Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Harvest is Plentiful

We are continually trying to use resources around us for experience and training as we prepare for life in Ethiopia. One of Jon’s projects has been a large garden and he has incorporated The Littles to a point that they feel it is their garden and they eat vegetables they’ve grown themselves!

If you have followed our journey to being a bit more granola, I think you’d be proud of us.

If I would tend the garden with The Littles, they would instruct me, “Mama, don’t step on any plants, okay?”, “No weeds in the garden! Go away weeds!”

We returned from vacation to an overgrown but productive garden. 

Gardening 664 

Gardening 671

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The Littles sampled every type of produce, including the pictured under-ripe tomato.

Gardening 690

Little J is “picking dirt”

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Glad for every lesson we’ve learned from this garden.

And glad The Littles are eating veggies!

Monday, July 30, 2012

8 Suitcases

It’s comical, really. We didn’t have back seats in our minivan when we packed for our lake vacation.


Check that out. Our Honda was packed out. 

When we move to Ethiopia, we get 8 suitcases. 

I am supposed to pack bedding, quality pots and pans, a sewing machine, water purifiers, home school curriculum and clothes for the girls as they grow. Never mind the other items we have… We have done purging and have loads more to do. :)

An alternate way we hope to send items over would be with anyone heading to Ethiopia that doesn’t need their two suitcase capacity.  I am serious. If you live in the US and are willing to drop a container at the SIM headquarters in Addis Ababa, let me know.

If you are new to the blog because of the prayer letter, here is the back story.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Skiing, A Four Person Adventure

Jon and the girls decided it was the day for them to ski.

Some onshore practice was the first step.

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A long pep-talk

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Backyard ski school was truly put to the test. Our first strategy with Little J was, both parents in the water, supporting child.

Okay, Hit it!

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Oops. Miserable failure. I feared Little J might never get in the water again.

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She was done for the day.

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Second strategy with Little A, Nana dragging in water, cheering, Mama in the boat, holding front of skis, Daddy in boat, holding Little A up!  She skied!

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Props for the grandma who drug all around the lake for the sake of two-year-olds learning how to ski!

We waited a few days to broach the subject again and had some practice with the “boat” being Uncle Jeffy.

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  Lakes 2012 451

Next try with Little J…

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And she skied!

Lakes 2012 469 Lakes 2012 477


Tomorrow, we are teaching them barefooting.

Totally kidding.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Welcome Home Sweet Boy

Josiah came home.




Jon and Beth, it has been an honor to watch God’s blessing to your family. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Packing In The Memories

Life is full and FUN right now.  I attended my first Detroit Tigers game. They won and cheering them on with the guys was a blast!




And vacation is loaded with good memories already.

I have moments of melancholy, a wave of sadness washes over me as I realize, “this could be the last time we do this for a long time”.  There are so many traditions that can’t be carried across an ocean and without our family.  I repeat my broken record phrase to myself, “It’s okay, God is good, here, there and everywhere.” 

And then I pull myself from reflection and focus on the sweetness of the moment.




  So many memories to make, so little time! ;)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Quick Shave

Hanging out in the bathroom with Daddio.  “Hey Mama, I’m shabin’!”


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Back Story (Abridged Version)

Get ready for a whale of a post. Some of you have mentioned to me that they feel vague on what actually transpired for us to be moving to Ethiopia.  Here is the back story, recounted as quickly as possible. 

Setting the Stage: Jon and Amy got married in February 2008. Amy left the mission field with hopes of soon returning with Jon…wedded bliss, trips to Haiti, Mexico ensued, exploring future possibilities and visiting friends.

March 2010-We are parents! The Littles are ours!

April 2010-Bring The Littles home (Read about it here)


Summer 2010-Not sure of exact time, but Amy’s heart finds much security and blessing in raising her babies on American soil, close to family. Amy decides that never “going” is okay, actually preferable…maybe somewhere down the road. Amy transitions from “goer” to “stayer”.

Summer 2010-Dear friends approach us about being Bible translators in Papua New Guinea. Jon and Amy realize their hearts are cold to the idea of moving and sacrificing “US blessings”.  “Thanks, but no thanks”. Wheels turn, Jon and Amy both are surprised by lack of willingness.


September 2010-The happy family of 4 starts the adoption process again. Yay! Sweet toddler boy will soon join the family.


(Sign says “We are gonna be big sisters!”)

Fall 2010-In God’s timing, Jon feels strongly like the happy couple should take “Perspectives on The World Christian Movement”. Amy, having taken the class, and not exactly wanting the husband to decide to move across the world, drags her feet.

January 2011-Jon and Amy begin Perspectives.

February 2011-Approached by a much-loved friend about serving full-time in Latin America. Jon and Amy pray their heads off. One day Jon feels sure it is God’s will and Amy is full of unrest. The next morning Jon thinks it is not of God and Amy is begging to go. Much flip-flopping of thought, fogginess and prayer. A time of discipline of the Lord starts in Amy’s life (Hebrews 12). Amy concludes off this scripture that God must really love her and takes comfort in that during this difficult time.

March 2011-Desperate prayer for clarity for the Little family. Looks like God is opening doors in this direction. Can’t pursue adoption at the same time. Prayerfully conclude that a third child is not in the near future for J&A. Amy grieves the child. She has already pictured this child in her arms, her home. Continue on through Perspectives.

April 2011- Yes, it looks like they are going to Latin America! Jon and Amy love the people, the ministry, the area of service, Amy speaks Spanish and Jon has a wicked Spanglish…wait. God says “no”. Wow. That wasn’t what they were expecting. A few weeks go by. Jon and Amy talk for hours about starting the adoption process again. Excited, Amy launches in…while discussing timeline one night, Jon realizes the amount of time the fam will need to stay in the US to complete the adoption, feels unsettled about it. Tells Amy he feels they should still be pursuing the mission field now and that she is acting relieved, like she is “off the hook” to moving out of the United States. Amy responds “Yes, we prayed about it, I finally surrendered it and God said “no”. End. Of. Story.

May 2011-E-mailed by another wonderful friend about a need for missionaries in Ethiopia. Amy wants to throw up. Jon praises God for His provision. Amy continues to feel the Lord’s discipline as He reveals many idols in her life and He continues to strip those from her.

June-July 2011-Amy knows this is clearly where God is leading but handles this by gritting her teeth and digging her heels into the ground. Doesn’t God know it is just TOO DANGEROUS? Taking babies into Africa is just crazy. Amy has decided that she likes her comforts and securities. I mean, it’s one thing for Jon and Amy to live in a hut, but her babies will NOT live in a hut! Amy spends many nights not being able to sleep, worrying about what is going to happen to her babies. Jon wonders where the woman he married went. “Where’s my wife who is always ready for adventure?” Amy responds, “ADVENTURE IS DANGEROUS FOR CHILDREN.”. Amy fears she may lose her mind. Close friends and family think she already has.

July 2011-God gives an Ebenezer to Amy. (Read about it here) Amy is humbled and trusts in God’s sovereignty. He loves The Littles more than she does.

August 28, 2011-Amy’s brother, Chad, gets married, after the wedding, denial over what God is calling their family to is over, Amy moves into grief. Grief over the “normal” life she wanted her children to have. She cries over the lack of grandparents in their life, not knowing their cousins, missing out on events, leaving church family. No more kicking and screaming, just lots of tears. Jon continues to be a rock.


Fall 2011-More idols stripped from Amy’s life. Jon plans to be done with his job December 1st.

November 2011-Jon and Amy leave on an exploratory trip to Ethiopia to get all of their answers. Have to leave The Littles. Breaks Mama’s heart. God gives peace and resolution to Amy before she sets foot outside the Ethiopian airport (read about that here). God is faithful, The Littles had a party without Mama and Daddio. Many of Jon and Amy’s questions were answered but returned home with MORE questions. Great trip and Amy realizes the words of the world have become more important to her than the words of God.

December 1, 2011-Although the family has no plan to move, Jon feels he still needs to close out his job as a landscape designer. Leave for a quick trip to Phoenix to visit friends. Amy has to ignore the fact that Jon has no job on our return or she can feel slightly panicky. Jon is in discussion with various mission agencies, narrowing down the choices. Lots of prayer.


December 19, 2011-Jon starts working on Amy’s family’s farm.

Early January 2012- Jon and Amy feel concerned about being so far from Jon during the work day. Jon leaves before the girls are awake, sometimes gets home after they are already in bed.

Early January-Mention to Aunt that living somewhere closer would be really convenient. Grandpa recently died and Grandma just broke her hip. Would she appreciate if the Jon and Amy clan moved in to help with her adjustment? Grandma has a large house and lives less than 2 miles from the farm, Grandma graciously agrees.

Three days later…The G family moves in with Grandma. Leaves cute, little home in cute, little town. The family feels sad but thankful for God’s obvious and immediate provision.

February 2012- Amy realizes that God has made her to be a “goer”. Since she was young this is exactly what she wanted to do. Amy begins to petition God to “bring her joy about moving and the mission”. Jon and Amy work on SIM application process/screenings, evaluations and Bible essays.

March 2012-It dawns on Amy she is feeling joyful and even a bit excited about life again.

April 2012-Put house on the market

May 2012-Jon and Amy are invited to a five day interviews/meetings with SIM in North Carolina, meet wonderful people at SIMStart, talk to many who have served overseas. SIM does not sugarcoat the fact that missionary service means suffering. Amy talks to woman who have lost their babes in faraway lands. Amy marvels at the joy of the Lord these families still have and Amy praises God that she still feels joy and peace amidst the description of the obvious hardships to come.


May 20, 2012-Jon and Amy are invited to the SIM family. Couldn’t be more humbled or thankful.

June 2012-Buyer is interested in the house. Jon and Amy train and work on preparing for Relationship Development Ministry (RDM). Jon and Amy are assigned a people group and a region!

July 2012-Start RDM, compile list of friends and family, create first prayer letter.

Thanks to those people who have weathered my ups, downs and tears.

AND, if you are still with me, you are up to date. :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Lemonade Stand Kickoff

I know things have been a little vague around here. We announce we are moving to Ethiopia, we have been accepted as SIM personnel, we are assigned to a people group and then…nothing.  Hopefully we will answer some of those questions over the next few weeks. Leave me comments with your questions.

We are preparing to send out our first prayer letter. You are probably already on the list but if you want to be sure, leave me a comment with your e-mail or send an e-mail with your contact information to treasuresinjars@gmail.com. The update letter will contain information and details that we will probably never post online. We are waiting on our prayer cards to arrive before we send them out.

On Saturday, our sweet niece and nephew did a lemonade stand, raising $50 for us!

Hudson and Paige, your service and support blesses us so much!



We pray you would feel the blessing of Luke 6:38!

“give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Jon and I look forward to connecting with many of you in the coming months!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Let’s Go Snowing!

The Littles found the box of snow clothes. They roped Daddio into their game by enthusiastically proclaiming, “Let’s go snowing!”


It’s over 90 degrees outside. Heaven forbid that means we don’t wear mittens. ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer, Where Are You Going?

We are only mid-July but have already made lots of memories! (Some of them are captured, some will only be remembered in our minds as I have been way too hot to carry the camera).

Seth, Brandy and kiddos were in the Midwest and we snagged some time with them. Yes, they have three girls, 2 and under. Twins are nothing in comparison.


Yes, we did have a good time, even though the kids look slightly miserable. I am holding A, their foster daughter (Oh, yes and Toodles our crazy kitty).

Spending fun time with family in MI:

Look at little Leo. Oh my.


One of Gray’s MANY frogs


The sweet Ooms family looking at Hudson’s catch


Just chillin’ with Daddio


Charlie is captain of the paddle boat


Little J waits onshore


Love this mama/daughter shot: Sarah and Paigey Pie


A fourth of July program


Hudson’s lake toy


Our day at the lake didn’t last long. The Littles were sick and spent their time here before Little A threw up.


From Michigan, we had some girl time with the ladies in our family to celebrate my Grandma’s birthday. We talked, laughed, shopped and ate ourselves silly.



And we attended another beautiful wedding but it was outdoors, blistering and the idea of a camera strapped to me was too much to handle. So, I pirated this one off Facebook. (Photo Credit to Stasha.)


Congratulations to Troy and Chalise!  Thanks for including us in your special day.

Whew, that is it for now.  So much to do, so little summer left!