Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Cute Graduation

Every time we visit Lifesong Schools/Misgana Ministries in Ethiopia, we leave very blessed at the work God is doing there. We were able to attend a preschool graduation and the kids presented in Oromo, Amharic and English. 

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We traveled down with friends and the kids are so focused in this picture during the ceremony.

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And I’ve not seen many things cuter than this.

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A little drama 

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This little girl was top in her class. 

And that is the end of my brain capacity. I am ready for bed at 8:20 pm. ;)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Deep Breath

Jon went to Injibara and back and, praise God, our water is flowing through the pipes again! He also heard the power is only on occasionally and so we hope to buy a generator to take with us. 

It was an emotional weekend for us, actually, the biggest one yet. I pulled out a photo album of our family and our extended family. The girls looked through it and I thought it would be good, but it made them a BIG sad. It’s so hard to watch them hurting. They know we say our goodbyes to Raquel tonight and it all contributed to lots of tears. Jon and I are so glad they can process things with words but it is also heartbreaking. J is more of an internal processor while A is learning ways to say what she is feeling. I’m crying right now as I remember it. As tears slid down her cheeks, she said, “When I am sad, I just tell myself, ‘It’s okay, we are close, we can just get on a plane and visit people we miss’ but I know it’s not true! We are so far away!” So, we cried together and talked about the privilege our family has of being sent to another land but how this doesn’t take away the real hurt. 

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Raquel is a dear woman and has become a close friend to all of us! Oh, we’ll miss her!

All the girlies with Raquel hair.

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Ok, this next one kills me. :)

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Eliza arrived from Australia on Wednesday. We are so thankful Raquel and Eliza had time to overlap and we praise God for His provision for us. Right now, just keeping the family fed, clothed and stable and a somewhat clean space around has me at full capacity so I don’t quite know how we would be getting along without these young women who have sacrificed to bless us. 

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We met Eliza when she landed in Ethiopia and had talked with her on Skype before. Her family is long time supporters with other SIM Ethiopia friends. We are so glad she was willing to come without even knowing us!

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She is the second child of seven from a homeschool family and has a natural gift to connect with kids. 

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Our girls have finally expressed an interest in learning Amharic and we’ve hired a language helper for them for our few weeks while in Addis Ababa. They are easily embarrassed when they make a mistake and like to give up but we are praying they can get over that feeling and press forward onto language learning! Their teacher could not be more kind. 

And this guy, only days away from his first birthday. I don’t know how that happened. Time is going faster with my second set of babies. Two top teeth are threatening to come in and he has taken his first steps, cruising on everything and crawling around in the evenings, biting anyone’s ankle that’s exposed. It’s hilarious and tickles so much. It seems like he actually knows he is playing a game like he is an animal. He’s imitating words and in general, melting us all with his adorable self. IMG 0157 Thank you for praying for his eye. I took him to a clinic as he was quite miserable and then we walked to a nearby pharmacy for an eye drop. I put him down for a nap with intention to start the drop when he was rested and he woke up chipper with a non-oozy, non-red eye. We are so thankful! 

Another guest at the guesthouse said that Tiger can make money with his eyebrows and it’s true, his expressive eyebrows fit in perfect in Ethiopia. He can raise one at a time and even make them look like zig zags. 

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Miss T fell asleep in my arms and woke up with sleep lines that looked like whiskers. Her expression looks like she gets how funny it is. :)  She is a sweetie, lights up when someone smiles at her, is grabbing for everything, wants all food in her mouth (we’ve not started any solids yet) and if the room is quiet, she’s got a lot to say! We are loving see her little personality come through! 

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I love these babies!

Praising God for our village, here and all of you, loving and praying from overseas. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The "Adventure" Dock

On Saturday, while out of the city on Lake Ziway, we decided to go scouting for hippos. We had baby life jackets, snacks and the diaper bag and set out first thing. The skies were gloomy and I questioned my intelligence as to taking 4 kids out. We were reassured the boat had a cover and we would be fine.

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Before getting to the boat, we walked down a long jetty, eroded away by the rain.

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And then this dock.

At this point, I was ready to turn back, but we had made it this far, and our guide, after seeing me giving the dock a wary eye, helpfully said in English, “This part is a bit of an adventure”. We laughed, the girls seemed comfortable, the babies happy in the outdoors and pressed on.

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Out on the open seas. Well, just a lake, but a big one.

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And then we came across a pod of hippos. And our boat driver stopped the motor. This is after he had a very difficult time starting it close to shore. My tone escalated a bit and A calmly said, “Well, if Miss T gets eaten by a hippo, it will still have been a fun adventure but we will grieve”. 

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The motor started the and hippos were nonchalant about our presence. They are intriguing creatures. 

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A view of the dock on the way back. An adventure for sure. J’s leg slipped through and so she and A were scooped up by two men and carried the rest of the way. 

Prayer Points:

-Eliza, an STA (short term associate) who is joining our project and our family for the next 3 months arrived safely from Australia today. This is her first time abroad and we are so thankful for her courage to come! Pray for her orientation and acclimation (to this culture and our zoo-ey family). 

-Language study

-Safety, productivity and relationships among our neighbors for Jon, Michael and Jason, who will travel to Injibara on Friday to work on the house. 

-Tiger’s eye got a little scratch today and it is really bothering him. 

 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

For Tradition Sake

If you are a long time reader of the blog, you may remember my long time scramble to do some kind of celebrating of American holidays in an effort for creating stability and positive memories for our kiddos. The first year in Ethiopia, we tried to skip it but then…well, read about it here. It’s weird this holiday is such a big deal for us but it’s because I remember my desperate feeling that first summer where we were all like plants, pulled out of our pots, starting to wilt and looking for ways to root again. And…I also dyed rice because it was all we had. 

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I am about dying of the girls’ 3 year-old cuteness!

By the next year, I knew I had to be more intentional as even though I can’t execute a holiday exactly the way I experienced it, it’s so important and fun to celebrate holidays. Here’s a link to 2014 where we were blessed to hang out with teammates and family on the fourth. 2014 4th 0f July. This was the year the girls’ wanted to make everyone choose which country was better. Thanks to Erica and several others, we had decorations to pull out for the 4th!

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By summer of 2015, we were back in the states for a 4th with all the fun Jon remembers growing up. 

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2016, we are back in a hut, this time, the new one at our house, grilling burgers with teammates and friends. 

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Here we are, 2017. Living at SIM Headquarters (HQ). We are in a lovely, two bedroom apartment here, but it isn’t our home in the US or in Ethiopia. We were all still a bit tired but I saw it was July 3rd. All of our decorations are in Injibara but I am slowly learning that celebrating life isn’t what we have or where we are but taking joy in the little things and recreating what we can. We invited all the Americans around (4 couples) and ate Mexican food on a tiny veranda. (I know, why not burgers? It was what I had around and it is usually raining every afternoon/evening, so grilling was out) The girls spent the afternoon coloring flags and beading red, white and blue jewelry while Raquel and I made potatoes, meat, salsa and guacamole.  

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I want to be an intentional mom and a woman who can truly celebrate the little things. 

In other updates, we spent the weekend in Ziway, we had a few meetings, went to a Lifesong School graduation and enjoyed God’s beautiful creation. More pics to come of this trip. Our trip down took much longer than we thought because of a missed turn, busy roads and the dynamics of traveling with four children, but we made it and were so happy to crawl out of the van!

Prayer Points:

-Jon leaves on Friday to go up to Injibara and fix up our house. He especially needs wisdom on getting our water running again.

-Eliza, a young woman from Australia, flies in this week and will be with our family for the next three months. She is 19 and it is her first time abroad. Talk about diving in deep. Pray for her, her heart, her safety, her time with us.

-We are all so sad thinking about saying goodbye to Raquel, she has truly been God’s provision for us in this season.

-Babies sleep, last night Tiger slept for the first time all night! Miss T is waking up at least 3 times, I can usually nurse her and get her back to sleep. 

-We’ve resumed language study. It feels good to apply my brain in Amharic again but I also feel rusty! 

Thanks for loving us so well. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Where The Stews Are Spicy and The Coffee Is Strong

This morning, as all the kids snoozed and the muslim call to prayer floated into our apartment at SIM Headquarters, for the first time, as I watched the sun come over the smoggy mountains and high rises, I was flooded with something that felt like home and subsequently,  thankfulness.

We are back in the land where the coffee is strong and the stews are spicy, the place where when there is water, shower, when there is power, charge it and if there is internet, connect with someone. We’ve been here for six nights now and I think we are through the worst of the jet lag (please). Four children are a lot more than two when applied to jet-lagged kids, especially babies. We are still having periods of wakefulness each night from the babies but they are shorter with longer sleep increments between them. YAY. We are acclimating, celebrating, meeting, grieving, running errands introducing and organizing (all with a bit of sleep deprivation). 

An overseas worker who has lived in Ethiopia six years longer than I have gave me some important advice. “Don’t trust anything you feel until you have been in country for two weeks.” This is freeing for me and something I think about a lot through my days. I still have a week. :) 

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Raquel and the girls dove right into school, which I think has been incredibly healthy to have a routine of sorts.

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Jet lag is no joke. This was what we all looked like at least three hours every night for the first three nights. 

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We are relearning our way around and we notice a shift in the country. It’s a different place than when we left and I feel like the “rules” have changed yet again but we are finding things that are consistent, like $0.50 amazing macchiatos. 

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Homeschooling in a tree. 

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We are in rainy season but the mornings start out sunny, such a beautiful time.

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And today, after church while we were all warm and dry, hail like I have never seen in Ethiopia began to fall and covered the ground like snow. Tiger didn’t know what to think.

 

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Which of course led to Jon starting a “snowball” fight. One of the girls was hiding behind Raquel.

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A bit after it was done hailing, Miss T woke up and I decided we had to get her picture in it as this might be the closest thing to snow she sees for years. She didn’t seem to notice but she’ll be glad for the picture.

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Grr. Half of my pictures aren’t loading, but look at this little jet-lagged face. 3:00 am and adorable.

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And Tiger has started cruising, finding ways to get across rooms, crawling anywhere we are and carefully watching the world from behind his deep, wise eyes.

Yes, Jon and I kiss both of our babies A LOT because, I mean, look at their squishy cheeks!

To our dear readers, we can’t thank you enough for journeying along with us in prayer, thoughts and encouragement.