8.21.2018

Contentment - Trust - Peace.


So ...

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

And ...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5, 6

Because ...

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

8.19.2018

A renewed commitment!

I have grossly neglected the joy of sending hand-written notes to my brothers and sisters in Christ this past year.
I enjoy writing notes as much as I enjoy receiving them, probably more, actually, because I know how good I feel when I see my name scrawled across an envelope, and how touched I am when I read the thoughtful words contained therein and I want others to feel the same.
It is a dying art to be sure, and one I hope to be faithful to, even if I cannot single-handedly resurrect it.

Yesterday, as I selected a handful of cards to use for the miscarriage ministry, I realized that while I have sent dozens of birthday, anniversary, and graduation cards this year, I could not remember the last time I sent a hand-written note "just because."
Friends! This is not okay! We are commanded in Scripture to use our words to bless others, and the written word is a practical and powerful way to do so.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! Proverbs 15:23

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11

As I sat in the quiet of the church sanctuary this morning, the Lord kept bringing the image of my stationery to mind. I used to send at least ten notes/letters a week in college, and at least three to five each week after marriage. I love buying new stationery and imaging who I am going to send it to in the weeks ahead. Now, I have a drawer full of beautiful note cards and sheets of paper ... sitting blank, unstamped, and serving absolutely no purpose.

But no more!
An hour ago I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to pull out a handful of cards every Sunday and set them on the kitchen counter. Then, I asked the Lord to whisper the names of those who need honey-soaked words of encouragement so I can fill each card with His words and His promises and send them on the way to those who need them most. 

I am so excited!
Would anyone like to join me?

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. I Thess 5:11

8.18.2018

A hobby - and a joy - for Luke.


I love every stage of life our children have experienced, but there is something sweet and unique about watching them use the skills and talents given to them by the Lord.
Especially when it is something completely their own.

When Luke was young, he would barely tolerate posing in front of a camera. Now, he lives with a camera and a bag full of accessories in his hands. And he uses them well!
He prefers photographing nature over humans and devotes time to research and study how to do so with detail and creativity, and his efforts have paid off!
It is a passionate hobby, not what he desires to do as a profession, but he will always be able to use his skills to enjoy looking at God's creation through a lens and capture the beauty on film.

Thank you, Lord, for designing man with creativity, for it makes the world more beautiful and enjoyable!

8.17.2018

Dennis and Micah say goodbye to Jordan.

Their trip has come to a close, and they went out with a bang! The leadership team of Academy
Alliance Jordan surprised the conference speakers when they arrived at a gorgeous hotel near the Dead Sea and said, "This is where you are staying for the night!" They were stunned.
Dennis, Micah, and two other speakers spent the night and then enjoyed a tremendous day of swimming in the many pools, sight-seeing, and floating in the Dead Sea. And the sunset! Oh my!
After a long week of presentations and training, it was the perfect way to end the week - and their visit. A good-bye meal concluded their day and then it was off to the airport to begin the journey home. (and to Cambodia for Dennis)
Dennis and Micah both agreed that it was a phenomenal trip. Not only did they experience warmth, kindness, and generosity from the AAJ leadership and staff, making new friends and mutually encouraging one another, they did it TOGETHER. And they will never forget it.


The view of the courtyard from their room.


Sunset. Like liquid gold.



The Dead Sea!


Floating in the Dead Sea - and loving every minute of it!



Mt. Nebo - the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land.
Such history in this country! Rich, wonderful, biblical history!

Micah returns tomorrow afternoon (YAY!) and Dennis continues on to Cambodia for another week of training teachers. Pray for him if you will! For energy, good sleep, physical strength, health, and a clear mind to train the teachers and administrators in Cambodia. He travels there every year - and always looks forward to his time in the country and with the people.
And we are thankful the Lord is using him to serve and encourage educators in their field.
Dennis loves what he does. His passion is teaching and he loves sharing that passion!

While Dennis is away ... we play!

When Dennis travels, I plan enough activities to keep us busy, but not so much that we are exhausted.
Thus far it has proved successful!
And this time was no exception.
We still have eight days until our fearless leader returns, but we are doing well and enjoying our days.
Luke works full time and Caleb has his own teen activities, so most of our events consist of me, Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie.
Things like ...
- taking an early morning or evening walk (have to get in those 10,000 steps!)
- beach days with friends
- serving
- Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie were whisked away for a playdate by a sweet friend (and I enjoyed 45       glorious minutes getting a pedicure)
- audio listening (we are currently enjoying At Home in Mitford - a favorite!)
- movie nights
- hanging out with grandparents
- swimming
- roller skating
FUN! FUN! For everyone!


We combined our daily walk with breakfast at Bruxie's!
We have lived one mile from this place for five years, and this was our first time enjoying it.
A fun and delicious way to end our two weeks "alone."


We've had the privilege of caring for our G3 once a week this summer! (during the school year we can only have them twice a month) Last week, Grace was having a particularly rough day, so I challenged Ellie to be her source of comfort and safety. Grace needed some quiet time away from all of the boys, so we set up a movie in Ellie's room for "girl time."
And this is how I found them when I opened the door to deliver a snack.
I love every.single.thing about this image!


When you live in the city, you must be intentional about finding NATURE.
And this park satisfied the need for huge trees, grass, and bodies of water! We arrived early in the morning to beat the heat of the day, walked three miles, and took 7,000 steps. Woohoo!
After such a delightful morning, we decided that we are going to take at least one daily walk at a regional park so we can enjoy nature every week. While walking the neighborhood on concrete is beneficial, walking in the shade of trees and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature feeds the soul!


One of the highlights was an overnight trip to visit my dear aunt in Fallbrook.
It was a hot day, so we loaded up the car and joined the other 1,000 people basking in the sun and feeling the splash of cold ocean water on their feet in Oceanside. It was LOVELY!
My aunt has always been a gracious, thoughtful, and warm hostess, and this visit was no exception. ♥


The littles boys and I had a beach date with a friend (Ellie was on her own playdate), so we arrived at the beach two hours early to eat breakfast and take our daily walk. It is so nice to be at the beach in the early morning! It is cool, quiet, and empty. And we had a great time - together.


My sister has graciously allowed us to use her pool this summer, any time we ask, and it has been a fun little retreat on the hottest of days for Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie. Today, I decided to join them, and we also coaxed my sister into the cool, refreshing water. What a great time we had together!
The water slide is always a hit, and I felt like a little girl sailing down the slick rock, laughing all the way.
(Yes, I am plugging my nose. I only do it when I jump in because I hate the feeling of having hose water sprayed up my nostrils. Call me a wimp if you will. My children (and sister) do!)


Our children have always crept into our bed early in the morning. Sometimes they are wide awake, sometimes they go right back to sleep. Regardless, our bed has never been empty in the morning hours.
When Dennis is gone, however, it's as though someone placed a homing beacon inside of our mattress which calls to our littles in the middle of the night, for they ALWAYS make themselves right at home in the wee hours of the morning. I never know when they arrive, but am fully aware of their arrival by the time the sun peeks through the windows because I wake up just as I am about to fall to the floor from being shoved to the edge of the mattress. And it makes me smile every time!

8.16.2018

A most excellent study with my girls!


My COMMITTED girls!
We just started a fantastic study on the Proverbs 31 woman.
Our pastor chose this chapter as his text for Mother's Day, and it was one of the BEST sermons I have ever heard preached on this icon of virtue. Often, when women hear the phrase "Proverbs 31 Woman" they groan. Audibly. Why? Because she is held up as the standard for all women, and not just any standard, a perfect, unrealistic, and unattainable standard. So we walk away feeling discouraged and disheartened after comparing ourselves to her because, in the comparison, we are found wanting.
But not this time!
Our pastor did a superb job communicating that a) she was not a real woman, but an ideal created by a mother for her beloved son, b) the character qualities we see in her are qualities every Christian should possess whether married, single, male, or female, and c) her attributes should be seen as virtues to strive for, emulate, and rejoice over - not used to compare and despair.

When the girls and I met together in June, we discussed the sermon at length, including our convictions and desire for making purposeful, tangible efforts to grow and mature in the areas for which this woman is praised. After a lively discussion, we decided to pull the sermon apart and study each main point. Instead of listening to the sermon one time, calling it terrific, and moving on with life, we are going to dissect it, point by point, verse by verse until we know this woman so well we feel like she is one of our best friends!

The next seven months will be well spent studying this passage in depth as we ask the Lord to reveal to us where we need to grow and encourage us where fruit is already evident. And the best part is - we will do it TOGETHER! ❤

The monthly assignment:
- listen to the entire sermon
- listen (again) to the specific point we are studying
- record the areas in which you already see success
- record the areas in which you need to grow and mature

The first study - VIRTUE.

She is strong in character in all facets of her life
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. v. 17
She is a woman of commitment - honor - strong opinions
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. v. 25
Virtuous is translated "able or capable" - powerful, strong, admirable, competent
Her commitment to character is directed to her husband and family, and their lives are enriched because of her
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. v. 12
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her ... v. 28
She adds reassurance and riches to her husband
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. v. 11
She adds to his reputation
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. v. 23
 This husband excels because he has an exceedingly good wife
 She is strong - she is spiritual - she is a substantial woman
 She is her husband's cheerleader, advisor, lover, helper
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Genesis 2
✽ She is his helper
✽ She is his equal
She is discerning - she is wise
A virtuous wife uses her strength and excellence to benefit her husband and her children
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” v. 28, 29

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31: 10-31

8.15.2018

Dennis interacts with Jordan!

Today, the Inclusion Forum in Amman, Jordan hosted by Alliance Academy Jordan came to a close.
And Dennis could not be more thrilled with the outcome!
All of the passion and planning he invested into his portion of the conference were well-rewarded by an enthusiastic and thoughtful group of leaders and educators who share the same goal of including, serving, and encouraging students with special needs and learning needs in the classrooms of Jordan.

Because he can articulate the details much better than I, please enjoy a synopsis of the event written by his own hand.

Day One
The day was a lot of fun.
The AAJ staff is so very passionate about serving all students well and they went the extra mile to put their best foot forward at this event.
The audience participation was excellent.
The country is ready to see this initiative gain traction and the Inclusion Forum served as a wonderful catalyst for providing executive-level decision makers, and, more importantly, teachers, the opportunity to hear from professors, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and parents about the important role that teachers can play in the lives of children with learning needs.
The speeches were wonderful, given by AAJ Director Nathan Greenfield and honored guests, including HRH Prince Mired Ra’ad ZZaid Al-Hussein and the Minister of Education.
I gave the keynote speech and highlighted my gross ignorance of learning needs and accommodations in my early years of teaching, and then shared that my very own children served as significant change agents in my perspective regarding those with learning needs. Caleb was the hero of the story and I always choke up with I retell the day he shined like a star at Camp Eastman on behalf of a child who had some physical and cognitive needs.
I then presented three workshops during the course of the day that featured learning need awareness and universal design principles for the general education classroom.
The teachers in the room were quite responsive and incredibly kind and thoughtful about how to best serve students. Overall, it was a stellar start and we are looking forward to more of the same tomorrow!

Day Two
The day was eventful to be sure!
Great attitude in the room and a genuine desire to learn more about serving students well.
The intent of a conference such as this one is to bring awareness and invite a catalyst for attempt- starting with the people who interact daily with the students.
When I was a young classroom teacher I really believed I was reaching all learners. My class was interactive and the students appeared engaged. Those unfortunate few who had trouble were in need of greater effort. They needed to change their practice. This glaring professional blindspot clearly revealed I did not understand the difficulties and daily burdens that each student was compelled to bear. It was also plain that my classroom practice would have to change. Simply put, a change of heart to change my daily practice.
Unfortunately, "simply stated" and "simply accomplished" are not the same.
Former president Dwight Eisenhower once said, “There are no victories at bargain prices.” This is very true when working with students. Change is sometimes painful but necessary.

The conference was more than an invitation to consider inclusion, it was about changing hearts and minds to do something about inclusion for all students in all classrooms.
This will no doubt cause disequilibrium for teachers who have employed a “one size fits all” form of a learning experience, but it is pale in comparison to the effort being made by the student who has to learn in spite of what the teacher is doing.
Jordan is a great country with big-hearted people who are generous and hospitable. It is my hope that the teachers at the conference were deeply encouraged and will use the momentum of the conference to make significant traction toward helping students with the greatest needs.
Personally, I am grateful for the opportunity to hopefully influence teachers to employ an attitude of attempt toward all learners every day.

(Dennis') Presentations at the conference:
-Keynote Address: Inclusion begins with your attitude
-1: Help me understand: Walking a mile in the shoes of a student with learning and emotional needs
-2: Creating an environment of motivation in the classroom
-3: Creating an environment of attempt in the classroom
-4: Universal design for learning: Differentiation for all learners
-Wrap Up: Atmosphere of attempt or agony: Teacher attittude in the classroom


Dennis and Micah with the Academy Alliance Jordan leadership and staff.
A tremendously gracious, welcoming, and passionate group of people!


Their hosts surprised Dennis after the conference with a quick field trip to an ancient ruin
 of a church dating back to 4,000 B.C. To quote Elsa from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
He was as giddy as a schoolboy!
This man never loses his enthusiasm for antiquities!

Thank you, THANK YOU, to everyone who prayed, encouraged, supported, and showed interest in this trip. As always, the Lord used his time in another country to challenge and shape and grow my husband in unique and beautiful ways. We love who he is when he leaves, and we love the new pieces the Lord adds to him while he is gone. Those he ministers to benefit from his expertise and sincere enthusiasm for what they are doing on behalf of students, and we benefit from the way those interactions mature and refine him as an educator, a husband, a father, a man, and most importantly, a child of God.

And thank you, to the entire leadership team and staff at Alliance Academy Jordan, for trusting Dennis to speak to the hearts and minds of the leaders and educators in Jordan. He was honored to be asked, he was honored to serve, and you made him feel welcome and wanted from the moment he stepped off the plane. You are a blessing - and we are grateful for you!

8.14.2018

Micah shares his story with Jordan.

Dennis writes:
Today Micah and I had the opportunity to speak about the topic of inclusion of all students at the Inclusion Forum in Amman, Jordan hosted by Alliance Academy Jordan (Carol Jadoun). HRH Prince Mired Ra'ad Zaid Al-Hussein was in attendance. Micah was animated and articulate during his speech. It's not about us. This was a Proverbs 31:8-9 opportunity. Super proud moment today!

I was not there to hear him, but the tears flowed freely as I read his speech, remembering, and praising God for how far He has brought our son. So far, in fact, that today, Micah stood in front of influential government officials and royalty - and shared his story. Not in shame, but with honesty and joy. He can rejoice because as difficult as school was for him, he DID IT. He didn't have gold tassels hanging around his neck on graduation day, but he had confidence and peace in the knowledge that he persevered and pushed through tremendous obstacles to earn his high school diploma.
I echo Dennis, "Super proud moment today!"
Well done, Micah! I am proud of you, but my love for you far outweighs my pride. ❤ Mom

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dyslexia Speech - Jordan 2018
Micah Eastman

Good morning!
My name is Micah Eastman, and when I was nine years old I was diagnosed with dyslexia and mild
ADHD.
In the days of my youth, it took an hour to read the simplest of books and the aggravation that math produced was cruel and unusual punishment. Writing offered similar challenges for the duration of my elementary years. I dreaded the very idea of picking up a pencil. A one-page writing assignment would take me twice as long to complete as other students. It was not uncommon for a session of tears to commence at the beginning of each paper.
Interestingly, though I was struggling with school, my loquaciousness led many to believe I was a decent student. So much so, my mother was convinced I was being lazy in my studies when really, I was trying my best.
I became aware of how academically incapable I was when around the age of eight when I spent a week with some friends from another school. Since we were in the same grade, I joined his class for the duration of my stay.
I consider the time spent in that class one of the more humiliating experiences of my life. The teacher was discussing things that I had not yet learned and even though the concepts were repeatedly explained to me, I could not comprehend them. What the teacher was asking of me seemed impossible. It wasn’t a matter of effort, I simply couldn’t do it.
As I blankly stared at the pages, tears of frustration welled in my eyes. I came to accept the fact that I could not do the work. I now sat completely defeated, bouncing my knees to the ticking of the clock in hope that the day would soon come to an end.
Unfortunately, my self-confidence was dealt another blow when I was handed a video game and told to sit off to the side as my participation was not needed. However, the video game was not a reward by any means, this action by the teacher only cemented my frustration more firmly into place. All I could think was, “What am I missing?” “Why is this making sense to everyone but me?”
For the majority of my elementary and high school years, nearly all subjects caused frustration, anxiety, and tension. Embarrassment and low self-confidence plagued me throughout my high school career, specifically, during my junior and senior years of high school where each day felt like a constant reminder that I was neither smart nor able to make a meaningful contribution in my classes.
After all, it did not help that I was a senior attending classes designated for freshman and sophomore students.
In many subjects my grades did not mirror the effort I was giving. This constant mental punishment in and out of the classroom led me into significant depression. I am convinced that it is only by God’s
grace that I am standing before you today. Though I have some painful experiences, it is my hope that they will be useful to assist others who have struggled like I have.
It was my parents and a small collection of teachers that changed everything by offering compassion and understanding regarding my areas of educational and emotional needs. This group of patient educators chose to encourage my strengths rather than emphasize my weaknesses, especially in the area of music.
For as long as I can remember, my favorite outlet has been music. My dad owned an extensive collection of music and quite frankly I could not get enough of it. As a young boy, I recall lying on the floor eating sliced apples and humming along to classic rock and roll. My love and passion for music steadily grew as my dad educated me in music history and trivia. Learning how to play guitar and drums allowed me to thrive creatively. Finally, I had found something I was naturally good at. Music is a safe place for me and I realized I could be really good at something that I really enjoyed. For the first time in my life, I discovered something in which I excelled and was not afraid to share with others. Personally, I believe everybody has an area in which they can excel but it often goes unnoticed.
Many children believe that they have nothing to offer because no one came alongside them to capitalize on their strengths and help them navigate their weaknesses. If there is anything I’d tell my younger self I would say, “Your contribution matters, don’t let the book break your brain. Just because you learn differently does not make you lazy or dumb.” 
This reminds of something my dad frequently says, “The question asked of students should not be, ‘How smart are you?’ but ‘How are you smart?'"
The Lord has used the gift of dyslexia for good in my life even when I thought it was a curse. 
I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story with you today and hope it will inspire you.
Thank you.


Micah's hero and model - Dennis.
From the time he was a boy he said, "I want to be just like Dad."
And now, they are serving and ministering TOGETHER.
The Lord took what was frustrating, difficult, and disheartening, and turned it into something AMAZING. And Dennis and I will always be grateful for the gift of our son - and - the gift of dyslexia.



Micah - HRH Prince Mired Ra'ad Zaid Al-Hussein - Dennis
The Prince possesses a passion for serving students with special needs and learning needs, so his presence at the conference was a tremendous encouragement to the educators in Jordan.
(And he was quite gracious to take a photo with the Eastman men!)


Dennis - Carol Jadoun (Alliance Academy Jordan) - Micah
Carol is the one who started all of this! And we are so thankful she did. ♥

8.13.2018

Dennis and Micah explore Jordan! (Pt. II)


Here they are - overlooking the land that was promised to Moses by God! The PROMISED land!




"A piece of a Roman column that would make a perfect end table!"
(If Dennis could fill his office and our house with ancient artifacts - he would!)


Tapestries in the Church on Mt. Nebo that are some of the best mosaics in Jordan, dating from around 530 A.D. This masterpiece is a hunting and herding scene.


The site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
(the water is in front of them)



Micah at the Jordan River.
(People were being baptized on the steps behind them.)

And now - the week of teacher training and the conference has begun!
All the months of preparation and prayer have brought them to this place - and they are eager and ready to go! Dennis sent me a text this morning asking me to pray for the hearts of the people to be open, but the truth is, the Lord has already gone before them and prepared the way! As He always does.
The Alliance Academy Jordan team, Dennis, Dr. Costa, and all of those involved in the conference have worked hard to prepare, and they have bathed every detail in prayer. It will be thrilling to discover how the Lord uses these next few days to educate and encourage those in positions to create lasting and life-altering change in education for students with learning needs and special needs.
 Ignorance is bliss, but once we are aware - we are accountable.
Praise God for bringing these educators and leaders together "for such a time as this."
It is an EXCITING time!

8.12.2018

Exactly what I want to do.

A jealous God will not be content with a divided heart; He must be loved first and best.
- C. H. Spurgeon

... know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Deuteronomy 4:39
And there is no other god besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides Me. Isaiah 45:21

This quote. These verses. On their own, they are enough. 
Enough to convict.
Enough to encourage.
Enough to remind us that nothing must come before the Lord.

This song.
It makes the quote and verses come to life in a tangible and powerful way.
The first time I heard it, I was speechless. Overwhelmed. Broken. For music breaks me - every time.
The song is on my favorite playlist, for it is one I need to hear and sing often because no matter how many times I crush my idols, there is always another one taking shape to replace them. And sometimes, I am part of the design team. And I hate it. So - I sing. I sing as loud and as intensely as I can so I am able to hear myself preaching to myself. 
A jealous God will not be content with a divided heart; He must be loved first and best.
I can only love my God first and best if everything and everyone else is pushed out of the way.
Including myself.
And loving Him first and best is exactly what I want to do!

"Clear The Stage" - Jimmy Needham
(I encourage you to listen to this song here ... and pray while you do!)

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that's the measure you must take to crush the idols
Jerk the pews and all the decorations, too
Until the congregation's few, then have revival
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you're broken for your sins, you can't be social
Then seek the Lord and wait for what He has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful

'Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song

Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper
Beg Him please to open up His mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open
Then read the word and put to test the things you've heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken

'Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song

We must not worship something that's not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the one who deserves it

Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
Anything I can't stop thinking of is an idol
Anything that I give all my love is an idol

'Cause I can sing all I want to
Yes, I can sing all I want to

And we can sing all we want to
And we can sing all we want to
We can sing all we want to
And still get it wrong
Worship is more than a song

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that's the measure you must take to crush the idols

8.11.2018

Dennis and Micah explore the beauty and history of Jordan!

From Dennis:
We are in Amman, Jordan in all of the photos.
It is one of the oldest capital cities in the world dating back to 13th century BC!
We are in the Amman Citadel, a Roman stronghold that housed temples, stables, an aqueduct, and more.
We ran around some ruins in the old city of Jordan this morning. We took photos at the temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church, a cave that was made into a house 2000 years before Christ was born, and climb the steps of an amazing outdoor amphitheater that was made in the first century.
It was amazing and wonderful, and Micah and I both had a great time!



It just wouldn't be a true Eastman photo shoot with poses!
And these two? Two identical peas in a pod.





"Won’t fit in our carry-on or checked bag!"
Dennis finds great pleasure in collecting dirt and rocks from around the world. It makes him feel like he "owns the world!" I, on the other hand, just see dirt.
Sometimes, his zeal is harmless, while other times he has come close to creating an international incident.
(Ask him about The Great Wall of China story!)
So, of course, he thought it would be funny to send me this photo. <insert eyeroll>


Theater circa 161A.D.


A cave made into a house during the Bronze Age 2250B.C.


Dennis also favors national pride. He loved this Jordan flagpole which measures 200x100 feet, stands 415 feet high, and can be seen for 12 miles.


Their hosts have welcomed them in and treated them like royalty!
They get to explore more today, and attend church and spend time with Jordanian believers tomorrow. What a privilege to worship with brothers and sisters in another country, and mutually encourage one another in the faith.
For, though the global church looks, speaks, eats, and lives differently - we are ONE in Christ!
Praise God for such diversity and beauty in His church!

8.09.2018

Dennis and Micah - in Jordan.


Dennis and Micah are safe and settled in Jordan!
And this is the view from their room - JERUSALEM!
“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people,
from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 125:2
This is so exciting!
All of their hard work and preparation are about to be used to bring awareness and understanding to educators and leaders in Jordan who have the passion and the power to affect CHANGE and make a significant and lasting difference in the lives of students with learning needs and special needs.
Praise the Lord for stirring up the hearts of educators and government officials in Jordan to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” and serve students and their families in unique and helpful ways.
They are changing lives, one by one, day by day. 
And it is BEAUTIFUL!

8.08.2018

An ocean of PRAISE!


Sometimes we need to be in a place that reminds us just how small we are ...
and how very BIG our God is.

Yesterday, I was able to do just that.
Five hours of sunshine on my back, sand over my feet, and the sweet sound of waves crashing against the shore. As I sat in my chair gazing at the vast blue sky and immense ocean, the Lord reminded me that there is nothing too large for Him to handle, and there is nothing so small for which He does not care.
How fortunate we are to belong to such a God!
So praise Him we MUST!

∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿∿

"The LORD does whatever pleases Him - 
in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths!" Psalm 135:6

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Psalm 148:7, 8

Who builds His upper chambers in the heavens and founds His vault upon the earth; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth— the Lord is His name. Amos 9:6

Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great. Psalm 104:25

Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. Jeremiah 5:22

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6