Friday, November 30, 2012

praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. It's as simple as that. Praise Him.
This past week, Jill and I had the privilege of taking Christmas gifts to fifteen pastor's wives in the province... these gifts were a blessing to them. Having the opportunity to deliver the gifts was a blessing, too. It was wonderful to see the smile on these ladies faces as they opened their boxes. They were grinning from ear to ear over some items we might consider basic necessities. These women sacrifice a lot for their husbands to pastor churches. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to bless them. We couldn't have done it without a group of ladies from Life Community Church in North Carolina that generously gave the money. They may never know the extent to which the Lord used them, but sometimes I think that's a good thing... it keeps us humble.

Jill and I had a blast together, like we always do. She is just like family to me. We had a blast laughing at the different things on the side of the road, and we talked ninety to nothing the whole time.

How ironic. No smoking within 50 feet, yet there are tin cans with fire coming out of them 10 feet away. Haha.

This was hilarious. Ducks just marching in a circle, without stopping. I have no clue why.

Who wants a dinosaur guarding your gate? Just move outside of Manila a couple of hours, and you'll find this lovely neighborhood.

Can't go anywhere without the Bubba mugs.

Coming up on the beach.

One reason I love the province... views like this.

This is what we looked like most of the time.

Goats and laundry.

Our first stop! These ladies were so much fun.

These ladies were so appreciative.

The view from their church building.

Beautiful smile.

She's a beauty.

Opening their boxes!

Jill with the ladies.

Digging to the bottom.

I love these smiles.

Awesome fresh seafood.

This reminded me of Nandy... growing plants out of tin cans.


Awesome rice fields.

A little port.

I snapped this photo out the window. I thought it turned out cool.

We were so tired after leaving Manila at 4am... we pulled over after our first stop to take a 30 minute power nap. We woke up after 25 minutes when we were both sweating from the heat... refreshed nonetheless.

This guy was tied up about three feet from the national highway.

One reason I love the province... stars, moon, and clear skies.

I snapped this through the car window.. thought it was pretty cool

Merienda... pepsi and skyflakes.

Headed back into the traffic in Manila... treated ourselves to Starbucks. Such a fun trip!

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

a different kind of family

The folks in these pictures are some people that bring "normalcy" to my life in the Philippines. They are my overseas family. 

Sometimes it's easy to get in a "pity party" around the holiday season while being away from my family and what I consider "normal" ... so, often times it's a conscious decision to choose joy. That is my resolve this year. Choose joy. Rejoice always.

My good friend, Marla, hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday. I didn't know everyone there, but two of my favorite families in the Philippines were there, so it felt like a good family thanksgiving. She had her house decorated beautifully for the holidays and it was a wonderful atmosphere of love and thanksgiving. Marla is the ultimate host.

Brian and Little J.

Little J and Lindsay. Not quite sure what I'd do without her.

Some views of Thanksgiving dinner.

Sandra is one of the most incredible women I know. She's from Northern Ireland and has a sweet accent.

I spend Wednesday mornings with these ladies. I couldn't be more blessed by them.

Sandra and her family.

Me and my little buddy.

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100


cooking lessons

My good friend, Sophie, recently said, "I think Americans were born to cook." 

I think that is mainly because the minimal cooking skills that I have are well above the average international student that I've met my same age.

I have had fun teaching my friends some new cooking skills. During Thanksgiving week, we made pumpkin muffins together.

This was hilarious. We had some lettuce catch on fire in the microwave while we were cooking. Sophie wanted to take all of the moisture out of it to use in her toothpaste... well- it got a little too dry. The first plate went totally into flames. This one only sparked a little bit, leaving most of the lettuce to use.

Pumpkin muffins ready to go in the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving.
"Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

"Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving." Ephesians 5:4

Thanksgiving Day

I am blessed to have some American friends here in the Philippines to celebrate thanksgiving with. Here are a few photos from Thanksgiving Day.

Greg's washer game.

The Turner kids and their friend.

Jill with a the Turner baby.

Sean with the Turkey leg.

Caleb, Greg, and Sean.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Couldn't be more thankful for this lady. Seriously.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18