Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Team Jones and The New Year

Kat sent me the New Year Newsletter a while back and I failed to share it with my faithful followers.  I am so very proud of them.

Dear friends,

Outside is gray and the snow is beginning to melt. This makes everything look covered in mud and dirty. It is our least favorite time of the year, but it is also when the weather begins to warm to the 40s and 50s, and we know that sunnier weather is just around the corner! We hope this letter finds you all enjoying the beginnings of spring and new life!!! January and February have been busy months and we are awaiting the day when we can spend more time outside! It was a long and cold winter, and we rejoice with warmer weather and the opportunities it brings!

This month has been a wonderful month. We began the month by sharing at the kindergarten where many of our girls learned while they were at the orphanage. There is a very special teacher there who is one of very few who ever showed our girls kindness and love as they grew up at the orphanage. We went and were special guests at a program. We had the opportunity to take them Christmas shoeboxes as well, as many of them are from poor families or from the orphanages. It was such a joy to see our girls reconnect with a woman who has poured her heart out for them. We are always so overwhelmed by the positive examples our girls and guys have had, and we feel especially grateful for them. So many people have beaten and abused and mistreated our precious ones that it is very easy to be angry and frustrated with most adults, but these few positive examples restore our hope.

Throughout the month of February, we really focused on different types of love and how God loves us. We posted scripture, shared love, and had a great youth group meeting or two about love. We even had a special girls night just to remind them of how loved they are. Understanding who you are in Christ and knowing that you are loved by Him no matter what is so important to their healing from the wounds of their pasts. On Valentine’s Day, we woke up early and made special heart shaped Danishes for the girls (all 36 of them) and then spent the day decorating and making a yummy Greek dinner for them. We set the table for 36 and then served them a plate full of delicious food with a side of home-made heart shaped cookies. They loved it, and they all said they felt so loved. We try to remind them that as much as we love them…God loves them infinitely more. It is such a treasure to be able to share His love with these girls-to try every day to be a beacon of His light and love.

During the past four or five weeks, Kathryn has started a new weekly tradition. She got up very early one Monday morning and made breakfast for all the girls in both houses. Then the next Monday, she did the same thing. Then for the past few weeks, Brian has been helping with preparing breakfast as well. The girls all love it so much, and it makes them feel loved for us to get up very early (about 4:30 typically) just to do something special for them. They are more than worthy of that level of effort and so much more whether they realize it or not, and we want them to understand how worthy they are of love from those around them. Their response has been so positive, we are completely hooked on making special breakfasts on Mondays. We find ourselves throughout the week thinking of different ideas of what to prepare. We love starting our day with lots of hugs from our little family, most of whom we typically don’t see until they return from school in the afternoon.

We don’t normally write much about our lives outside of Stella’s Voice, but there’s stuff happening there too. For instance:

• Our local church (International Christian Fellowship) has made the transition to a new pastor. Our previous pastor and his wife are wonderful, and we were so blessed to have the chance to learn from them. However, health issues have required them to move back to the states. The new pastor and his wife are super nice, and we are looking forward having them as part of our little church family.

• The Honda Element that we purchased has been such an amazing blessing to us. It has been so nice for Kathryn to have more freedom to go anywhere she needs to or wants to go without depending on someone else or our luxurious public transportation. We have also been without our ministry vehicle for about three weeks, so having our own car to drive in its place has been tremendously valuable for us and our whole crew. We can’t say thank you enough to those of you who have supported us in ways that allowed us to buy a car.

• We have started a Bonfire account to help raise some much needed funds. Not being able to come home to raise support can be quite difficult for many reasons. Our friend Abby helped us design some shirts to sell through Bonfire as a fund raising project. You have until March 15th to order a shirt. Every purchase helps. Thank you sooooo much for your help!! Please feel free to share this link with others https://www.bonfire.com/team-jones-in-moldova/

As always, we have attached a few photos here as well. Thank you all again so very much for your prayers, cards, emails, Facebook notes, and financial contributions. It takes all of these to keep us going when we are so far from home. We appreciate all that you have done and continue to do for us.

With hearts full of thankfulness!

Brian and Kathryn Jones

Team Jones in Moldova


P.S.  We observed End It Movement day on February 23rd. This is a day to shine a light on the tragedy that is modern day slavery. Our houses exist to prevent our girls and guys from being victims of traffickers.

We are still experiencing winter-like weather here. It was 40 degrees today and then it snowed again. Forty is a balmy day for us

I am having trouble posting the pictures that are attached so I will only share the high points.

La multi ani from Moldova

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fishing for Wednesday Hodge Podge Answers


Here are the questions and my answers to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back over to Joyce's blog by clicking here to share answers with all your friends and neighbors. Then hop around and comment on some of the other blogs.  Everyone loves a little bloggy love.  I know I do.   See you there!

1. Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven't been fishing is that something you'd like to try?

Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, fish or cut bait...which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life? 

I have been fishing many times and enjoy it a lot.  I have caught many fish, thrown some back, kept some for eating.  Right now the end of the school year is fast approaching and I would have to say fish or cut bait.  That is how I feel trying to get my seniors to do their work.

2. What's something you're always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?  My keys and my cell phone.  They seem to disappear in my purse.

3. Your favorite fish tale or movie?  Finding Nemo and Big Fish

4. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.  I am sunrise.  Definitely a morning person and I love to get up early, grab a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise.  It makes my day.
5. What's the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?  It WAS a pair of Birkenstocks from the very early 80's.  I discarded them in January.  Now it is a jacket and sweatshirt from my early Auburn days.....1985.
6. We've got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What's been the best and worst part of your winter so far?  I am so ready for a getaway.  Spring Break for us is the last week in March.  It cannot get here soon enough.  The worst part of winter so far....is one day it is cold....and the next day it is 70 and we are wearing shorts and flip flops.
7.  The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day...will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what's your favorite JB tune?  I will not be celebrating....but if I did...frozen would be my choice since it is supposed to be 75 here today.  I love Jimmy Buffet and if I have to chose a favorite song it would be Come Monday.
8.  Insert your own random thought here. Do you know/watch the HGTV show, Fixer Upper?  I just finished reading the Magnolia Story about Chip and Joanna Gaines.  LOVED IT!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Welcomed Hodge Podge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered the questions today, add your link at the end of Joyce's post by clicking here and be sure to leave a comment for your blog neighbor.


1. What do/did you call your grandparents? If it's something unusual tell us the story behind the name. If you're a grandparent what do your grands call you? Who chose your moniker?
My dad's mom was called Grandmother.  She was very austere and refused to have any other moniker given to her.  My mom's mother was Little Grandmother/Granny.  She was a very tiny lady and most of the grandkids were taller than she was.  I did not have a grandfather on my dad's side living when I was born and my mom's dad was Granddaddy, Grandfather, or Tige.   My moniker is Nana K.  Eric and Roulain's kids call her mom Nana V.
2. Ever taken a road trip along the California Coast? If so what was the highlight of your trek? If not, any desire to do so? What's one tourist attraction along the coast you'd add to your must-see list?
I have done the entire PCH.  I love the California Coast.  I adore Santa Barbara, San Diego, Carpinteria.....I would love to go and do it again.
3. What are three things you don't know how to do?  Knit, Ice fancy cupcakes, really crochet
4. Tom Peters is quoted as saying, 'Celebrate what you want to see more of.' If that's true, what and how will you celebrate?  Peacefulness -“Stop caring about what other people think of you, how they perceive you, or if they approve of you. Start to focus on your inner peace.”    I sit in the shade of  my big tree....and listen to my Corinthian chimes as they lull me into peace.
5. Thursday (February 16) is National Almond Day. Do you like almonds? Which would you prefer-an Almond Joy or a macaron? What's something you make that calls for almonds?  I do not love almonds or coconut.... and would  turn down an Almond Joy or a macaron.  I swap out almonds for walnuts or pecans.
6. What does Saturday morning look like at your house?  Coffee on the porch with each other and breakfast at Jeff's Place with Beth at 8.  I love Saturdays and don't want my routine interrupted.
7. Share with us a favorite book you've read this winter.  Love Does by Bob Goff.  I am doing a facetime/Skype study with my daughter in Moldova.  I am loving this book.  I also read and reviewed on my blog Control Girl  It too was pretty amazing.8.  Insert your own random thought here.  I am back.  After 14 days in UAB hospital and a month off of work....I am back at work and healing.  It was a long, hard, end of the year.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Control Girl

About The Book:  Tension, anger, fear, anxiety-it all begins with a heart that craves control.  Little fights with your husband and kids. Unhappiness when things don't match your version of perfect. When your perspective of how life should go replaces God's, you doom your quest for security, peace, and joy before it even starts.  Thankfully, there is a better way.  Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.  Learn how you too can lay down this burden of trying to control everything and find rest in surrendering to the One who truly is in control.  Learn more and purchase a copy.
About The Author:  Shannon Popkin is a wife and mom, a speaker and teacher, and a leader of small group studies. As a writer and speaker, Shannon combines her love for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She has been published by Family Fun, MOMSense, and Focus on the Family Magazine, and is a contributing blogger at TrueWoman.com. Shannon and her husband live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens. When she's not taking pictures from the sidelines of her kids' sporting events, Shannon loves to be opening the door of her west Michigan home to family and friends. Find her at www.shannonpopkin.com.  
My Thoughts On The Book:   I began reading this book in the hospital.  I did not really want to read it because I felt bad.....and it really did not apply to me.  Boy was I wrong and the Lord used my illness to point out some things I had been overlooking....like being controlling.  It is so much easier to see controlling behavior in others, isn't it?  While I lay there in my hospital bed at rock bottom I looked up and realized I had some major lessons to learn.  Popkin does a wonder job unveiling the controlling tendencies that we all have.   I loved that she hared her own struggles and the struggles of real women of the Bible.  The struggles of Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Miriam were used along with scriptures to show how control hurts us and impacts our relationship with God.  This book is excellent for people with Control Issues and even for those who struggle and don't even realize it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book  from Litfuse.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Dog Who Was There


About The Book:   Dog Who Was There (Thomas Nelson, January 2017)
No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah.
He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.  Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.  Learn more and purchase a copy.
About The Author:  Ron Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, "Notes to an Actor," was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, "About Grief," has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare’s sonnets. He has acted extensively on TV—from "Lost" to "West Wing" to "Entourage" to originating the role of Mr. Casper on "Freaks and Geeks"—and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie "Illusion," for which he also wrote the screenplay. Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on "Major Crimes." He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.
My Thoughts On The Book:  I am a dog lover and usually request the books with dogs as the main characters.  I was excited to read this one.....but as the ready went on I found I struggled greatly with reading it. It was some more challenging read.  The first half moves very slow and I had to fight with myself to actually get through it.  The Point of View was confusing and it  was hard to stay with because one moment it is Barley the dog and the next minute is a third person talking.  Some of the book was childlike and I could not believe it was an adult read....and then the final part of the book swept me up into the story.  I wish I had only read the last part of the book.  I cannot recommend this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book  from Litfuse and Thomas Nelson.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”