Friday, December 31, 2010
On New Year's Eve we fly to Chicago for the next month of visiting supporters and speaking at our churches in the midwest. Our trip will start off in Milwaukee this weekend to attend the wedding of 2 of our SIM Sudan teammates who are getting married. Then from Jan.3-8 we're gathering Eli's siblings in Muskegon MI to enjoy a few days together. From Muskegon, we'll drive to Naperville IL and hopefully set up "camp" there as it is a central location. Please pray for all our travel, for good health, and for our boys to endure all the change well. Thank you!
Christmas Eve lasagne dinner at our cabin in Auburn, WA
On Christmas morning Bethany's parents and brother, Stan, came over to open stockings and presents and have fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Gramie turned 86!
Mom helped Gramie blow her candles out.
This afternoon was a precious memory I will always remember and hold dear. I hadn't seen Gramie in four years and while we were away my grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She has moved into a lovely home with several other elderly women and caretakers. It was so neat to hear how well they take care of her - they paint her fingernails, do her makeup and hair every day, and the home is beautiful.
I was prepared for the worst, that Gramie might not recognize me and even ignore me. Instead, when we arrived she recognized my mom and dad right away and you could see in her face that she knew who they were. And each time we told her we loved her, she replied with, "I love you too."
My dad's sister and brother and their spouses came too. We ate birthday cake, drank sparkling cider, and helped Gramie open a few simple gifts. I was immensely thankful that Gramie had such a good day that she could recognize us and enjoy the company. I'm realizing that things change while we're away and life speeds along, but it makes those moments when we're together, so happy and unforgettable.
We've been "on the road" for almost a month now. Our travels have reunited us with many special people and we have been so encouraged every time we get to share about what God is doing in Sudan. We are currently in Auburn, WA living in a lovely cabin on a lake. Bethany's parents, Skip and Ruth Sorensen, and her brother Stan, are only a 10 minute drive away and we get to spend Christmas with them this year.
Though we're not home, we've been doing little things to enjoy the good ol' American Christmas traditions. The boys did a great job decorating our tree and picking out their Christmas stockings - which we will take back to Sudan with us.
My joy this Christmas season is the fact that no matter where we are or how we will celebrate our Christmas, the REASON never changes and we're rejoicing in the same fact: that on Christmas day long, long ago God sent the Savior of the World, MY Savior, to earth. What love! And what hope we now have.
As many of you gather with family and friends this Christmas, our prayer is that Christ's love and hope will be central in your hearts and families. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Thursday, December 09, 2010
We have just come from enjoying the very meaningful wedding of Audrey (Bethany's sister) and David Milburn. We spent a week being blessed with food, drink and fellowship. I especially enjoyed the ceremony of the wedding which was rich with love and committment. But I digress.
We were in John Wayne Airport which serves the Laguna Beach area and heading up to Seattle, Washington. Laguna Beach is a beautiful and expensive place to live and so the airport serves many well-to-do individuals. The boys and I had come through security and then headed to the bathrooms for the last important pitstop before boarding the plane.
The loudspeaker came on and said, "Would the person who left their yellow ferrari at the security point please come immediately".
This message repeated itself a couple times and I thought, "Man, only in this airport would a person leave their yellow ferrari unattended". The boys and I finished in the bathroom and as we walked out, there was a security lady waiting there for me.
She said, "Sir, can you please come with me?"
"Uh, what is this about?" I asked
"Its about your car. Did you hear the announcements?" She replied.
"Uh, yea. But I don't have a yellow Ferrari." I said, thinking of the many other things I would spend money on besides that.
""Sir, please just come with me." The security lady was quite insistent.
I followed her to the security desk where she then leaned over the counter and picked up a small toy...yes, it was a yellow Ferrari. She laughed and handed it to me and explained that Evan had dropped it as we had come through the screening procedures and we had slipped into the men's bathroom before she could call us back to pick it up. She decided to use the PA system to lighten our day a little and get our Ferrari back to us. Thank you TSA.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Yesterday was my little sister's wedding. It was the day I've been praying for and dreaming about for years. I am so so thankful that Audrey and her new husband David get to experience the joy of being married. Everything about this week leading up to the wedding was perfect. We've enjoyed getting to know the Milburn family and helping Audrey get ready for her wedding. The wedding ceremony was beautiful and meaningful with no mistakes and the reception following was a fun joyful occasion.
Dad walked Audrey down the aisle.
Dad walked Audrey down the aisle.
Isaac, Evan and Joshua were the ringbearers. As you can see they were all very shy but they did a great job and looked so adorable in their outfits. They sure had the whole crowd charmed.
Eli and I both later commented that we felt like we had renewed our wedding vows as we witnessed David and Audrey say their vows to each other. 8 years of marriage and it just keeps getting better!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Today Joshua and I had a wonderful time at Ben Lippen school celebrating Thanksgiving in Isaac and Evan's classrooms. First we ate lunch with Evan and his classmates and their parents, then we moved to Isaac's class and had more to eat! In this picture, Evan and his class are singing a song called "I'm a Little Turkey".
At noon we moved to Isaac's class where we found all the kids dressed in their Native American attire. Isaac's name: Brave Blue Eyes
They recited a poem and sang a song for us.
Isaac made fun turkey cookies for Joshua and me.
Isaac's friends know he only has a few days left with them, so many of them wanted their picture taken with him.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Today we took the boys to their first fair. It was a blast! We left after almost 8 hours of non stop fun - rides, goodies to eat, a piggy race, dog show, animals and petting zoo, etc. Maybe it's good we only get to do this every four years.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Yesterday, October 5th, Eli zipped up his full body all-weather suit and put on his helmet to begin his trek to Arkansas by motorcycle. "Why Arkansas?" you might ask. 3 reasons: to visit friends along the way, attend a wedding of another MK from Africa, and pick up his brother Caleb who just returned from 2 years in Uganda with the Peace Corps. Eli and Caleb will drive on one motorcycle all the way back to Columbia with all Caleb's stuff in a backpacker's pack and 2 saddle bags. :) This should be an exciting adventure.
Eli's been calling me several times a day to let me know he's safe and having a good drive. Last night he spent the night in Memphis and he should have arrived in Siloam Springs, Arkansas tonight.
He will be updating facebook along the way but I'll make sure he writes a report on our blog when he returns.
In other fun news, we close on our new house in only 9 days. We can't wait!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Enjoying good ol' McDonalds every now and then
The month of September has been full of joys and special gifts from the Lord. Isaac and Evan continue to LOVE school at Ben Lippen. Isaac got to go on a rodeo field trip last week and started his first football practice. So there have been a lot of firsts for him. Evan continues to wow us with his mechanical mind. Today Eli bought a 300 piece puzzle for Evan to tackle. That should keep him busy for a while. Joshua, our two year old, is newly potty trained which is exciting for us since we haven't had a child out of diapers for very long.
Eli has been working hard on a class about Islamic Theology. The other big project that's taken a lot of his time lately is purchasing our first home. Yes, you read this right. We just bought a house here in Columbia, SC. Usually when people first hear this, their next question is: "Aren't you going back to Africa?" Yes, we are still on target to return to Sudan in March 2011. However, Eli and I have always hoped to have a home base for our family to return to everytime we come back from the mission field. The Lord really provided at this time in our lives and blessed us with an incredible home in a great location. We're so thrilled. Closing day is October 15th and we'll move in soon after that.
Thank you for staying connected with our family. We can't fully express how much we're enjoying this season of rest and refreshment in the United States. In the same breath, I will say that we're already getting very eager to return to where God has called us: SUDAN. Sometimes the five months we have left seems like too long, but we will make the most of where we are. God can use each of us anywhere, right?!
Monday, September 13, 2010
This weekend we went to Davidson River, NC with a large group from our home church here in Columbia. It was a blast except that it rained more than half the time we were there! Thankfully this tent kept us pretty dry (just got a few damp sleeping bags).
The boys helped Eli start the fire. Isaac especially loved helping finding kindling and fanning the flames.
Eli made some very tasty hotdogs and hamburgers!
Josh and Mommy roasted a marshmallow together.
Our friend Heike brought her 3 week old baby Samuel for his first camping trip!
Meal time with friends. Since we were with a group from church, people milled around visiting others in their campsites.
Since returning to the States Joshua has discovered that girls are so much fun to play with but especially the ones who dote over him. Joshua had plenty of "ladies in waiting" while we waded in the freezing river.