Category

Beauty

Category

Snowflakes, Sparkles & What Makes YOU special!

It’s been winter here for months already, and it seems like all we get is plenty of wind and snow. The boys have been asking me what snowflakes are made of, how they are formed and what they look like up close, so I thought this was a perfect chance to teach them about God’s beautiful and unique creations 🙂

Snowflakes are symmetrical but they are not perfect.
They are ordered but they are created in disorder.
Every random branch, retells their history, that singular journey that they took to get here.
Most of all they are fleeting and temporary. 
Even if they look unique on the outside, inside they are all different!

It’s okay to be smart- Joe Hanson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUot7XSX8uA

I don’t know about you, but when I heard this, It really touched something inside of me!

A Little Bit of History

“Wilson (Willie) Bentley (1865-1931) was born on a farm in Jericho, Vermont, … [an area with] an average annual snowfall of over 120 inches.”
“At age 15 he began drawing snowflakes while looking at them through his microscope – no easy task, because most of them melted before he could complete a drawing. At age 16 he learned about a camera that could be used with a microscope. His parents saved the money and when Willie was 17 they bought him the camera. It took him over a year of failures before he finally achieved his goal – a photograph of a snowflake, the first one ever taken.” 
(Acts and Facts, 12/2011)

After a long time of studying, collecting and photographing snowflakes, Bentely eventually made thousands of pictures for magazines, universities and other forms of media.


“At age 66 Bentley published a large … book of his photographs titled Snow Crystals … Less than two weeks after his book was published, he walked six miles home in a snowstorm, caught pneumonia, and died two weeks later

Snowflake Bentley- Article

Lesson:

There Is No Explanation for the Universe Except That God Made It!

Bentley said:

“…wonders of God’s handiwork are to be found in the tiniest details of all He has made. One powerful example of this beauty is the intricate design of a snow crystal.”


Job 38 – God responded to Job by describing different aspects of creation that prove His right to control the universe.

Verse 22 asks: “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail?”

Because we are not the creators of the universe, we have not right to control it! The stunning art, and beauty of snowflakes is just one of the many proofs that we have that God indeed, is the creator of our universe!

God Appreciates Beauty!


Bentley said: “Anyone who’s seen snowflakes under a microscope cannot help but be amazed by how beautifully complex they are.”


Ecclesiastes 3:11

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”

All around us we see beautiful things! God’s creations are everywhere, and it’s easy to see the beauty of a fresh snowfall. But for thousands of years, nobody even knew that snow was beautiful! Nobody had ever observed under a microscope the individual snowflake, but God…He saw this beauty all along!

As we appreciate God’s beauty around us, we will begin to appreciate God Himself.

Are we not more important to God than a simple snowflake?!

If God spent so much time, creating something as simple as snow to be so beautiful, than how much time and love do you think he put into creating his most prized creation- His children?

YouTube Movies:

Activities

For our activities we cut out snowflakes together, as well as took the microscope outside to look at the snowflakes that we could find and try to identify their shapes! We also made snow candy to end up the day, because who doesn’t love a good treat at home?

Make Paper Snowflakes!

Here are some pretty printable patterns for snowflakes

Make Snow Candy!

Snow Candy Recipe

INSTRUCTIONS
Only 2 ingredients are needed to make maple snow candy.


– I use 1 cup of maple but you can double it. Just make sure you have enough snow ready.
– Fresh, clean snow. I like to use a rectangular pan with a 2-3 inch depth. Like a lasagna pan.


1.) first you fill the pan or pans with fresh Packed snow and set aside either outside or in freezer where it will stay cold.


2.) pour maple syrup into a 4 Qt. pan and heat gradually until syrup begins to boil. Make sure to adjust temp when it gets to a rolling boil so it doesn’t boil over.


3.) after a very short time on heat just low enough to keep it a rolling boil, the bubbles will begin to change both color and consistency. There is no need to stir at all but you must monitor constantly. Do not walk away and you will be rewarded!


4.) in the beginning it boils with a lot of large bubbles. It will be a light amber color.


If you use a thermometer then heat the syrup to about 234 degrees F. A higher heat will make a stiffer candy. I actually don’t use a thermometer. It’s how we did it growing up and you can too.


5.) as the hot syrup nears the candy stage, there will be fewer and fewer large bubbles and the mass will become more foamy in consistency.
Very quickly after this it should become uniform in consistency and the amber mass will take on a more glassy appearance. This means it is ready to pour – you have attained liquid candy!


6.) grab your pan(s) of snow. Pour the liquid in a thin stream onto the snow. Liquid is very hot so be careful!


Try not to pour too much on top of itself as it will be too thick.
The candy will cool very rapidly on the snow. The result will be a chewy, glassy looking taffy like candy.


You only need to wait 10-15 seconds as the snow will rapidly cool the candy. You can use your fingers or a fork to eat it.


7.) make sure to collect your candy out of the snow if you don’t eat it all right away. If you leave it in the snow too long it will begin to melt.

https://www.bigoven.com/recipe/maple-snow-candy/447094

Make Snowflake Cookies

Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar.

Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/sugar-cookies-recipe-1914697

Conclusion

It was such a fun today! The kids used so much creativity in asking questions and making beautiful decorations for the windows. It was wonderful to be able to show that the same God who creates the million and billions of individual snowflakes is the same God that creates us! Thanks for joining us!

Shattered

The glass windows were frosted over and icicles were starting to form from the roof, scattering light across the room. It wasn’t even December yet and I had no intention of decorating the small trees that sat in front of the fireplace in our living room. In fact I had just woken up from a long nap to see that the entire world was covered with a thick covering of white sparkly snow for the 8th time that season, making it feel like a winter wonderland yet again.

That must have been what they were thinking when they found the box I had tucked away. 

When I got up, and saw how sweetly they were working together and how tenderly they were carrying each ornament, I didn’t have the heart to tell them to stop or put them away. Instead I sat close by, and watched quietly, as they carefully placed each ornament on the tree; My 6 year old son, my 4 year old son and the 6 year old neighbour boy.  These boys had my heart and they knew it!

After a few minutes, just decorating must have got boring, because my oldest son got excited and squealed, ‘look this one’s plastic’, and then attempted to bounce the pretty, thin, glass ball on the ground. 

It shattered on impact before I could even squeal a warning, and the three boys stood silently, their mouths forming o’s as they surveyed the scattered pieces of fragmented glass. Isaiah, the one who had bounced the ornament, bent down and slowly began to pick up the pieces. He brought them to me, reverently presenting them in outstretched hands and trembling lips.

At first I wanted to scold him, getting angry that he had taken the balls out without permission in the first place. Then I was mad at myself for allowing them to do it while I just sat and watched. But something quiet whispered to my heart, and instead of scolding, I asked a question. The three pairs of eyes moved from the sharp, tiny pieces, up to my face as they considered the answer. ‘Can any of us mend this broken ball?’

It was obvious that the hundreds of tiny slivers couldn’t possibly be put back together, Isaiah shook his head sadly, apologising for his mistake, still trying not to cry. But it wasn’t regret that I wanted him to understand just now, it was hope

I reflected on my own life. My hopes and expectations for what I thought it would be like to be a mother and a wife. I clearly remembered how many times I had fallen short despite my best efforts. The times when I had shattered the beautiful gifts that I was sent with, times when I wanted to give up much more desperately than any human but myself knew. Times when I felt cracked.

The marriage I’d experienced for more than 20 years was always rewarding, but never easy. We definitely were not the couple that never fought, or whose passionate love made daily life a constant bliss. Between significant shared mental, & physical challenges, it seemed like few things had turned out the way I had expected in my family.

And then there was parenting… I had always dreamed of being an awesome mom, reading stories to the younger kids around a fireplace, chatting late into the night with the older ones, as they poured out their secret dreams and fears, exposing their hearts with me. All of this in preparation of course, for taking them on grand adventures around the world where we’d feed starving children and sleep on dirt floors and eat nothing but mud cakes and tea for dinner.

As each new child was born, they were welcomed with enthusiastic delight into our growing family. And the plan was working flawlessly. The sleepless nights and poopy diapers had never overwhelmed me much, but when those chubby cheeked angels grew up a little, and the toddler days were behind me, I was surrounded by complications that I never imagine I’d be facing.

Never-ending access to technology, friends, and the distracting messages of the world took its toll on my happy world. Kids became teenagers and it seemed like nothing was the same anymore. Suddenly our united, fun home, seemed to turn upside down as children ventured off on their own long before my mother heart felt ready to let them go. Private struggles with my oldest 2 girls, fought Goliath battles inside my heart, persuading me that I was a monumental failure, and the relationships around became strained and distressing.

I guess no mom likes it when their children leave home, and I was no exception, the only difference was, mine left when they were only 16  & 17. Still far too early to be on their own, in my opinion. 

Ridiculous questions plagued my days and especially my nights:

Had I been too strict, or maybe too lenient? Maybe I never should have given them cell phones, or allowed them access to social media at all. Had I chosen the wrong diet for my kids, maybe it was GMO’s. Was it because my devotionals weren’t interesting enough, or was it because of all those mornings that I missed even teaching devotionals? The vitamins that I bought were probably the wrong kind, or when we visited Drs. They were most likely the wrong Dr’s or they must have prescribed the wrong medicine. It was the underwear, definitely the thong underwear I found secreted away in their drawers that had started it all!

Endless dark thoughts crept in whispering convincing lies and foolishly I believed. 

footsteps in the beach

Days past in darkness and despair, spending hours locked in my room weeping into my pillows, and begging God to take away this pain. When my daughters were doing great in the world, going to school, making friends and working, I was proud, and felt glad they were having this grand adventure without me. But when I heard word that they were alone, or afraid, or cold, or hungry, or hurt, or abandoned, or abused or sick or in bondage, I thought my heart would surely collapse. In fact one day, my heart did give way and I fell in heap onto the floor where I couldn’t breathe. I felt the beats of my heart slowing down and I wondered if this was the moment where I would leave this earth life. In all honesty, I was glad at the possibility of escaping all this pain and finally going home.

But then it came; The vision of all my other kids and my husband, my parents and my sisters and brothers. I knew I wasn’t supposed to leave just yet, and If I did, I would regret it for eternity.

I begged my heart to breathe again, I desperately wheezed in one breath and then another. It felt like my heart was being crushed and my lungs were screaming for air. I knew that I was meant to win this battle. I was going to get up and fight. I suddenly became determined to never allow this darkness to consume me again.

I was going to shine a light on the lies and the whisperings that were holding ME captive. I was going to believe that regardless of all the things I did and didn’t do, that God had chosen me to be this wife, this mother, this sister, this daughter, and somehow with His Grace, I WAS GOING TO BE ENOUGH!

My husband found me a half later on the floor shaking, covered in sweat, my breath finally having returned normally and the crushing pain subsided. He picked me up gently and carried me into the bedroom where we discussed our options. We made a plan together of how we could get through this experience, and how we could be the parents and companions that we both wanted to be.

We had a support network of amazing friends and family members that helped inspire us, and we discovered powerful mentors in the professional world that taught us things in our personal lives that were game changing.

I learned the power of meditation, affirmations, deep breathing, exercise, water, sleep, emotional stress management, and prayer.

Above all else, I learned how to share my burdens with our Savior Jesus Christ.

If you are in this situation, overwhelmed or paralyzed with fear or despair I encourage you to check out
THIS POST about Emotional Stress Management and get help from friends, family or medical doctors.

As the days turned into months and the months into a couple of years, the fears and doubts that had previously seemed to rob me of my happiness at the most inconvenient times, slowly began to transform. My heartaches got tumbled inside and the jagged edges were smoothed into something that didn’t feel quite so painful.

I began to see the transformation of my own children at home and away from home, as they made mistakes, picked themselves up, and tried again. I got visits and small messages from my girls who were away from home, reminding me of how magnificent and strong they were, and how the beautiful gifts that they had possessed since birth had blessed other people. 

It seemed like I could feel the muscles of my heart being torn apart and then fiber by fiber stitched painfully, slowly, back together. I was learning to turn my life over to God, to have faith in His great plan of happiness for my family. My feelings of despair, and discouragement gave way to something unexpected. I was growing a heart that was stronger, happier, and full of the expectation of joy for family and future. 

Here I was two years later, staring down at my son’s outstretched hands, looking at the shattered pieces reflecting the light from outside in a million different directions. There was no way to put all my thoughts into words  that this little boy would understand, but I hoped with a simple explanation he could at least grasp a little of this message. 

Even with our hardest work and most focused attention WE WILL MESS UP! We will be surrounded at some point in our lives by shattered pieces of something that was once beautiful and that we cannot possibly repair alone.

But the splendid & wonderful news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that if we let Him, the Great Healer CAN repair our lives and makes us whole again!! 

I am glad that my sons reminded me of this heart saving lesson. I am glad my daughters continue to test me and try me, and even though 5 more glass balls broke before the afternoon was over, I am glad that today I learned about Christmas.

A lesson I learned from a seashell

The wave crashed up washing black sand and frothy sea foam onto my bare feet and with it came a little white shell. I bent down and picked  it up. Inspecting it carefully, I turned it around and around and then tried to return it into the ocean where it belonged. Rather than throwing it back I found myself whispering ‘just one more’ and guiltily stuffing it into my pockets.

I laughed aloud at myself. Every. Single. Time. I saw a shell or a sparkly bit of sea-glass I felt compelled to pick it up. IT’s like I was remembering my childhood and hadn’t yet grown out of the habit of trying to keep pretty things. In fact my own collection of seashells which sat neglected on the countertop at home, was bigger than both my other sea collecting daughters pile. This  obsession was becoming a problem and I’d have to stop soon!

My kids who were ahead me on our walk came running back with their hands full of large dirty and broken seashells that they had found at a burnt out fire-pit. They were the huge snail shells that the locals would catch when the tide was out and roast over the fire for dinner. I remembered clearly not too many nights ago when Eric and I had heard noises outside and gone with our flashlights and machetes to investigate.

We found a group of grown men squatted around a fire, laughing and joking. Eric and I were so entranced by their meal and methods had ended up staying and swapping stories until late into the night. When their rice was finally cooked in the heavy pot they had positioned overtop the fire, more men startled us both by seemingly appearing out of nowhere and throwing down their evenings haul. They had been out night diving and they had collected  one small fish and 5 large snails. This would make the perfect meal they told us with a grin.

We sat for hours visiting and watching as they taught us all the best ways to prepare snails and fish and rice. And then sometime after 10pm when their meal was finally cooked they divided it all up equally amongst themselves and dug in with their hands. Juicy snail water dripping off their fingers and contented smiles on their messy faces they offered us some of the food, but we declined.

My mind jolted back to the present and I looked at the shells in the kids hands. They were ugly, brown, and burnt from the fire. But as I turned one around I saw a hint of mother of pearl. I Remembered back to my old childhood days on the islands when I would bring shells to my father and as if by some kind of voodoo he would transform them into something so breathtaking I was sure it had been made by magic or mermaids. There was mother of pearl in these shells, I was sure of it.

I excitedly told the kids that we were going to do a science experiment. I had seen a bottle of Muriatic acid in the old shipping container out back and was sure it would do the trick.  They had no idea what I was planning but I bossed them around telling them to get bowls and gloves and glasses and shells and water. We set everything out on the table and filled up the first bowl with the strong acid. Careful not to splash we gently set the dirty shells into the clear liquid. Immediately it started to bubble attacking the impurities and eating away the calcium coating.  Only minutes passed before their hidden treasure started to show itself.   Layers of Calcium Carbonate which had taken years to create, quickly dissolved and in it’s place was an iridescent shimmery shell that looked incredibly more beautiful and valuable than anything the children had ever seen.  They were mesmerised by the transformation and began asking so many questions. Where had it come from? Why was it covered up? How did I know it was there?

I was having a proud mamma moment at having successfully impressed my kids as well as nephews when I realized that God had his own message He was trying to tell me.

I excitedly told the kids that we were going to do a science experiment. I had seen a bottle of Muriatic acid in the old shipping container out back and hoped it would do the trick.  They had no idea what I was planning but I bossed them around telling them to get bowls and gloves and glasses and shells and water. We set everything out on the table and filled up the first bowl with the strong acid. Careful not to splash we gently set the dirty shells into the clear liquid. Immediately it started to bubble attacking the impurities and eating away the calcium coating.  Only minutes passed before their hidden treasure started to show itself.   Layers of Calcium Carbonate which had taken years to create, quickly dissolved and in it’s place was an iridescent shimmery shell that looked incredibly more beautiful and valuable than anything the children had ever seen.  They were mesmerised by the transformation and began asking so many questions. Where had it come from? Why was it covered up? How did I know it was there?

I was having a proud mamma moment at having successfully impressed my kids as well as nephews when I realized that God had his own message He was trying to tell me.

I grabbed my scriptures and started flipping the pages. I remembered reading about this somewhere. The book fell open to Joshua 3: 5

And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you. 

I read another scripture:

The Savior said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. “Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;“Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Image Credit: Wikipedia

The mother of pearl had always been inside that shell. It took a process that I am sure would have been painful to that shell if it had feelings to feel. But it was worth it! It’s light was shining. I want to be like that shell, broken and covered in sin and sorrow but humble enough to turn my life over to He who can heal. He who can make whole. He who can erase my sins and make me new again, even Jesus Christ.

Canoeing up a River in Santo, Vanuatu

Hey Guys, I had so many positive responses from my blog post about our trip up the river that I decided to make a movie 🙂 Enjoy!

First off, as a reminder we found someone to take care of the kids and all three adult couples left Port Vila and went to Santo. Santo is well known around the world for it’s stunning white beaches, long wide roads and natural beauty. As we drove from the South part of the island to the North part of the island we saw an old sign advertising a canoe ride up a river to a hidden blue hole for $10 a person.

Immediatley we had our driver pull over and we hopped out of the back of the truck. We found the man who was running the canoe business and he told us all to pile into a rickety little hand carved canoe. We were sure that we’d sink it, but he insisted that we would be just fine.

We began our journey down the river and it was more than we could have ever imagined. Total silence, except the sounds of the lush green jungle the river wound through and the splashing of the the paddles. We canoed and sang hymns and it felt sacred and unreal.

When we finally arrived all that had been promised was displayed in utter magnificence before us. There amongst the various shades of green was a deep sapphire blue pool of water. It was amazing.

After staring at it for a long time we changed into our swimsuits and went swimming. The cool water with the hot sun and the freshly picked tropical snacks that were provided truly made an experience that we will never, ever forget! Today in our world schooling family, I was the one who received all the lessons.

What is the most significant lesson you have learned from a worldschooling experience?

Silencing our Fears

There are not even words to describe the perfect day we had today.

As we flew down the road yesterday bumping along in the back of the truck we saw beautiful canoes all carved in the custom style lining the road. The sign said blue hole and our driver told us that if we paid 1000vt ($10USD) then we could have a ride up the river. It sounded pretty fun and so today when we passed the canoes again we stopped to take a ride.

A rusty chain hung around the gates and nobody was to be seen. Not to be discouraged our driver said he knew where the owners would be. So we went on a bit of drive checking in and out of different village houses until we finally found someone who knew where the owners were. I guess they were napping in the grass. After explaining that we would like to canoe up the river on one of the boats and paying him the advertised fee we all climbed in. It was simply amazing!

Once we got settled and the chatting and laughing subsided, (with our group that rarely happens) Ben (our guide) paddled us up the river. It was like magic. The birds were singing in the trees and the only sound was the paddle hitting the water. The words running through my subconscious brain spilled into my consciousness.  Peaceful. Tranquil. Magical. Sacred. If nature could pray it was like witnessing the prayer of the earth to Papa God. It really was a extraordinary.

We got further and further into the jungle and now vines were dangling in seemingly mid air with oversized pods and spiders and other creatures living with them. The white sand of the river bottom was visible the entire time and schools of tiny  fish made appearances here and there, dancing around the boat and going on ahead without us.

After probably 20 minutes of paddling, and much sooner that we wanted we turned the corner and there was the blue hole.  A glistening pool of deep turquoise blue in the middle of the jungle.

So out of place amongst all the greens and browns that we had been seeing, the blue hole looked like a secret hiding in the forest.

After playing, rope jumping, feeding fish and exploring the surrounding gardens and paths we persuaded Ben to take us all the way down the river and to the open ocean. It was nearly just as beautiful  as our trip up the ocean and a few times during the trip Dan or Eric or Lindy burst out in song unable to express the reverence for the surroundings in any other way.  Sometimes I wonder what it would do for the soul to be constantly surrounded by so much beauty. It certainly agrees with my soul!

I also considered how lovely we thought the river was and not knowing what was at the end of it, all of us could have happily stayed and played in the shallow pools all day. However, just like God’s plan for us, He knows what is ahead, and He has much greater, and grander plans for us than we could ever imagine.

How could my life be transformed if I would quiet down for while and trust in the Almighty?

Waterfalls of Faith

They promised me that there were steps under the rushing water.

With the sound of the water pounding on rock all around us, The people in front of me and the people behind me waited and watched.

I didn’t believe them. The water was coming so quickly- tumbling, rushing, pouring over the rocks frothing at the sides. How could there be steps under all that?

Finally I got the courage to go forward. First one step and then another, I slowly felt my way forward putting my feet one in front of the other into the middle of the monstrous Mountain waterfall. Up and up I went, never being able to see each step that I took but hoping there would be a steady place to land each time.

The people behind me followed me and the people in front of me cheered for me.

I was never even intending to go in the first place because I hadn’t been feeling well. But when my sister came by with a load full of local women from our church and begged me to hop in I couldn’t resist the invitation. As unprepared as I was, with no towel, or bathing suit, I was so glad that I had been persuaded.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing, outdoor, nature and waterAlthough the day was drizzly and grey the entire hike up the waterfalls had been pleasant and beautiful. I especially enjoyed the activities with the local women that we have been invited to. It wasn’t until The hiking was mostly done, and we had nearly reached the very top of the nearby Cascade Waterfalls that things started to get rather scary.

Image may contain: outdoor, nature and water

I had successfully made it UP the steps that were hidden behind the rushing water, and after climbing over boulders and around trees I saw the view that made it all worth it.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing, outdoor, water and nature

There at the top was the beginning of the waterfall, a giant torrent of liquid spilling over the rocks and down the mountain pounding & crashing into pools at the bottom. It was truly beautiful.

After I had spent some time just appreciating the magnificence of the waterfall I turned around and headed back down.

This time I KNEW that there were steps underneath the water. I couldn’t see them, but I knew that they were there because I had just climbed them. Armed with this knowledge I started going back down confidently through the pools of rushing water. At that moment two interesting things happened.

The first thing that happened was that I noticed a rope which I happily grabbed onto and tried to use as means of steadying myself as I climbed down. Almost as quickly as I noticed the rope the time came where it was no longer heading the direction I needed to go. I knew I had to let go. I was trying to get back down the same stairs I had climbed up but this time I felt my feet slipping, being pulled by the great force of the waterfalls current as thousands of gallons of water and thousands of pounds of pressure all headed down, swirling around my feet nearly sweeping them down with them. If I stood still I was fine, but when I started to move I was unsteady.

Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and water

I began to feel nervous as I realized that I wouldn’t be able to make it in my own. I glanced around at all the people some going up some going down each person struggling to find their own safe path oblivious to my need.

Finally I noticed a young man in front of me a bit further ahead. He looked strong and remarkably secure in his footing. I had to yell to be heard above all the noise of the water, and truthfully I was embarrassed as reached out my hand and begged him to hold it as I climbed back down the stairs.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, tree, outdoor, nature and water

After thanking the man for helping me, I took a moment to reflect. As I sat under the shade of a giant tree, I suddenly became overwhelmed with the beauty of my experience and started to recognize lessons that could be applied to my life. I d like to share them with you 🙂

“There are stairs beneath that waterfall”- The gospel of Jesus Christ is a beautiful gift from God. I know for myself there is joy to be found from following the teachings of Jesus Christ. There are many in life, who are doing what I did with the waterfall. They are looking at the path ahead with doubt and fear, but in order to experience the beautiful view at the top we must take those steps, and when we cannot see the stairs we must exercise faith.

Letting Go- The rope was there the whole time, even though I only noticed on the way down. It was a guide and a help to me, but the time came that I had to let go and go a different direction. Sometimes in our lives there are things we need to let go of in order to more fully follow Christ. It could be fears, unhealthy habits, friendships that pull us down, or possibly even aspects of our culture or upbringing that are not in harmony with God’s plan of happiness for us. When we recognize the right time and the right things to let go of we are making room in our lives for many more things that are good that will bring us even greater joy and success.
Asking for Help- Pride is one of my weaknesses. From the time I was little my parents taught me that I was strong, bright and capable. I hate asking for help, but this time I really needed it. What I found out afterwards was that the man who took my hand was actually a worker at the falls. He had been there hundreds maybe even thousands of times. He knew exactly where the sure footing was, he knew just the right way to bring me and he was happy to help. In much this same way Jesus Christ can be our sure footing. His hands are stretched out ready to take ours at any moment. He knows the way, because He is the way!

I’m sorry this post was so long, thank you so much for sharing in my little adventure today. May God bless you in your journeys as He is in mine Today my world schooling lesson was a lesson in faith. I hope it stays with me forever!

xoxo

Holy Healing Mud Baths!

The smell of rotten eggs filled my body and I thought I was going to throw up right there.

The good news was that nobody would have noticed because the thick mud surrounding our bodies was much too dark to see anything through. Plus the throw up would had just joined the dead floating crab and other little things mixed in with our hot mud bath. Happily I managed to keep my lunch inside.

We were all rolling around like pigs in the sulfur filled mud baths at the “holy healing waters” that we found on the side of the road. Often as a parent we have to force our kids to stick with us during our world schooling adventures!

Since the local medicine man was so helpful 😂
I decided to try another island treatment for ailments.

I had Heard that Vanuatu had some natural Hot Springs and mud baths. I’ve been to Hot Springs before and I definitely felt positive health benefits after soaking in them, so I was excited to discover that this island we were staying on had them as well.

When I went on trip advisor the reviews were kind of sketchy, so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I knew I didn’t want to go alone, and was delighted when my husband and sister and a few of our kids agreed to make the journey with me.

After driving for an hour halfway around the island and up and down windy mountain roads we finally spotted the hand painted sign indicating that we had arrived at our destination.

Eagerly we pulled in but nobody seemed to be around except a couple village pikininis (children) playing in the grass.

We finally were able to track down someone who was happy to take our Vatu (money) and show us around.

She told us stories of how she was once very large and when she went in the waters she became skinny, and how her dad was crippled and when he went in the waters he started to walk. The truth seemed to be mixed generously with some things that seemed quite unbelievable, but I was happy to be there anyways and was definitely not expecting a miracle 🙂

“You must sit in this pool for 10 minutes. Then you must cover yourself in mud in that pool. Then we wash you off and you sit in that pool.” She pointed up ahead as she spoke to us in her broken English.

The instructions she gave us were quite clear and we obediently took off our clothes and hopped with our swimsuits into the first pool.

It was hot but felt amazing. The water was bubbling up from a spring deep in the earth and you could taste the salty minerals.It felt like heaven sitting in the homemade cement pools bathing in the hot spring.

My 15 year old who usually hates getting dirty and my sister were the first to leave the clean hot spring and take a dip in the mud bath. At first the mud pool was gross. It was smelly, and well…muddy.

Mary, the daughter of the owner of the place, got right to work covering our faces and backs with the mud as we tried not to laugh and throw up at the same time. The smell was pretty overwhelming.

Nate just kept saying “this is so gross, get me outta here” but his mom made him stay anyways.

We all got really into it and soon we forgot the rotting eggs smell and we were floating blissfully into the oozing, stinky mud.

It felt like we stayed forever but it was only an hour in the mud. When we felt ready we got out and Mary washed us off by dumping buckets of warm salty water over our heads and body. It actually felt AMAZING!

As I watched her humble, seemingly boring job serving  us, I couldn’t help but feel gratitude for this young lady. She spent the whole time we were there watching us, telling us which baths to go in and which were too hot (there were some places that the water reaches 90 Celsius / 104 Fahrenheit ). She helped us when we got mud in our eyes and and washed away the mud from our adventure so we could be clean again.

I also couldn’t help but feel gratitude for One who is greater than us all who chose to humble himself and be the servant of all. I am grateful for His guidance in which paths to take and which places to avoid and most of all his loving sacrifice that washes us clean when we are covered in the dirt and filth of the world.

We truly are blessed to have this special time to draw closer together as a family as well as to draw closer to the Savior and see His hand at work in our lives.