Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Before I moved to the country I thought that birdhouses were only decorative accessories. You know, like the cute little miniatures you find in gift stores that aren’t even really hollow? But the birdhouses my boys made and brought home one day actually looked like they were meant to be nailed to a tree. They were made from very rough dry boards that looked weathered and worn and once hung seemed to become one with the bark. Still, I wondered, do birds ever really use such houses? The answer is yes! We often sit at the dinner table and watch birds go in and out. It is great entertainment, and we sometimes take turns trying to narrate the scene or imagine what the birds might be thinking or saying:

“Here’s a nice one. No bathroom though, that could be a problem. Still, it is close to work…”

“Look dear, this one has a view of the garden! And can you believe all those worms? It does need a coat of paint, maybe that’s why it’s so cheep!”

“What do you mean this is your house? I don’t see your name on it! Besides, we’ve been summering here for ages!”

I guess before moving to Spangle I didn't paid much attention to birds, I just thought they all lived in nests. But the birds really seem to enjoy the birdhouses on our trees. They snuggle in them through thunderstorms, perch on top of them and look deep in thought, and even seem to play games around them. Birds somehow know that these houses are provided for their use, and readily occupy them without thought of lodging fees. Our feathered friends do not seem the least bit bothered that they did not earn the right to use the birdhouse or pay their own way. They simply accept the gift.

It reminds me of another gift that was nailed to a tree. A gift that cannot be earned, but must simply be accepted. He is a refuge from the storms of life, but, oh so much more. He offers me a home for all eternity…a mansion really. And while many go through life believing the idea of heaven to be more of a decorative accessory than an actual reality, I am convinced that heaven is not like the solid birdhouses with fake doors painted on them. Jesus, nailed to a tree, opened the door to heaven for me.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. I Peter 2:24

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jack and Josie

Ever since Libby got her picture on the blog the cats have been whining about equal time. Here they are in their favorite chair, which they mostly fight over, but occasionally agree to share. Jack is the orange tabby and Josie is the grey tabby. Jack loves everyone, including Libby and Josie. We are not sure if Josie likes any of us at all, but all of us, including Jack and Libby, love on Josie whether she wants us to or not. We have asked our vet about the requirements for moving cats to Europe, and it seems very do-able. Both felines will have to be given a euro-micro-chip and a rabies shot AFTER having the chip implanted. The worst part for the cats will be the actual journey...couped up in a cargo bin for hours on end. Jack will recover, but Josie may never forgive us. Then again, she already treats us with disdain so perhaps she will seem just like herself after the trip. All that to say...we are planning on taking the cats when we move to France.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Conversion Van?

We were running errands in Spokane and saw this van in a parking lot. So I'm just wondering, does anyone besides me find this to be an interesting combination of window decals? On the left window we see the face of Jesus and the words "Jesus is God and He loves you!" Then on the right window we see the name of the band KISS, complete with the four painted faces of the band members. Do you think Jesus would sing along? "I-I-I I wanna rock and roll all n-i-i-i-i-ght, and party every day!" Over lunch the boys were brainstorming to try to determine the link between the two windows:
"Well, they all have long hair."
"KISS plays ROCK music, and Jesus IS the ROCK."
Yeah, we were pretty much grasping at straws. Some things simply cannot be explained.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Legos in My Living Room

I am expecting a friend this morning, and I hope she isn’t shocked at the condition of my home. I actually love my home. I love to have people over, too. Guests are welcome anytime, and I’ll even promise to offer a cup of tea and something sweet to eat. The house will be warm, the bathrooms will be clean enough that no one will suffer embarrassment, and it’s likely that my bed will even be made, should anyone care to peek in my room. While I’ll be able to offer a comfortable place to sit, I suppose I feel the need to warn guests about the Legos that will be scattered across the living room floor. You see, it is not that I am an inept housekeeper. My children are not so spoiled that they don’t know how to clean up after themselves. I have learned to love the Legos in my living room. They remind me of where I am in life, and what really matters. To tell you the truth, as my boys are now eleven and twelve, I am already dreading the day when Legos no longer adorn the floor. But when that time comes, I will (hopefully) move to embrace the next stage as wholeheartedly as I embrace the one in which I am now. Perhaps in the years to come I will be blessed with a living room overtaken by teenagers watching action movies, or covered with guitars, drums, and sheet music, or wired for computer game designing, or hosting fantasy football parties. But for now, you will simply find Legos in my living room. I let them be because of a lesson I learned from a regret-filled stranger who wrote a letter to Dear Abby.

When I was a teenager, young and invincible, my mother had me read a Dear Abby letter from a woman who was recently widowed. She wrote to tell how through 50 years of marriage she had nagged her husband about all sorts of things…leaving lights on, leaving shoes in the middle of the floor, leaving cupboard doors opened. Now that he was gone, she longed for those once annoying evidences of his presence. I don’t know that I pondered the column too deeply as an adolescent, but I have thought of it many times since. Sometimes I can find myself starting to huff when David leaves his jacket out or dresser drawers opened, and then that Dear Abby column comes to mind, and I try to change my attitude. I hang his jacket in the closet while thanking God for the joy I find in my lifelong companion. I close his dresser drawers, aware that the act is but a small chore compared with the delight I still feel in having him for my roommate. Every now and then, I still nag or sigh or huff a bit. And David mostly takes it all in stride, kind and gentle man that he is. But the other day, when I began a minor tirade about the books and papers strewn across the living room and spilling over to the dining room table, he looked at me sideways, with a gleam in his eye, and said, “You’ll miss these little messes when I’m gone!”

And he is right. And soon enough I will miss the Legos in my living room, too. In the meantime, I celebrate them. The evidence of the presence of my boys is more valuable to me than a spotless floor. Oh yeah, well, once a week we do scoop them all up so I can vacuum, and sometimes, like for Christmas and Thanksgiving, the boys actually put the Legos away in their rooms. And it is nice for a while. Like having company is nice, for a while. But when a few days have passed, and the Legos have found their way back down to the living room, I know that things are back to normal in my house, and I am content.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's a Dog's Life

It seems that Libby is wearing one of my socks. No, this is not just because after growing up with four sisters I was missing having someone with whom to share my clothes. She has suffered an injury to which no woman I know is a stranger: a broken nail. David and I took Libby on a walk last night, and noticed that she stumbled over her front right paw once or twice during our trek, which we both found rather disconcerting. But when we got home, all seemed fine and we turned our attention to the business of sampling the pies I had attempted to make that afternoon. (By the way, my Butterscotch Meringue was a flop! The flavor was alright, and the meringue turned out great, but the butterscotch portion never firmed up past the pudding stage. Anyone who knows what my mistake(s) might have been, I welcome your input!) Other than my pie disaster, the evening went on as normal until bedtime. David was putting Libby into the mud room, when he noticed a trail of blood following her. He got down on the floor with her, and found that she had cracked one of her toenails and it was bleeding fairly heavily. David looked up remedies on-line, and carefully cleaned and wrapped the wound according to the video-lesson he had watched on some pet care website. Graham (bless his heart!) knowing how squeamish I am, took the job of cleaning up the bloodstains upon himself. Today the bleeding seems to have stopped, and Libby is mostly herself, though she isn't moving around much. I have been tasked with a trip to Petco for Dog Nail Clippers and antibiotic ointment so that David can clean and re-wrap the wound tonight in a way that will inhibit any infection. It appears that somehow her nails got too long, and while I think her groomer clips her nails each month, I guess we need to keep a closer watch on them to prevent this injury.

People who know me and my fondness for Libby often ask what we will do with her when we move to France. The truth is, I really don't know. I haven't been able to bring myself to the point where I could ask that question yet. France is a very pet friendly country, we just aren't certain of what our living arrangement will be, and if it will be conducive to having a large dog. She is such a great dog, and we love her to bits.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vroom! Vroom!

We celebrated Father's Day with a tour of Spangle on David's bike. Yeah. I know. We're pretty cool. The boys have spent the day calling David "Your Majesty" and "Oh Great Father of Ours," showering him with such selfless gifts as offering to play Star Wars Battlefront II with him and suggesting how much he might enjoy going out to a movie...with them of course. But all in all, I would have to say it has been a pretty relaxing and fun filled weekend.

Adding to the joy of our Sunday motorcycle tour was the new knowledge of that fact that when we move to France (which, again, won't be until we have raised 100% of our support) we will take much of our home furnishings with us. It turns out that shipping our belongings is more economical than having to replace them once we are there. When we heard the size of the shipping container that we will have, we realized that we will be able to fit pretty much everything we own, including the motorcycle. I guess that means, contrary to popular belief, you CAN take it with you!

By the way David, on or off your motorcycle, you still make my heart go Vroom! Vroom! I'm so glad that you are the father of my children!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Alarming E-Mails

Occassionally David receives e-mails or text messages at work that cause him some concern. Last week Graham used my phone to text the message "The bar is on fire." David was imagining a scene similar to this in our kitchen:
Graham, however was witnessing a small spectacle on main street in Spangle, where the local bar, which changes names and owners about four times a year, was on fire. Here is the photo that Graham took with my phone, which might have been a helpful attachment to send to David, who called me in a panic believeing our kitchen bar to be on fire!David recovered quickly! Probably because he is used to receiving messages like that at work. I have sent e-mails that have caused similar anxiety in dear David. Here are just a few:

"Hi! I was just wondering, where's the plunger?"

"Hey, the boys need the hatchet, do you know where it is?"

"There is a wierd electrical smell coming from the living room. Any ideas what that might be?"

"Something fell off of the dishwasher, but I think I fixed it."

Don't you just LOVE e-mail?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Believing God

In her book, Believing God, Beth Moore suggests this litany for believers to rehearse to remind ourselves of why God is worthy of our faith:

  • God is who He says He is
  • God can do what He says He can do
  • I am who God says I am
  • I can do all things through Christ
  • God's Word is alive and active in me

These aren't just nice ideas, high hopes, or even goals that we can achieve. They don't become true if we close our eyes really tight and try with all of our hearts to believe them. They are true whether we believe them or not. But I bet life looks different when we actually live like we believe the truth of these words.

"I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24b

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Il neige

A dear friend gave us a French-Phrase-a-Day calendar for Christmas, and this is one of the very first phrases we learned. I can't tell you how disappointed we are to be using that phrase today--JUNE 10--because it means "it's snowing" and that is exactly what it is doing right now at my house. It seems I was bit premature in declaring an end to our long cold winter since the current temperature is all of 34 degrees. Today also happens to be the second anniversary of the Spangle flood. It was June 10, 2006, when our house was invaded with three feet of water in a brief fifteen minutes, destroying the entire ground floor of our home and displacing us for 6 months. Perhaps Spangle should declare June 10th to be"Wacky Weather Day!" It will forever live in our hearts as such.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

When will you leave?

We try not to imagine that people are anxious to be rid of us when we are asked this question, which we seem to be asked quite often now that we are officially appointed as missionaries to France. The answer is somewhat nebulous, as our departure date will depend entirely on how quickly (or slowly) our fundraising goes. GEM does not release missionaries to the field until they have raised 100% of their support. Based on the current exchange rate and the cost of living in France, GEM estimates that this process will take us about 18 to 24 months. Until then we will live at our current address, go to our current jobs/schools, and do pretty much what we do now, with the added excitement of watching God work to build our support and agreeing to cooperate with Him in that process. So the short answer is this: we really don't know when we will leave, but we hope to be moving to France sometime in the year 2009.

In the meantime, we are being encouraged to make an exploratory trip to France as a family this coming October. During that trip we would meet with other GEM missionaries, visit places and churches where we might be posted, and probably most importantly, introduce our boys to France. The trip is expected to last 2-3 weeks, and it would be our children's first international experience. Just yesterday we had passport photos made for them at Costco. Little steps like those seem to be making this adventure more real in my mind.

I asked David when he thought it would finally sink in--not just the exploratory trip, but the whole "move to France and become missionaries" thing--and he said, "When I buy four one-way tickets to Paris!" Yikes! That will be weird!

Friday, June 6, 2008


appoint \ə-ˈpȯint\ v. 1 a: to fix or set officially b: to name officially c: archaic : arrange
Today, following a fairly extensive telephone interview, GEM appointed us to be missionaries to France. Typically GEM appoints missionaries during a Candidate Orientation, but because our orientation date was postponed until the fall, they offered to appoint us through this alternative method. We will still attend a Candidate Orientation later this year, but in the meantime we can begin the Partnership Development (read: fundraising) process. Lest you all have the sudden urge move and leave no forwarding address, please be assured that more than anything, we need your love, prayers, and emotional support. We know that our call to France will also require the generous financial support of individuals, families, and churches; however, we have faith that God will prompt those who are called to give. He is in charge, He is the provider, and He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. The next steps seem challenging, scary, and a little out of our comfort zone. I would be completely daunted by the tasks ahead were it not for that still small voice that I hear behind me saying "This is the way, walk in it."

The specific details of our assignment in France are still being formulated, but at this point it seems as if we are being led to commit initially to four years in France. I guess this gives a double meaning to our Four For France blog name--four Williamsons for four years! We will spend our first year in full time language school, and then we will probably be charged with helping to build up one or two individual churches in France so that those local congregations become passionate and effective at reaching their communities for Christ.

Now some facts about France!

  • One of the world's most cultured and sophisticated nations, it nevertheless is spiritually barren. Intellectualism, rationalism, widespread involvement in the occult, individualism, and only a nodding acquaintance with Catholicism have proved to be barriers to presenting the Gospel to this needy, but hardened, country.

  • There is profound ignorance of the Gospel. Many suburbs of Paris and other cities are without an established witness--that is to say, there are entire cities without even one Evangelical Christian congregation. The Catholic Church has still a strong cultural and spiritual influence, but the majority of the population has deserted the Church.

  • There are also large numbers of unreached minorities in France, such as the Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian communities, Jews (France has the 4th largest Jewish community in the world, and the largest in Europe), North Africans (almost entirely Muslim), the Berbers, Black Africans, Indo-Chinese refugees, and Turkish, Iranian, and Afghan communities.

  • Only 2% of the French people identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. These believers are scattered and split up among more than 120 Protestant denominations and nearly 3,000 congregations. There is little unity among Christians, and they suffer from spiritual bondages, fear of witnessing, indifference, marriage with unbelievers, and church divisions.

  • Only 5% of the French people own a Bible.
Please pray for the people of France, and for opportunities for the Gospel to be heard and take root in the hearts of many!

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Bird in Hand

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

The boys found this little bird hobbling around the lilacs yesterday, and it acted as though it couldn't fly. We consulted with our local Audubon Society, worried that perhaps it had a broken wing. We learned several things about birds!

  1. The yellow speckled chest means that this is a baby robin.
  2. The bird is a fledgling, and must have fallen from the nest, because its wings are not developed enough to fly.
  3. Birds do not have a very strong sense of smell, so the mother will not reject the baby once touched by human hands.
  4. The best thing to do was put him back in the nest if we could find it, because the baby bird would still need its mom to feed it for another day or two.
  5. If we couldn't find the nest, we should put it under the tree where it was found because the mom will find her baby and feed him on the ground.

We were also told that the best and hardest thing to do was to walk away. We could not find the nest, and so we put the baby under the lilac, and left him. I guess I didn't worry much after that because, well, I know God promises to care even for the birds. He sure was a sweet little fellow!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It’s My Gift

Many of you know that I have a certain talent for completely misunderstanding lyrics to songs. Unfortunately, this talent has in no way made me shy about singing along with the radio. What I sing may not make any sense, but boy do I sing it with conviction!

So the other day when I was driving with Graham, a song by Caedmons Call came on the radio. I was belting out the words, “Dance on the water!”

Graham patiently shook his head and corrected me. “It’s ‘Hands of the Potter,' mom. ‘Hands of the Potter.’”

Believe it or not, for me that was pretty close.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lilacs and Fun Runs

The lilacs that line the North edge of our yard are just now in full bloom, and their fragrance is almost intoxicating. June is late for Lilacs, even in Spokane, but I think I can say with some level of assurance that our long cold winter has (finally) officially ended. Further portends of the onset of summer are the seedlings that have sprouted in our vegetable garden, the increased shedding of our indoor cats, my husband's obsession with his motorcycle, and the promise of another school year coming to an end. Each year, Liberty Elementary has a Fun Run where students and parents may run a two-mile course together, and then enjoy the reward of popsicles on the playground. For the fifth year in a row I had the joy of running with one of my boys. It was a most beautiful 70 degree day, and seeing as Liberty is nestled in the farmlands of Spangle, the race route took us past green wheat fields, frolicking horses, and a handful of mournful looking cows. I was the only parent of a fifth grader to run with a student, or in Chandler's words, "You were the only mom brave enough to run!" I love to be called "brave." What I love even more is an eleven year old son who is gracious enough to run with his mom.