Monday, January 28, 2013

A Bit of An Update…

Saturday we had a free day and spent part of it at the Colorado Springs Zoo, which is literally on a mountain side.

Walking the zoo with future missionaries is comical. As we perused with our small group with individuals heading to Africa, Asia and Europe, someone would identify where the animal was from and say, “Hey, this is going to be one of your animals!”

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Not the safest overlook but really beautiful…

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These three are a riot. Obviously only the parents thought sitting them on a statue was a good idea.

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Emily is a vet tech, heading to Uganda and totally amazing/grossing us out by feeding the giraffe out of her mouth.

We are learning so much here, so quickly. It feels very deconstructing as we are taught in a way that changes our paradigms and the Holy Spirit has much room to convict our hearts.  Friday and today’s sessions were on conflict styles and it was not without conflict. We have learned many hard lessons but am glad to learn it here in a safe place before alienating teammates on the field.

I love it here. It is not without challenge…like loads of it but God is good. Since you have been praying, our family has stayed healthy. Thank you for how you lift us up to the Father.

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Pair-of-Ducks

Our first week has been full and transformational. Overall, we are adjusting well to life at MTI, but there is a nasty bug going around. I have spent the day in bed with the flu.  You can imagine a downfall of living in community is that sickness gets quickly transmitted!  Please pray for health for our family and other participants! There seems to be two different strains of flu and influenza passing through.

We’ve covered so much material in one week, I am not sure how we’ll be feeling at the end of week 5!

There is no wi-fi in our rooms, so I have been surprisingly disconnected. I wasn’t expecting that but it has been fine.

First morning of class within the first five minutes, most of the women and some of the men were tearing up. They dive into the deep end here. One of the first object lessons we were taught was about two ducks or our “pair of ducks” which is our paradox in which we are living. The ducks swim together and are named, “Yay” and “Yuck”. Our seemingly contradictory emotions we are feeling at any one time.

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Hiking with The Littles, Little A was finding treasures and handing it to Little J to haul it all.


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This is what Mama’s sleeve looks like when she forgets to pack kleenex on the hike!

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Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mountains In View

Whew! I am blogging from Colorado.  Today’s six hour on the road felt as long as yesterday’s thirteen! 

We pushed off nap time so The Littles could nap in a bed. We have been stressing that MTI in Colorado is going to be our home for awhile. 

(Pictures are not great, camera is not in the right mode, but I hope they are better than nothing!)

We pull in and The Littles danced in the parking lot, literally.

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and then started climbing a “mountain” which was actually the landscape.

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Fast forward this scene about 5 minutes, we walk in the main doors, dragging luggage and bags falling off our shoulders. The Littles, so thankful to be “home”, walked in two steps and sat down right in the middle of entryway, dropped their teddies and took off the boots and their vests. I tried to coax them to pick up their toys, boots and vests as we were drawing a crowd.

They came in when they were offered cookies. Jon didn’t hear the offer of cookies and desperately swooped in and picked up Little A, who proceeded to scream down the hallway and so we dragged, dropped and heaved our way to our room. So thankful to shot the door and we all went down for a nap!

We are room remodelers as The Littles don’t sleep great when they see us.

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Here’s the room pre- rearrangment.  (Don’t judge the unpacked suitcases).  The Littles at the foot of our bed, in a twin and a hide-a-bed.

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After. Much better.  We can also have a lamp lit without disturbing The Littles.

We have our own bathroom but eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with everyone. I am glad I don’t have to worry about meals.

Another huge blessing…

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Meet The Littles child care class.  There is only 3 of them in the class and the third is Obie Steffen.  :)  We are so thankful to be here with Brett and Liv!


In wonderful other news, we had a new niece join the world today!  Olive, we love you already. Jake and Meika, congratulations, wish we weren’t so far away.


That Explains It...

 Since November, Jon, The Littles and I have been in 18 states and one foreign country.

The Littles are getting to be the expert travelers. As in 13 hours on the road and only 2 stops, no potty accidents!

The 5 hours today seems like a piece of cake. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

What came first?

As we have pressed a bit to be more self-sustaining to prepare for our future, this summer, we ventured into the world of chickens and eggs. You might remember the day we got our chicks?


Anyone remember this list of skills to learn before departure?

So, we’ve had chickens. It’s been a Jon project and he involved the girls when he could. (Much like the garden).

Apparently, I am not very good at actually doing the “homesteading”.  Thank goodness for Jon!

I did love the eggs.


And the independent feeling I had when carrying a skirt full of them! I know, how very Laura Ingalls Wilder of me, right?

This summer, a few of our roaster chickens…err…roasted in this heat so our flock was down in size a bit. We still had lots of eggs, way more than we could eat.  Grandma even started to scramble them for our cat. (Toodles can have whatever she wants, she is a saint kitty).

We have been traveling a lot and before our next long trip, Jon decided it is time to minimize the flock. We sold some and with the rest, Jon learned to butcher.

He told the girls he was going to harvest the chickens. Little A told him, “That’s gross” while Little J said, “That’s sad”. Jon explained that we like to eat chicken and this is how you get chicken for food.  Little A assured us she likes eggs more than chickens. Needless to say, The Littles did not help harvest the chickens.

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Our ingenious amigo, Ralphie, taught Jon the basics of chicken butchering.

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Grossed out yet? So am I. Squeamish just blogging about it. Needless to say, I DID NOT help harvest chickens.

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Jon came home so excited about what he had learned but mostly amazed at what he saw in the chickens. This had never occurred to me before, but in each chicken, there are eggs forming in many stages. I thought that a chicken had an egg a day, so each day, an egg was developed and dropped.

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

It’s solved, the chicken! :)

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These are all eggs in different stages of development. 

That’s kind of awesome. I love how creation continually points to a great creator!

Come April, we are enrolled at Ploughshare Institute in Texas for a three day course covering the basics in:

  • organic gardening
  • orchards
  • vineyards
  • poultry
  • beekeeping
  • culinary herbs
  • dairy animals
  • fencing, barns & sheds
  • water supply
  • One day, I am going to miss class to attend another training-“Soft Cheese Making”.

    Are you laughing yet?

    Seriously. You can just call me Laura Ingalls (let’s just ignore the fact I still haven’t learned to sew or drive a stick, I still have a few months, right?)

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    First Go At The Snow

     A few days before Christmas, it snowed! Jon and I were in a quandry over their nicely wrapped gift under the tree of snow pants and snow boots.
    We decided to leave them there as they were from Mimi.
     They didn't seem to mind their little leggings in the cold because there was too much fun to be had!

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Hashing It Through With You

    Little A brought me a prayer card off the fridge.  “Mama, are these our friends”?  I glanced at Brett and Liv’s photo and exclaimed, “Yes, they are going to be missionaries and we get to go stay with them in Colorado!”

    She looked at me confused. I explained we leave on Sunday for 5 weeks at MTI.  Her eyes glazed over and she walked away.

    Traveling has made this season of life full. The Littles have been troopers and God has used your prayers to make our paths smooth and for them to transition well. It has also left them really confused.

    There’s a reality here that describes our life in the future.

    I heard the following joke:

    “A man arrived in heaven and saw a boisterous group of people, laughing, joyfully crying and repeatedly hugging. He asked, “What’s up with them?” He was told, “Oh, those are the missionaries, they are just so joyful to never have to say goodbyes again.”

    I smiled a little but my insides were twisted in knots. I have confessed here before that I am really bad at saying goodbyes. 

    Leaving Magdalena 5 years ago was excruciating.

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    Thinking of my kiddos saying goodbyes? Puke.

    So, here is my paradox of emotion

    When I think to the future, I am usually a bit overwhelmed but it is accompanied by two other feelings. 1) Deep sadness at the loss of life as we know it/grief over leaving our family and friends in the USA and 2)Bubbling joy at moving forward into what God has set in front of us, into doing life in Ethiopia, serving the Awi.

    While visions of the airport on that day in May pierce my soul with grief, visions of living, learning, being, trusting our God and just doing life in Ethiopia, brings abundant joy.

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    A friend challenged me that instead of focusing on what I am leaving/losing my focus needs to be on what I am gaining.

    It’s really helped.

    His Grace is sufficient. Here. There. Everywhere.

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    Groupon Getaway: My Two Cents

    I’m always a bit skeptical of things that seem too good to be true, this may have been a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. :)  That’s why I am way late to jump on the Groupon bandwagon. 

    Intrigued, I dabbled a bit with a few steals.  Whoa. It totally worked. Great merchandise, cheap, delivered to my door.

    Products take a bit to arrive but have been top quality. 

    I nervously glanced at Groupon Getaways. I asked around and didn’t find anyone who had done it.

    For what it’s worth, it did not disappoint. Flexible on travel destinations? Give it a shot.

    Long Boat Key, FL 091

    Right off our patio.

    After family vacation, Jon and I took a few days to celebrate our fifth anniversary (coming up) and we drove further south to a location we had never heard of before and apparently, not many people know about it. Such a gem.

    Now you know someone who used Groupon Getaway and it worked!

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    The End.

    No, it's not the end of the blog, just our family trip.
     Making "Oooey, gooey, yucky pies" with Aunt Kris

     Daily swims

    Frisbee on the beach
     Yay for quality family time!
     Oh la la beauty spa
     Not a bite for uncle Jay
     Everyone plays spa :)
    and these men did get motivated to do some sand sculpting...

    It's a submarine sending a torpedo to hit...
    a giant crab
      beach ninjas (couldn't keep my eyes open for these pictures!)

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    A Day At The Beach

    We enjoyed a day warm enough to experience the surf and sand.

     Fascinated with footprints

     "Mama, I made a sandball Can I eat it?"
     To busy for Little A to stop and smile
    Little J gives a smile on the run
    My hardcore honey tried laying out. No, it was not sunny or warm. 
     Instead of continuing our family tradition of laboring together to construct a wonder of the world (sand style) Follow the link to see the last few years' creation

    An brief example, The Great Wall of China

    This year, we outdid ourselves and the motivated men dug a channel to "forever change the shoreline".


    Getting more involved with the sand.
     Little A, cold to the core, only cuddles can warm her up!