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Philoxenos

Philoxenos

My life as I seek to offer Christian hospitality to both friends and strangers

19th August 2009

Friends

Good friends are people that can call us up and invite us to share a meal with them and their parents but then ask that we eat at our house, since it’s bigger.

Good  friends are people that we can have a mild spousal disagreement in front of and not worry about what they’re going to think.

Good friends are people that I can call and invite to dinner on their voicemail and they feel free to call back at 5pm and ask if the offer is still available.

Good friends are people that we can share prayer requests with and know that they will be prayed for.

God is so good to us.

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15th August 2009

sometimes it’s a lot of work

Recently my husband took me to task for something: I was acting like a brat. He had every reason to point it out and I knew he was right when he did. It still hurt a little, but only because it was my sin and sin is always painful in the end.

I’ve written previously about the three young ladies that are living with us for the summer. They have been here since 4 July and I can honestly say that the honeymoon is over, for all of us. They are tired of working 12 hrs a day, 6 days a week, going door to door out in the heat trying to sell books. I am tired of finding cups and spoons and tea bags stains on the counter and having to put a robe on before I go out to the living room in the morning. I’m sure that they would love to live in a place that didn’t include screaming children at 7:30am and be able to choose their own breakfast. But this is it for all of us and we’re dealing with it. But as my husband pointed out to me one recent morning, I have got to get over the pettiness of my thoughts and focus on the extreme ministry opportunity that has been presented to us. For 12 weeks these girls will be living with us and for 12 weeks we have the opportunity to show them who Christ is. And every time I gruffly wish them good morning or grumble because they don’t separate the recycling properly (I know, I’m ridiculous. I’m embarassed even to write this down) is that really who I want them to see? I’m not saying that I have to be Polly Peppy in the morning, but I need to be gracious and welcoming.

This being like Jesus stuff is hard work. And I’m finding that the more I work at it, the harder it gets.

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10th July 2009

The things we really miss when away from home

I am really enjoying having our guests with us. They are pleasant, easy to talk to, not a bother at all. They leave early in the morning and get home late at night.

This evening I took one of the girls to the supermarket because they needed to buy some food. I asked her what she needed and she said “Chocolate!!” It’s obviously universal :) And she was so excited to buy real cheese instead of the processed cheese slices that they’ve been eating. When I suggested tuna for a sandwich instead of the bologna they’ve been eating, she got very animated and started dancing around singing “tuna, tuna, tuna”. When you’re far from home it’s the simple things that you miss so much.

When we got home I asked one of the other girls what she missed the most from home and she said “tomato soup.” Really? Tomato soup? I went to the pantry and got out a can of Campbell’s tomato soup and showed it to her. She said yes, that’s what she eats at home. Not Campbell’s of course, but out of a can. She said she loves tomatoes of any variety.

This morning they cycled 50 minutes in order to get to a restaurant for breakfast. It’s part of their company policy that they get away from their residence each morning and have breakfast together before they start their day selling. I believe the purpose is to motivate them which of course helps them sell more. But our area is very suburban so the nearest restaurant is probably three miles away, at least. They were very disheartened by this and not keen to repeat that. I suggested that they pay a little extra each week and I can make sure that they have breakfast. I won’t charge them much, they can have a good breakfast that didn’t cost a lot, and they don’t have to bike so far! Hopefully they take me up on it.

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3rd July 2009

how quickly we forget

This summer we have the privilege of hosting three university students from Czech Republic. They are here in the States to work and need a place to stay so they are renting our guest room. They just arrived about an hour ago and as we’ve been talking, getting them settled, I realised how quickly I have forgotten what it’s like to be in a new country, trying to figure out things, like how to turn off the ceiling fan or figuring out how to describe a throat lozenge when you don’t actually know that word in English.

It’s going to be a good summer. I’m glad that we’re able to provide them with a place to stay that’s comfortable and safe.

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21st June 2009

giving haircuts

I bought a clipper set today so that I could start giving Little Boy haircuts. Tonight one of the guys in our home group volunteered so that I could practice! One of the other guys, who cuts his own hair, showed me what to do. What fun! I love our small group, such a great group of people.

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21st June 2009

Bi-monthly update

My long-neglected blog. Poor thing.

We have finished our school year. We basically school year-round but I’m taking it a bit easy in June, particularly until after VBS is finished. Our homeschool group had a end of year celebration and we told Precious that after that evening she would officially be in first grade, which made her very excited. Then Cutie asked what grade she would be in and I decided to say that she is in Pre-K, which is technically the year before kindergarten, which is what she’s doing. We gave them each the present of a new book and I gave Cutie a backpack because she didn’t have one. Precious is looking forward to her first grade year. I’ve explained that she will be doing more work this year because she’s one year older and she’s excited about that.

We start VBS tomorrow and I’m in charge of the music, sort of. So it will be a very busy week. I have to report at 8am each morning and we finish at 12pm. After church this morning I went to Walmart to pick up lots of snacks and easy lunch stuff. I told Handsome that I wasn’t going to be doing any cooking this week, just eating out of the freezer, and he is totally okay with that. VBS is a huge outreach for our church and I know that it’s important in the lives of the kids. I don’t particularly like it, but I know it’s important so it’s one of the things I always volunteer.

Handsome is having his gallbladder removed on Wednesday, which is of course right in the middle of VBS. Great timing huh? Couldn’t be avoided. So he will be off work Wed, Thurs, Fri and will hopefully return to work on Monday. Some good things about this is that we won’t have to share the car since he won’t be able to drive and he’ll actually be home. He’s been working a lot the last two weeks because they’re shifting the offices all around. He said he’s looking forward to having surgery so he can take a break!

And some crazy news is that we’re going to be hosting three university girls for the summer. Two of them are from the Czech Republic and the other is from Russia. They are here in the US to work and needed a place to stay. They will move in 4th of July weekend. It’s kind of funny because we have been praying since we got this house that we would have people staying in our guest room and so far we’ve only had visitors for a few weeks. When the opportunity presented itself to have these girls stay with us I thought - huh, well, I guess this is God’s way of answering! So please be praying that we’ll have a chance to share the Gospel with them, but particularly that we’ll be able to show them who Jesus is through our actions and attitudes.

I suppose that’s all for now. I need to take a nap while I can because we have home group tonight here at our place.

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3rd June 2009

God speaks

In BSF this past year we studied the Life of Moses, starting in Exodus and finishing in Deuteronomy. His life kind of had three parts. The first 40 years he was in the palace, receiving all the Egyptian training and such. The story then continues that he killed an Egyptian and fled because the Pharoah found out and was going to kill him. He ends up in Midian, marries a Midianite woman and works for her father as a shepherd. Bit of a come down for a man raised in the palace of the Pharoah. This goes on for about another 40 years. Then we come to the famous story of the Burning Bush. God speaks to Moses through the burning bush, telling Moses that he has been chosen by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.

God told him that He had heard the cries of His people and was going to send Moses to help them.

Moses’ first question: Whom am I?

God’s response: I will be with you.

Moses’ next question: Suppose I go to them and tell them that God sent me and they ask what your name is?

God’s response: I AM WHO I AM. I AM has sent me to you.

Moses’ next question: What if they don’t believe me or listen to me?

Then God gives him a few miracles to show them which should help them to be convinced.

Moses then has something else to say: But I’m not eloquent.

And then God says Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute?… I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.

And then Moses decides he just can’t believe God and he says O Lord, please send someone else to do it.

And then the scriptures tell us that God got mad. Exodus 4: 14 “Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses…” and God said that he’d send Aaron to help and he’d speak for Moses.

I’ve always wondered what Moses missed out on by not being obedient to God the first time. God specifically asked him to do something, told him that He would help him, but Moses still asked him to get someone else to do it. God was gracious enough to bring him someone else to speak for him, but I wonder what blessings Moses might have received from being obedient from the beginning?

Let me apply this to a situation in my own life. Several years ago, back when I was involved with BSF in Christchurch, God spoke to me clearly and said that I needed to start preparing myself to teach others the Bible. So not just study the Word for my own edification but in order to teach others. I remember thinking at the time “Hmm… I wonder what He wants me to do?” Thinking back I’m like, duh! He wanted you to prepare to teach others you dork! I’m a little slow.

Fast forward to the present. I do teach the Bible to my children and I know that’s important. But I can’t say that I’ve been actively learning how to teach the Bible. I do study the Bible for myself (not as consistently as I should) and I do memorise a bit of scripture each year (but not much). But over the weekend God used my husband to remind me of my calling.

We had a bit of a heated discussion (the topic of which isn’t actually important) but it involved Bible study, teaching the Bible, parachurch organisations, training others, along those lines. At the end of the conversation I told Handsome that I didn’t agree with him at all, but that I would submit to his authority on this and do what he asked me to do. And actually he wasn’t asking me to do anything, but not do something. I wasn’t mad at him, just a little irritated and probably a lot disappointed.

But I’ve been thinking of that discussion ever since, for a few days now. And as I was thinking I was reminded of God’s call on my life back in Christchurch. And I have been thinking of it in light of the story of Moses. If God has asked me to prepare myself to teach then I’m pretty sure that means that at some point in the future He’s going to ask me to teach. But what if I’m not ready? What if I’m not obedient to His instruction and as a result am not ready when He wants to use me? What will I miss out on? Do I really want to risk the wrath of God? Would I want it to be said of me that I caused the Lord’s anger to burn? Nope. Definitely don’t want that.

So. I guess I’m going to start learning how to teach the Bible. Fortunately for me the Bible basically speaks for itself considering it’s living and active and all that and promises never to return void. I talked to my dad briefly this afternoon and asked him what I should do to start learning to teach the Bible. His first response? Read it. Yep, good one. Definitely will be doing that.

Pray for me please. I don’t know what God has in mind. But whatever it is I need to be ready. And if you have any other ideas please let me know :)

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30th May 2009

Homesick

I am so homesick for New Zealand right now. Just overwhelmingly homesick. Like if someone offered me a ticket I’d be there in a minute. Just pack up the kids and go. I’m trying to identify what it is exactly that I’m missing so much and I know it’s just a combination of things. Do you mind if I just blab a bit?

I miss our friends. When we lived in Christchurch there was one couple that we were great friends with. The kind that we could call at the last minute and invite ourselves over, just wearing our sweats. We’d pick up some fish and chips and share them and spend the evening just talking and laughing. They helped us move. All three times.

When we moved to Cambridge I had probably the best friend I’ve ever had and I miss her incredibly. We used to walk together at 6am every weekday, rain or shine. Our children were the same age and we talked about child-rearing issues, spiritual things, how much we missed America. She’s one of the influences that got me thinking about homeschooling. My oldest daughter still talks about her daughter and she writes her emails even though she was only 3.5 years old when we left.

Then there were our English friends that lived out on a farm. They once rented a house to us. They were the most welcoming family, always had a door open. We’d go out to help with the chickens. They’d bring us eggs every week and I’d make them muffins as a thank you. And although we didn’t always agree on everything they challenged me to think differently about things, from a different perspective.

I miss the weather. It actually rains there! I think I miss the whole outdoor lifestyle of NZ. We spent a lot of time outside. We walked a lot of places, the kids spent hours outside exploring the yard because we actually had an interesting yard! We walked to the park down the street, we walked to the shops to buy milk and bread, we walked to church, we walked to our friends’ houses. I had a double pram that I used daily (what a blessing that was! And when we left I sold it for NZ$80!)

I miss our family that’s there. I miss the fact that our kids only get to see their grandparents twice a year. But I’m so glad that they see them that often.

What don’t I miss? The houses that aren’t insulated well and I don’t miss the lack of central heating! I don’t miss having to pay NZ$80 for a pair of jeans and NZ$13for a pack of 25 diapers. Paying out the nose for produce out of season.

Well, that’s enough of that. The kids are awake, another day has started. God has us here and I do like it here. But part of my heart will always be in New Zealand. Just in case, though, I better renew a few passports!

And I think for breakfast I’ll make a bacon and egg pie :)

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29th May 2009

Things are heating up

Summer is upon us. Temperatures hit 103F yesterday, which is very hot. I was away for most of the day and set the inside temp at 82 so it wasn’t running unnecessarily. I’m glad I did because with temperatures that hot my house would have been much hotter than 82. Upon returning home I immediately turned it down and the a/c ran for most of the evening.

With the rising temperatures comes a complete clearing of my calendar. All of our normal weekly activities have ceased for the summer to be replaced by things like “Swim at friend’s house”, “BBQ at friend’s house” “Friend coming over”. I love the summer. Although I think spring is far too short here and I’m having a heck of a time trying to learn how to grow vegetables in this kind of heat. But with summer comes freedom. Long days allow us to spend together outside as a family after Handsome comes home. We swim often, play around together, eat simpler foods.

Summer is good. Now if I can just manage to not melt the ice cream on the way home from the store.

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22nd May 2009

My little secret

Remember how I started reading a book at the library in Laguna Beach a few weeks ago and didn’t want to put it down? I immediately requested it from my library and was way down on the list. I just couldn’t wait! So I reverted to a trick I learned while in college.

Do you wanna know what I did?

Can you keep a secret?

Back when I was in college if there was a book that I wanted to read I would go to Walmart and find it and then sit in the pharmacy for an hour or two and read as much as I could then put it back on the shelf. I’d come back a week later or whatever and read some more and continue to do that until I had finished the book.

So… the last few weeks I’ve made a few trips to Target and would just happen to mosey by the book section and  read a few more chapters. But just yesterday I was notified that the book was available for me to pick up at the library!! Yippee! So I picked it up this afternoon and started reading about 5pm and I finished it just a few minutes ago. I knew I would stay up as long as I needed to in order to finish it or else I’d be absolutely useless for the rest of the weekend.

Tomorrow I will return it so that some other person on the waiting list can be put out of their misery.

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