Tiptoe through the daisies with me!

17 May

Just this week we admired a deer grazing in the field next to our house. The field is full of wild daisies. Since moving to the country I’ve spent quite a bit of time just rejoicing in the beauty of God’s creation. This deer was just an example of the awesomeness of the wild life in our area. Thank you God!

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Heaven Comes to the City

22 Jun

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Whether we are believers or not, most of the people who live in the cities of this world want their city to be blessed and prosper. We want heaven to come to our city. Heaven in our city means healing, prosperity, purpose and life. This is my prayer for my city, Toulouse! Is it your prayer for your city too?

Quilt-making

26 Apr

seagullApostle Paul made tents so he could live and minister. There have been times in our missionary career when Dan and I have had to “tent-make”. Dan worked the first few years we were in France, doing odd minimum wage jobs. Then he worked again a few times during the summer when we were in Bible school in the 90s. Once we moved to Toulouse in 2006 Dan got a full time carpentry job until he retired at 67 years of age this January. During that time I took care of the children and did some ministry – more in the latter years with Dan working full time. Now that he’s retired I thought I’d try my hand at bringing in some additional funds (besides our missionary support and Dan’s Social Security and retirement money) by doing what I do best as an artistic expression of God’s creative gift that He gave me. It may sound pretentious, but I’m convinced that we all have some form of God-given creative expression in us just waiting to be released! Well, here goes…
I’ve opened a “shop” on Etsy which you can visit by clicking on this link: Nissi Quilt Creations

Fun with artists

19 Dec

My friend Nathalie had some fun drawing me as I was whiling away the time (at the Artisan sale in our church) cutting fabric and making yet another quilted wallhanging.  She drew this picture, of me sitting behind my stand, with a black pen, then filled it in with water colors, all in her little 5″x7″ notebook.  I then took a picture of it with my camera.  She’s an amazingly gifted artist! 

Pupping Season Point Lobo 2011

23 Oct

  
This most recent wallhanging is a compilation of two photos I took while visiting Point Lobo with my daughter in 2011.  One is of a famous copyrighted “Lone Tree” on a cliff and the other of a mother seal kissing her baby pup.  Good times!

Boring prayer?

20 Sep
Gethsemane prayer meeting.  Jesus praying in the background and 3 disciples bored and falling asleep.  Marbach Abbey, Alsace, France

Gethsemane prayer meeting. Jesus praying in the background and 3 disciples bored and falling asleep. Murbach Abbey, Alsace, France

How is it that Jesus’ 3 favorite disciples got bored during the most important prayer meeting of all time? Well, I think it must be because they didn’t understand the importance of Jesus’ prayer or the decision he was to make? It was only later in their lives that they would have to make some important life-changing decisions that would push them to pray earnestly as Jesus did – Not my will but yours be done.

Can it be that prayer is no longer boring when we realize how spending time with God changes us, molds us to His will as we get to know His heart, His will, and submit to it?  Prayer becomes less a list of needs and more a connection with the Almighty and Ever-loving God and Creator of the universe.

Dan and the Pastor

3 Sep

When Dan isn’t renovating Zack’s new house or repairing something at the family house at St. Pardoux or visiting his visiting parents at the family house or doing a thousand other things around our house! he’s encouraging a pastor friend, Asdean, a former Muslim, who has a heart for evangelizing Muslims and ministering to former Muslims just like Dan. Here’s a recent photo taken after a church service.

Dan and Asdean

Dan and Asdean

New Beginnings

30 Jul

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Zack just bought a house about 30 minutes north of Toulouse. Dan’s been doing some back-breaking renovations, making the old into new. At the same time Zack was given a cute kitty he has named “Néomaye” (pronounced Neomy).

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I love Toulouse

17 Jul

Just finished quilting my latest “masterpiece”. Still need to bind it, but you get an idea of the finished product!

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Patriotism in France

2 Jun

I write this while I’m sitting in front of the TV watching the French Open tennis tournament.  One of my favorite French players is playing, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.    He’s playing a popular Japanese player, Kei Nishikori.  But for the crowd, it’s Go, Go, Tsonga all the way.  Now if this tournament was going on during a colder time of the year, Marc-Antoine would have been watching it wrapped up in the Betsy Ross Flag quilt I made him.IMG_0864This is my favorite kind of patriotism, the peaceful, fun kind.  The warm and cozy kind.  The virtual kind.

The Fantastic Four for Christmas

28 Dec

We had a very nice Christmas, all together, at St. Pardoux – the family house where Jeremiah lives.  Suzie came from Monterey.  Bryan joined us from Algeria.  The rest of us drove 2 hours to join Jeremiah.  We partied for 3 whole days – Raclette, Foie Gras, Pumpkin pie, Turkey with special stuffing, Cream cheese pie, home-made Christmas cookies, Duck Magret and oysters!  Poor Jeremiah was suffering from some undiscovered throat ailment and needed to be taken to the hospital for IV antibiotics (Dr. Anne says it’s a kind of tonsilitis, meaning I can’t figure out what it is to describe it in English!)  Here’s a picture of my “Fantastic Four” children.  I would have gotten a picture with Bryan, but he was suffering too, with a sore throat!  That’s what French Christmas partying does to you!FANTASTIC FOUR

Memory Lane – Part 2

14 Jun

numérisation0027My Mom left this life this last Tuesday after a 1 1/2 year battle against Leucemia.  She was 81.   I treasure the time I was able to spend with her in 2012, totally about 5 months, spread out in three different trips to California.  I wish she could have waited to leave us, until I was able to see her again and she was able to attend Suzie’s wedding at the end of the month.  But God called her to Himself when He wanted.  And His will is perfect.

Although my brother John lives in Holland he happens to be traveling with part of his family in the US Southwest at this time and will rearrange his schedule to be in Southern Cal to join brother Mike and sister Linda who live there.  I will be there too, since the whole France Nadal family was already set to come to California for Suzie’s wedding June 28th.  I changed my ticket to fly to California tomorrow June 15th. My “men” – sons Jeremiah, Zachary and Marc-Antoine plus husband Dan – will be flying into San Francisco June 25th.

Amazingly enough, it’s her death that will bring all her children together again, to remember and celebrate her life and the impact it had on us, at the memorial service being organised for June 24th.

Memory Lane

10 Jun

numérisation0028Just going down memory lane, getting ready for the big day when our baby daughter gets married at the Monterey Aquarium, June 28th.

Here is a photo of our wedding.  It’s a scan, a bit snowy, of that special day 35 years ago when Dan and Anne got hitched!

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Beauty of God’s creation

19 Dec

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While Mom and I were in Monterey visiting with my daughter Suzanne, early December, we went to see the Monterey aquarium. The fish and sea life there are amazingly beautiful, very colorful and so demonstrate the creative glory of our God! If you are ever in the area you must see it!

Mom and I liked the Seahorse and Jelly Fish displays the most. In this picture you see a Leafy Seahorse. God made him to blend right into his kelpy environment. Neat, huh?!!

Love Me Tender

14 Jun

Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go.  You have made my life complete, and I love you so…

Most of us who grew up when Elvis was still alive and many born after would remember this song.  Such a sweet love song.  And Elvis just had that way of singing it (and moving those hips to his other songs), making the girls swoon and the parents ban his albums!

Some of the young people today get married to this tune, one being my baby girl, Suzanne, to her sweetheart, Bryan.  It may seem cheesy to some, tacky to others, but when I listen to the song and read the words, they describe exactly what I felt when I got married to my beloved, Daniel.  Just google the words, and you’ll see what I mean.

You can even look at it from a religious point of view.  Pretend God our Heavenly Father is singing instead of Elvis, and He’s singing about seeking our tender, however fragile love, and that our love with Him will be…to the end of time!

Either way it’s very romantic.

So Suzie , when at last your dreams come true, darling (daughter) this I know, happiness will follow you everywhere you go…!

Looking for God…In all the right places!

22 Nov

Remember the tune, “looking for love in all the wrong places”…?  Well, I think sometimes we are looking for God in all the wrong places.  We are expecting Him to show up when we want, in the way we want, for as long as we want, to do what we want Him to do.  God is not a vending machine.  He does and will come often to bless us, sometimes even when we expect Him to, but not always.

It would seem that we are in a time where God shows up when we least expect it, where we least expect it, to do what we least expect Him to do!  Thank God that He does!

I told you about the fig tree growing out of the side of the Cathedral in Albi, France.  God’s message of sovereignty was also illustrated to me by the wild tomato plant I found growing amongst the weeds in my backyard in June.  I replanted the tomato plant, watered it, and it grew and produced fruit.  Well, God “struck” again.  This week I found a pansy growing in my front lawn, perhaps not an unusual thing for some, except it’s the month of November and normally all is already in hibernation for the winter by now.  At this time last year we had already had our first snow storm.

I’ve been asking God a lot of questions recently, about life, about ministry, about why we live in Toulouse, about what He wants us to do and where.  I’m not getting too many answers to my questions, but I’m “finding God” in the seemingly spontaneous occurrences of life.  I see His sovereignty, His love of beauty, His grace and light even amongst the ugliness and darkness.

My prayer is that He will open our eyes to help us to see Him in the unusual things that happen around us every day.  He is there.  He is here.  Open our eyes to see you in all the right places, God. Amen.

Sign of the Fig Tree

17 Jun

For the past 6 months I’ve been meditating alot about fruit trees and what they represent.  I’ve even made three quilt projects these past months representing fruit trees! 

There are many Bible passages that talk about trees.   Leaves stay green if the tree is rooted near water.  Some produce fruit and others don’t.  Jesus cursed such a fruitless fig tree in one Bible passage.  And in another he told the parable of the fig tree that hadn’t produced even after 3 years.  It was given one more year, with fertilizer and care, to produce or it too would be cut. (Luke 13)

Tree fruit is good for eating (most of the time – I admit I detest dates!).  People fruit is usually in the form of children – we don’t eat them!  Ministry fruit is good works and tangible signs that God is been in a place, touched a life, left His mark!   Evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is demonstated in our characters.  God is looking for fruit, some sign that He has been effective in our lives.

Two weeks ago I was prayerwalking in the French city of Albi, about 60 km north of Toulouse.  And I saw a most unusual sight – a fig tree growing high up on the wall of the city’s Catholic cathedral.  2 days later a well-known American prophet prophesied over France concerning the fig tree in Luke 13.

What does this sign mean for us in France, for the ciy of Albi, and for me?  God, because of His infinite grace and love for us, is reminding us that He desires to be made manifest in our lives.  Fruit is that manifestation – whether it be through our productivity in life – family and work or in ministry with tangible signs that He is at work – people healed and coming to Christ, answers to prayer, etc. or in our Spirit-changed characters.  

But the sign of the fig tree in Albi especially emphasizes the uniqueness and supernaturalness of God’s work in us.  Where we think we would be the least effective, the weakest, where we think it is impossible, that nothing good can come from it, this is where God will work so that His greatness and awesome power will be made manifest to all!  He takes the foolish things and uses them to confound the wise!  We just need to surrender to the “Master Gardener”, the one who has the greenest thumb on earth!  He will take us, prune us, fertilize us, water us, and Fruit will result!!!!

Monterey

4 May

Having a great time in Monterey.  We eat the famous clam chowder from Monterey in a restaurant on Fishermen’s Wharf. 

We went house-hunting for Suzie who will be moving here in October to attend the prestigious Defense Language Institute at the Presidio Army Base. 

We then drove around the area and caught a few photos of the magnificent sunset over the Pacifiic.  Here’s a photo:

Bloggers Block

13 Apr

It’s been a while since I last wrote.  I’ve got what some could call “bloggers block”.  Yah, already.  I’ve been doing this thing for the past few months, and I’m already out of subjects.  Well, let’s just say, I’ve run out of subjects that I could write about in a blog.

It all started when my desktop computer broke down.  It was the same day I decided to exchange my iPhone 3 for an iPhone 4.  And I didn’t think of backing up my contacts or iPhone apps to my aging external hard drive.  The repair was supposed to take only 2 weeks, and 6 weeks later I’m still waiting.  The “on back order replacement part” that is needed to fix my machine is somehow holding up the show.  The factory which makes the part, probably in Japan, or who knows, maybe in Libya, was probably swept out to sea by the tsunami or bombed by NATO.  Who knows? 

I feel so lost without my contact lists, email lists, iPhone apps, and all the other good and important stuff I have on the desktop computer.  I’ve even forgotten to pay important bills, to call the people I intended to call, write emails, solve world hunger, payoff national debt… oops, just checking to see if you’re still there!

Latest news:  the computer won’t be fixed before I take off for the US.  So my dysfunctionalness will be going with me.  Please pray for me!!!

Going against the flow

16 Feb

Food for thought…

Some people just can’t go with the flow. Some people like to swim direction upstream. Some people get into going against the grain.
Well, we visited a town in Normandy a few days ago. I think the people must be like that. There are signs of it. See this photo of Dan.

We can be this way too.  –Contrary–.  Saying no when everyone says yes.  Stopping when everyone else starts.  Talking when people are silent.

For sure we need to work on our character.  Being contrary is not a compliment, and it’s obnoxious.  But on the otherhand as Christians we are not called to dance to the same tune as the world, or walk in the same manner as just anyone.  Sometimes going against the flow is what we are called to do, especially when the flow is leading us into trouble, into unnecessary danger, away from God.

Building our lives according to God sometimes rubs people wrong, sometimes seems the opposite of what you are “supposed to do”. 

The flow is easy to go along with.  It’s a current that just pulls you along.  Sometimes going against it is hard work and takes concentration.  But the fruit of it abides forever, withstands the storms of time, and makes us steady, sturdy people.

Adventure Blues

3 Feb

Have you ever felt tired of the idea, just imagining, time away from home, time that is supposed to be a sort of “vacation”? Well, this is the way I’m feeling right now, tired.
All the preparation for this upcoming trip (tomorrow at the crack of dawn – a 9 to 10 hour drive -yawn!!!) has got me tired and needing a nap! And I’m not even close to being ready!
I sit at my desk, eating TicTacs hoping that they will somehow wake me up, with their minty freshness.
Tomorrow we are going into unknown territory – the Cherbourg region of France, where you find the famous D-Day beaches. I’m hoping we will enjoy visiting those and all the other good stuff to see in the area.
I hope the weather is okay. Nothing like imagining yourself visiting the beach where the winds are blowing at 200 mph and the rain is coming down in deluge form and icy cold. Kinda like the scene from the movie “Saving Private Ryan”! Only in the more recent version of a similar movie (the one going on in my head!) Dan and I just get shot down by the wind and rain. This movie is called “Saving the Nadals from Certain Death (because they were unlucky to visit the Normandy beaches on the worst weather day of the century!)”. Back to real life… I have been reassured by our hosts that that part of the Normandy coastline is the warmest spot in France. “We shall see”, I say to myself with more than a hint of uncertainty!
Then after a few days ministering and visiting the Cherbourg area, then perhaps a little “Bretagne” before heading to Nantes. The last time I was in Nantes the weather was a bit like I just described above! And I had a raging head-cold. Well, this time we will be mostly indoors working on patchwork projects. I should feel somewhat relieved since this is normally a “no-brainer” hobby for me. Well, this particular patchwork workshop has turned out to be quite a challenge. I’m wondering if I am going to survive it!
Well, although the TicTacs have kept me awake, they don’t seem to have “perspective-changing and courage-giving” qualities. I need a nap, or maybe a Calgone bath, or both!
Any suggestions?…

iPhone Alarm Blues

3 Jan

I’ve got the iPhone alarm blues. After 2 weeks of vacation (you know – over-eating, getting up late, watching too much TV, etc.) I wanted to get up early on Sunday morning. I set my alarm for 7 am so I could have the quiet house to myself. But I woke up only to hear Dan moving about. Darn, no quiet house. When Dan is awake, everyone knows it! I look at my iPhone to see what time it is – 7:30 ! What?!! The unimaginable thing happened. My iPhone failed me. I checked and checked. It was set at 7. The mute button wasn’t on. The volume was correct. This just couldn’t be happening. Well, okay maybe I did something wrong.
But on Monday morning I again woke up late without the help of my iPhone. What’s the deal?
In talking with Dan and Marc at the dinner table tonight (yes, we do actually eat together and sometimes actually have a conversation over dinner!) they announced that they had heard that there is an iPhone alarm bug going around. It looks like I caught it. Hope it’s not like a cold which usually lasts a week. I need, I mean I really need my alarm. I can’t even remember what I used to do to wake up on time in the before-iPhone days. Somehow I managed, but I can’t remember how.
This is serious. I begin to wonder. What if something else doesn’t work on my iPhone? My contact list, any or all of my apps, my ipod… How will I live?
Um, maybe I should write Apple a letter to complain. I’ll just have to get on my iPhone to look for the address…

Christmas Confusion

22 Dec

We are having a particularly enjoyable Christmas season.  We sold the piano that was taking up the space where we put half a Christmas tree last year.  Now we can put up the whole thing.  You know, one of those reusable fake trees.  It does the job nicely.

I’ve brought out the stockings and other decorations as well, including some cute blocks (I placed on the fireplace mantle) that you can spell out NOEL with.  The boys, who haven’t learned to be serious about such things, keep spelling other things with the blocks.  The latest word:  MOLE

I’ve had some fun with the holiday decorations at the supermarkets as well.  I took a photo of SANTA BUNNY or BUNNY CLAUS or whatever you think the name is of a man dressed as a pink bunny wearing a Santa Claus suit.  I guess we could call him EASTER CLAUS too.

What confusion!  Well, maybe we Christians are a little confused sometimes too.  After all, what is Christmas?  Today it is a day we usually get time off from work for, a day we eat too much turkey on, a day we have prepared for, for many weeks, by over-spending and overloading charges to our credit cards, cards that will take months to pay off!  Then again, we usually put on a little Christmas music to remind us what it’s all about, by the way.  Oh, that’s right, it’s about Christ’s birth. 

The unfortunate thing is that many times during the Christmas season we forget about Christ and are concerned more with the rest – the food, the cookies (Marc-Antoine and I outdid ourselves this year in making 6 varieties of cookies before my mixer broke down from overuse 🙂 !), the presents, the songs, the children’s school Christmas show (or  “holiday show” depending on whether they attend a Christian school or a public one), the classic Christmas movies (It’s a wonderful life, White Christmas, A Christmas Carol…)  etc. 

Now let’s go back to the pink bunny.  What’s with that?  Maybe Santa (Père Noël, in France) is too religious looking.  So why not a bunny.  Just take one of the secular symbols of Easter and insert into this “holiday season”.  There you go.  A new icon is formed.  Now we need to come up with a legend and maybe a song or two (a little like Frosty the Snowman) and maybe even a name-brand soda to sponsor it!    …Well, I think you get the point. 

And why is it that there are more suicides during such “holiday season” than at other times of the year?  What can we be doing during this season to better reflect the “reason for the season”, in word but especially in deed?

Please, someone,  give me another cookie while I think on that…

Merry Christmas to all!

Naughty or Nice

13 Dec

I’m so glad that my God is not Santa!  I’m so glad that His affection for me is not based on my performance, on whether I’ve been naughty or nice this past year!  I’m so glad and grateful for His grace and His unmerited favor.  There are no lists this time of year with God, or at any time of year for that matter.   Nothing can or will shake or take away God’s love.  Nothing I do.  No matter how much I stumble and fall.  No sin is greater than His love!

If there is any prevailing message to be gathered from Christmas, it’s just that:  His unmerited, unwavering, unshakeable, everlasting favor.  God so loved the world (even in its depravity) that He gave…His only begotten Son.  Christmas is all about His giving, and our receiving.  The wonder of it!!!

So the next time someone wishes me “Happy Holidays” I will remember that the gift that was given 2,000 years ago was for them as well as for me!  They (and I and all of us) are precious to God!  Jesus, what a marvelous gift!

Christmas Spirit

7 Dec

I am having fun learning how to use this blog program.  It almost seems like a new sport.  There is strategy involved.  There is technique.  I use my hands and my mind.

Everytime I seem to have understood a new thing about the program I feel as if I have won something.  And I like this sport called blogging.  You can play alone when you don’t feel like being around disagreable people.  You can even choose to not receive comments to your posts.  You can give out, and not have to get back. 

Well this sounds a little like Christmas:  Giving without thought of receiving!  Ya, I can really get into this game.  Whatta play?

Tennis and the Kingdom

6 Dec

I’ve been challenged these past two weeks on the subject of how to live out Kingdom of God values in sports, namely for me, in tennis.

I’m enrolled in a tennis tournament at my tennis club.  The first match I played was against a 15-year old, Clara, who came with her father.  We started the match, and after 2 points he was already calling me a cheater!

What to do?  Since I’ve been playing tennis, I’ve never been called a cheater.  No, not once!  Of course, it didn’t feel good.  How does one respond to such an accusation?  Well, I tried to explain my point of view, but he wasn’t listening.  He was right, and I was wrong.

I won the match 6/1 6/1.   I was obviously the better player, but I was still troubled in my heart by our argument. 

I had a whole week to get over the scene, and I was looking forward to my next match.  I was playing against a 23-year old young woman who had 3 people of her family by her side, cheering her on.  I started out not playing very well, and she won the first set easily 6/1.  As we started the second set things were still slanted in her favor.  My forehand and serve weren’t working, and her serve was better than most I’ve seen.  And she had a great forehand attack.  Then, suddenly,  the obnoxious dad of last week showed up at the courts.  And everything changed. 

He made a scene, pretty much came onto our court while we were still playing a point.  And kicked us off the court.  (To make a long story short, there had been a problem with the court reservations.)   We were so troubled by this ugliness.  I was ready to throw in the towel.  My opponent, Stephanie, was clearly the better player and was going to win.  I was ready to give her the match.  My heart was no longer in the match.  I was angry and frustrated.  I was living “the dark side of tennis”, the ugliness of people who have no fairplay sense at all.  Unfortunately this is something I have seen pop its ugly head up more than once these past years since I first picked up the racket.  I’ve even seen myself go towards the dark side.  It’s quite humbling!

Stephanie and her family very graciously convinced me to finish the match, and we were able to play, after waiting impatiently in the entryway until a court opened up for us, about 1/2 hour.  By that time, Stephanie had obviously lost her momentum.  She seemed to have lost that wonderful serve and forehand attack that were so successful in the first set.  I went on to win the next two sets 6/4 6/4 and the match.  But I didn’t feel too jubilant.  My victory, I felt, was tainted. 

How does one live out Kingdom values in such hostility?  I know we say, “it’s not winning or losing that matters, but how you play the game”.  But I find it sometimes challenging to even play the game in such an atmosphere of anger and meanness.  I need God’s grace to even play, much less lose or win graciously!  Help, Lord, give me your strength of character, your wisdom, your patience, in the face of such things.  It is my prayer that you be glorified through me!