conversations of the married

Lunchtime today. Tuan throws his hamburger in the skillet.

Me, thoroughly enjoying my burger: "What are you doing?"

He: "warming up my burger."

Me:" Tuan, I'd like to introduce you to the microwave."

He: "ha, ha, I wanted my burger to taste good"

I throw my burger down

Me: "Oh Crap!"

He: "what's wrong?"

Me: "my burger doesn't taste good."

He: ha


I was sending some folks this on Facebook and got blocked because I sent too many messages! I feel rebuked--like I was caught doing something wrong!

Our friends the Nasekos are in the process of adopting a thirteen year old girl from the Ukraine. They have gotten their adoption appointment and will be in the Ukraine in early December. They are going on faith as they still need to raise 15,000 to pay for the adoption! Please pray that they can raise the money!

If you are at all interested in helping them out, there is a fund set up at French Camp Presbyterian Church. I think the donations are tax deductible. Checks may be made out to French Camp Presbyterian Church and in the memo line: Karina Adoption Fund.

Their story is really neat and you can read it all on their blog: Storeygraceinperu.blogspot.com. Feel free to pass this on!

French Camp Presbyterian Church
323 School Street
French Camp, MS 39745
Memo Line: Karina Adoption Fund


Musical Discoveries

Tuan and I are both music people. I like playing the piano and guitar, love hymns and listening to music. I remember words forever once I learn them, but I am not big on having music playing in the background and definitely cannot think or carry on a conversation while listening to music.

Tuan loves music as well, loves it in the car, in the background, doesn't mind singing, but his musical memory is short. He has a hard time remembering lyrics. I think this is why he listens to the same stuff over and over. Granted, I have my favorites, but because I don't listen to them as background filler, they stay fresher. This is why I'm still listening to Third Day stuff from the nineties, among other things. : )

The car is typically our battleground and some time back, I just sort of lost it and drew the line: "Tuan, I don't want to hear the voices of Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, Matthew Smith, or any other person related to Caedmon's, or Indelible Grace! And for that matter, could we please give up Nickel Creek for a while!!!!!!" Frankly, I had listened to them so many times that it was all grating and annoying--and I do like all of the artists/groups above--that I was really afraid of becoming completely soured and forgetting why I liked them in the first place.

My sweet husband aquiesed and decided to acquire some new music. Okay, "new" to us music. Those of you who read this blog will scoff in wonder and dismay that we are just now listening to Sufjan, Switchfoot, Coldplay, Wendell, the Red Mountain Church stuff and the-guy-from-Switchfoot-who-went-solo or something like that. I feel no guilt--except about Wendell because he's like a brother to me and I should have gotten his stuff way long ago. Frankly, I'm too occupied with other things to stay current and buy CDS, but I have thoroughly enjoyed all of these albums. Wendell's especially is stuck in my head in a good sort of way. It seems that staying current isn't the most important thing: listening to good music is--whether it's today, yesterday or nostalgia. That's why I still love Carole King's Tapestry album, DC Talk, 3rd Day--it's just good music!

So, I would love suggestions for future music. You know, for when I turn to Tuan and say, "I can't stand that Sufjan any longer!"


writer's strike aftershocks

Remember the big hairy tv writer's strike that hit last year? The one that forced Americans without cable into watching re-run after re-run and put Deal or No Deal on TV every night? Oh, yeah, that one . . . . I had forgotten about it until I read a journal entry from last year. While the biggest disappointment with that was The Office being cut short (and missing out on the Christmas episode), I have to say that in our house the advantages have been great. Quite simply, our TV watching dropped. Drastically, in fact. It was so easy to tune into random stuff and now I realize that we rarely watch TV at night. I don't know what we do with that time, but I'm sure it's way more productive!

We now have our one show that everything stops for: The Office; and our own individual shows: the NCIS and sometimes Eli Stone or the Unit for Tuan and the-show-that-shall-not-be-named-because-I-really-don't-want-to-be-that-transparent-on-here that I watch! This spring we'll add LOST to the mix, but that's it. We are way more deliberate about TV now and that's a good thing. Going without for so long just made so many shows less important. Giving up TV altogether--no way, JOSE and I don't care what the preacher says.

I'm joking about the preacher because I and my parents have had friends who have gotten rid of the TV and returned it depending on who their preacher was. Good thing they kept it in the closet during the no TV preacher time. It saves a lot of money when you get a preacher who says its okay.


The Times They are a Changing Again

Sunday night, I sat at a little round table in a Sunday school room at the Mount Olive Church. The table was strewn with booklets and Bibles and cups. Seven rambunctious junior high girls surrounded me. It was chaotic and and wonderful and eye opening. Only one of those girls was a covenant PCA child. Our other covenant girl was out, as well as one of my regulars or I would have had nine. It was amazing.

The beginning.
In our first year of marriage, Tuan and I were looking for a place to live and jobs. Camping, we felt, was his calling, but doors were shutting. On the other hand, Mount Olive was calling. We felt so drawn to the town and church and when Tuan was hired to work as a finish carpenter in Jackson, we quickly found a rental house outside of town and settled in. Some months later, we were asked to work with the kids on Sunday nights and since 2004 we have spent Sunday nights (excepting summer) at the Mount Olive Church teaching, singing and playing. It's been a strange, difficult, yet good ministry. We've taken the kids through Pilgrim's Progress, Genesis, Exodus, some of Lev/Num/Deut, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and now 1 Sam. It's been neat to see some individual growth and to grow close to this church family.

Last year, however, was very discouraging. One of our core families (three kids is a huge chunk out of ten avg!) separated and the parents are going through a sad divorce. The kids were removed from Sunday nights and it left a huge hole. With Aubrey's birth, I spent most nights in the nursery rather than in the room with kids. I felt purposeless (and selfishly wanted to be home sleeping or resting rather than driving 50 minutes to sit in the nursery or spend a few moments with the kids) and was so discouraged without those three beloved kiddos. When we ended for the summer, we had acquired two new girls (sisters) from the community (who we were able to send to camp!), but still things were ___.

Prior to our return, I had heard rumors that our remaining oldest girl was thinking about going somewhere else on Sunday nights because she wanted to be with girls her own age. It was so saddening. She is a wonderful girl and such a blessing to the group. With our pastor, we discussed forming a class for the "older girls" that I would teach. Providentially, Mom and Dad moved back to Mount Olive and wanted to keep the kids on Sunday night. This is where things began to change.

Our first Sunday night, the sisters brought a friend, then, the next Sunday night, I had the original sisters and the friend's sisters. Caught unprepared, I shared my testimony (including a heavy dose of the gospel) and our class was formed. This Sunday night, I had the crew described above, plus a friend and a cousin. Wow.

It's hard to explain how this is all going. Our material is Susan Hunt's True Woman Series. It's great, but the diversity of backgrounds that I'm dealing with makes teaching this material pretty crazy. I've got my two covenant children on one side who go to the Academy and have intact families, and understand a good bit of theology. In the other side of the ring are my mavericks. These seven girls attend the public schools, some are minorities, most are literate in Bible Stories, but not in the gospel or theology, and are from badly broken homes. How can you begin to teach them the Woman's role in the church when the God they know of and the gospel is blurry?!

Pray for me and for them. I am desperately aware of the need the Holy Spirit in this--for words for me and for them to see, hear and understand God's word. To give my faithful readers an example: In the middle of our study about Mary the mother of Jesus, my oldest raised her hand and said: "Miss Paula, did you say Jesus was God? I didn't know Jesus was God" Explaining the Trinity fully prepared is hard enough, but on the spot is even more so! Fortunately, I was able to explain the Trinity somewhat by describing the roles of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in salvation.

So there we were. Attention spans drifted, but we had our study, shared prayer requests and prayed for each other, then wrote notes for someone who was sick. I have no idea how long I will have these girls--some of them probably lead very transient lives and I am trying to not take a single hour for granted. I beg of your prayers for me and my girls. God has put together this precious group of little women and I know he has a purpose and reason for this. It's terribly encouraging to not only have this ministry at Mount Olive go in this direction, but to also be thrown own my knees at the craziness of it all and the hope that God will use me. At a later time, I may post brief descriptions of them, but this is enough for any patient person to read through. Thank you all for your prayers!