Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Harvest Moon

Loading more fall pictures to enjoy.  We went back to Holy Hill last weekend, it is the Basilica Shrine for Mary and the home of the Carmolites.  Also adding some great photo's of the "Harvest Moon" and my newest icon I'm working on.  Blessings to you all! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gonna Take A Back Road 

Oh, Fall is here and this song comes to mind.  My birthday was October 3rd and Roy took me to dinner at the Delafield Hotel.  It was a delightful experience.  Warm, cozy, and quiet atmosphere as well as delicious food and great service.  I had Osso Buco (which is a veal cut) and it melted in my mouth. Gotta run, off to the traditional fall baby shower here at Nashotah.  We have two babies to celebrate coming in to the world this season!  Congrat's Tucker & Bleythings!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Great Commission

Roy preached in St. Mary's Chapel last week and we hope you enjoy this 6 min sermon/homily on The Great Commission.  Prior to coming to seminary, I wondered how I was going to worship with my husband as my rector/priest.  Would I get as much out of the teachings and where would my feelings be.  I think I am beginning to find, that though I still think I will need to reach out to another source for pastoral care when needed, Roy does a great job for me in the teachings of theology and leading worship.  Oh the things as a clergy spouse I have to learn!  I am finding that I look forward to this next phase in my life, more so than the intimidation that it once gave me.  I am so proud of him and his gift of spreading the Gospel.

Well, our last Fall in the Midwest is upon us.  I was noticing this past week, that though some of the leaves are starting to yellow and red (depending on the type of tree) that many leaves are falling already without the glorious color works show.  I've been told that some falls are less colorful if it has been an especially dry season.  I am saddened by the thought that our last fall will be less than spectacular in appearance as the previous seasons.  My sadness has been overturned this weekend, however, since we have had rain showers for two days now.  Maybe, we will get that glorious colorful fall showing by next weekend after all!  I will post pictures soon. 

Heather's home schooling is going great.  Her classes are all now loaded and she is keeping her own schedule very nicely and caught up.  Her grades are good and she seems happy.   The first job was a disappointment.  After her first week, her boss called and told her though she was one of their hardest workers, the company policy was that all employees must be 16 years of age.  Unfortunately, she doesn't turn 16 for another month and a half and that wasn't good enough.  She was down in the dumps for loosing her job.  The experience gave her pride and accomplishment which helps a teenager's self esteem.   At least she still has a steady baby sitting gig on Mondays and we are house sitting and she is dog sitting for the next two weeks, which will give her a little income for her savings.  She has her hopes on buying a truck, a Ford F150 she says...   Anyway, I am trying to reassure her this was a good experience for her in interviewing and now having a reference for applications when she is starts the job search again.

I had hoped to go to Milwaukee this weekend for Doors Open Milwaukee.  It is a free event where 100 businesses and buildings are open to the public for tours and historical education.  There is so much history in Milwaukee.  I was really looking forward to this, not sure if we will make the trek out in this weather or not.  I am not complaining though, because I am happy for the rain.  We needed it.  I will post more pictures if we end up going.

Have a great weekend.  God Bless you!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Windows to Heaven

September 10th marks the completion day of icon #2 The Guardian.  My teacher is now confident enough in my writing skills that no longer am I considered "student" in her class.  She now calls her protege an assistant in her workshop.  I will be going on workshop tours and talks with her as well.  Judy is an excellent teacher, and I will continue my icon writing with her on Saturday mornings for guidance, but mostly the fellowship and to assist her now that I've brought two new students to her workshop.  Cindy a seminarian student on campus started with us this past Saturday, and Amanda a student spouse started two weeks ago.  My enthusiasm for this devotional experience is spreading on campus.  I have even been honored to be asked by our resident professor Fr. Steven Paey to write an icon for use on campus.  We will be discussing the details on this specific icon soon.  However, next I've already started one of Mary, Mother of Tenderness.  It is a beautiful depiction of a mother's devotion for her child and I am working on this for Heather.  We been through a difficult summer and this icon has been calling me to represent the bond between us.  The Guardian has been a joy to work on, and I am so happy for it to come to completion.  Michael of course, was my first and I see a big difference in the two.  When I began the icon writing workshop with Judy last fall, I was not prepared for the overwhelming amount of emotion, joy, and spiritual enlightenment that would come with this exercise.  Praying with icons was not a reality in my spiritual life.  It was not until I realized the focus that came with praying with icons that made me understand the true value of this experience.  Veneration of an icon is like kissing the picture of a deceased loved one, an adoration to the image it represents.  Icons are like a Window to Heaven, giving a mere glimpse of those watching over us on earth.

 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens.
Praise God, in the heights.
Praise God, all you angels.
Praise God, all you hosts.
Praise God, sun and moon.
Praise God, all you stars of the light.
Praise God, you heavens of heavens,
and you waters above the heavens. 

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for God commanded and they were created,
God established them forever,
making a decree that will never pass away.

Other September happenings.  Today, Heather is excited to announce she got her first job!  She starts working tomorrow at Spirits!  It is a seasonal Halloween store, and seems like it is going to be a fun first job experience for her.  She is so happy.  I'm proud, and alittle remorse of the idea that my baby is old enough to even have a job.  Thank you Lord, for all of your provisions and guidance in our life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

School Daze!

Nope, didn't spell it wrong.  School daze meaning we are all in a daze getting settled in to the chaotic routines once again.  It is fun though.  Heather is being home schooled this year.  She is excited about this, as it will be an easier transition I think when it is time to say good-bye.  This is also giving her a chance to learn more about herself, in meditation and reflection.  She will be using the Florida Virtual School system for Spanish I, Geometry, English II, and Marine Biology.  In addition, we will incorporate her horseback riding lessons in to a PE curriculum and she has decided to attend daily chapel services to incorporate a Religious Studies elective.  I hope that this is a good year for us, one to close this chapter in the journey and begin to plan our new life in ministry.

I am committed to getting all of the fall activities and last minute "to do" things checked off my list before the first freeze and all the places I have left to see close for the winter.  Today we went rasberry picking at Henke's in the Town of Jackson.  Our new friend Amanada and her two kids Ayda and Wiles went with us.  We picked 12 pints of rasberries, and now the rasberry cobbler is tickling my senses in the oven as I type.  Next weekend we are housing sitting a very nice home on Seminary Ridge, right on the lake.  That will feel like an almost get-a-way weekend.  I'll be sure to post pics. 

This past week has been a whirl wind of orientation activities.  From getting Heather set up on the FLVS website to my WoNH presidential responsibilities of welcoming the incoming class.  I couldn't do it without the awesome support of this community, however.  WoNH has put together Welcome Baskets, the annual Winter Closet (a thrift shop of donated items for newcomers to get them ready for winter climate of WI), the orientation Ice Cream Social, and many other meeting type events that take place to get to know the new student body and reconnect with returning families after summer.  This week we have a refreshment hour at the Klukas home that should be fun.  WoNH keeps me very busy in planning the board meetings and keeping everyone focused on the seasonal events that we need to keep planned and organized.  Soon it will be fall and that means the annual Fall Festival.  So much to think about and plan!

Work has been crazy the past few weeks as well.  I have a new boss, a new contract, and new business practice initiatives that I must create tools for our intranet resource page for the production team.  Thankfully, the late nights work is complete.

Stephanie is excited to tell us that she has a new job.  She now works at a training center called "Happy Paws Pet Resort".  She seems so happy, and that makes me very happy.  I am so proud of both my children.  Being far away from Stephanie is difficult, but her independence and responsibility make me confident that she is ok without me.

Below are pictures I just wanted to share of our barn on campus, with the corn ready for harvest in the background.  Oh how I will miss this scene. Also, a picture of the cobble booth that Zion had at the annual Art Festival in Oconomowoc.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dr Mari's Faith Stop: I Refuse by Josh Wilson

Dr Mari's Faith Stop: I Refuse by Josh Wilson

"'You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.'" - Matthew 5:14-16

Grief and Suffering Reflection

My reflection study this morning is gathered around the subject of Death and Dying.  The source of my readings are from the July/Aug edition of Sharing magazine provided by the National Order of St. Luke organization.  At some point in our lives we all must experience loss.  Loss of a loved one, loss of our own health and possibly impending mortality, or the loss of a friend.  What can we say to individuals suffering and grieving?  This summer my husband Roy's experience in CPE brought him closer to many such scenarios of families and individuals suffering a loss, while working as a chaplain at Morton Plant Hospital.  Many a day he would call me to release some of the day's stress and agony of emotions that attached themselves to him.  When one experiences a sudden loss, it can be devastating especially to someone who is not spiritually prepared.  As we come face to face with death, it may be that you or I may also have twinges of guilt.  Reviewing times in our lives at our own sins and failures, our short comings float up and spear us with the wonder of what chance do we have before the judgement.  What am I hiding in my heart that is prohibiting me from freedom in salvation?  Are we holding on to grudges against others for the sake of building a wall of  protection for our feelings?  I have felt the pain of treason against my heart that feels as if my chest will explode from the tightness. 

In truth, no matter what we have done, through repentance our slate is marked clean in God's eyes.  Through the blood of Christ Jesus dying on the cross, we are forgiven.  Our blemishes are gone.  Jesus died with an out pour of love "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."  If one day, we hope to die in peace we must open our heart in love and learn to forgive those that have held us in the bondage of pain and hurt.  Even if that forgiveness is needed upon our self.  Simple theory " Hate the sin, Love the sinner."  Simple in practice, maybe not, but attainable through prayer and love. 

Release us Lord, with inner healing that is manifested in us only through you, even if our prayers seem unanswered in the physical sense.  We believe your promise of an ultimate healing in eternity. 

May the Lord bless you and keep you now and forever.  Amen.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Honduras Mission Thoughts from Heather and Marcia

Heather says: I’m so appreciative of being able to go to Honduras. When I first got there it was not what I expected at all, I was ready to turn around and go home. But once we got to the village and I was able to interact with all the people and kids it was so worth it and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye and come home. I found that the teenagers there were lucky to go to school. Many my age were already parents themselves.  I woke up early on the first day and milked the cows on the ranch where we stayed.  It was alot of fun.  We also awoke to the sight of beautiful white horses grazing right outside our window. I am so glad I was able to have this experience; it really makes me appreciate everything I have.

Marcia’s thoughts: Many people have asked “Why do you do what you do?” or even better “Why do you return to Honduras?”. The team has pondered this question in evening devotions as well. What we agree on is the call is so strong, it is difficult to resist. Ever since my first experience in global mission, I knew I had put off this call for the last time. Reaching people across the world in relationship building experiences is how I feel we are called to unite in Christ’s love. Though we all may have different cultures and different skin color, we are all one to the Holy One that created us. The boundaries that separate us in social status, religious worship practices, and different cultural practices are removed when we step out of our comfort zone and meet others where they are. I do not go to Honduras to “give them a better life” they enrich my life by reaffirming the fact that there is something to learn out of simplicity in living. Our efforts do bring resources to improve the conditions of their homes and assist in small ways by bringing medical supplies that they don’t have access to. We do not go there, however, to change their way of life. The people of Olancho do not have the material privileges that many of us do; but they are rich in their love of Christ and seem happy in the daily mantra. Their pride in themselves is evident in the cleanliness of their clothes (even though I know they do not have washing machines and every home you go to has clothes hanging on the line from daily chores of cleaning). Even a simple task of cooking dinner that we complain of after a long day of work, for them takes extra efforts because the fire has to be the right temperature, the meat if they have it is fresh because there is no refrigeration, the prep is long and tedious with only a machete as the common household tool instead of a food processor and water must be boiled to prevent illness from exposure of bacteria in the river source where it is hauled from. In all this, they smile eagerly when we ask questions, take pictures, and join them in daily life. One thing I noticed, the children grow up very quickly. Either out of necessity, when parents leave the home in search of jobs or by the lure of “a better life” in America or because education is only required up to the 6th grade. Only the sponsored or financially capable children are able to continue their education past 5th grade if they pass entrance exams. That only leaves getting married and pregnant an option since jobs are sparse. So you rarely see “adults” playing with the children. It’s almost as if, their childhood was cut short and they forget to “play”. So when we bring out bubbles, jump ropes, a Frisbee or tennis ball – the joy that lights up the face of that child is a memory that lasts forever embedded in my heart. The team decided that next year, we should try to integrate the young and the older people with a “Field Day” to encourage the parents to play with their children in participation games like wheel barrow races, three legged races, and other team games. The other reason I go back year after year is the connection with the Holy Spirit that I get when I get back to nature. When I leave behind the chaos and noise of the busy schedule we have in America. I am reminded how it must have been for the disciples leaving all they had, following Jesus often to an unknown land of danger and despair; eating with lepers, healing the sick, casting out demons, and filling hungry souls with His love. This mission has created a spirit within me that I hope will expand to helping others not just down the street, or just Honduras, but to anywhere the Lord leads me. When the light of the truth about Jesus illuminates us, it is our duty to shine that light to help others. Our witness for Christ should be public, not hidden. We should not keep the benefits for ourselves alone but pass them on to others.

Friday, June 24, 2011

June News

Well, this has certainly been a difficult month.  Roy has been in Florida doing his CPE at Morton Plant, staying with family.  Heather and I are trying to keep busy and not miss him so much.  Not working, by the way.  I am keeping busy, but I miss him like crazy.  Its been 5 weeks and it seems like eternity.  Thankfully, he will be coming back to get us this coming Thursday - 6 more days.  We will be driving back to Florida together for much of the remaining summer.  I'm looking forward to seeing my co-workers in the Tampa office.  I have missed the camaraderie.  Heather is out of school and doing what teenagers do best mostly - sleep!  Sleeping in until 1ish seems to be the norm, which is fine since I have much work to be done remotely.  She is doing really good in her driving practices.  I don't clutch the door handle quite as much as I used to.  ha ha   We've had a few heavy storms, one in particular brought down several trees on campus.  No one injured, that is the important thing.  Heather and I are also getting excited about our upcoming mission trip to Honduras.  We will be flying out of Tampa with the St. Andrews group and meeting our Wisconsin friends - Sandy, Ike and Dawn in Tegucigalpa.  There are 14 of us on the journey to Central America.  When we get back to Wisconsin, I am sure the time is gonna fly right by.  As it will be our last year here.   I hope to take advantage of seeing a bit more of the Midwest while we have the chance.  Well, that is all for now.  I miss you Roy!  Love to all my friends and family, see you soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Photo's from Cuatro de Mayo

We raised $960 at our spaghetti dinner for Mission Honduras WI team travel expenses.  What a great night.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cuatro de Mayo Fundraiser May 4th (of course) Mission Honduras

Today is a busy day planning final details for our first fundraising event to help defer the travel expenses for Heather to come with me to Honduras this summer.  We actually have four of us from Nashotah House going to Honduras this year, Ike Schlossberg - the son of one of the priests on campus, Dawn Anderson - the wife of a professor here and of course Heather and myself.  I am getting so excited.  Our fundraising event is going to be a spaghetti dinner and bake sale with special entertainment by God's Handiwork Ministry.  This group of kids really have it going on spreading the gospel.  We will be collecting medical supplies and I would also like to try to purchase a couple of Spanish bibles to take with us as well.  If you would like to help in some way either with donations of medical supplies or financially please contact me and I will give you details on how this tax deductible contribution can be arranged.  I am also in search of 4 pair of size small scrub pants.  These would make perfect light weight clothing for Heather to wear while in Honduras.  They do not need to be new - as this is a work mission and she will be getting pretty messy.  Thank you all that have already been so generous in your donations, we could not do it without you.  Your contribution affects the lives of many, as the team members of this trip are rewarded in many ways as much as the people of which they go to serve.

Team 2010

Marcia with suitcase of medical supplies for Dr. Jerman

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Prayers before the Icon of the Crucifixion

Today the one who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the cross.
The one who is the king of angels receives a crown of thorns.
The one who wraps the heavens with cloud is wrapped in the purple cloak of mockery.
The one who set Adam free by his baptism in the Jordan is struck upon the face.
The bridegroom of the church is pierced with nails.
The son of the Virgin is pierced with a lance.
We venerate your passion O Christ!
Let us see as well your glorious resurrection!

Having beheld the resurrection of Christ, let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless one!
Your cross, O Christ, we venerate!
Your holy resurrection we glorify!
You are our God and we know no other.
We call upon your name!

Good Friday at Nashotah began in reverent silence.  The community choir practices every Thursday afternoon for this day.  We sang Anglican chant Gradual Psalm 22:1-2, 7-8, 14-21.  The Liturgy included the singing of the Passion according to St. John and the Solemn Collects, a particularly ancient form of the Prayers of the People, during which the Church remembers before God the world for which his Son died.  After the Collects, an unveiled Crucifix was carried into the Chapel by Dcn. Brad VanDeventer.  The congregation was invited to come forward to venerate the Cross.  The custom is to walk barefooted and to prostrate or genuflect (on both knees) three times while coming forward to kiss the Cross.  During this time the choir sang a glorious reproach called Veneration of the Cross; Agios O Theos.  It was a beautiful song.  I was honored to be among the choir this day.  The last element in the Liturgy of Good Friday is Communion from the Reserved Sacrament which is brought from the Altar of Repose.

Triduum Sacrum

Maundy Thursday, there were no classes, which allowed the seminarian tim to prepare (spiritually, as well as liturgically) for Triduum Sacrum ("the sacred three days").  The Eucharist was celebrated at 5pm today including several unique elements.  The first was the foot washing.  The Dean washes the feet of members of the congregation, in imitation of our Lord's service to his disciples.  Jesus' said, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet."  What a powerful statement of love and servanthood in Christ.   

After Communion of Maundy Thursday, the Blessed Sacrament was carried from the Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin to the Altar of Repose in the Red Chapel (as pictured above).  The congregation followed the procession (in the chilly spring air - I might add) and devotions were read in the Red Chapel before returning in silence to St. Mary's Chapel.  The final action of the evening is the stripping of the Altar in preparation for Good Friday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This Cup

And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

Holy Week at Nashotah is the week that stands out above all others throughout the year.  This is what Nashotah is about.  The liturgy, the study of Jesus, contemplative prayer, and a renaissance of our spiritual journey.  Monday and Tuesday lecture studies were offered for all after evening prayer.  Last night we discussed the gospel of Mark to understand the death of Jesus.  What I would like to share with you is my thoughts on the lecture of "This Cup".  Jesus refers to his impending suffering as “this cup” (Mark 14:36; 10:38-39).  Dr. Anderson explains that the cup is a stock metaphor for God's wrath, judgement, or imposition of shame.  Some would argue that this less than heroic protest to the Father puts Jesus in a subjectively "less courageous" light than that of martyrs who are routinely portrayed as accepting their death with great pride.  Could it be that Jesus' death (the drinking of the cup) was different than theirs and he understood it so?  Jesus sweat blood in the garden this night while praying to the Father before his impeding Crucifixion.  He knew of the suffering and events of the next day.  He also knew that it was God's will not his own that could only support the prophecy.  "This is the blood of the covenant poured out for many" (14:24) This phrase identifies Jesus with the "Suffering Servant" of Isaiah 52-54.  He is to be the lamb sacrificed for us, therefore again, "it is not what I will, but what you will."  He understands this to be so.  Ethically, Jesus’ voluntary, obedient submission is the pattern for all our dealings with others and our path of discipleship.

Tonight we celebrated a Tenebrae service in a sung psalter, in the chapel.  Sitting in the choir stalls in utter darkness gives a meditative experience of the historical holy week.  The gospel words then the crescendo of the slam of the tomb to startle us into awareness of that fateful evening.  The service ends in silence, and we all make our way out in the darkness to reflect on the words of Christ's death.  In close I hope you enjoy this old hymn "Why Me, Lord" by The Gaither Vocal Band

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 30

Hello my friends,
March has flown by and we are approaching the time of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I am happy to say that the weather is slowly getting nicer, the children are starting to be seen in the peaks circle on a more frequent basis.  Time for cabin fever to end!  I wanted to share a picture of the completed Archangel Michael icon writing that I have done.  See right corner of blog.  My first icon was a beautiful experience of discipline and devotion.  I am already head into my second icon - The Guardian Angel.  I love this prayer devotional that I am being taught by Judy Kaestner.  What a beautiful and spiritual lady!  Thank you Judy!  As we come to a close of Lent, I will be starting an aggressive approach of fundraising for this summer's mission trip to Honduras.  As many of you know, Roy and I have been involved in HOI (Honduras Outreach International) for the past 4 years.  This year our daughter Heather will be joining the group for the first time.  I am so excited to share this experience with her.  Many of you have been a tremendous support to us already in many ways.  If I can impose upon your generosity one more time, and if you feel the call to support global mission, please let me know.  There are so many needs to consider.  We are looking for individuals that can make a tax deductible donation to help defer the travel expenses ($1500 per person), we are looking for individuals that would be committed to intercessory prayer for the group and/or individual missionaries,  those that wish to write letters for us to take and distribute while away from home, and first aid supply donations.  Last year we collected band aids, gauze, neosporin, tums, Tylenol, and antiseptic wipes and put together 100 miniature first aid kits to distribute in the village.  If you would like to contribute please let me know and I will give you details on how.  You can comment, email me at, or facebook me.  We will be collecting the first aid supplies all during the month of April/May so please consider.  Also, if you have unused medications that you are no longer in need of - maybe your prescription has changed, I would be happy to take that medication off your medicine shelf and donate to the clinic in desperate need of medication in Honduras. 

Roy is doing well in seminary.  He took a midterm today that we was confident about.  He is the upcoming senior chapel scholar so he has been busy completing the ROTA for Holy Week among other chapel scholar duties.  He is active in his field work duties at Zion - he is preaching again on Sunday. 

Heather is doing well.  She is still horseback riding, just started driving school, and trying to keep a positive attitude about the drama of high school.  :-) I am sure you all remember those days.  She is active in acolyting at Zion and has helped host a family visiting Nashotah with a teenager about her age.  It helps soften the blow so to speak when a teen can let a new teen know that life isn't over when you come to "The House".  A point that a good friend said in a recent sermon was "The good news is, we live in community.  The bad news is we live in community."  Those words are so true.  The good thing is everyone knows everything - we support each other when in need, we pray for the sick (some mighty healing has happened here), we cook meals for those that have had surgery or illness, and we look out for each other.  The bad thing is - everyone knows everything... lol we don't need to give examples there, lets just say "there are no secrets at Nashotah House".

Now that I am figuring out how to blog from my phone, I will keep you posted with more pictures and "on the spot" news.  I love you and look forward to seeing all our friends and family back home very soon.


Friday, February 4, 2011


Well, if you hadn't heard already this past week has been very exciting for us.  Almost immediately upon Roy and the Malawi mission team's arrival home we went into blizzard mode.  At least they made it home with minimal delay.  This past week we have had not only about 12 - 15 inches of snow accumulation we've had severe wind gusts that is moving the snow in crazy directions.  On Wednesday morning we woke up to about 2 foot of snow up against the front door.  Digging out was kinda crazy.  The snow plows have been trying to keep the roads clear, but it has been a challenging job.  The piles they are leaving are taller than vehicles and almost reaching roof top heights.  Driving through campus is interesting.  It is like driving through a corn maze.  Only enough room plowed basically for maneuvering one vehicle down the road.  It has been crazy cold.

Heather on the other hand is on a plane headed to Florida for Happening #65.  I can only attribute this wonderful opportunity to the awesome generosity of Holy Trinity and their youth program.  Barb Kunath orchestrated this chance in getting Heather's airfare and weekend fee's covered to give her the chance to attend.  What a blessed weekend.  Haley Brown is the rectora and a dear friend to Heather so she is very excited. 

I continue my progress on my icon writing.  I hope to be completed with my first one very soon. Roy is back in class for second semester of his middler year.  So much to be thankful for. 

We have had some difficulty with cyber bullying from an ex-boyfriend and mean friends toward Heather.  So I ask your prayers for her to be strong and not allow words of people cut her self esteem.  Please, if you have children - talk to them about the power of words.  Talk to them about safe texting and cyber usage.  Also, do not think you are alone if you become a victim of cyber abuse.  The police take this seriously now.  So does the internet services.  Did you know for example, if someone creates a false facebook page about another person, uses slanderous or leud language that Facebook can and will send a notice to their internet provider and their service will/can be dropped!!  Way to go Facebook people! 

Hope you all stay warm and enjoy the weekend. 


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Letter from Fr. Sumani in Malawi - The Beginning Not the End

Counting down days- but we were so jealous because we wanted the mission crew to remain with us for many more days. Their stay with us has been so beneficial. The teaching from Friday to Wednesday morning was amazing. The crew mixed so well with everyone- it was like they had been here before- we loved it. Praise God for who He is.

I thank God for the fulfillment of this trip. When we first begun to talk about it, it was like building a castle in the air- but look at what the Lord has done. I am convinced that God wanted them here. My prayer is that this will be the beginning and not the end. The presence of youngsters like Shane, Mark was a testimony that God is indeed at work even in the lives of young people.

My gratitude goes to all the spouses and family members who allowed their husbands to come to Malawi. I believe the decision to come here was heavily based on trust in God. May the good Lord continue to bless you.

In Christ-service,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Phone Call from Malawi - Journey Home Begins Tomorrow

Hello friends,
I am still fighting my cold.  Hopefully the antibiotics and extra vitamins the doctor is making me take will get me up and running by the time Roy gets home.  I was overwhelmed to hear his voice today.  He is ready to come home almost as much as I am ready to have him home. He gave a report that today they met with the SAGHAM group and families and children affected by HIV/AIDS for a final ceremony. They presented them with the dresses that the women from Zion made and they were enthusiastically received by the kids. He also said that the team was able to go on a 2 hour jungle safari and was excited to get pictures of elephants, gazelle, monkey's and other wild life. Patrick's nose is almost healed (suffered a little wind burn last week we were told).

He asks that we start praying early in the morning 4-5am cst tomorrow (because they are 8 hours ahead of us) and they begin their long drive (about 4 or 5 hours) back to Lilongwe to the airport. He said he is teaching NT 2 in the morning then they get in the mini-van to head back around noon their time (4am CST). He is asking for specific prayers for travel in the road conditions, health during transit, and of course flight schedules. We know we are expecting snow on Thur and Fri and pray that they make it home without delay.
When I asked him about his sermon this past Sunday at St. Bartholomew in Zomba, he said it was led by the Holy Spirit.  He said it was amazing how many people packed in to that church and were standing outside looking in the windows when he began to talk.  He could only tell me that the Lord led his words in the path that was needed.  God has done amazing work with this team during this trip and I can't wait to hear more about it. 
Thank you all for your continued prayers all over the country!  We love you very much. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday morning blues

Somehow, my silly upper respiratory illness that I had at Christmas time, seems to be back.  My nose is stuffy and my chest is heavy.  I must take care of this once and for all.  Tea.  Tea is the ticket.  My ingenius oldest daughter made me some wonderful teas, so I am sipping that while I relax with you.  Yesterday, just as I was "geting the blues" missing Roy - an email popped into my phone.  It is so wonderful how God has kept me strong through this.  A message just when I needed it!  He said that they had spent the day teaching at the seminary in Zomba and had just finished dinner with Fr. Sumani.  He also said that things were much better now that the team was all together and in Southern Malawi.  Things are ALWAYS better in the south.  :)  Is a quote from a friend on campus.  He also said that he will be preaching tomorrow at St. Bartholomew in Zomba, so it is my intention to wake up at around 2am so that I am on the same time as he and pray pray pray. 

Today we awoke with fresh snow on the ground.  A couple of inches to put a fresh coat of white on the drifts of dirty piles from the previous weeks plows.  It is refreshing.  I have no icon class today.  Sad, but Judy is out of town with her husband whom is an interim priest.  They are going to a church north and decided to make a weekend out of it.  Blessings for them.  I am almost done with Archangel Michael.  I am excited to be finally putting the finishing touches on him soon.  My next icon, we have been discussing already is going to be the Guardian Angel.  It is beautiful.  Icon writing has really given me a new spiritual outlet.  I am hooked, and I look forward to sharing this with others upon my return to Florida.

Gotta run now, I must sweep off the car and run pick up a friend.  Community living is amazing here, one thing that I will surely miss.  We stick by each other and help out whenever there is a need.  Today, I have agreed to loan my car to a seminarian that is here without wheels.  He ususally has a roommate that they share a car with, but his roommate isn't back from break.  Gary is from central Fl and he and his wife Christina have become fast friends.  He is only here for one year, so his family did not move with him.  It must be so hard.  I have met her when she has come for a visit and she is so sweet.  I pray for them now. 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.  Ps. 19:14

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Mission Team has met up with Fr. Andrew and now at the seminary in Zomba

Last night Roy called around dinner time.  It was a thrill to hear his voice, of course.  I was surprised though when I started counting the time difference realizing that it was close to 1am on his time zone.  He didn't want to talk about the Spiritual Warfare that Jonathan sent us notice about yesterday.  However, he did reassure me that it had nothing to do with physical or imminent danger or harm.  Everyone was doing well, with the exception that he was struggling with missing us and being so far away and out of contact.  He only wanted to talk about us and nothing negative.  He talked to Heather for a bit too.  Thank you Charleston for access to an international phone!!!!  <3 

So when I got the forwarded email from Fr. Andrew Sumani (former son of the house) via Susan, I understood why he was calling so late.  They had been traveling all day.  Read on...

The team finally made it to Zomba. I say finally because the trip from Mzuzu to Zomba took them 14 hours- tiresome indeed. The journey normally takes 6-8 hours. But they had to use a longest distance because there is maintainance work on the shorter distance. When they arrived almost everyone was ready to go to bed. Thankfully, they did.

We think today, thursday morning, they should rest. Lunch will be provided by St. George Anglican Church- the Church where Lecturers from the College assist. Pray that they will have successful ministry in Malawi.



Well most of them were ready for bed.  :)  Keep in mind that the travel conditions are not via limo, taxi or commercial bus.  But in a cramped vehicle that Jonathan earlier described as many of them unable to stretch their legs or see out.  Today they have teaching in the seminary there on the agenda and tomorrow's agenda is visit Permaculture Sites and Evensong after classes.
Still praying everyday for you my wonderful husband.  Blessed that you are obedient to God's call and trust in him through all odds.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mission News from Jonathan

More updates received from Malawi.  Your prayers are felt!!  Read on:

Hello All,

Quick update:
1) Spiritual warfare. If y'all were praying hard last night about 10-12pm Malawi time (seven hours later than Eastern Standard), there was some serious spiritual warfare going on... and the Holy Spirit moved in amazing ways in our team. God is awesome. And wins His battles.

2) Pilgrimage. Today we went to Likoma island, where the cathedral was built a century ago as the center of missionary work in what is now the Province of Central Africa. It was a wonderful experience -- especially considering a whole group of people pulled together a wonderful greeting for us (including tea, etc) with only a few hours' notice! Our boat had a few difficulties coming back, but all were weathered smoothly, and the lake was unusually smooth as well.  Again, your prayers were felt. (It really was a moving experience -- the hospital and school, but especially the cathedral. We are sunburned, but happy.)

3) Tomorrow we take the long drive south to Zomba and the seminary.

Travel prayers appreciated!
Faithfully in Christ,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

YouthQuake article by Heather

I have been going to youth quake for four years, but this year was different.  I open up my heart to Jesus every year and get that “Jesus high” but it starts to die down and I slip back into my old routine. But this year when I got prayed over they told me to close my eyes and go to the cross, when I did God was standing there with open arms.  I started to cry, I told him about all the mistakes I’ve made and how sorry I was. He wiped my tears away and he whispered to me “shh my child, no more tears I forgive you.”   As he was speaking to me dirt started to pour into my hands and he took it from me and it disappeared and at that moment I realized that the pile of dirt was all of my sins, all my mistakes and everything I have ever done wrong.   He touched the dirt and as he did it turned into a white dove and flew away.   All of my wrong doings are gone and can’t come back again this time.   Jesus saved me this weekend.

Malawi Love Notes

Got an email from Roy today.  He said he loves us and misses us - and wishes he had time to email more details, but he has to share one computer with 11 people in the little bit of time that the power is on.  I was hoping on more details of his preaching, church visits, Nkhata Bay and a description of the demonstration garden.  I guess we'll have to await his return to the states for that.  He did say that tomorrow they will be traveling to southern Malawi to work with other priests teaching classes and with Fr. Sumani (previous Nashotah grad) pastoral care and healing ministry for families and individuals affected by HIV.  It is 11pm on his time zone, and I pray for peace and comfort for him as he lays his head down to sleep.  I love you too, Roy and anticipatingly await your return.  Praise God for the wonderous things you and the team are doing to expand God's kingdom, with God's help.  I am proud of you.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

News from Africa!!!

At 7:30am cst, I got a short phone call from Roy.  It was a blessing to hear his voice.  He sounded tired and alittle homesick, but well none worse for ware.  He wanted to make sure to at least tell me hello in case he didn't get a turn on the computer (very limited access time) and I guess the line was long.  Many of the wives got emails, I have one that was forwarded from a friend of a friend.  Jonathan is one of the seminarians traveling with the group: 

Dearly Beloved,

Greetings from Malawi. :-) We have just had dinner at the home of the Bishop of Northern Malawi (where we've eaten several meals and four members of our team are staying -- the Happening was in the same compound, just around the corner), and I'm using his computer for few minutes.  Travel went well once we finally got off; although the drive here to Mzuzu from Lilongwe was fairly grueling (five or so hours in a packed van -- more difficult because most passengers couldn't really see out).

Ah! I just heard there's cake. :-) Briefly....

The other seven of us are staying at the convent's guest house.  Yesterday morning we attended a service inducting a woman as a "junior sister," at the parish just up the road. The service was between three and four hours long (and I confess they lost me during the nine speeches near the end!)... but it was also AMAZING. When the Mothers' Union women started singing outside, and the young in the transept began singing in response -- a kind of antiphony-through-the-walls --I thought maybe I was in heaven rather than Malawi. (Well, maybe I was.) The singing style is quite different than ours, but it's simply beautiful. And the harmonies, and... yeah. In spite of not understanding most of what was said -- the sermon was given in English with a translation, for our benefit, but the liturgy was all in Chichewa -- I loved the service, and I think everyone else on our team did too. (Although Patrick was immensely sleep-deprived and may not have been fully alert through all of it....)

The Happening seemed to go well. It started crazily, since we had to hit the ground running. But we assigned talks in DC the morning before we left, so there was actually some time to prepare, or at least think about what to say. We had... perhaps forty or fifty young people (14-24 or thereabouts), and pretty nearly all nine of us gave short talks. Mine was the last, on the "Apostolate" (bringing Christ to the world). The final two talks were this morning, so the two of us giving them stayed here at St. Mark's for the service. In Chichewa, of course; the English service was happening while we were next door at the Happening. But it was another beautiful service --and since it included our introduction, and giving all the "Happenists" (their word; I'm not making this up) wooden crosses -- we got them too -- that was also about three hours long. Fr. Culpepper,
our leader, celebrated the first English-language service and preached at both. Six members of the team went out to... I guess four other parishes, so our team gave five sermons this morning total, plus the two of us who gave talks at Happening. (I'll probably be preaching down south next week; we'll see.)

I said, and I saw in one of Natalie's updates -- which are splendid, by the way -- that Malawians are quiet and reserved. I'm not sure that's quite right. They're mostly very humble people. But they're also very generous, and loving. We've all felt wholly welcomed, and the young folks (the Happenists) seemed sorry to say goodbye, and flocked around for contact info. (I don't know how we're going to answer all those letters and e-mails.)

Tomorrow's schedule is getting fuller -- we're going to try to do the Nkhata bay trip, AND see the gardens, AND attend vespers at the convent (where we also had lunch yesterday). This is so -- top secret, don't tell -- we MIGHT be able to squeeze in a trip to the island on Tuesday, to see, inter alia, one of the largest cathedrals in the Anglican Communion.... I'll let you know if that happens. :-)

Thank you for your prayers. A skeeter got me pretty good on the elbow this morning -- at least I think that's what it was, I didn't see it-- so we'll pray I don't come down with Malaria when I get back. But so far, other than a few minor digestive bumps and some temporary sleep deprivation (getting better), we're doing pretty well. Answered prayer. And others are after the computer. Gotta go. :-)



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday with Archangel Michael

Today was a good day working on my icon Archangel Michael.  I am just a little disappointed that the last float dried too dark, hiding much of the 2nd highlights.  They were so detailed.  All is well though, the highlights done today will freshen it up a bit.  The wings look beautiful as if the sun is beating down on them.
After spending the morning, a nice lunch and a bit of chat time with Judy (my icon instructor) I stopped at the grocery store.  Picked up some snacks for Heather's return and dinner supplies for the Malawi Widow prayer dinner tomorrow.  It is a loving nick name by Deborah that has caught on.

Did I forget to mention, that the snow accumulated about 4 inches last night and I had to shovel my way out the door and driveway?  Boy, I sure do miss my hubbie.  He does such a good job shoveling.  Oh well, I am sure snow is the furthest thing from his mind right now in Africa.  I imagine it is hot and humid where he is.  They should be in the middle of the Happening weekend right now.  Prayers for the Holy Spirit to fill them with the words that are needed at the moment.

Yesterday was very productive for me.  Worked a 9 hour day, 2 loads of laundry completed, baked a dozen cookies to take to Judy's, mopped the floor, had a glass of wine with a friend, and turned on the self cleaning oven.  Nothing like the feeling of accomplishment!  No time for loneliness here!  ha ha  I heard from Heather and the groups traveling to NC for YouthQuake, they have arrived and having fun.  All I have left on my agenda for this Saturday afternoon (creeping into evening now) is to run up to CVS and get more ink for our printer.  We go through that stuff like crazy.

Prayers up to God for my loved ones today and a reminder from 2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy New Year

WOW, time is flying by and I am still not doing a good job keeping things posted on this blog.  Luckily for the handiness of my phone and facebook I can keep up with most of you there.  So, our Christmas visit in Florida was pleasant, aside from getting sick and down for 2 days.  Unfortunately we didn't get to see everyone on our list, but we tried.  Mostly, I didn't want to spread my germs.  It was good to see Stephanie, I am so proud of her.  She has grown in to a fine respectible responsible adult and is doing great at UCF.  Missed you Cristina! 

The house is eerily quiet.  Roy left on Tuesday with 11 others on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa.  At first I must admit, I had a difficult time accepting the fact that I wasn't able to go this time.  Reality set in, and my responsibility as a mother and wife to "hold down the fort".  Now I am in full gear to support him in daily prayer and looking forward to some "me time".  Speaking of me time, it starts today.  Heather left today for the YouthQuake conference in Asheville, NC.  What an awesome spiritual program for teens!  So I am catching up on emails, coorespondence, paperwork (nice word for bills) and other stuff to do on the computer when it is usually occupied by a teen.  ha ha  Thinking I may go for a haircut after then relax with a nice salad while reading The Elements of the Spiritual Life by F.P. Harton.  This book is required reading for AT1, which resumes in 3 weeks, and I am enjoying this one thoroughly.  AT1 has been a class that Roy and I are taking together on campus.  It has lead us deeper into our spiritual journey with focus on our Rule of Life, prayer, devotions, and different aspects of our spiritual gifts. 

So as for Roy's journey to Africa.  They left on Tuesday morning and had all intentions of flying out of Milwaukee to first stop Chicago.  Well, as the weather conditions would have it, the flight was cancelled.  So they opted to rent 2 vans to drive them to Chicago to meet their connecting flight that afternoon to Dulles.  Of course, the snow followed them to Chicago and there was a 2 hour delay.  This of course, led to them missing the connecting flight in Dulles to Johannesburg.  Their first night was spent in Washington, DC instead of Dulles.  Not to worry, as their intention was to have a free first day in Mzuzu (their first mission stop in Africa) to plan the Happening curriculum; so they used the time in DC for the curriculum planning.  At least they are now prepared.  Much of the trip and work they are doing will be lead by the Holy Spirit.  The only planning of participants for the Happening event given to them was there could be 2 or 400 people in attendence.  This event is different from the US Happening in such that the age group encompasses the age group of 15 - 30 rather than just teens. I plan to update frequently with some daily mission plans for specific prayer needs.  For now, travel is the first one.  They have finally arrived in Johannesburg and will spend the night.  Tomorrow they board yet another plan to take them to Lilongwe and from their it is an 8 hour drive to Mzuzu. 

Here is a link to share on Heather's journey to YouthQuake.  Enjoy! 

That is all for now my friends.  Just wanted to give you a quick update on our life!  Blessings be to God and Glory is His name!