May ’20 in Pictures

Is quarantine over yet? We’re missing our students something fierce! Can’t wait ’til we can all be together again. Until then… here’s another month of isolation pictures!

Thanks for your continued prayers and support! Until next time!

Ang’s May ’20 Reads and QOTMs

Two sweet missionary friends (one who lives right next door, and one who lives halfway around the world) have been telling me for quite awhile that I absolutely had to read Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. They weren’t wrong! This fantastic book, first published in 1869, is a coming-of-age story – journal style – that traces a young girl’s life as she grows up, starts a family, and deals with life’s various hardships and struggles. Prentiss so artfully shares how Katherine falls more in love with Jesus each day. The language and cadence may be difficult to grasp at first (it’s a 150-year-old work after all), but I wholeheartedly recommend this book!

I also worked through The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. The authors, Lukianoff and Haidt, while operating from a pragmatic point of view, make some excellent points about the culture of “safetyism” that is overtaking America today. As far as I can tell, these two gentlemen are not believers. While they’ve missed the wonderful difference Jesus could make if He were invited into the conversation, they do a great job identifying problems and trends in our country, and they recognize that, as a nation, we must value truth more than comfort.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz was a birthday gift! This story falls into my favorite genre. I finished the book contemplating the various decisions each of these characters was forced to make to stay alive. Are there any instances when compromise is OK? What happens when personal decisions affect the lives of others? This story is certainly not a pretty one, but I continue to be drawn to the experiences of those who lived through the atrocities that Hitler unleashed. (From a writing standpoint, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m old-fashioned. Novels written in the present tense usually tend to annoy me. Overall, I was much more impressed with the survival story upon which the book was based than the actual writing. Five stars for the storyline, 2 stars for the delivery.)


Below are some favorite excerpts I read this month!

We are all very happy together when nothing goes wrong.1

I came away, and all the way home I fought this battle with myself, saying, "He loves me!" I knelt down to pray, and all my wasted, childish, wicked life came and stared me in the face. I looked at it, and said with tears of joy, "But He loves me!" Never in my life did I feel so rested, so quieted, so sorrowful, and yet so satisfied.1

Then I began to hem those handkerchiefs Mother asked me to finish a month ago. But I could not think of anything to do for God.1

I see that if I would be happy in God, I must give Him all. And there is this wicked reluctance to do that. I want Him--but I want to have my own way, too. I want to walk humbly and softly before Him, and I want to go where I shall be admired and applauded. To whom shall I yield? To God? Or myself?1

I wish I did not take such violent likes and dislikes to people. I want my religion to change me in every respect.1

"...the first thing you have to do is learn Christ." "But how?" "On your knees, my child, on your knees!"1

If Christ do all, what am I to do?1

It is easy, in theory, to let God plan our own destiny, and that of our friends. But when it comes to a specific case we fancy we can help His judgments with our poor reason.1

Instead of fancying that our ordinary daily work was one thing and our religion quite another thing, we should transmute our drudgery into acts of worship...1

...if I had been told what I was to learn through these protracted sufferings I am afraid I should have shrunk back in terror and so have lost all the sweet lessons God proposed to teach me. As it is He has led me on, step by step, answering my prayers in His own way; and I cannot bear to have a single human being doubt that it has been a perfect way. I love and adore it just as it is.1

We can all be more thoughtful about our own speech, but it is unjust to treat people as if they are bigots when they harbor no ill will.2

"I don't want you to be safe ideologically. I don't want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong. That's different. I'm not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity."2

... Americans are now motivated to leave their couches to take part in political action not by love for their party's candidate but by hatred for the other party's candidate. Negative partisanship means that American politics is driven less by hope and more by the Untruth of Us Versus Them. "They" must be stopped, at all costs.2

Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.2

Having people around us who are willing to disagree with us is a gift. So when you realize you are wrong, admit that you are wrong, and thank your critics for helping you see it.2

... thinking is social. As lone individuals, each of us is not terribly smart, for we are all prone to cognitive distortions and the confirmation bias. But if you put people into the right sorts of groups and networks, where ideas can be shared, criticized, and improved, something better and truer can emerge.2

He must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below, of which we have the honour to be the faithful servants.3

1Stepping Heavenward, Elizabeth Prentiss
2The Coddling of the American Mind, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
3Churchill: The Power of Words, edited by Martin Gilbert

April ’20 in Pictures

Has it been scientifically proven yet that time moves faster the older you get? Either way, April 2020 is in the books – just like that. Have these 30 photos of our month in quarantine!

Ang’s April ’20 Reads and QOTMs

Zipped through some fiction books this month and made progress on a few of my non-fiction reads.

One of my favorite librarians left me Things I Never Told You on her last visit to the DR. I enjoyed reading about these three sisters who work through their broken relationships and try to process their fourth sister’s death. (From a writing standpoint, I’m still not sure how I feel about the switching between first and third person, but it didn’t bother me enough to quit reading.) Not a 5-star read, but I liked it enough to purchase the second of the Thatcher Sisters trilogy for a couple bucks on my Kindle.

Moments We Forget, book #2 in the aforementioned series by Beth Vogt, continues the story of the Thatcher sisters, focusing on Jillian and her battle with cancer. I liked “getting to know” the three girls better. It was cool watching another sister become interested in developing a relationship with the Lord.

More than a Carpenter is a classic read that I’m not sure I’ve ever picked up before. This new edition was co-written by Josh and Sean McDowell; the study questions were well-thought through. This is a great read for new believers or anyone curious about Christianity.

Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin was my favorite read this month! I downloaded this piece of historical fiction awhile back, and it’s been sitting dormant on my Kindle for several years. I accidentally opened it a couple weeks ago and thought, “Why not give it a try?” Ended up loving it. The characters were fantastic, Caroline’s slave Eli being a favorite. (I was reading this simultaneously with Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a non-fiction book about the same time period but focused on events out West. Neat to see Lincoln mentioned in both. I was able to make some more big-picture connections in American history.) I know life doesn’t always bring the happy ending for everyone, but it felt good to see things resolve after so much conflict/loss.


I tried awful hard to pare down my favorite thoughts/quotes from this month, but I wasn’t very successful. Skip them if you must.

How did forgiveness work? The divine interacting with the less-than of mankind. How did the supposed goodness of God not get overpowered by the world’s darkness?1

Mark Twain said this--'I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.'2

But maybe...maybe faith wasn't so much about believing enough. Being enough. Maybe faith was realizing the truth of who God was, and what He promised, was enough for all her doubts.2

Forgiveness always has a price.3

As G.K. Chesteron says, 'The purpose of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to close it again on something solid.'3

Christianity is not a religion; it's not a system; it's not an ethical idea; it's not a psychological phenomenon. It's a person. If you trust Christ, start watching your attitudes and actions because Jesus Christ is in the business of changing lives.3

'He put us where we are for time being and give us a job to do. And even if I can't see a reason why, I gonna do this job for Jesus. I gonna love white folks, whether they love me back or not, 'cause that's what Jesus tell me to do.'4

'Seem like a mighty hard thing to change someone's mind,' he said. 'Most folks won't change their mind unless they have a change of heart first.'4

'Some of these men never once thought about Jesus their whole life,' he said. 'But they crying out to Him now cause they hurt and afraid. Jesus wants to answer them. He wants to help that poor dying boy out there, but the only arms and the only voice He has is ours.'4

'Can't never go by your feelings. Got to go by the word of the Lord.'4

'I won my freedom long before the Yankees came,' Josiah said quietly. 'I was free the moment I picked you up and decided to forgive Missy Caroline and her daddy. You can start living as a free man, too, once you forgive...."4

Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear - I fear greatly - the storm will not pass... There is no chance of a speedy end except through united action.5

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: it is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.5

There are vast numbers not only in this island but in every land, who will render faithful service in this War, but whose names will never be known, whose deeds will never be recorded. This is a War of the Unknown Warriors...5

Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.5

Be of good cheer. The hour of your deliverance will come. The soul of freedom is deathless; it cannot, and will not, perish.5

Goodnight then: sleep to gather strength for the morning. For the morning will come.5

'There are bad white men and bad Indians,' [Black Kettle] said. 'The bad men on both sides brought about this trouble.'6

If you see yourself or your fellow students as candles, you'll want to make your campus a wind-free zone.7

A culture that allows the concept of 'safety' to creep so far that it equates emotional discomfort with physical danger is a culture that encourages people to systematically protect one another from the very experiences embedded in daily life that they need in order to become strong and healthy.7


1Things I Never Told You, Beth K. Vogt
2Moments We Forget, Beth K. Vogt
3More Than a Carpenter, Josh and Sean McDowell
4Candle in the Darkness, Lynn Austin
5Churchill: The Power of Words, edited by Martin Gilbert
6Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown
7The Coddling of the American Mind, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

March ’20 in Pictures

Not sure how to describe this last month – bizarre, perhaps? While some events were unexpected, the last few weeks have also been full of incredible blessings! Here’s our March in 31 pictures!

Ang’s March ’20 Reads and QOTMs

People often ask me what I miss most about life in the States. Family and Kroger’s ice cream aisle are pretty high up there, of course. But – nerd alert – I think the library would make my “Top 10” list as well!

The last few weeks, I’ve been reminiscing about the endless hours I spent as a young girl in our public library. (There is a literal ache in my chest when I think of that place!) I absolutely attribute my deep love of reading to my camping out at the library. I felt such a sense of wonder every time I walked into the main atrium of whichever branch we decided to visit on a particular afternoon. It was almost overwhelming for my indecisive little heart – which section should I peruse first? Sometimes I’d stand there amongst the rows of books, not really searching for anything in particular. Just being in the middle of all that knowledge and fun excited me!

It hurts not to have that same access to physical books. I can’t check out a giant pile of good reads (with my very own library card, of course). There are no weekend trips to listen to an author do a read-aloud. While my kids humor me by taking part in reading challenges at home, it’s not the same as going through our library’s summer reading program. I’m much more thankful these days when I get my hands on a good book, and my Kindle quells the sadness a bit, too.

I’ve digressed. I’m supposed to be sharing about my March reads.

This month, I finished Paul David Tripp’s book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. To be completely honest, I’ve been feeling a lot of “mom guilt” recently in regard to how I handle my growing kiddos and their various struggles. One of my biggest takeaways from this book was the reminder that, while I have the incredible responsibility to be an ambassador of God’s love, grace, mercy, and discipline, my children will ultimately be changed as they choose to walk with Him. My biggest criticism of Parenting is how repetitive it felt. Tripp could’ve gotten his point across in half the number of pages. Overall, I’m glad I read it – I was able to slow down and think intentionally about how I can better draw my babies toward Jesus in each precious, mundane moment.

Awhile ago, I was talking about The Boxcar Children series with Krista, a fellow missionary. I was fairly obsessed with those books at one point in my childhood. Freedom’s school library has a few of them in English, but I wanted to read the first one aloud to my kiddos to set the stage. I was elated when Krista told me her girls owned a copy! This month, Noah, Leyton and Cal were forcibly introduced to the enchanting world of Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny. Such fun – for me, at least!

Below you’ll find a few of my favorite quotes of the month.


Since change is most often a process and seldom an event, you have to remember that you can't look for a dramatic transformational conclusion to your encounters with your children. 1

What kind of picture are your children getting of God's authority by the way you exercise yours? 1

It's not your weaknesses that you should fear, but your delusions of strength. 1

Parenting is about the willingness to live a life of long-term, intentional repetition. 1 

If the mind developed through blind, material process of Darwinian evolution, then why should we trust it at all? Why should we believe that the human brain--which was the outcome of an accidental process--actually puts us in touch with reality? 2

What does national unity mean? It surely means that reasonable sacrifices of Party opinions, personal opinion, and Party interest should be made by all in order to contribute to the national security. 3

It is curious how the English-speaking peoples have always had this horror of one-man power. They are quite ready to follow a leader for a time, as long as he is serviceable to them, but the idea of handing themselves over, lock, stock and barrel, body and soul, to one man, and worshipping him as if he were an idol; that has always been odious to the whole theme and nature of our civilisation.... 3

1 Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, Paul David Tripp
2 More Than a Carpenter, Josh and Sean McDowell
3 Churchill: The Power of Words, edited by Martin Gilbert

February ’20 in Pictures

One sixth of the way through 2020! Here’s a small peek into our February!

Thanks for continuing to pray for us! See ya in a month!