Sunday, December 29, 2013

All Is Fair...Among Twins...

I’m not complaining about twins. They develop an exceptional ability to share things and rarely fight. 

However, The Littles have also developed this sense of justice and equality. Where if there are two of something, one will be intrinsically better and they will reconcile this difference.

Exhibit A: 

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The pajamas were different. One was better in their minds so one their own, they just split the jams (Their name for pajamas).

But the one they can’t settle?

The identical and beloved “bear lovies”. One is better and the spend approximately half of their 24 hours with this critter.

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The difference is in the mouth (seriously?) and one is “cuter”. We might have to go back two years and reinstitute our “Pick Day" for The Littles.


We are heading South today for a conference. It may be quiet around here this week as I don’t think I’ll have internet access. Hey, we might be surprised. :)

Prayer Points:

-Safe travels


-Spiritual refreshment

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A 'Plosion That Changed Our Plans

Overseas, having a plan for the holidays is vital. After much thought, we planned a new tradition for our family, to swim on Christmas day. We changed the plan last minute as we had a three day after Christmas pick-me-up-trip planned to a place with a hot springs pool and we wanted to save money.

We attended a Christmas gathering with other expat families that our neighbors hosted. At our Christmas get together, our friend, Rebecca watched the girls down an astounding amount of salsa. She said, “You are going to explode”. Fast forward to Christmas evening and all that salsa came back up.  “Mama, I ‘ploded!” Little J exclaimed. 

 Needless to say, through a sleepless night and sick kids, instead of heading south to a hot spring pool, the day after Christmas looked like this. Jon read countless stories to our little infirmary. Little A was just sympathy sick. 


Today, our family took a “holiday” in Addis and sprang for a morning at the only warm pool in the city.Unnamed

Well worth it. 

Little J is still fighting something. We all leave for a conference on Monday. Pray we would have wisdom and healing in our house (and our apartment building for that matter, nasties are going around!)


Monday, December 23, 2013

Twas the Eve Before Christmas...

Technically, Christmas Eve's Eve and life’s been full. I know, for you too.

We’ve got lots of pictures, nothing super Christmassy in theme but I am motivated by the fact that my grandma’s regularly check my blog.  I don’t want to leave them bored. :)

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We’ve did some touring, went to the national museum.

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There are very few barriers between priceless, historical artifacts and bored children. which leads to the invention of a point system every time we catch them not touching something. 

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The Littles were so impressed we were going to a palace of an emperor and we got there and they were nonplussed that it was a large, round building with a thatched roof.

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Good to get out of the city...

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Jon plays soccer on Saturdays.

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A first birthday party...

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Friends to make

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Christmast celebrations with friends (where Jon and I tried to tell the Christmas story in Amharic). Laughable at best but good to try.


Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Okay, Christmas is 6 days away.

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I know you’re praying for us. We feel it.

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The Littles enjoy a nativity set sent in a care package.

(Notice the hanging banner of birthday cards, sent from their SS class.)

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Decorations are hung, we are celebrating Advent...

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Holiday treats are being enjoyed.

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Your cards have started to fill our mailbox. (Inexpressibly AWESOME).

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And we have plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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I have another request, not just for us, but for all you know overseas. Can you pray for their families back home, too? 

We thank you for your outpouring of love and support on our behalf.

May your Christmas’ preparations be merry and bright.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jacaranda Tree

Our morning view out our bedroom window. It makes the early mornings a little easier.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Saint Lucia

Last Friday night, The Littles were belting out, “Feliz Navidad” as they were dressing in their Ethiopian dresses (because whenever they choose what they want to wear, those dresses win. every. time.) so they would be ready to attend a program about the Scandinavian Christmas tradition of Saint Lucia at our neighboring international Swedish school.

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We chose a hillside perch as I wasn’t sure how long The Littles would last. We didn’t realize that the 6:00 start time meant we would wait until 7:00 to start.

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Saint Lucia.

Do any of you remember the American Girl doll, Kirsten? She apparently has Scandinavian roots.


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And by the time the program started, These Littles were playing a made up game entitled by Little A, “Roly Poly” which involved them tumbling around in the dry grass, while laughing incessantly.

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Learning something new everyday. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Oh, Language School.

Phase three in language school is going well. Learning a new language is uber difficult but there is joy and diversion in the journey.

I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that for an English speaker, Spanish is one of the top three easiest languages to learn. I studied Spanish and don’t feel like it was that easy. Amharic is one of the five most difficult languages for English speakers to learn and sitting in class, I see why. 

God has blessed our current six week term with an amazing teacher, Yesema, who has been teaching for 31 years and continues to teach because she has a passion for her students.


I was reflecting today on my motivation to learn language. If it’s for me, so I can sound smart, amaze others at my abilities or even be able to communicate just because I like to chat and relate, it’s the wrong reason. This verse came to me. Here is my motivation, my reason to want to proclaim.

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake. For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us”. 2 Corinthians 4:5-7

And while I am making mistakes all over the place, I pray for focus on God’s surpassing power that can be seen through my weak, cracked pot.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Blue Nile Falls

We hiked to the river and boarded a boat. As I was telling The Littles, “Hey, this is the Nile River” I was struck with the sheer awesomeness that we were on a boat, on the NILE RIVER. 
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Our first glimpse of the Nile
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And then we hiked (Little J was not feeling well and fell asleep in Jon’s pack). 
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When we heard the gushing of water, we were relieved as some days the falls are diverted to hydroelectric dams and so nothing comes over the falls. Coming around a bend, this site from afar greeted us.
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This suspension bridge was built by the Swiss and expanses a DEEP ravine. At least one hundred feet down to the river. (We are on the close end in this pic)
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We got off in a hurry because the donkey was nervous to cross when people were on the bridge.
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Only seeing is believing this place.
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They did not disappoint.
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Misted by the Falls
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The remainder of the time was spent trying to catch the mist
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A morning well-spent.
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 Living in Ethiopia, vibrant with tradition and a rich history, we are blessed to partake. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Creating Christmas

Before our regularly scheduled post, a special request:

We are friends with a young man who has left a deep impression on us. He is a man of God and is working and trying to take weekend classes to get another degree from a more remote location. He is trying to get a leadership degree as he would like to use this training to unite the church. He is hindered to do this by his lack of laptop. He has saved up some money for a basic lap top (not at prices here though). In the off chance someone has a new/gently used, in great working condition laptop they are looking to sell, please let me know. Or, if someone rocks the bargaining world and could get a very affordable basic laptop, also let me know. amy.gerst @ sim. org

Thanks for considering this. Bless You!


Doing our best to get in the Christmas spirit, decorations are hung and the sound of carols waft through our apartment.

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It’s not the same, very different but it’s good. 

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There are elements that are the same. Chiefly, the reason we celebrate Christmas, to commemorate Jesus, coming as a child in the flesh, for the great rescue plan of mankind. Yes, that most definitely has not changed.

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But as the sun shines in and my nose is a little sunburned, it most definitely doesn’t feel like December. As we hear plans of family get togethers and church Christmas programs, it doesn’t feel like December. But different isn’t wrong and we pray we can embrace our December here, thankful the reason we celebrate is consistent regardless of where we live.

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We were doing a kindness advent (each day, we planned an act of service for someone) but I’ve not been consistent at all, an Advent drop out you could say. I've regrouped and we are back on the wagon as of this weekend. I did substantially simplify our acts of service because it was just one more thing I shoved into an already busy day.  Here are three awesome links that friends (Thanks Leah and Jenna) have referred us to that can help your children focus on the true meaning of Christmas. 

Many of the ideas on the first two sites don’t translate here but I love ‘em!

Thirty One Days of Kindness

Pitter Patter Art Advent

LIfesong for Orphans Advent Calendar

And unrelated to any act of service, some fun Christmas-y activities. 

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How are you spreading Christmas cheer?