Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Bunny Airplane Birthday

Thank you for your prayers for Alimitu. She is weakening and has gone weekly for the last two weeks to the clinic in town for IV fluids. She is deteriorating and we would ask you continue to storm heaven's gates for her healing to bring much glory to God.

Two years.

It was the first bunny/airplane birthday party I've ever attended or had the honor of hosting. 

Words can't capture any child but especially Miss T, lover of life, tough as nails, bringer of joy.

Our next months are a flurry. We leave Ethiopia in June for a conference on the way to the states and then we will spend 4 months in the USA. It's exciting to plan but involves details on every level. We hope to see you and be able to thank you, update you and bless you for your unending stream of support, prayers and encouragement. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Jon wasn't back from a training, we were traveling from Addis Ababa to Injibara home the next morning and late afternoon, there was a knock on my door informing me before we left, all the kids needed updated passport pictures on file. 

Picture this. I know the process in the USA. This is not the same process. Loaded littles in stroller, pep-talked J and A, saw a friend on the way who offered to hold J and A's hand as we have to walk down crowded sidewalks and when the sidewalk is impassable, into the busy street.

Crowds curiously inquiring as to our family's makeup. People informing me three of my kids could not possibly be mine. Strollering through deep ruts, trying to smile, not too hard as the concept of a double stroller is blowing people's minds and their astonishment is humorous. 
(Here is an example of me walking with the kids to buy bread. Can you find the double stroller? We passed close to a school letting out. One big sis stayed protectively by the stroller, the other stayed behind me at the bread counter. And the bread vendor was taking her sweet, old time.) 

We arrive at the photo shop. It is open air and so small only two of us can go in at a time. The other kids stay on the street, people pressing in, trying to figure us out. J and A rock their pictures and model well for the littles. Tiger's turn. He stands sweetly in front of the sheet and won't take his hand out of his mouth. He finally gets a suitable pic. I go to switch the stroller children and Miss T had been so delightfully quiet because I didn't realize she had grabbed a handful of paper, markers and books on the way out. She is a collector. She was covered in marker. Nothing spit and baby wipes wouldn't clean up. 

Her turn in front of the sheet and she had to lay down her load for the picture. 
Notice the paper at her feet. She stood, straighfaced and launched into the longest, "cheeeeeeeeeessseeee" I've ever heard. 

More waiting, more sidewalk discussion time and then these pictures were handed to me. 

And toddler ID pictures are my favorite thing. 

We did it, now we only had the return trip left. ;) My friend commented that it was worth it going just to watch the wake of awe, amusement and confusion. She said next time, she wants to tag along and try to get a video.

Monday, February 25, 2019

The deluge of rain on the tin roof currently is drowning out the noise of Jon bathing the littles and J and A pounding a little keyboard and singing at their top of their lungs. The rain is surprising everyone, like we need to tell the sky, "This is dry season, remember?" I'm perched on the edge of a bed so covered in piles of clean and partially folded laundry there is barely room for me. My computer has to charge while we have power. Our power has been great lately, like if I were a superstitious person, I would continue to not acknowledge the improvement in case I change it. ;) As I am on a roll of unrelated and insignificant information, thanks to our visitors, we've uncovered Tiger's allergy. It's to corn and all things corn syrup, corn starch and it is such a relief to be able to make progress on his health!

A quote a loved this week from @shannanwrites, "Lord, give us the guts to sift through the mundane and consider it all gold". I love this thought.
The kids and I crammed into a bajaj...a mundane adventure. :)

In the not mundane, we just had a fab visit from Jake, Meika, Charlie and Leo. Jake is Jon's brother. More photos from this visit to come. 

Do you remember the Christmas Ox? His hide is now laying on our floor. I have very mixed feelings about this and he is missing small patches of fur because ants ate the hide while it was being cured. Here are a few more pictures of the day.
Ethiopian Christmas morning, strong coffee, spicy stew, sour, thick injera.

Tiger and Miss T observe the butcher.

At this point, Miss T, who loves to have a good discussion had insisted to me so many times it was a chicken being butchered, I stopped correcting her. So her one-sided conversation sounding like this:
"It's chicken...It's cow now...It's, it's cow...It's cow now..."

Snack time! A vegan delight as meat doesn't top my list while watching an animal be dismantled with machetes, knives and then there is the part with the ax. 
Dividing up the piles of meat. The part closest to the camera is the stomach. 

We were so honored to be a part of this and gave some of our share away and pressure cooked the rest. To eat on a less graphic day.
Christmas evening brought the boys, singing, and pounding their sticks in hope for bread or birr. We gave birr and glow sticks.

Miss T is so near her 2nd birthday, loving to see her personality emerge.
A very fun handful.

Love to all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Interceding for Alimitu

When she sat down beside us in the shafts of light coming through the mud window, I was startled to see Alimitu’s diminishing frame. As a joyful mother of eight, her physical decline is alarming. She and her husband have traveled to the best hospital in Bahir Dar and then Addis Ababa and nothing seems to help. She is slowly starving to death as she inexplicably cannot swallow all food and most liquid. Over the course of almost a year, the family has asked for help and prayer. 

(Not Alimitu in the photo)

Please pray with us for the miracle of healing in Alimitu’s life and for the glory and worship of our great God! We will visit her family again on Friday. 

And because I am on this learning kick, here's an extra tidbit.  :)

In my past, I was pressed to articulate the strategy of my prayer life. What underlying messages did I believe as I approached the King of the Universe? What did I believe my prayers were for? Why was I praying?  

What this challenging exercise revealed was surprising to me, as I would never have explained my prayer theology beseeching such a limited God. If I saw a need for intercession, I began to inform God of the need, praying for a certain outcome. Then he would influence the situation. 
Sounds kind of dumb, huh? (borrowed graphics from a worker in an undisclosed location) When I stepped away, I knew this wasn't what I believed of God and so why was I approaching him like this?

A different mindset on prayer has changed the way I intercede and it brings so much more joy instead of drudging along in duty.  
And then...
And finally...
I love it. Praise be to God. Join with us in prayer for Alimitu.

I would love to hear your thoughts? What is your prayer strategy? Do you agree or disagree with the ideas proposed in the graphics?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Our Best Frenemies

I am in denial that my computer is dying. As I slog through processes that should be quick, I hear it, grinding, trying so hard to still be up-to-date. I'm cheering it on and laughing as I realize this probably comes from my change-averse tendencies. Do you know that's a thing? 

Jon and I took this marriage assessment and met with a counselor and Jon is called, "Change-oriented" while clear on the opposite end, my score sits, "Change-averse". Neither is wrong but it explains why so often Jon is innovating and undaunted by change and I'm still clawing and trying to hang onto the way it has always been. We both are growing in our styles and with the self-awareness, working to give space and accommodate each other's style.  (Though, depressingly, in most American-worldview books, the people who succeed are high on the risk and change scale). 

Change usually feels awesome when it's my new norm. :)

A pop-by visit with a neighbor, sorting, washing and drying kilos of corn to prepare to make a homemade beer. The women working together had light-hearted attitudes while doing a tedious job and reminded me of the hubbub of applesauce day growing up. 

Speaking of change-averse and off-track, here is a picture of my cousins and brothers at my Grandma's funeral. It makes me proud and emotional every time I see it. I also feel old as I want to say, "How did you all get so big?".

Our good, good Father, is always pushing us into change, and my word of 2019 is ROOTEDNESS. I am praying for this and our kids, that our roots are so deep in Christ, no matter what comes, we will not be blown over with our roots deep in the only true stability, God himself. 

These two, they are among my greatest gifts. I call them "best frenemies" as they deeply love AND deeply annoy each other. I realize if I would have seen God's plan ahead of time, I would have been so scared to raise another set of "twins" far from family support. 

So thankful for a God who knows and loves me and sweetly and mercifully pulls me along, giving me so much more than I can ask or imagine. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

I'm Still Standing

Oh guys, I am back to using an old platform to host the blog...which feels like switching back to a flip-phone in a smart phone world and who has got time for that? 

Hello you faithful friends. I’ve been thinking about Ephesians 6 lately and rolling around in my head, verses 13.
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, the you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. "

Recent life in our family tribe has been sweet, busy, beautiful, exhausting, stretching, disappointing and gratifying…which is similar to Christian walks of life, the planet over. I keep thinking I will get to a place and get my family to a place where we are “mess-free” and shockingly, I’ve got a ways to go, starting with myself. 

The guests have been abundant and amazing. Ethiopian Christmas was met with all the invites and meat we could stomach. Such a special time. Here's a smattering of photos with hope of more to come.

While the Gerbers were still with us, we did the first drive-thru (to our knowledge) in Injibara. The "Panini Palace" seemed to be a hit.
Hiking through the "baboons' house" according to Tiger
 I love the look of Monay, deep in love with her first grandbaby!

Our first year in Ethiopia, we were majorly propped up by our neighbors and mentors and we were so incredibly honored by their visit as they plan to serve in 35 different countries in the next 8 months. And they decorated my house for Christmas, which is not a strong skill of mine. 
In this nomadic life we live, it encourages my heart that so many hard goodbyes are truly just a change in relationship as we cross continents and still find ways to sneak in good talks, some tears and times of prayer.
I still love to see Awi horses, in their splendid apparel with proud riders atop their saddles.
Attendees at a recent Master Tree Grower's training
And the Christmas ox, hanging out in our yard until Christmas. When we come into our gate, Tiger still asks, "Where is the Christmas cow?". We joined a neighborhood group to gather monthly and collect money so at Christmas, there was enough saved to buy this beefy guy. At the butcher, Jon ate with the men and as they butchered, he snacked on raw stomach, tongue (warm and fresh immediately taken from the ox) and liver. The kids and I were not sad that day we didn't qualify as men!
 My parents visited during meat season and within 4 days, we had visited 10 huts. Dad was dressed up like an Awi man for the photo.
 Miss T's awkward positioning makes me laugh every time. 
Such a sweet time with my parents. 
Sending love across the miles. 

May we stand firm and rooted deep in Christ, the only stable ground. 


Squirm Break

Still not able to work out the kinks with the blog, so I will try one picture at a time. It’s actually a great break time for me as I am currently reading a book, so convicting, challenging and full of new thoughts I am literally squirming as I read it and can digest it in chunks.  Do any of you read books that make you squirm? I would love to hear your recommendations and am enjoying the uncomfortable challenge and Biblical call, though not easy, discussions from different points of view spark life. I read a chapter to Jon and waited for his feedback. He sat still for a bit and said, “Wow, I don’t know how to respond as I don’t even have a shelf to put this information”. My current book is “Global Humility”. 

Okay, messing around a bit, I don’t think it is the text, just any photo…trying again.

Sigh. More fixing to do I guess. :)

I want your book recommendations, for real.