I had to ride with it pulled up so I could see. With the wet grass, (six to nine feet tall) laying into the trail it was like being slapped in the face with a thousand wet squirrels for the three hour ride! Well, I arrived thoroughly wet and slapped silly and then had to endure forty minutes of DEAD religion before getting the opportunity to share the glorious, immutable, eternal, powerful, inscrutable, word of the living LORD. 'Nuff said? Before I shared, the Shehe wanted to say something to his men that he wanted me to understand. He appointed this young guy to interpret. Poor fellow could not speak Portuguese very well. Out of the five minute talk all I could understand was “this man has some very important words that are for all men and you must listen carefully.” On this day there were two women at the mosque. They are not permitted in the mosque but must watch through holes in the wall from a small room in the back. That should get the women's libbers hopping mad. Anyway, before I started, the Shehe called the women into the mosque and had them sit with the men to watch to gospel presentation. At the end, I gave the Shehe a copy of the four books of the Makua-Meetto bible (Genesis, Mark, Jonah, James) that are finished and a Portuguese New Testament since he could read both. Afterwards, three guys followed me to Assimo-Tepa's house and asked for a New Testament also. When each one demonstrated that they could read, they got one. The Shehe invited me back to show book three of the series so I would appreciate your continued prayers. A missionary friend of ours wrote to tell me about a missionary colleague of theirs in Yemen that was killed by Al-Qaida for evangelizing Muslims. They then asked if I had life insurance. The answer was no, because no company will insure a person living in the poorest nation on earth, Mozambique. But I have better insurance than that, it is your prayers. So keep praying and I'll keep preaching.

Life In The Bush....by jen
Well, if you have been reading our newsletters and following my Facebook information, you know that we've dealt with quite a bit of illness in our family since the beginning of the year. In January it was malaria and giardia. Then last month as soon as we went back to Balama from our grocery trip to Nampula, we unfortunately carried back with us a sickness that many of the other missionary children in Nampula had – a fever & bad cough. Well at that time, it started with one boy and then filtered out through everybody else except Kanon, I think. Even Brad & I had it in our turns & it was a bad one! I guess it was some kind of flu because it lasted about 10 days. I was completely exhausted from 3 days of holding a very sick 9 month old Warrior when I got the fever that lasted about 4 days and I couldn't do anything except lie around. Boy it was bad! So then we finally got better after about 2 weeks of sickness in the family just in time for a visit from some British missionaries who work with the Coastal Muslim people group called Mwani. They had come out for a bit of R&R as well as Tim wanted to go with Brad into the villages. It's funny to think that staying with a family full of 6 little boys with only 1 bathroom could be considered by some people as R&R, but, well, I think for them it must be like living at the circus for a vacation. Our bunch is definitely more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Anyway, the day they left, 2 little boys came down with fever. By the next day, all the boys had fevers. Miraculously, neither Brad nor I got sick that time, but the boys had fevers for 5 days. Now, just for grins and giggles, I'd like you to imagine how much Tylenol or Panado, Ibuprofen, and other fever meds 6 little boys take in 5 days. And what's more, neither of us is naturally a good secretary, which means that keeping track of how much of what we gave whom and when was just a nightmare! Our only prayer that week was that we could all be well before the Nampula trip that was coming up at the end of this week. We couldn't cancel it at all because we had an appointment with the Consular from the American Embassy to renew 3 passports. If we missed it, we'd have to fly our entire family down to Maputo to take care of it at no small price. Well, our departure date was Thursday. On Monday there were only 2 boys with lingering coughs. Then that evening, Colt the 3 year old had a fever about 103 F. Brad said, “No! No! No! We CAN'T DO THIS AGAIN!!!!” We all jumped on him, anointed him with oil, prayed over him and as a family took communion for about the 4th time in 10 days. (We believe there is a healing component to communion) Tuesday arrived and not only was there no fever, but Colt was his normal exuberant self. On Tuesday and Wednesday night all boys slept without coughing or fevers. So by Thursday, we were completely well and ready for our Friday appointment. Thanks to ALL the people who've been praying for us so fervently. It has been very difficult having so much sickness.
When Brad finally resorted to going to the local health clinic to see if we could by any liquid pain meds, he couldn't even get to the pharmacy part of the clinic because there were over 200 local ladies there, each with a child in arms who was screaming with fever and coughing all over the place. Usually, one of the first lies the enemy of our souls uses on us when trials or temptation comes is, “You're all alone!” But, of course, Jesus told us He would never leave us or forsake us. And sometimes, he lets us see that we're only 1 family out of an entire African village full of sick children. And that has some comforting value.

And, oh, by the way, a missionary friend of ours told us that if we ran out of liquid pain meds we could just crush up a paracetamol (acetaminophen) tablet and put it in some jam and our children, “knowing that we only had their best interests at heart & were motivated out of our love for them, would gladly swallow it”. Bless the Lord she must have had very docile children. But I can tell you that the person wielding the spoon with the contaminated jam will be viewed by my boys as being in league with the Devil.

On a different note, my father posted on Facebook that we need to update our website. My response was, of course, that I'm really long on wanting to do that, but short on time. So for all you who have looked at our website, I really am going to get to that. The main issue we face with that is we just don't have good internet service. The Mcel phone company has oversold their SIM cards and can't handle the amount of people trying to use their service. So if we try to get on internet at all from home, Mcel cuts us off almost immediately. So until we're in the US in July, the fancy newsletters and website are going to have to wait. Then I will visit all my friends and family who have great WI-FI connections and work on the multitude of internet work I have on my plate. Otherwise, you'll see me at Chik-Fil-A or McDonald's using their WI-FI access, but I'd have to munch fries while working and that's really more fries than anyone can righteously account for.
Just to give you some idea of how the internet service works for us, something happened to our main email account to where I couldn't access it by my phone (which I was previously doing). So finally I had an afternoon to spend trying to work it out online. I finally got the gmail website up. Then I got to the change password page and was able to input a new password. Up to this point, it had taken me 1 ½ hours. People, that's 90 minutes – just to get to the change password page!!!! So I clicked submit. I was greeted with the “Page not found – the server was reset – blah blah blah blah” page. So I did the wise thing and shut down the computer, saying, “When we get to Nampula, the first thing I'll do is try to fix that.” I must say that I was pleased that I was able to avoid getting overly frustrated while this was going on because after I clicked something, I just walked out of the room and only came to check it 10 minutes later. Therefore, the time went more quickly than usual! I have, by the way, managed to get our email address working again with a new password.

On a final note, if you haven't heard yet (I can't remember if we've “officially” announced it or not), we will (LORD willing) be coming for a visit to the US in July, August and September. We're really looking forward to it. The boys are busy trying to come up with odd jobs they can do to earn some money for their personal Lego funds. My favorite is the foot rub for 10 minutes. I'll gladly pay for that one!!! So, we've got our plane tickets. But we don't yet have a place to stay. Won't you please pray right now for God to reveal to us His place for our stay? Brad loves to roll in to a town and just figure out where we're going to stay. I'm pretty flexible and not insistent on making reservations at places and such, but for a stay of 2 ½ months, I'd sure like to know in advance where we're going to settle! I think it's just 'cuz I'm the mommy. I don't particularly relish the thought of continual suitcase living indefinitely with 6 boys. But I'm certain God's timing is perfect, as is the place He has for us. If you know of any place for us to stay, please let us know. Preferably at least a 2 bedroom, 1 bath place with a kitchen and living room. All of our boys share a bedroom normally, so that's not a big issue with us. But smaller than that would be a squeeze for sure. Brad doesn't mind so much a smaller place, but he's only living with 6 boys, but I am living with 7 boys and prefer a little more space!
Thanks so very much for your continued prayers for us. We really feel them! Prayer has been sustaining us along with God's promises to us in His Word. We hope you have enjoyed our stories and feel free to write to us and pray for us as well.
Brad, Jen & the precious mix of miniature Salyers - the Artillery:
Kanon, Gunnar, Magnum, Remington, Colt & Warrior

If you would like to participate in our ministry financially, please make checks payable to:
bradnjenministries
and mail them to:

Brad Salyer
P.O. Box 5009
Beaumont, TX 77726-5009


If you want to give money from South Africa, please contact us through email and we will tell you how to do that. Thanks so much!