Friday, May 31, 2019

WHiM: Preparing for Furlough

As I read "my missionaries" newsletters, I'm reminded that this is when many of them travel for furlough. They have needs for transportation while they're back in their passport country, and many will be exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually, as they hit the ground running.

You may think that "furlough" means vacation, but often it is more work than when they are "home" in the country that they work in. People from their sending churches and organizations expect to see them, and often it leaves them even more tired than when they arrived. With family members also wanting to see them, it can put Global Workers as a rope in the middle of a game of tug-of-war. That doesn't sound relaxing to me!

Let's take time to actually pray for their needs, and LISTEN to the Holy Spirit to see if He will use us as a catalyst to meet their needs.

Do we know someone with an extra car that they can borrow? Can we cover the cost of a week-long rental? Can we bless them with gift cards for gasoline, restaurants, coffee shops, or even airline miles to help take some of that financial burden while they are here? Can we share their needs with our Sunday School or church or small group to help meet a larger need? How can we be a part of the solution? Can we bless them with a get away for their immediate family, since furlough is SO MUCH WORK? Can we gift them tickets to someplace fun, or put them up in a hotel where they can be alone and away for respite time?

These are just a few ideas. Usually we think of spending time with the missionaries that we love, but can we love them enough to encourage them to take time away from us, and to take time to rest with the Father?

I pray that we can.

What have you done in the past? What has someone done for you (if you're a missionary, or former global worker)? What do you wish someone would do for you? Please share below, pass this along, and let us mobilize our churches to bless those who are so weary!

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10

Women Helping in Missions

Thursday, May 16, 2019


I’m never short on ideas, and I’ve usually got some creative project on a back burner—but word crafting is different and ideas bubble up faster with less planning.
Where most of my life is fairly routine and well planned, my writing is mostly spontaneous and catches me off guard. I’ll be unloading groceries from the car and *BAM* a prompt will pop into mind, or perhaps while watching birds a scripture will linger that ministers deeply, and I’ve suddenly got a series of posts to write about.
But a good idea does not a good writer make.

I’ve been told I’ve got to limit my topics, or at least decide one area to write about. Ok. Maybe two. Instead my words cover many diverse topics, from being a parent of a missionary to being a workaholics wife, or sharing biblical inspiration. From cooking to home DIY and being middle-aged. From autoimmune issues to sending missionaries to the field. I think you’ve got the idea. My blog has been called Marina’s Kitchen Table because I wanted it to be a place we could sit and chat about anything, so that’s why I’ve been all over the place.
And the photography. Do my photos still work?
I’ve gotten better about not writing about every little thing, and better still at not posting everything I write, (believe it or not), but the idea of finding my niche and staying there scares me! What if my readers and followers like that I’m always writing about something different? What if they get a kick out of the fact that I write about my life? Can that be my niche? Is it ok to have a niche of many facets, showing the areas of my life from many different angles?
I’m sure someone from @hopewriters would suggest I do a survey and poll my readers what they want to read about most, and then take the top one and focus on it. That’s actually a good idea! It would be good too to see how many people are actually glancing at my blog, my Facebook pages, my side hustles.
I guess I know what my next post will be on...

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


I wake up early. Earlier than I need to. I’m exhausted as it is, having tossed and turned all night, despite medications that promise me a good nights’ sleep. It’s not often I get sick, but when I do, it’s a doozy.

Without saying a word I know I have no voice. My throat rages on fire.

I peek out the window to see evidence of morning. It will be a while before sun streams through my windows as there’s a hill in my backyard that blocks the eastern view—so I see dawn in the shade of hillside and  trees. Still the birds come, they have no need of direct sunlight to make their way to the feeders. I’m not so easily coaxed to stay awake. It’s chilly for mid-May and I climb back in bed to the warmth of my cotton sheets and duvet. I snuggle down with my Bible seeking, something to meditate on as I savor these moments and give my body the rest it needs to heal. My eyes land in the Psalms.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

Yes, this. It’s not a coincidence that I’m sick as I’ve had a few weeks of busy schedules, good and bad stress, emotional strain. I’ve been around sick people, but usually I can self-care and nurture my system to keep from catching the germs-du-jour. I’ve neglected myself though, and haven’t done the things I usually would do, like doubling up on supplements, using my essential oils, meditating in the Word, or soaking in the bath. When you’re busy, things like that seem a luxury, when in reality—for me—they are a necessity.

I re-read the verse and savor each word, adding emphasis different places each time I read it. My tired soul is trusting in Him today. I will listen and hear from Him, stepping back and resting in the provision of His nurturing care. I may not go anywhere, but even this is the “way I should go.” I’m grateful for His timing, His clearing my schedule to rest in Him today.

He meets me right where I am, sickness and all, in the dawn of the day. I know I can trust in Him because of His steadfast love, every morning.

#hopewriterlife #marinaskitchentable #wordworshipwrite #morning #marinasmorningmeditations

Monday, May 13, 2019

Hope*Writer Life Challenge: Start

I sit at my desk and enjoy the view of God’s creation…green grass, birdfeeders full of brightly colored birds, flowers blooming. I could stay here all day and watch life take place at a snail’s pace in my backyard…sigh.

Stop it! I need to stop putting off what I want to do and get to the heart of the matter. I want to write. I need to write, and make it a priority, like it used to be. I need to give it space to grow, and bloom, and not keep it hidden in the soil of my wish lists to do someday. Someday is now.

Just like the other UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) I have in my creative pile that I need to complete, many of my words are buried under half-basted quilts and just-started paintings. I have journals with pages torn out, and photo albums undone. Never mind the boxes of photos that still need to be sorted! If I think about them I’ll never begin writing!

So today, I START. No matter what else is undone, my words will take hold here. Starting NOW.

#marinaskitchentable #hopewriterlife #wordworshipwrite #start

Monday, May 6, 2019

A New Monday

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Prov 16:9

Vacation was great and I miss this view, but I’m back at home now, 2 nights and a nap in my own bed. Still my heart is tuned to vacation schedule; breathing deep, capturing every view as a God-gift for me to hold closely.

Now, instead of ocean views of sunrises and sunsets, the green and blooming flowers are around me, their fragrance to stop me in my tracks. No more oceans’ waves to lull me to sleep, but there’s front and back fountains to put me at rest. I’m missing the giggles of grandchildren to wake me, but I have my morning woodpecker who wakes me by pecking at the gutter. ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜†

I’ll treasure the vacation memories, and the now and here...the differences of today.

It’s not just a “back from vacation” Monday morning but a whole new normal for us as Mark starts a new work position. Same company, new role and office.

We have so much to be grateful for—we don’t have to move, and he has a job, though it’s a different one than before, and he’s excited to be working with the skills and training and education that he’s been gifted with, that whole engineering thing.

I have been praying for all the new faces he will work with side by side, for new relationships that will grow, and the old ones he will try to nurture. For encouraging people in their roles without having any responsibility for them in a chain of command. For setting a tone and attitude when it has nowhere to filter down. That God will equip Mark in new ways to be successful in this new role. And for his work habits, that his enthusiasm and love of projects won’t take over his schedule and that he will make self-care a priority. That he can have days off and time for rest.

Truth told, time for me. This girl whose  love language is “gift of time” and this man who loves to provide for his family and God’s Kingdom. Oh, and that I’ll remember that I need to draw nearer to God and not expect Mark to meet my needs, but rely on God to.

How do you cope with changes? Are you a workaholic or married to one? What helps your marriage flourish in change? 

#marinaskitchentable #hopewriters #theworkaholicswife #wordworshipwrite 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Marina’s Morning Meditation: On the Beach

This last morning on the beach was spent intentionally taking time to breathe deeply.

Jessica has been getting up early and going down to enjoy the sunrise with her little girl (also a morning beachcomber, like Grandpa), but it was a different motivation for me. I wanted the photo opportunity, for sure, and I wanted the walk to the pier before the world woke up and filtered in. But mostly I wanted to have time with God and His sea.

We had to hash out some things, He and I, to reassure me that He’s got this all under control and He knows details I’m not privy to.

I wanted to take the strength of the ocean back with me, recognizing that it’s been God’s strength all along, and I’ve always had access to it. I wanted to be sure that He didn’t mind when I lean in so hard or when I push back against changes even harder.

Sometimes in my pushing back I think I’m being strong, when in reality I’m pushing myself away...running away. It’s that fight or flight mechanism of mine that’s still broken. But He knows that. He remembers what I’ve been through, and knows my responses well. He’s always been there for me and always will remain.

It may be some time before I make it back to Pensacola Beach, or any other scenic coastline, but my God will be with me in this season of change...

#bromleyvaca2019 #hopewriters #wordworshipwrite

When You’ve Lost Your Mom for Mother’s Day

Sometimes Mothers Day brings baggage along that's sad or bad. I try to see God's hand in it...and don't always find it... but I know it's there.

I don't know why I lost my mom to cancer at such a young age. The year prior to her passing was tough, and because I was a pre-teen and "knew it all," I didn't understand what she was going through or may of been thinking.

I still don't, but I have a better idea.

I often thought my mom didn't love me (my sisters too) enough to fight for her life. I know that's not true, and I refuse to believe that lie anymore. I think I let it live so long to ignore the deeper pain of missing her so badly.

I missed her as I shopped for my wedding dress. I think that was my first awareness of missing her. I vividly remember a Bobby Goldsboro song ("Honey," a favorite of hers) coming over the piped in music, as if God was letting me know she was there, watching from heaven. I still cry at the thought that my husband never got to meet her. I'm pretty sure they would love each other.

I missed her so much when I gave birth to my own children. It may of been selfish of me, I didn't have a mom to help me navigate those early days of motherhood. I was sad that my kids and my mom would never meet. They would never get to be babysat by her and she would never get to root them on in their life achievements.

As my kids approached the age I was when she died, I tried to think of having to say goodbye to them.

I couldn't imagine it.

I don't remember her ever communicating her love for me back then. Was it too painful? Did she not know she was going to die? Did she say "I love you" well and often and did I just blocked it out? I don't know.

I was so blessed when one of my aunts commented how much one of my daughters looked like my mom at that same age. I had never seen a photo of my mother as an early teenager.

As my kids hit milestones in life, I missed her more. Although I was told by my aunts that my mom had a sour disposition and even a mean streak in her, I think she would have cheered grandkids on in life. I hope they would of softened her heart and made her laugh more. That she would of swelled with pride as her grands received educational accolades, celebrated their marriages, and their families grew. I looked around for godly women living near me who gave a good example on how to grandparent... I didn't get to see how this was supposed to be first-hand, and mentoring wasn't much around then.

It became harder to remember things about her as a mom, and although she cherished my older sisters' babies, she herself was just starting her journey as a grandma. She was just learning this for herself.

Now, as I get to see my own grandkids grow, I think about how I want to be remembered by them, and by my grown children and their spouses too.

I've lived beyond my mother's years, and I don't take that lightly. I want to be intentional with my days, my words, my attitudes. I hope I'm planting seeds in my family to grow with them as they mature and become the moms and dads and grandparents God will have them be in the future.

It's not about the recipes and traditions I want to pass along, but the open arms, the ready smile, the laughter and joy, the songs. I want to build my memory makers. I want them to remember that naps are good things to combat "grumpy grandma," and how I love hugs and lullabies at bedtime. That they can "always come home." That I value arts and crafts, and walks to see the neighbor's flowers and God's sunlight filtering through His leaves. I want them to remember me reading my Bible as much as I was taking pictures on my phone (still working on that, and ditching my Bible app for the real book when they are here!). I want them to remember how I loved playing a game more than winning, and how much I enjoy learning new words. I want them to see me love God by loving others, even when it hurts, and how the power of forgiveness before hearing the words "I'm sorry" is so freeing.

No matter how close or far away we are, I want each one of them, kids, in-laws, and grands, to remember how much I love them. Always. Unconditionally.

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."  Psalm 90:12

What things do you hope your kids and grandkids will remember about you?

Do you grandparent from afar? What's your favorite tip?