An Open Home

For as long as I can remember, when I would think of growing “older,” my desire was always to have an “open home.”  I wanted to have a place that God’s people could meet–and a place where the workers would always feel “at home.”

I woke up this morning with the hymn “Homes of Zion” on my mind…again…

Take my home and consecrate it, Use my heart, my hands, my all;
Let me live in loving service, Make Thy will my daily goal.
Make my home a home of Zion, Place to pray and meditate;
Where God’s family can be gathered, Safely met inside the gate.

We had the sweet privilege of having a new sister worker join us for her first night in the work this week.  I could hardly greet her without tears springing into my eyes.  Victor, ever yet innocent, sweetly asked the other workers who were with us to share their testimonies.  Together there were nearly 100 years of service from the four workers that had supper with us.  Even now, my heart is so full when I think on their influence in multiple countries all over the world.

Again Friday night two brothers stayed with us–we didn’t have supper or get to visit much, but I was so happy that they were with us.  One of the brother workers has shared music to the hymns in both English and Spanish when he has been with us before.  This visit he gave me one of the sweetest gifts:  Cds with the music of Juventino.  THE Juventino singing his own hymns.  (Juventino wrote many of the hymns that we have in the Spanish hymn book.)  It is so nice to listen and even understand a little…

My heart is already so full as I prepare for special meeting today–but my need is ever-so-great.

Sweet is the Rest

I’m lying here in bed tonight thinking of a sweet friend who died today.  She was diagnosed with terminal cancer nearly four years ago–and has lived years beyond what the doctors told her was possible.  So today she is gone from earth, but still very much alive in the hearts of all who knew her.

I’ve been recalling memories of our friend and her family:  memories of them sitting in meeting week after week.  Memories of their “place” at convention–next to the microphone and speaker soundboard.  Memories of her energy, constant smile, and sweet, sweet voice.

Her life was lived out faithfully, with nothing but words of true faith even until the end: living day by day, giving thanks to God instead of questioning why, and daily encouraging her Facebook “followers” with her spirit.  

While her life was a blessing to those of us privileged to witness her walk, my thoughts cannot stray for long from her daughter, her husband, her sister, her mother… I can’t understand what they are going through right now, but I bet that, like me, they are lying in bed reliving memories of a true virtuous woman.  

Our Hound Dog

This little guy was the sweetest pup you’ve ever met.  He was so excited to see Ale, and she was so excited to see him!  She would wake up and ask about him.  When he would jump on her or try to eat her babies, she scolded him.  He became sick two days ago, but then he seem to be better yesterday.  Today he died.

I loved our little Rocky.  He loved us too, and I am sad that we can’t see our “babies” grow up together.  

He ain’t nothing but a hound dog–but I’m the one crying…

World Read Aloud Day

I started my day off this morning by checking out a stack of books to take across the street to Ale’s daycare.  Today, after all, is World Read Aloud Day!  I wanted my little girl to get books read to her all day long.

While at school, I began researching reading aloud online.  I wanted to find this statistic that I heard from Pam Allyn, Director and Founder of Lit Life, while at a conference last year.  She mentioned that students who are read to three times a day are one full year ahead of other students–regardless of socioeconomic status!  Alas, I didn’t find that statistic today, but what I did find was equally fascinating.  

The benefits of reading aloud are countless!  There is, of course, the overwhelmingly popular fun factor.  Being read to is fun!  And kids who get that are more likely to enjoy reading themselves!  Even from birth reading to children has benefits:  babies learn to associate reading with love.  They hear language structure and new vocabulary when they listen to books.  The vocabulary that comes from a picture book is often different than what someone might speak each day.  Even young adults love to be read to–and their listening comprehension is beyond that of their independent ability.  It isn’t until 8th grade that those two levels become balanced; therefore, the sophisticated language that children listen to causes them to think critically.  This, in turn, develops cognitive ability– not to mention, the emotional side of a reader.  Whew!  If that doesn’t make you want to pick up a book, I don’t know what will!

After a full day at school, I finally was able to read to my own precious punkin before turning in for the night.  I picked this up for her special last weekend in Texas.  I actually was looking for a character and a well-known title–I was so glad we went this route!  The bear is just the perfect to hide behind a pillow until his big reveal!

And this was the perfect ending to a perfect day of celebrating reading aloud… Make someone’s day by reading aloud today.  Let’s make everyday a read aloud day!

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Wow!  I had such an adventure this weekend!  A friend and I took a shopping trip across the border to McAllen, TX.  They have these buses that leave on Friday evening, take you shopping all day Saturday, and return you on Sunday. Whew!  It is as exhausting as it sounds!

I came back home with my bank account significantly lighter, but my suitcase was back breaking heavy!  As you travel from shop to shop, you stop and fill up your suitcase.  I nicely fit in my suitcase some clothes for my family, new toothbrushes, tooth paste, pistachio pudding, an electric water kettle, new sandles, a new face regime from Dillard’s, party supplies for Ale’s birthday, 9 porceline ramekins, 7 new books, some toys to give out for daycare birthdays, and way more than I can remember!  Basically, now I know this is a legit operation, I don’t have to stress in the summer to get my suitcase packed properly with purchases for the year!

You can tell by this picture that it was a rough trip…

More than anything, I was so happy to come home to my sweet baby and husband.  It was like Christmas showing off what I found for them!  I am already planning a return trip–well, when I recover from this one!