Melanie and Joe’s Journey Pt. 3

This week due to time constraints I have found it necessary to put these two posts about the kid’s journeys to the Far East together.

Joe spent most of his week building walls for a church and then helping with a VBS. But what I got from him were a lot of pictures of food. Apparently my son aspires to be the next Andrew Zimmerman

Here are a few of the yummy things he ate this week.

heart, liver and gizzard

Octopus and squid

green bean/ kidney bean/ coconut and jelly (like spam jelly) snowcone



Joe is going for the full experience of living in and among the people. He is trying to learn as much of the Thai culture and ways as he can in the short time he is visiting the country. I am so proud of him and his cast iron stomach! ūüôā

Meanwhile Melanie is meeting so many wonderful people and is just having a blast teaching English and learning Thai.

Mel with a teammate and some of the kids she is teaching.

She looks born to it!


I swell with joy as I hear about what God is doing through Joe and Mel! Thanks for praying!




Melanie’s Journey Pt. 2

So this week Melanie and her team have been busy with a painting project. They have also spent some time speaking with students from elementary school to junior high about American culture. Mel and her companions have also attended lectures on the worldwide issue of human trafficking.

Melanie has been greatly impacted by the need for children to provide for their families. She mentioned how the team had met a little boy trying to sell flowers in the driving rain to earn money for food.

The harvest is great and the laborers are few. Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth more laborers! Also pray for a young lady Melanie had an opportunity to speak with who is interested in Christianity.

Thanks for being part of the prayer team!

The conveyor belt restraunt. You pick what you want off the plate and throw it into the stew.

The stew the team made!

Rambutan! It’s a fruit or so they tell me!

Share Your World With Cee Cee Pt. 13

Wow! What great questions Cee Cee has posed this week!

  1. What made you smile today?
    Today was my daughter, Amanda’s, first Sunday as lead teacher in the children’s church. During one portion of the service when the children were playing a game she got the group cheering for their teams so loudly it came right up through the floor boards into the sanctuary. Our whole section was laughing in the middle of the sermon.
  2. Have any hidden talents?  I can roll my tongue. All my other talents are pretty much out there for everyone to see.
  3. Are you usually late, early, or right on time? Oh so early. First in last out is my mantra!
  4. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?¬† For me the difference between being alive and truly living is two-fold: The first fold in the napkin of life has been coming to know Jesus as my best friend, hero and leader. Putting all my eggs in the Jesus basket was the best decision I ever made.The second fold in the napkin of life has been learning that “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” I Tim 6:6. It’s not what I have or what ¬†situation I am in but WHO I am in it with that counts! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Here are some more pictures from Thailand:

Prague Vicariously Pt. 2

Here for your viewing pleasure are a few more pictures of my sister’s recent tour of Prague! Brenda is working for missionary Judy Mensch in The Netherlands. Her role as a missionary associate and as a professional director/ stage manager is to build the drama wing of Kidzark&Zo. For more info on ¬†Kidzark& Zo go to:¬†

Thank you for the cross Lord!A beautiful city!Does anyone have the time?ChiaroscuroBeautiful Blue!

Prague Vicariously

My sister, a missionary associate in The Netherlands, recently attended a children’s workers conference in Prague, The Czech Republic. Here is a visual recording of some of her adventures.




Rev. Brenda J. Lillie MA The Netherlands

Rev. Judy Mensch Missionary The Netherlands


To find out more about Kidzark &Zo go to

Autumn Trek Pt.7: Long Journey Home

      Since seven is the number of completion I end the tale of my autumn trek with this post.

Monday morning I awoke and took breakfast with my son in the dining commons at VFCC. Aftrewards Joe invited me to his Isaiah class. Since I had his professor 23 years ago I thought it would be fun to see how things had changed. Professor Brubaker¬†did not disappoint! I had an awesome time learning about the OAN’s (oracles against the nations). Then¬†my son and I¬†went to chapel together.

¬†¬†¬†¬† God has brought Psalm 23 to me over and over again for the last three months. Just before I left on my trek an old friend sent me an e-mail detailing a portion of the Psalm. In the chapel service a message in tongues and an interpretation reminded¬†us that “we were¬†not to fear evil because God was with us. His rod and staff would comfort us on the journey!”

     I learned many years ago that there are no coincidences. God is teaching me something through this Psalm.

      As I drove out of the parking lot at Valley Forge Christian College I thought about all the things I learned in my autumn trek:

1. I learned that life is supposed to follow a rhythm a slow, constant, and intentional rhythm.

2. I learned that when you follow the rhythm other people may not appreciate it. It will go against their rushing spirit.

3. I learned that slow, constant, and intentional can make you just as tired as fast, intermittent, and unplanned but that the satisfaction level of slow and constant is far greater.

4. I learned that God is in charge of the schedule. Not me!

     So following the leading of the Spirit I stopped at Valley Forge National Park on my way out of PA for pictures:          The George Washington Chapel

The Chapel Inside

George Washington’s Headquarters

I also made one more stop on the way home in Sleepy Hollow, New York:

 And of course I had to walk out a creepy path which the town calls its public park.

Can you feel the Headless Horseman on this path. Of course only in Sleepy Hollow would a walk in the public park lead you to a cemetery! No kidding!

Needless to say, I didn’t stay very long in Sleepy Hollow. My long journey home ended at eight and by ten P.M. I was in bed getting my Zz’s for staff meeting the next morning.

What did you discover from my autumn trek?

Autumn Trek Pt. 6: The Ren Fest

¬†¬†¬†¬† When I asked my son what he wanted to do when I visited him in PA I really expected him to say “Let’s go to Philly” or “Let’s see a movie.”

¬†¬†¬†¬† I wasn’t prepared for him to suggest a Renaissance Festival; But he had seen the ad¬†for a family friendly fair down in Manheim. So we made the plan¬†for Sunday after church.¬† I prayed in the morning because the sky was threatening rain. For a while I thought we actually might ditch our plans and head to the art museum in Philadelphia¬†instead; But when we got out of service the sky was clear; So we¬†set to the drive an hour across country.

¬†¬†¬† Joe slept most of the trip because he¬†was skyping until four A.M.,¬†with a missionary¬†from¬†the other side of the international date line he’s planning to intern with next summer¬†.

     Once in Manheim though there was no sleeping. Only picture-taking. 

and eating

and more eating!

This was followed by fire eating.

And of course Shakespeare in the park.

Now slow, constant, and intentional as it was, by the end of this day I was ready for a nap. So I learned slow, constant and intentional does not necessarily mean non-tiring.

Have you ever been to a Ren Fest? Did you like it?

Autumn Trek Pt. 4: Let’s Get There Already!

Yesterday I left you all at the border of Pennsylvania.

I may have mentioned it took me ten hours to get there. Still, I am sure you are wondering how come I could make it in ten hours and it has taken you three days. Well you can only do so much in four hundred words. Besides we have to take some time for the sycamores.

I had to ask an artist on the street¬†what kind of trees they were because I really liked them. He gave me an¬†“Are you entirely stupid?” look. Followed by a “How dare you disturb the heir¬†of Van Gough!” look.¬† Then an eye roll… a loud sigh…Then he shrugged and turned his back on me like I had disturbed his nap! I think I broke Mr.¬†Crankypants’ concentration.

He was standing right outside of this shop painting the trees. So honestly I thought he would be the best one to ask! How wroooong I was. Still I liked the trees. I finally found out what they were from a shop keeper who didn’t have anger issues.

I shook it off and bought myself a pumpkin coffee at Dunkin Donuts for comfort and went back to the road.

¬†In a little over an hour I was close to finishing my drive.¬†I still had plenty of daylight so I opted to stop at Mill Grove, the John J. Audubon estate, just ten minutes from my son’s home in Phoenixville.

It¬†was a great little road trip, and only a tank away! I learned that when you are living the slow, constant, and intentional life¬†it’s your moment. Most people¬†aren’t living the experience with you. So when an artist (or a non-artist)¬†gets cranky with you don’t sweat it. He’s just having a moment among the sycamores.¬†So just keep slow. Keep constant.¬†Keep intentional. Maybe someday the rest of the world will join your joy!¬†

Oh by the way here’s the reason for my trip!

I know, I know he kind of looks like he’s been hanging out with my tree-artist friend. But I was embarrassing him in front of his boss, going all paparazzi on him…sorry Joe! ūüôā¬†

Autumn Trek Pt. 3: The Drive Continues

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† If you remember this vacation was supposed to be about me learning a certain lesson more deeply for the purpose of bringing that lesson to the wider body of Christ. If I had to boil the weekend down into a catch phrase I would have to say, “Be slow, constant, and intentional”.¬† I really practiced the slow part on Friday. I left Muddy’s at 6 A.M.¬† Now,Valley Forge can be reached in six hours; But¬†I knew in advance I wouldn’t make it by noon. I sincerely had my doubts I would make it by the time my son was scheduled to work late in the afternoon. I just didn’t have it in me to drive¬†solely for the destination. The journey itself was important; So when I got stuck in traffic outside of Hartford I just settled myself in to talk to God as my van alternated between spurts of 5 MPH and 45 MPH.

     I stopped for lunch in New York before I crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge. I opted for route 202 instead of the Garden State Parkway and pulled off the road at about three so I could grab some shots of the Delaware River Water Gap.

     In that place the river runs between Lambertsville NJ and New Hope PA. This old bridge is the border crossing between two towns that have given themselves to the purpose of promoting the arts. Just up my alley!

    From the bridge the waterway looks like a liquid highway running between the states ready to deliver passengers to the eclectic neighborhoods that join the two towns.

     The river was swollen in its banks from the recent passage of Hurricane Irene and the rains which have dogged the east coast since. Still the barricades were open so that the few brave kayakers on the water could boat along the swift current unhampered.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Both towns were crammed with tourists¬†making parking tricky. I finally¬†found a spot behind a gallery in Lambertsville¬†that promised if I wasn’t quickly inside viewing and buying art my van would be just a quickly towed. I’m not sure exactly how the gallery staff would know…but since I wasn’t willing to be stuck overnight in New Jersey I made a quick tour of Lambertsville and headed cross-river to New Hope.

¬†¬†¬† So ten hours in I finally hit the border of my destination state! How’s that for slow?!

Autumn Trek Pt. 2: The Sabbath Drive

“There is a joy in the journey. There’s a light we can love on the way. There is a wonder and wildness to life, and freedom for those who obey!” (From “Joy In the Journey”, Michael Card)

¬†¬†¬†¬† I pulled out of the drive at Muddy’s house at 6 A.M. on Friday morning. The sky was still dark. Even as the sun rose, purply mists hung all over the rolling hills as I pushed up the Mohawk trail into Western MA.

¬†¬†¬† I felt the Spirit pushing me to take the day slow… to see the road…to enjoy the ride. I worried that sight would be socked in by the clouds; But by the time I reached the French King Bridge God had pulled back the¬†veil to feed my soul on His glory.

     One of the lessons I learned more deeply this week is that we humans are made to follow a rhythm. Life is supposed to be a regular pattern of music and rests. Life         

can’t be just sound and fury. Somewhere along the pathway there has to be some stillness, some silence. In fact¬†really good living like really good music is a balance between sound and silence, loud and soft, work and sabbath.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Now¬†sabbath is a tricky thing. At it’s root it is¬†unplugging, stepping back from the work of your hands and breathing.¬†I’m coming to understand, though, that sabbath is not just about giving ourselves time for¬† rest and recreation. Sabbath is an absolutely¬†essential part of our work.

¬†¬†¬† Sometimes¬†labor becomes like a¬†cloud on the mountains, a¬†curtain that covers the forest of our purpose for existence. We get going, start working and before we know it we don’t even remember why we’re doing half the stuff on our plate.¬†¬†

¬†¬†¬†¬† Sabbath¬†gives us a chance to pull back the covers so we can see what our work is really producing. By it we are giving the ability to evaluate where we are going, why we are going there, and how¬†effective we’re being on the journey.¬†

      Joy in the journey depends on being able to see the road. Sabbath gives us the ability to stop and take a look!

Have you given yourself a real break lately?