It’s Been Another Interesting Week

There have sure been a lot of issues heading up to this trip, not the least of which was my hospitalization on Saturday night for a severe case of diverticulitis. I was there until Tuesday morning while they tried to knock out the infection with IV antibiotics so I could make this trip. I’m thankful for a doctor who said “Let’s make it happen!”

Please continue to pray for this trip! Here’s a list of specific prayers!

  • Presidential Dispensation would happen this week
  • My pain would go away entirely or that God will protect me from further complications related to this condition.
  • I have an appointment at the US Embassy on Tuesday morning at 7:00 am to file our I-600.  No one from our orphanage has done this before. Pray that I will be favorably received and that there would be no problems.
  • Wisdom for me and that I would listen carefully to the voice of God.

Thank you for your prayers!


A Holy, Living Sacrifice

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. (Romans 12:1-3 NLT)

Reading this today in the NLT struck me differently than it has before. Give your bodies to God, let them be a living and holy sacrifice. I’ve generally equated body with life. I’m not sure that’s correct though. Every major translation translates verse one as giving your body, not your life.

What does it mean to make my body a living and holy sacrifice? How is giving my body different than giving my life? I am willing to give my body or my life up as a sacrifice, but what is it that makes it living and holy? Is that answer found in the next two verses or are they additional advisements? I think they are the latter.

Back to my original question. What makes my body a living and holy sacrifice?

I’d love to know what the Greek word here is, but unfortunately, I am clueless. Perhaps some of my more learned friends will comment here and enlighten me/us?

My prayer for today, Lord, is this, show me any errors in my behavior or customs that are keeping me from being transformed into the new person you want me to be. Help me to take an honest evaluation of myself measuring with the faith you have given me. My whole body, my whole life, my thoughts and my mind are placed now at your feet. Use them as you choose, Lord, for your glory.


31 hours and counting…

On Thursday morning at 6:25, I’ll be wheels up on my way to Haiti. Here’s why:

Their sign says, “Dear Natalie and Brian, I miss you. Come back soon.” I miss them too. While I am there I will be meeting with our lawyer on Saturday and hopefully getting some answers as to the status of the adoption.

Some prayer requests as I leave:

1. Safe travels for me
2. A calm weekend for Brian, Marcus and Denny
3. A good meeting with our lawyer
4. For me as I return to the states on Tuesday
5. For Lowenski and Daveson as I leave that they will find comfort in knowing that I will return.



Something I learned about myself…

This summer, our family took two driving vacations.  One to Hill City, SD and one to N. Myrtle Beach, SC. Coincedentally, both were 15 hour drives but one was 15 min longer than the other. I loved both vacations because we got to see totally different areas of the country, but I have to say I fell in love with South Dakota. As we were driving across the state, I got to see what is to me, my ideal place to live.

I grew up in the Seattle area, surrounded by tall evergreen trees and mountains that had snow on them most of the year.  It’s a beautiful place, but it never made my heart sing. Lots of Seattleites complain about the gray winters and while they are admittedly awful, it was the close, claustrophobic feeling that made me uncomfortable. I didn’t identify that feeling until after we moved to Missouri and then visited back home about a year later. Very ironic considering that I’d spent the majority of my life feeling that way and never knowing it.  Those tall trees and mountains make me feel hemmed in. 

I felt my heart sing when we got to the National Grasslands in South Dakota. Here’s a picture for you. It’s not mine, I googled it, but I assure you the grasslands in person are as beautiful as this picture. 

You might think I’m nuts, but I love it that I can see for miles.  There are no big surprises in the grasslands, you can see storms coming from a ways off. If I were back in the 1880’s, I could see a posse coming for miles before they got to me.  And ironically, the open expanse makes me feel safe, secure and free.

As I was pondering this fact on the two trips, I was reminded of a favorite movie of mine. Australia, featuring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. It’s a favorite because it speaks to me on so many different levels. The love the heroine feels for a boy who wasn’t born to her, but nevertheless becomes a son, her pioneering spirit where she won’t take no for an answer and forges on despite overwhelming odds and lastly, the scenery.  I love the scene at the beginning where the boy is up on the tower and can see her car arriving while it was still far away.  I couldn’t find a movie still of that scene, so this photograph of the set will have to do.







So what did I learn about myself? 

I am a prairie girl. Forget the mountains, I love the expanse of blue sky with clouds moving on the wind and the blanket of grass laid at my feet that stretches for miles in all directions.


What you might not know about me…

On our long road trip, I got to spend a lot of time listening to music on my iphone.  It’s just easier that way.  No one has to listen to anyone else’s music. Anyway, I was laughing about my own favorite playlist. It’s almost embarrassing, but not completely, at least not to me.  My husband on the other hand, is completely ashamed of my taste in music, as are all three of my boys, my daughter in law, my dogs, the cat…. You get the point.

So, I thought I’d post at least the artists on it so you could join in the laughter.

  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Backstreet Boys
  • Nick Lachey
  • U2
  • Orianthi
  • K T Tunstall
  • Kris Allen
  • Lady Antebellum
  • INXS
  • Shania Twain
  • Tim McGraw
  • Maroon 5
  • Avril Lavigne
By far, the most frequent appearers on the playlist are Kelly, Nick and the Backstreet Boys.
Betcha didn’t know that about me……

We should move here!

I can think of only one place we haven’t said this of after visiting. The first time I remember hearing/saying it was on a trip to Leavenworth sometime in the 90’s. We’ve also said that about Cannon Beach in Oregon, Southern California, Florida, Aruba, Los Cabos, Phoenix and most recently N Myrtle Beach and Hill City in South Dakota. So where’s the one place? If you know me well, I don’t even have to say it. We’ve been twice and will likely visit multiple times before we are too old to travel.

It got me thinking though this week. What is it about a place that makes me think I will be happier there than I am at home? I asked my son Mark about it yesterday. He said the ocean. Playing in it often would make him happy. My son Doug remarked that if we moved here he would have an excuse to visit often.

I think the reason we all feel this way is that week-long vacations away force us to focus on each other as a family and us as a couple. There’s no work pressures to interfere, and no shuttling of kids to practice. Just fun together as a family.

I hate to burst anyone’s vacation dream bubble, but I think if we moved here we’d love it for a year. Then we would go on vacation somewhere and the dream would start all over again.

Then again maybe the Ames family would really rather be nomads traveling from vacation to vacation…..


The Narrow Road

Today’s reading: I Sam 23, Psalms 31 and 54, Matt 7

My choice of which verse to write on led me to two other passages and the combination of the three is what I will be musing on as I go throughout the week in preparation for Good Friday and Easter. I hope you’ll muse with me.

Matt 7:13  Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matt 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled.

Philippians 3:8-11 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

If you are not already on the narrow path, hungering and thirsting after the righteousness that only comes through faith in Christ Jesus, I pray that you will join me on it this Easter season.  May we press on together to a deeper knowledge of Jesus and the power of his resurrection. May we become more and more like him with each step on that path.

If you are in the St. Louis/St. Charles, MO area and are looking for Good Friday and Easter services, please join me at one of Calvary Church’s services.  www.calvaryonline.cc/easter