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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Land Between

Unlocking the heavy metal doors to my brother’s landscaping crate, I work in the heat to sort through 35 years of personal belongings. With Mom and Dad away for a few weeks, I decided to take home all of the boxes and go through each item. While unwrapping the kitchen gadgets, wall hangings, books, gifts, picture frames and so much more, I quickly made the decision to sell almost everything at a garage sale.

Saturday morning arrived with a few close friends and a very helpful neighbour setting up the yard sale. The first five hours were sheer chaos as many of the memorabilia drifted off into the cars of strangers. A part of me wishes these random people will delight in the “stuff” as much as I did, but I know they will never have the honour of knowing the full stories:

• the doll crib Dad made for me when I was a little girl
• the pig head drum I received in the Philippines
• Delft shoes and bells from the Netherlands
• Purses from Thailand...

And well, I guess that’s just a part of giving up everything to follow God’s calling on my life. At the end of the day I have to remind myself that they are just things... and I’m grateful I still have photo albums and journals to cherish the memories. I have chosen to keep some clothes and books that will hopefully be a good resource in Uganda.

My mind is already focused on what to pack. I hope to leave in October for at least two years and I’m excited for this next journey to begin. At the moment I’m at 53% (I can’t leave until I have 100% raised or pledged) of the on-going funding needed to make it as a career missionary in East Africa, and so that is one of my major focuses throughout the next few months.

I am extremely grateful for family who support me with their blessings, for friends who walk beside me on this adventure, for the financial givers, and for prayer warriors who take this move to the Lord in prayer. I am grateful that you are in my life... Relationships are where it’s at!

Living in the land between,

Karen Lubbers

As Jeff Manion, author of “The Land Between – Finding God in Difficult Transitions” paraphrased: He is saying, “Don’t worry. Don’t give in to anxiety. Don’t let it take all your energy. Don’t let it control you. Trust God. He sees. He knows.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crushing on Kurt

Proud to be Canadian
 Leaving through papers and projects from my childhood, I found an autographed "Kurt Browning" poster.  During my middle school years (and beyond) I had a crush on Kurt Browning.  He was (and is) a very entertaining and talented figure skater.  I loved watching the stories he created on the ice... not only with the skates, but the expression on his face.  In seventh grade I wrote a letter to Kurt.  I knew he lived out west, but I didn't know where.  I wrote "Kurt Browning - Alberta, Canada" on the envelope and eight months later I received this poster in the mail.  I was ecstatic!!
Kurt Browning is a 4 time World Champion and 4 time Canadian National Champion.  Wow!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stella's Groove

  In my senior year (1999) I wrote this book for a friend:
 Inside was a list of ways Stella found her groove in the first place:
1. Always be right, or put up a good fight.
2. Be courageous.
3. Do whatever your heart desires, no matter how many people are looking.
4. Demand respect (appropriately).
5. Take a break if you need it.
6. Work on your photographic memory.
7. Eat spicy ramen noodles with a close friend.
8. Accept praises humbly.
9. Be a lady!
10. But hang out with the boys, not on them.
11. Don't admit it, but enjoy the snowbanks.
12. Find a few strong silent men to be your friends.
13. Travel.
14. Have patience beyond belief with friends.
15. Drive to think.
16. Always leave the door open to company.
17. Live as a free spirit, but also as a controlled spirit.
18. Sing often.
19. Pray continually.
20. Be honest and real.
21. Listen to your mom and dad (keep them in your back pocket and show them to the world).
22. Live for Jesus.
23. Tell your friends of precious family traditions (eg - singing "Amen" after supper).
24. Have a humble spirit.
25. Laugh lots ~ contentment ~ joy ~ stability ~ innocence.
26. Have confidence of who you are in the Lord.
27. Learn as many praise songs as possible.
28. Never stop believing in your siblings.
29. Never stop anything that was important enough to start in the first place. 
30. Learn other languages, including Ebonics.
31. Have musical sisters.
32. Be willing to try anything new.
33. Snorkel with water snakes over shipwrecks.
34. Give everybody as second chance.
35. Be increasingly confident in yourself.
36. Forgive as Christ forgave.
37. Find a mentor.
38. Be a mentor.
39. Have friends across the spectrum, from strange to rational.
40. Sing yourself to sleep or fall asleep praying.
41. Read stories to your friends.
42. Don't hide expressions, even to yourself... therefore, write poetry.
43. Stay up late, get up early.
44. Play lots.
45. Become a favourite to some staff and faculty.
46. Wrestle.
47. Find a bosom friend.
48. Have a nickname or gesture for every friend.
49. Enjoy your grandparents' stories.
50. Mud fights are great.
51. Cry.
52. Do your devotions with great discipline.
53. Be accountable to someone.
54. Work hard.
55. Be grateful for roses.
56. Spend quiet time outdoors.
57. Go horseback riding.
58. Dance spontaneously.
59. Council friends at all hours of the day, no matter what is on the agenda.
60. When a guy gets on his knees to ask for forgiveness, forgive him.
61. Enjoy serenades.
62. Have non-Christian friends.
63. Pray for your spouse, even if you don't have one yet.
64. Play Foosball.
65. Never turn down an invitation to Fred's pizza on boys night out.
66. Pick up pennies, because every penny counts.
67. Remember that God is your biggest source of encouragement.
68. Write encouragement notes.
69. Call an old friend, even if you don't have much in common any more.
70. Read by the fireside.
71. Scrapbook your favourite pictures.
72. Fellowship with the elderly.
73. Care for the ones whom others don't care for. 
74. Cook something spicy and international.
75. Push "seek" and enjoy a variety of genres.
76. Show incredible patience, whether in long lines, raising children, or experiencing water leaks.
77. Laugh out loud, even if you're by yourself.
78. Get to know your neighbours.
79. Admit when you're wrong.  "You're right, I'm sorry."
80. Colour a picture and send it to someone.
81. Seek purpose.
82. Debate with yourself for a few minutes before spending money on something frivolous.
83. Look in the mirror and tell yourself "I am beautiful!"
84. Play sports, even if you are not very good.
85. Try not to follow a recipe exactly, switch it up a bit.
86. Volunteer for an organization that is out of your comfort zone.
87. Enjoy dressing up just for the fun of it, or relax in your favourite pajamas.
88. Visit a friend on the mission field.
89. Organize your closets and don't be afraid to downsize.
90. Go for a drive in the countryside.
91. Give your parents a hug and tell them you love them.
92. Bake a loaf of bread and then give it away.
93. Write: a letter, a poem, a diary excerpt, a book.
94. Link arms with your girlfriend when you go for a walk.
95. Sit back and read a few quality children's story books.
96. Gaze at the stars and pray for someone faraway.
97. Make a snow angel.
98. Try to keep at least one potted plant alive in your home.
99. Be real... share both your joys and struggles.
100. Relax with a long hot bath or steamy shower.
101. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
102. Thank the Lord for the precious people in your life.
103. Spoil yourself with a live theatrical play or concert.
104. Always get back on the horse after you've fallen off.  (I've done it 3x)
105. Splurge on your favourite chocolate bar.
106. Climb a mountain.
107. Light candles - vanilla is my fav!
108. Sip a glass of wine.
109. Explore art museums - impressionist, modern, sculptured.
110. Take public transit when possible and get to know your seat-mate.
111. Shoot hoops.
112. Entertain the crowds and make people smile.
113. Respect your boss.
114. Take notes on the sermons you hear.
115. Learn to read music and/or play a musical instrument.
116. Take a walking tour in a few famous cities.
117. Scuba dive.
118. Keep a pet - like a snake, raccoon, or monkey.
119. Join a women's Bible study group.
120. Fall deeper in love with Jesus - every day!

Looks like I need to put a few of them back into practice! Stella needs her groove back.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Once a Month

Most likely you will find me at the Writer's Nest on the second Tuesday of the month.  A group of wonderful Christian ladies all share stories that fit the theme of the month.  This past month was "Biography" and I actually shared a piece that I wrote when I was eight years old.  A piece of Terry Fox that I wrote for the paper and won $25 - with that money I opened my first bank account. 

Please click here to read Belinda's take on our evening.  She had the camera.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Creation and Belief

Slipping in to the pew near the front of the church, I was peaceful again... worshipping God with His people.  I enjoyed watching my brother Richard lead worship, but it was also so cool to watch Grandpa's face light up when we sang the old hymns.  "Trust and Obey" was sung from the bottom of his heart.
That song was a fitting follow-up to the sermon... which was about living in Complaint or Trust when walking through the land between.  As a church we are reading the book, "The Land Between" by Jeff Manion, so the sermon series was kicked off today with an indepth look at the Israelites in the desert.  There are times in all of our lives when we are in a land between - where we struggle - with loss, failure, suffering and pain, or searching in a time of unknowns.  And God gives us Manna, Manna, Manna.... translation "what is it?" 
The same question crosses my mind: "What is it right now that God is trying to teach me?"
"What is it that God really wants me to do before moving to Uganda in the fall?"
"What is it that I can say to comfort my family during times of stress and health concern?"
"What is it?"
Answer: "I don't know!" BUT, I do BELIEVE that God will direct my paths and provide for all of my needs.  I will continue to worship God, not only in church, but also when spending time in creation.

This video was shown during the service this morning.... very touching.  To God be the Glory!
P.S. Manna is described in Numbers 11:7-8 as this: "The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin.  The people went around gathering it and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar.  They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes.  And it tasted like something made with olive oil."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fields of Mustard

Part of me wishes I had fixed the air-conditioning in my car because I had a long journey to make in the past 24 hours.  I drove to Stratford after work to visit a dear man in the hospital and so I had lots of time to think and pray.  Mennonite buggies kicked up dust on the side of the road and the crops were taking on a nice golden tone as the sun was setting.  Passing by a few fields of yellow mustard, I was reminded of this verse:

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."  (Matthew 17:20)

I'm really praying to have that kind of faith and trust now days.  Everything big is small in God's eyes. 

After visiting at the hospital I hung out with my dear cousin Angela overnight and then went to visit all of my niece and nephews in the morning before stopping by the International Teams missions office.  It was great to have lunch with the staff who are working behind the scenes so diligently, helping me get to Uganda.  One of them even loaded up my car with garage sale items... I hope to bring in a few bucks for Uganda on July 23rd.  :)  Now it's back to work... wow, a fast 24 hours.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Passed!

13 chapters read in a paperback handbook.
5 intense sections studied on-line.
5 prep quizzes.
50 questions.
90 seconds to answer each question.
... my heart was racing against the clock,
But I GOT IT!!

I officially have my Pleasure Craft Operator Card. (AKA Boating License).  WooHoo.  Now I just have to learn how to back up the trailer better.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Come to the Crate

Two and a half years ago I packed up my apartment and moved my belongings in to a crate.  My brother Richard was offering me some space at the back of his landscaping crate, so that I could store my stuff while I went to Africa for a year.  In January 2010 I came back home, but instead of moving out on my own again, I crashed at Mom and Dad's, knowing that I would be heading out long-term on the mission field.
Recently, Richard and I decided to go through the crate and see what he might inherit (since he stored my belongs), what I should sell, give away, or pack for Uganda.
Have a seat or come inside!

Hmmm, where to begin?

Gifts that mean so much to me

I loved this piece by my front door

Aww, my childhood button collection - over 500 at one time
I have decided to get rid of a lot of my stuff... so now I'm going to have a garage sale in the near future.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

China Garden

Grandpa had lots of stories to share from his morning on Lake Simcoe with my dad.  I learned that they forgot to put the plugs in the bottom of the boat before launching and almost sunk the boat right on shore.  I also learned that Grandpa was pleased to catch his own lunch for the day.  Don't ask me why, but he loves microwaved perch.  When I came home from work around 5 pm, I asked Grandpa what he wanted for dinner.  He said, "Oh, just some bread and butter will do me fine.  Don't worry about me."  I wasn't worried, but I couldn't serve him bread and butter.

"Grandpa, what if I took you out for Chinese?  Would you be hungry?"

His eyes lit up.  "Well, I'm sure that would be just fine."  Of course, I have gathered over the years that Grandpa absolutely loves Chinese food.  So it was a quick drive down to the China Garden for our buffet dinner to begin.

While eating, Grandpa shared many stories of his time during the war.  He talked about being in hiding for two years - in a barn - so that the Germans could not find him and send him to work in an ammunition factory.  The Germans had already taken all of his identification papers when they caught him once.  For some reason, when he was at a camp, he was asked to go to a neighbouring German camp to get some supplies, on a bike, and instead of going left to the camp, he went right to freedom. 

Grandpa stayed hidden until he became a volunteer soldier in WW2.  He went to England for three weeks of training before being shipped over to Indonesia for three years.   OVW 11RI was his platoon.  Grandpa fell in love with Indonesia.  The beauty of the country and the people.  He was a cook in the army and learned how to dig up tuberous roots to prepare for flour.  We talked of all the fresh fruits he ate - papaya, pineapple, bitter but delicious bananas, coconuts, and more.  He shared how he led a group of 30 troops through the jungle for 10 days and how they survived off the land during that time.  When they arrived at base camp he was promoted to Corporal for feeding the troops so well.

A young lady brought us our bill, and in her very broken English she asked Grandpa if he was from this country because she said she'd heard us talking about England.  Grandpa didn't have his hearing aid in, so he missed a few comments, but together, the two of us shared his story with a very interested server.  This young girl saluted Grandpa and thanked him for fighting.  She praised God that he was still alive.  She shared her story of moving to Canada 7 years ago and how she is in the process of studying for her Canadian citizenship exam.  The server was sharing how she just finished reading in her citizenship textbook about Canada's role in the wars and once again, she was so proud of Grandpa in his young 87 years. 

Grandpa left the restaurant with a smile on his face.  He enjoyed sharing his story, but never shared about the front lines.  I don't think he ever will.  The young lady sure did try to have him talk, but he kept changing the stories to share about army trucks losing their brakes in the mountains and tipping huge vats of rice into the bush when the truck leaned over.  They shoveled the rice back into the pots and proceeded to the next location to feed the soldiers.  (Who knows what sort of jungle grub was added to the rice that night, but the soldiers loved it.  They were extremely hungry.)

Getting in to the car, Grandpa mentioned that even though he arrived in Canada in the early 1950's, by boat, he didn't get his citizenship until 1972.  When the judge asked Grandpa why he waited so long to apply, Grandpa mentioned that he wasn't thinking about citizenship.  He was trying to survive, raise a family of four children, and build up a family farm.  The judge was proud of him for working so hard and gave him his Canadian citizenship.

It was great learning Grandpa's stories as we headed home to watch the "Happy Canada Day" fireworks together off the back deck.