Flooding and no Power

We just came through a 25 hour period with no electricity.
The river running through Davao flash flooded and many lost their homes.
We are having unusually wet, rainy, cool weather. Pray for all those who've lost their homes.

city workers rescuing flood victims

people on the street near our home evacuated from
low lying area

flood waters

James carrying clothing up stairs in our church

some of our friends who've lost their homes and are staying
at the church

the church setting up for evacuated families to stay


I've recently been reading these books and would recommend them to any looking for a good read!!!

"The relentless pursuit of high self-esteem has become a virtual religion--and a tyrannical one at that. Our ultracompetitive culture tells us we need to be constantly above average to feel good about ourselves, but there is always someone more attractive, successful, or intelligent than we are. And even when we do manage to grab hold of high self-esteem for a brief moment, we can't seem to keep it. Our sense of self-worth goes up and down like a ping-pong ball, rising and falling in lockstep with our latest success or failure."

"In Bounce: Living the Resilient Life, Robert Wicks shows you not just how to manage stress, but how to transform stressful situations into opportunities to live a more meaningful, self-aware, and compassionate life. Wicks makes available to everyone techniques he has used for over 30 years in helping physicians, nurses, psychotherapists, educators, social workers, ministers, and relief workers not only survive but flourish in highly stressful occupations. You'll learn a wide range of methods--normally reserved for those in helping and healing professions--to help you bounce back from stress and live life to the fullest.

Bounce shows you how to:

· Recognize the insidious nature of denial and avoidance as responses to stress

· Employ psychologically powerful approaches to self-awareness

· Improve self-talk through the use of cognitive behavioral principles

· Apply daily-debriefing techniques

· Utilize a structured reflection guide to uncover areas that require special attention

· Incorporate silence, solitude, and mindfulness into daily life

· Stop the drain of valuable emotional energy caused by toxic life situations and unexamined attitudes and beliefs

· And much more Most important, Bounce helps you develop your own self-care protocol and personal renewal program, based on an honest assessment of your needs, life situation, and habitual ways of dealing--or failing to deal--with stress.

Insightful, practical, and filled with wise guidance, Bounce shows us all how to live with greater resilience in a world that grows more stressful by the day."

(information on books from Barnes and Nobles website)

Pray Please!

James' adoption court hearing is coming up on March 4th. Please pray that it does not get delayed or hindered in any way.

Our God is the God of adoption. We look forward to James being legally our son. He already is our son - son of my heart - but the governments don't honor that as far as traveling with him back to the USA!!:)

Ephesians 1:4 - 6
even as he chose us in him before the foundation
of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons
through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed
us in the Beloved.

The Starry Night

During this Christmas break we've been working on a 2000 piece puzzle of Van Gogh's Starry night!
It's coming, slow but sure!

The puzzle was a gift for Christmas

It's coming along and we have friends coming on Friday
to help us with it more!

While working on the puzzle, Jill Phillips song, "Wrecking Ball" goes through my head....
piece together these little mysteries
It isn't hard to see the writing on the wall
Triumph and tragedy, only God can be
Both the builder and the wrecking ball

God uses all the pieces of our lives for His glory and our good!
The light and dark, good and bad, all fit together into a beautiful picture. Truly, only He who sends good and bad into our lives is truly the builder and the wrecking ball.

Isaiah 53 speaks to this in verses 10-11....
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief;
...Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see
and be satisfied;

He uses the good times and adverse times in our lives to teach us His way.
Lead on O King Eternal....

Pretzels and Mustard

Kirsten loves mustards of various kinds. She is also an excellent pretzel maker. One of her gifts was two mustards.
So the other day she blessed us with fresh-baked pretzels and mustards to put on them. Yummy!!!

Kirsten's Pretzels - Soft Ones

Did you know that pretzels came from monks? As early as 610AD at a monastery somewhere in Southern France or Northern Italy, monks used scraps of dough and formed them into strips to represent a child's arms folded in prayer. The three empty holes represented the Christian Trinity. The monks offered the warm, doughy bribe to children who had memorized their Bible verses and prayers. The monks called it a Pretiola, Latin for little reward. From there, the pretzel transformed into the Italian word, Brachiola, which means little arms. (Read more about pretzels at http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/Pretzel.htm)
(This is a fun recipe to make with kids who love to knead dough and get messy!)

3 1/2 - 5 cups white flour
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tablespoon yeast (regular or fast-acting)
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup water
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. coarse salt

In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast with wooden spoon until well mixed.
Heat water to 120 - 130 farenheit. Add warm water and oil to flour mixture.
Mix well. Add in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough is soft, leaves side of bowl and is easy to handle.
On a floured surface put dough out. Knead about 5 minutes, adding more flour to surface as needed to keep dough from sticking.
Cover with a cloth or dish towel, let rest 10 minutes.
Move oven rack to middle of oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheet. In shallow bowl stir 1 cup water and baking soda to make pretzel "wash".
Divide dough into 16 pieces. Roll out each peice into 24 inch rope. Dip hands in pretael wash to make rolling dough easier. Make pretzel shape. Just before baking, brush on pretzel wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake in oven 15 - 20 minutes.