Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Friday, January 26, 2018

I've thought about why people are so fired up over President Trump's statement about shithole countries.  It's just a total lack of respect for people.  Maybe that seems obvious to some, but some people don't get that because they keep defending his statement.  It's not about the cuss word or the fact that he is blunt, it's the heart behind his statement.

Let me break it down....I know some people that I love with every part of my being, and they grew up in some of the ugliest and worst conditions you can even imagine in this country and other countries.  Now, mind you they had no choice of living in those conditions.  I have gone and visited some of those areas and it breaks my heart and also humbles me every single time.   I would NOT ever call any of those places a shithole.  There are people living there that I love, and some of our kids are from these places.  If I were to call it a shithole, I'm totally disrespecting where they are from, which is part of who they are.  It's like when someone has complete idiots for parents, you can be honest about their shortcomings,  but you don't demean or disrespect them as a person, if you do, you are demeaning and disrespecting part of who THEY are. 

I have walked thru some pretty tough slums, and there are many beautiful people that are more thankful for the life that they have than many well off Americans.

We don't get to choose where we are from or who our family is, but it is very much a part of who we are.  I don't care how rough someone's upbringing is or their current conditions, they don't want to be told they are from shit or the product of shitty people.

*not trying to stir up old news...but I was cleaning up my blog and saw that I hadn't posted.*

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Faith and Fear - Life Drama

I thought the more kids I raised the more confident I would be about parenting.  The exact opposite is is actually true.  I find myself wanting to just close up and shut down until it's over, like a scary movie that you don't know how it will end.  Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom, but the deeper I go into this whole "mom" gig the more I experience, the more humbled and exposed I feel.  My tendency is to react in fear,  just grab on to what little faith I have left and hold on tight, and wait until Jesus comes back.  It's like, the more you know, the more there is to fear.

In months past I prayed that Charlie and I would stay in this race of faith and that we would end this life journey in a sprint with nothing left.  I just don't want to lose ground with Jesus.  I have tasted some of the sweetness of communion with Him, and seen glimpses of His beauty, and I don't want to lose track of that.  I see too many people, when it gets hard, and man does it get hard, get discouraged, hurt and too exhausted and they take their race pace down to a crawl or resort to the fetal position, curled up on this track of life,  waiting for time to run out.

  I prayed this prayer in a season of strong faith and good running conditions.  The race felt exhilarating and exciting.... my faith felt full and alive.  
Only God knew what was coming...
  I feel anything but exhilarated and excited at the moment. Life feels hard, my faith feels small, and I want to just curl up and pray I make it through the day.  It's a stupid thing to say when you look at all that God has done in our lives and the way He has shown Himself so powerful and kind, but it is the truth of where things are at the moment.

I have learned in my own life, and in reading the Bible, that often times when there has been a mighty move of God in someone's life experience, it is often followed up by fear and doubt and temptation.

  Elijah the prophet, called fire down from heaven and watched God show Himself so powerful and mighty and he followed it up by running away from a verbal threat and sitting down exhausted and wanting to die.

The disciples that walked with Jesus in the flesh, and watched as He performed  miracles on many occasions, would often follow up a day of mighty miracles with being caught in a storm or situation that they would respond in fear and doubt.

How does this even happen?  This feeling of faith to fear in the matter of minutes.

Matthew 8:25-27English Standard Version (ESV)

25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
God has poured on His love and power and grace so huge and tangibly to our family in the last few months and it has felt like one miracle after another.  
To highlight a few:  
We had the most amazing time in Uganda, God showed up and showed off everyday we were there! 

 Lashae and Chaney made another GRAND announcement, and then we soon added to the joy that there is actually
Every baby is a miracle, but TWINS!!!
is our God showing off miracles two at a time.

 We celebrated our son Kole (who claimed he was going to be single forever) marrying his new bride, the most amazing girl, our first Daughter in Love!

  We were surrounded by all our children and grands and parents for the wedding celebration.   
Many more friends and family who came from every corner  of this country came to celebrate with us.  

God held off the rain and storm just long enough for us to get all our celebrating done.
Now, the storm has hit in several areas and my tendency is to respond in fear, cling on to the little faith I can clinch in my tight fist, and just hang on for dear life.  

This is no way to live and run this race of faith, but it is a struggle in the midst of the storm.
 I'm asking God to calm the storms and open my heart and hands, give me a second (or millionth)
 and run to Him with joy and not sit and shake in fear.

Philippians 2:14-18New Living Translation (NLT)

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.

**** I use this blog to journal my journey and hopefully it can speak to others as well as remind me. I tell the truth and sometimes it sounds dramatic.  
Life is dramatic  for everyone, but some are just louder than others. 
I know where my hope comes from and He has my life and every storm right in His sights and in His hands!****

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Poverty vs. Abundance

Uganda’s big problem is poverty and America’s is abundance and they both have the same end.
This was Pastor Tuckers statement on one Sunday when we were there,  and he nailed it.
Either way can make us stop trusting God.

Proverbs 30:7-9
Two things I ask of you;
    deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
    give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
    and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
    and profane the name of my God.

I’ve seen both extremes.  Both are sad.  Poverty looks, feels, and smells worse, because there's really no way to hide it.  Abundance is equally dangerous and probably worse because it's deceptive.  If we have all the pleasures and comforts of this world and we forget God we are lost.

Abundance can lead us astray because we often begin to think it's God's blessing.  I don't think God wants credit for our idolatry. I have no doubt everything we have is from God, the very air we breathe is from God, but if we start thinking that God is showing His approval of us by giving us more stuff and money, if that is our measure, than what are we saying about children born into poverty?
Whether we are living in poverty or abundance...we are all in need.  We need Him, we need Him in every circumstance and in every situation, in every economy and every culture.  It's just easier to see to see the need when the person lives in poverty.

I hear a lot about "culture" when people are trying to understand differences....I don't know the "culture"'s just our "culture".....what is the "culture" like....that would never fly in our "culture".

If we are Christian, isn't our "culture" all the same no matter where we live?  We are to live the "Jesus culture" even though there may be differences in language and foods and transportation, politics, and education....we should use the Word of God as our "culture" guide.  I think it is important to study "culture" to understand people, but I think it's even more important to study the Word of God, so we understand the "culture" we live, for those who follow Jesus.

May we give Him our lives, and trust God with everything, no matter where we live or our financial status or living conditions.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I Get That From My Father.

I was driving home from  So. Cal yesterday and I had a 14 hour drive to debrief  all the thoughts and feelings and memories from the past wedding week.  I was the only adult in the car and the 3 littles were so drained and filled up from their week, that they sat and stared and slept and only got out of the car 1 time.  Some people may call that crazy, I call it God's grace. 

I prayed thru some stuff and gave enormous praise and thanks to God for so many things.  It was fun to have the time to just process it all in detail.

I kept coming back to how incredibly thankful I am that God allowed ALL my kids (on this side of the world) and GRANDS (grand parents and grand kids) to come together at one time.  Not only did all my kids and GRANDS come, but so many cousins and nieces and nephews and friends.  There was representation from every part of our lives.

Every time a car load arrived, we all ran out of the house to greet the new comers.  There were hugs and news to share, even though we all keep in touch with technology, some things are just better shared face to face.

One of the car loads arrived and we of course all ran out to greet, and we returned to a *not so small* BBQ fire.  It only cost some arm hair on Justin, and it provided a  new moon view on the shade canopy over the BBQ, but it was totally worth it.  (right Justin and Shauna?)

I went over and over my favorite parts of the week and it always came back to how amazing it was that each person came and brought all their gifts and talents to use and share.

  It ranged from the boys using their muscles to move stuff and driving everyone and everything  everywhere they needed to go.  The girls made everything and everyone look so pretty. 

 We all shared in the set up and clean up over and over and over.  The cycle is, set up, eat up, and clean up...repeat.

  The relationship happened as much in the working together as it did in the celebrating.  
 When it was set up and clean up, it was all hands on deck, when it was celebration time, it was all feet on the floor. 

When we worked, we worked alongside one another, everyone giving what they could. 

 When we ate, we ate a lot of excellent food together
 and when we danced, 
 we danced with all our might.

There is a lot of people in this family, and we come with a lot of 
  and we bring a lot of luggage too
 The beautiful thing is this family is messy and wild and we can pack a lot into a few days, but when this mess comes together, Christ is the center, and He makes us and our stuff into something He can use.
 We help each other sort through some of our "baggage" and we gather in hallways and entryways to pray thru the next step.

After I had prayed and praised thru the stuff on my heart, I thought,
"I wonder what God thought of it all?  I wondered what parts brought Him the most joy?"

As soon as I had that thought.....I felt Him respond to me,
"You know your favorite parts, the part about your family coming together and enjoying each other; the relationships that were worked thru and enjoyed and celebrated? 

Not only did God provide for all my favorite parts, but those were His favorite parts too.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Reflection / 2018 Ready Set Go

The year 2017 can kind of be summed up with the word REST.
 I started the year and ended the year with a trips to Uganda.  We had a family vacation/ family reunion to Marantha Bible Camp, in the summer for a week of family camp.  God just put me with all my favorites, doing all my favorite things, in the beginning, middle and end of the year. 


  We had time this year to rest and recover. We had some recovering to do, as the year before had been stressful and brought on some heartache, but God has been so faithful and given us rest and recovery in the kindest ways.  Rest is often about trusting in what God is doing.  On the 7th day, God rested, but the world stayed spinning and things still grew.  So even though it feels like a year of rest, we kept working, things kept moving along, but we had to trust God in what was going on in a whole new way. Last year felt like it started with
 Remember and Wait.
  Remember who God is and what He has done and wait on Him and His timing and His direction.

Upon reflecting on 2017  it made me think of when a runner has been injured, they need rest and recovery.    Rest and recovery looks a lot like time to heal and therapy to rebuild, so they can come back even stronger.  If the proper steps are not taken in the process you can come back timid and hesitant.  If you rest and recover with intention and focus and strengthen the injured places, you can come back with confidence and strength.

 This year has been like that for us in certain areas.  We have had to dig deep into prayer and God's Word to understand the injury and let it heal properly.

2018 has a feeling of  
in Charlie's word for the year. 
I feel like it is a year to
 Be Aware and Respond.

Hebrews 12:1English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
We are recovered and ready to run this race and all along the way being more AWARE and in awe and WONDER of all God is doing in us and around us all along the course of life. May we live this year in RESPONSE to all that He shows us and works in us.

Psalm 16:11English Standard Version (ESV)

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

I'm Not Talking to the Back of Your Head

If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times, these words come out of Charlie's mouth,

" I won't talk to the back of your head."

He says this when the kids respond to him as they are walking off or walking by.  He says it, if they are in conversation and the kid has lost interest or thinks they are finished talking or getting instruction before Charlie is actually done and the kid begins to walk off. 
 Charlie often threatens to throw something at them in these situations, to get their attention...he says,
 "One day, I'm going to throw something at you, if you are facing me when we are talking, you will see it coming otherwise it's gonna hit you in the back of the head."
*For all those worried....I'm sure this is only a threat, or if he does throw something, it's like a sock or something. * (wink)

I was thinking about prayer and how we hear from God and these words of Charlie's came to my mind.  I felt like the Lord was saying.... I hear you and I'm right here, but I won't talk to the back of your head.

I often throw out my prayers and read my Bible,  looking to get close to God and to hear what He has to say, and then the silence gets awkward or boring and I resort to my phone or move on with my day.

I have been desiring a more powerful prayer life and I've realized it takes daily repentance - turning toward Him - so I can experience more intimacy with my Father.  Often times we think of repentance as a one time thing, or limit it to a confession of sorts. 
 I do think this is part of it, but I think it is just simply facing Him. 
 Giving Him our attention, turning towards Him, and staying turned towards Him, in the good stuff and the bad stuff,  not turning away from Him.

Matthew 3:8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Maybe part of what Jesus meant when He said these words was telling us to keep turned towards Him,  every single day in every situations.   Speak to Him everyday and letting Him speak to us; not walking off in our own way, which gives Him the back of our head.  When we are turned with the back of our head to Him, we are not turned toward Him, there are only 2 directions in life...facing Him and facing away.  
I think often times...we come to Him, and feel like we get relief or forgiveness, or even instruction and insight, and we say,
And we turn around and walk our own way, and He is saying stay facing me, I'm not done, I have MORE for you.  

Oh I pray that I can stay turned toward Him.  I pray that when I start to walk off, He throws something at a sock (wink).... and gets my attention so I turn towards him and stop turning away.  

Thursday, December 28, 2017

28 Wedding Anniversary in Uganda

Patrick Brewer posted this about our 28th wedding anniversary in Uganda.  I had to copy to my blog and add pictures, so I could have it forever!  Thank you Patrick.

#Day4( fun day, full of joy and very funny- celebrating two things in one )
After our day in jinja, we had to get back to kireka for the most awaited day. Friday was a day to kick start the journey of cake. Friday was Reece’s birthday and we got to share aunt Patience Kirabo’s cake. Her cake was the beginning of the journey of cake. As my dad charles brewer would put ‘we have had a lot of cake on this trip than in our entire life.
Do you remember the wedding at Cana in the Bible where Jesus performed his first miracle.
“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee . Jesus’ mother was there and Jesus his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone , Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘they have no wine’
4woman, why do you involve me? Jesus replied “my hour has not yet come “
7 jesus said to the servants , fill the jars with water. 8 now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet’
(John 2:1-11)
This time round it was a Ugandan wedding at CSI , one of the members of the staff of CSI was celebrating , there was no changing water into wine, it was all about cake. In Uganda ,if one attends a party and doesn’t eat cake, that person doesn’t count it as attending a party and he would go with thoughts of “this party wasn’t serious, we didn’t have cake” I can’t tell the thoughts of others beyond Uganda about the cake issue . Ours was beyond, it was in excess. The English men say ‘To much of anything is always bad” . The cake was too much.

This day was so special and it was a long day, There was a CrossFit from Lashae Bowen that was too serious. Then it was time to pick that serious dress, shirt, shoes that you had prepared for the day. It’s in Ugandans to always dress to the nines when it comes to functions like that . I saw my American team attending a Ugandan wedding . It was a new adventure to them. The ladies in the team had to take all the time they had to prepare and look gorgeous for the day.
The first session was to attend the church ceremony where the pastor was to share about the biblical view of marriage and everything in that line.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ . Wives , submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the lord . For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church , his body , of which he is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives , just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish , but holy and blameless .
‘For this reason , a man will live his father and mother and be united to his wife , and the two will become one flesh.”
(Ephesians 5:21-31).
That was the message the pastor based on while joining the two using a ring to become one flesh. It was all through a series from petty to serious ones. The marriage message made me doze but Aunt Kim klippert couldn’t allow me to sleep. I think I needed a nap as she said. Then after the church ceremony was getting done , as a culture , the pastor had to command the bridegroom.
“You May now hug the bride”
That’s what the culture says, the American team had a different idea about this , in America, as one member of the team explained , it’s said
“You May now kiss the bride”
Then Andule Simon was against this , he replied in disappointment
“In public? “
‘In Uganda, they don’t kiss in public , better yet, in church’
Maybe he had his own idealogy about it. Everyone is entitled to his or her own ideas about something.
Then, from the church , we had to get to the reception. Before we could set off, one member of the organizing teams comes in and says
‘The bride wants to take pictures with the team, we are heading gardens to take photos ‘
‘Since it’s her day, we will follow her lead’, one of the team members said as we found our way to enter the cars and take their direction. I liked everyone’s thought about each other, the lady were ready for the photos. I wasn’t sure why I would follow the group for photos with the married couple, but I had to follow were the lead takes us.

The ladies used one van as the men also used the other van led by past Tucker Nsubuga. We drove in the crazy Uganda traffic jam until we reached the spot were the photos were to be taken , Everyone in our van was very hungry . So my dad decided
‘We should get back the guest house, have lunch and we shall meet the rest of the group at the reception, we have tried our best after all ‘ this idea was the best to me, I don’t know about the rest.
We drove back home, had lunch and rested to make sure we are ready for the reception activities.
Time was up, we had to set off and get to the reception. Should I call it luck, because as far as I can remember , we attended two weddings. This was serious. We first went to a party we don’t know about, since the party we were meant to attend was just across. We entered and everyone welcomed us. we even took a group photo not knowing that we are misplaced , locally known as “fluckers” . We tried to look around and see if the rest of the team that was there all in vain till when we were directed to where the actual party was.
In a few steps walk, we reached the reception , and we were directed at a table. It was a table reserved specifically and a note was placed on it “VIP” I really don’t buy the idea of such privileges , it’s cool but am not a fun. It’s okay with me sitting anyone, and see someone else have something better. So some kids and I chose a table across and that’s what we made ourselves comfortable at.
I tried looking around because my eyes couldn’t see two members of the team. It was necessary to take care of a member of the team before you do to yourself . I learnt this from this trip . Each one was an eye to the other and in that case, we were all safe. Dad Charles Brewer couldn’t sit in a car unless we were all in. That was a lesson to learn. Someone’s life is as important to you as your own. Later on I got to know that the missing members were not feeling well and had chosen to stay in the van . It was a worry moment in a lovely wedding. You had to make a prayer for the two . We ate, took sodas and it was all good.
Later in the night , it was time to cut cake. And the master of ceremony announced a surprise. I asked myself , what surprise could this be at someone’s wedding? Ohh, it was good surprise. My mom and day Jenay Brewer and Charle Brewer respectively were marking 28 years and they were celebrating their 28th anniversary in Uganda at a wedding . So instead of the couples cutting the cake, they decided to call the Brewers to come and cut the cake. It was a smart move I can tell, there was dances , American dancing and African dances combined , there were songs of praise and jubilation . I saw the American team dancing to the tunes of a song from Eastern Uganda commonly known as “Kadodi”

I loved everything about this day, the first days were about doing charity, serving others before ourselves,but this day, was full of fun and jubilation. I personally Carried the cake for my mom and Dad for their 28th Anniversary celebrations.

Congratulations mom and Dad upon this day your an example the the rest of the world and congratulations the married couple. We enjoyed eating your cake.
Thank you for reading . Be blessed