Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Anything But Boring...

I’m a compulsory confessor. Here’s my confession for the day. We are having a really hard time with The Littles right now. Pray for all the Third Culture Kids (TCK’s) you know. This is not easy business. Parenting never is I guess. 

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Life has been far from boring. We attended an international school’s field day. Jon ran in the daddy daughter race. It was so fun to see all these dads hauling their daughters.

They didn’t win but him convincing the girls this was a good idea was a win in my book. 

Multiple men carried two children, a few carried three but what do you do if you have four daughters?

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No problem. The baby in the very back is 8 months old. The oldest daughter is wearing her in a pack. 

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And by God’s grace. These two are going to be healed.

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Jon passes down the long tradition of pie making from his family.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

The Harvest

You may have guessed, but our internet has been very difficult for the past several weeks. There are several theories as to why and I choose the one that means this will end soon and I will be back.

It’s been a full two weeks, maybe the lack of internet has spared me from spilling my soul to the whole world as my emotions have also been roller coastering on a myriad of subjects. :)

I apologize to e-mails that I haven’t responded to, e-mails come in and out at their own, indecipherable will.


Maybe it’s the ag background Jon and I have or maybe just because it’s amazing to anyone. While driving a few weeks ago, it was harvest time and fascinating to watch. Jon’s the driver but also the one in the relationship who wants a picture of everything. I feel like I have enough to manage with the kids, food, toys, books and my extremely necessary duty of being a watcher or just gasper whenever an animal, person or vehicle gets close in our path (Yes, Jon appreciates my role in this very much. Okay, he’d be fine if I didn’t do that). However, as we are driving, Jon says, “Wow, will you take a picture of that?” And I do a deep sigh and turn around for the 3,241st time and dig around behind the seat for the camera. 

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But he’s right, the pictures are worth it. :)

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And this pictures shows the sad realities of deforestation. I have never before had such the urge to dedicate my life to planting tree seeds. 



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Timkat'ed In...

We missed the chance to be snowed in, but the Ethiopian holiday, Timkat (celebration of the Epiphany, read more about it on Wikipedia) provided the snowed in experience.

From all reports, no one was supposed to drive from midday Saturday through Sunday afternoon. We’d heard that a processional would march with replicas of the ark of the covenant to and from different Orthodox churches. Although a bit fuzzy on the details, we went out to wait on our street to witness the parade pass.

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There are hours of marching and the models of the arks of the covenant are carried by priests, who walk on red carpet the entire way. As they pass, the carpets are rolled, loaded into trucks and then moved in front of the process. From what I could tell, there seemed to be three long carpets.

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These men had a big job.

And we didn’t have to wait much longer for this scene to come around the corner.

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Thousands of people poured out from every crevice. As the crowds passed, many of the spectators joined the processional, walking to the church. 

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Okay, don’t just use your eyes to imagine this, imagine the sound of drums, dancing, chanting, singing and festivity that hung in every inch of air.

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It was mesmerizing.

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And beautiful.

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And the buzz grew as the models of the ark drew nearer.

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And this is about when the police plus the throngs of marchers moved us along the wall.

As the arks passed, there were men, rolling up the carpet behind them.

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Videos to come...




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Walk Down Cuteness Lane

We don't have internet right now and in an attempt to blog from my phone, these are the photos I can access and they seem to play in rapid succession. 

It is cute enough I will post it anyways. :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Ball and A Stick

With a dramatic increase in Amharic since this summer, Jon and I prayed to have significantly less miscommunications. This lasted until our first morning in Injibara. The night we arrived, Yeshwas had told us that on Christmas day, in the pasture, everyone plays a game with a ball and a stick. Jon, glad he could understand those words got out of the attic a bin of baseball supplies and bright and early Christmas morning, the crowd of kids was organized into baseball teams. 

He was surprised at the lack of understanding of the game if this was truly a yearly highlight for them. Nevermind, we press on. 

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And amidst the animals, it was a great game of ball.

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Fielding is way more interesting amongst the herd.

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And this little sweetie showed up, wearing her traditional clothes for the festivities.

We went into town for a lunch and passed this...

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We were stopped by these boys, who showed us their game, the one they always play on Christmas day. The one played with sticks and a ball. It’s “Christmas Ball”.IMG 8773

It dawned on Jon first. “Oooohh. So this is the game they play with a stick and a ball on Christmas”. 

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We went back home and asked our friends why they didn’t correct us. We were assured baseball is fun and now it was time for Gena Kwas.

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Ah. So clear in hindsight. 

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Now we know the game played on Christmas with a ball and a stick.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Return

We weren’t sure how it would feel to go back. This summer was amazing and a blur, full of adrenaline, new experiences and vibrant culture. 

As city dwellers for about 5 months now and our honeymoon phase in Ethiopia gone, we didn’t know what to brace ourselves for. I told Jon, “What if no one invites us anywhere and we just sit in the house for four days?!” 

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Praise the Lord, we were warmly welcomed again. On Ethiopian Christmas, the day started about 9:00 with a baseball game (funny story on this blooper later) and by 10:00, we were invited over to the cow butchering. 14 families contributed money to buy a cow for Christmas. From our understanding, many from our community eat meat about three times a year and Christmas is one of those times.

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We were humbled and blessed to share a meal. 

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And in no time, The Littles were scooped up and carted around. They kind of love/hate this but generally favorable after a few minutes.

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And these sweet faces, they changed a lot in five months!  The little one in stripes, she was one of the children I blogged about this summer, who cowered in fear of me, to the point of physically trembling if I greeted her. Guess who jumped into my arms and held on for about an hour?  Yes, this sweetie, definitely warmed my heart. :)  

More Christmas day adventures to come...


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mothering The Monkeys

Conversations I’ve recently overhead between the girls and the animals. I don’t remember who was saying what so these are my best guesses.

(As two monkeys wrestled on the balcony.)

J: Hey, hey! Are you loving each other? 

(Monkeys continue to squabble)

J: You aren’t loving each other!

A: (To a third uninvolved monkey) Will you go over there and tell them they need to treat each other with kindness?

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If you’ve read long enough, you’ve probably observed a pattern, The Littles spend large chunks of everyday working on their culinary skills in the dirt. They can’t bring dirt in the apartment so they other day I walk out to this scene.

A: (Softly and sweetly) Okay, just open your mouth and eat what Mama made you. 

Turtles head retreats further into it’s shell.

A: Don’t go away from me. Come out and eat your food, it’s yummy!

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And lucky for the girls, not so lucky for the turtle, it has zero chance at a quick retreat. 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

They're Gonna Feel This One...

Lately my posts have had a heavy vibe. Sorry, I’ll lighten it up tomorrow.

We say goodbye on Wednesday to the Florek family. Yes, the one that we hung out with in North Carolina at our SIMGo class. Our kids hit it off then.

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Charlotte celebrated The Littles 3rd birthday with them, at an Ethiopian restaurant too.

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And while the parents went off to language school every day, the the girls spent every moment together. 

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Trekking into many new adventures...

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We are so glad that their ministry “down country” can begin and can’t wait to hear stories of how God blesses them in it.

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It’s just going to be another change. 

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And the girls are going to feel it. 

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But we’ve all been blessed with such a sweet time.

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We all will miss them. 

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Can you pray for the Florek’s as they transition to a new home and all the kids as they walk the path of goodbyes?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Different Kind of Childhood

Thanks for your prayers! We are back in Addis, about 9 hours on the road, one potty stop. 

I’ll do a post I’ve had drafted as my brain feels incapable of new thought. :)


 It’s interesting to me, to observe Third Culture Kids (TCK’s) who have spent their lives in a  country other than their parent’s passport culture.

Jon and I reminisce about our childhoods, which, in the big picture, were very similar. 

At SLC, we drove through Sodere and I watched the male TCK’s come prepared, hunting monkeys with pellet guns. (The monkeys were surprisingly naughty and intimidating. They would steal food off your plate while eating). I thought about how much my brothers would have loved monkey hunts.

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But Jon, who spent large chunks of his summer in the water, made this interesting observation in the pool.

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Many of the teenage guys were out there and doing cautious, basic dives off the diving board. I asked a mom of older TCK’s and she mentioned that most of her kids have learned to swim at SLC’s (which happen every two years) or at lake Langano (a popular vacation spot for SIM missionaries). 

If this is the long-term life God has for us (and I kind of hope it is and I kind of hope it isn’t), my kids won’t know summers spent at a pool or tubing behind a boat. I had this sad moment but then I realized that though what The Littles learn as normal is very different from what Jon and I had in childhood, they also have a life rich in experiences I never had.

That night, I watched these same young teenage boys learn how to breathe fire (apparently commonplace in Switzerland).

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I pleaded with Jon to refrain from this activity but probably about 40 people learned to breathe fire and that’s not something we do in Indiana. We learn to do flips off diving boards.

I know that to be a TCK is abundant in life experiences and world travels but it also sets up my kiddos to never quite know where they belong. Speaking in sweeping generalities, after meeting many TCK’s and hearing them share, there seems to be a sort of immaturity about things of pop culture but a deep maturity in their walk with God.  

As I watch Little J and Little A resist our next transition and beg for “home”, it’s a chance to (cry, pray) point them to our true home, Heaven.