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The Summer of Our Discontent

Lust isn’t always about bodies. Lust is about our eyes — where we set our gaze. We covet what we allow ourselves to linger on, especially in regards to others’ possessions and experiences.  Any scroll through social media can bring up those desires: good books on a soft carpet in front of a warm fire. Wide open roads in a spacious vehicle and trips to beautiful vistas. Kids frolicking in the snow. Feet in the ocean.  Summer is my least favorite season, and it is always Summer here. Aside from the oppressive heat, Summer stretches on in an unchanging monotony of yellow and green and brown. No real temperature fluctuations. Little to no wind. Plenty of bugs with no winter to kill them. Not much  scope for the imagination nor hint of change on the horizon.  The antidote for lust is to flee. Close our eyes. Turn away. Set our gaze on something else, something more likely to remind us of how much we have already been given.  Employing the “snooze” on friends’ feeds is a powerful way of turn
Recent posts

Expectations: On Eight-Pound Babies and a Definite Lack of Chicken Finger Subs in Asia

Before we left the US, I bought some necessary and splurge items at Wegmans (arguably the best grocery store in the world) with the remainder of a gift card from some very generous friends. Looking at what I was able to track down within ten minutes blew my mind; in Phnom Penh, finding a single item often means trips to at least three different stores. Life is different here. Perhaps because things I want are so much harder to get, I find myself more appreciative of what I have. It also means I don't bother trying to find some of the things I would impulse purchase in the U.S., especially during pregnancy (do I really  want a chicken finger sub badly enough to spend an hour in traffic to make some sub-par version of it?).  Let me tell you about being a Western pregnant woman in an Asian city. In my first three pregnancies, I gained about 40 pounds each time (slightly more than the recommended ideal). But I worked out daily throughout and after pregnancy, and was able to reach my pr

Making a List and Checking it Twice (Choose Joy)

  Some of the best advice I heard about moving is to focus on what is good about where you are. This is solid counsel, and applicable to both temporal and geographic contentment. The pandemic provides endless opportunities for discontent, particularly comparison to how things used to be. But perspective is powerful.   I could think about snow, which reminds me that Summer is by far my least favorite season (especially in pregnancy), we don’t have a yard/lawn/parks, and the kids have been stuck inside for months (and now can’t go three minutes without fighting). We can’t bake Christmas cookies because we made the difficult but correct decision not to have an oven in our 90 degree kitchen. Our kids miss soccer, gym class, running, and having friends. And if my thoughts go in that direction, my jaw tenses up and frustration mounts.  Or I could think about how we have everything we need and so many things we want. A huge fan blowing. Christmas music streaming on internet better than we oft

Giving through Christian Health Service Corps

We are now Christian Health Service Corps missionaries. We’ve had people ask about the best ways to support us, which we will list below. Thank you for considering joining us on this mission!  If you have any questions we would love to hear from you. By Check Make payable to:              Christian Health Service Corps or CHSC Memo line:                             Project Number #176/Helm Mail to:                       Christian Health Service Corps PO Box 132 Fruitvale, TX 75127   Via Bill Pay Set up an automatic Bill Pay instruction through your bank/financial institution with donations mailed to the address above, giving your “ Project Number 176/Helm ” as the account number.   Via CHSC’s Website – for credit card donations Donate online at: _ https://www.healthservicecorps.org/author/helm/ (Please note when donating online that the Recurring Frequency default is monthly .   Use the drop down box to choose your preference.    Also, when donating online,

Life as a Choose Your Own Adventure Book

As a kid, I loved reading and re-reading Choose Your Own Adventure books to find the best possible outcome. Eaten by a shark? No problem. Return to page 65 and make a better choice. But there are no take-backs in real life. We are who we are in part because of the choices we made.  Taking my kids around places I grew up reminds me of how my choices intersected with God’s sovereignty to give me the life I am so grateful for today. What if I had chosen a different school? Another major? What if I had dated other people or hadn’t dated the people I did? We make thousands of decisions every day, and some seemingly inconsequential choices can have rippling effects.  I don’t often wonder about whether our kids should be growing up overseas. Someone once told us God’s will for us is God’s will for our young children, and that makes sense. But every so often I do find myself thinking about what their lives would look like on this side of the ocean.  Like when we visit my primary sc

Comforts that Travel Well

One of my favorite moments: when a U.S. customs officer looks up, smiles, and says, "Welcome back." After days (years?) of travel, something inside me heaves a contented sigh. The past few days, I've been collecting similar moments. Flushing toilet paper. A flight attendant with an American accent, which means neither of us are straining to understand or be understood. Driving a vehicle. Feeling cold (or anything except sweaty). Watching seasons change. Our kids splashing in a bathtub. Thick carpet under tired feet. An engagement ring back on my finger after traveling half way around the world with my parents for repair. Our kids jamming to the radio in the backseat. Silence. Setting up conversations without having to calculate time zone differences. Snuggling under a thick blanket. The joy of children seeing snowflakes again (in May). A fresh breeze of clean air. Sunlight after 6 P.M. As we find ourselves unexpectedly in the U.S. for medical treatment, we are thankfu

We Cannot Forgive More Than We Have Been Forgiven

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” the Lord asked (Acts 9:4).  In Saul’s conversion, the Lord revealed to Saul the depths of his own depravity, which was eclipsed by the subsequent revelation of the infinite Grace of God.   Saul, now blind, realized the extent to which he had been spiritually blind.  Formerly, he held to the law of Moses. He did not understand the wonderful love and grace of God as demonstrated on the Cross of Jesus Christ.  God blinded Paul to force him to realize that he was already blind.  God wants us all to learn this same lesson through Paul’s story.  Believers and unbelievers are both guilty of blasphemy.  Christians persecute the Lord by disobeying Him, daily contributing to the wrath against sin Jesus experienced on the cross.  Our disobedience literally hurts our Lord.  Unbelievers persecute Jesus by serving false gods.  Believers persecute Jesus by failing to obey Him.  This truth should guard believers against hypocrisy.    Jesus did not save beli