Colossians 3 tells us let (allow) the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts and to be thankful. These are matters of choice. Faith is active and as we each work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) may we also be thankful in all things. There are at least 133 scriptures containing the mandate to give thanks. At this time of the American Thanksgiving holiday may we each remember we have so much to be thankful for and that choosing thanks-living is just that, a matter of choice, a matter of setting our hearts and minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-2).

1 Chronicles 16:34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 50:14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving...

Colossians 3:15..let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Philippians 2:12- 13 AMP.... continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. 13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

Approaching the Holidays

Sounds and sights of Christmas are all around in the Philippines. Christmas music starts playing in the malls September first and decorations go up with increasing lavishness as each "ber" month goes on in the Philippines. Now that it's November, the music is about 99% Christmas music in the malls. "Advanced Merry Christmas" is said frequently by clerks at stores and Filipino friends.

This is a lighted tree made of wood, wire, and Christmas lights outside of Victoria Plaza in Davao.

Decorations inside SM Ecoland, another mall in town.

I'm preparing to have all the single teachers over for a USA Thanksgiving meal on November 23. I've done this every year here and it is quite fun. Even preparing is fun as turkeys are not always easy to find!

But all this holiday preparation, decorations, festive lighting has ignited a meloncholy of missing my daughters.

This picture of me with Mikayla and Kirsten was taken this past summer when Ben and I were in the states for eight weeks.

It's hard to be split apart from loved ones anytime, but the felt-angst deepens at the holiday times.

I am thankful for the true Light of the world, our loving Savior, counselor, and redeemer who is our high priest, " to sympathize with our weaknesses," I draw near Him to receive "mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4: 14 - 16)

He understands a mom's heart hurting from being apart from her young adult daughters. Both of them are doing well and I am thankful for that.

Just makes the holidays meloncholy to be apart.

ISAC Update

Ben really enjoys playing volleyball. He wants to continue playing when we get to the states (hopefully July 2018).

The Faith International Teams (boys and girls) each came in third place in the International Schools Athletic Competition recently held in Manila for volleyball - both boys and girls teams. This is quite an honor.

Ben also received an "All ISAC" award for playing so well. Here are pictures of him in action! Boy, he jumps high!!!

VolleyBall ISAC 2017

Three times a year, the athletes from the school our kids attend travel to the International Schools Athletic Competition for tournaments. Today the girls and boys high school volleyball teams traveled up to Southville International Academy in Manila for tournaments that start tomorrow and run through Saturday. It is a fun and competitive event our athletes enjoy attending. Ben is there and I'll keep you posted how the teams are doing.

Photo of the athletes and coaches in the airport prior to leaving Davao for Manila!

Fall Break 2017

We have had a week off from school for the fall break and end of first quarter. It was a much needed break and we enjoyed time as a family together and at the beach. Here are a few photos from our week:

We discovered a rock climbing and archery area within a local mall. That was enjoyable.

We spent a day at a local beach with some friends and another day on a boat trip which included snorkeling and beach time. Fun, relaxing, and rejuvenating times.

An old basketball hoop and some fallen coconuts make for fun coconut basketball.

Tired after a day of swimming, sun, and beach fun.