Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas At Our House.

This year we had a very quiet Christmas at home. For the last three years, we've gone to my parents' house for dinner or hosted the dinner, so it was strange to be at home. We did have a very sweet day, just the three of us. Reading the Christmas story, making cinnamon rolls, and eating an American-style meal (ham AND turkey!) with some good friends rounded out our day. 


Instead of individual Christmas gifts, we opted for one family gift this year and we are immensely enjoying this brand new water cooler!


We also had a visit to the doctor Christmas night, for a very good reason:


Peanut #2 is joining our little family in May! We were just glad to finally be seen by a doctor Christmas night. The timing didn't work out in the States with my doctor since we traveled to Texas and then of course we had the big move to Thailand and getting settled into a new house, city and country. Then we were on the hunt to find a doctor, got a recommendation, and tried to connect with her. Between our schedule and hers, that took some manuerving but all is well!! Peanut #2 is an active baby already and I think will give Paul a run for his money in terms of energy and activity.  Here we go!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A List.

In no particular order...


- A tumble down the last few stairs Wednesday morning left this Mama and son feeling sore. The bad news is Paul wouldn't put too much pressure on his left ankle until the middle of the day. I never got so many snuggles from my little boy before! The good news is he slept from 9 PM until 9 AM - which never happens in this household! We'll see how he does today, but I think a trip to the hospital can be avoided this time.

- Because of said tumble and concern over Paul's ankle, I decided to stay home from school Wednesday. Thankfully we have one more class on Friday and then a 10-day break, so I hope to catch up over the break on what I missed!

- My husband flys home today from a nearby country! We've really missed him around here, but I'm glad he got to take this trip. We are ready for the better half to be back. :-)

- After being with us for the last 7 weeks, my niece starts her long journey to the States on Friday night. The song "I'll Be Home For Christmas" has been heard around our house recently and in her case it's very true! We've had a wonderful time with her and it goes without saying she has been an immense help here. Our recommendation to any missionaries planning on settling in on the field in the future is to take a helper, especially if you have small kids!

- The lack of cooking taking place in this house sometimes amazes me. But then I think about it from the perspective it's actually cheaper to go eat at the neighborhood restaurant ($1.00 or less) than it is to go buy the ingredients. That's cooking Thai food. When we talk about American food, the expense really shoots up! With all the time and energy devoted to language study, I am so drained mentally after class that we often eat out on those nights. It helps having our neighborhood restaurant and a market just across the busy highway. There is always variety to be had! This trend is here until school ends. We won't be in school for ever.... it just feels like it sometimes. :-)

- Last week, at the request of the local pastor who has connections at a school, we taught English to two classes of 4th graders. At first it was pretty intimidating, but then I realized we are native speakers, so anything we would say would be an immediate help because these students and their schools don't have enough funding to compete for the elusive "trained" English teacher from America. We really had a good time and it made me appreciate my language teachers more, because I could hear the students saying the words incorrectly and know my teachers can hear me say the Thai words incorrectly. :-) It was fun to be able to do some teaching!

- Our plans for Christmas are to have a quiet day at home and maybe enjoy an American meal at a restaurant. There's a special program Sunday at the church we attend, but that's about it. Christmas isn't hugely celebrated here (although the commercialism is!) and New Year's Day is actually the big event. So I'm sure things will ramp up after Christmas!

- I've been reading through the book of Proverbs for my devotions, in keeping with the Sunday School lessons back at my home church, and have founds tons of gems in this wise book. I've also found tons of things to work on in my life, as those one-line proverbs really have a way of going directly to the heart of the issue. It's been a sweet study.

- I'm amazed at how much attention our little boy gets from Thai people. Whenever we are doing a more touristy-than-not activity, a bunch of people will come up and touch Paul, try to get him to smile, and even hold him so they can take a picture. Last Saturday we took our niece to another province to a white temple and no less that five different people wanted to take their picture with Paul! Such good opportunities to speak for Christ.

- I'm thankful for Skype, Magic Jack, blogging, e-mail, facebook, and snail mail. We've used all of them to keep up the communication back home, which makes home feel a little less far away. This is just a plug in that I am working on too: communicating with someone on the foreign field might not seem like a big deal to you, but it is HUGE to those on the field. Every email, Facebook message, phone call and note in the mail screams, "I do care and haven't forgotten about you. I'm extremely busy, but I wanted to let you know you matter." I've been trying to make my communication more meaningful, being prodded on by the verse to show myself friendly. I can sit around and wait for someone to call, or I can pick up the phone a and call someone. Simple! Like I said, I'm still working on this too because communication is definitely a two-way street. I recently read something that I thought was a little sad: a missionary on the field hardly ever heard from their sending church. What? I'm thankful for those in our church who have taken the time to drop us a note, because it means a lot. One man in particular even went so far as to call my husband a couple of times which was a big deal to Nat. He got off the phone and was excited for the spiritual "iron sharpening iron." I know men have a harder time communicating but it made my husband's day that this brother called. By the way, if you write, I will respond! My goal is to answer one email message a day, and that "usually happens! It just might take me time to respond to everyone. :-)

Time to get moving!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Counting My Blessings.

It's easy to count my trials and discouragements, especially when I'm in the thick of them. Towards the end of last week and the weekend, God has been impressing on my heart that there are many things that I can call blessings. The song "Count Your Blessings" is really a great reminder to do that very thing.

So in no particular order, here are some blessings from the recent past.

- Language study: As much as some days this can be a trial :-), I've noticed that in the 2.5 weeks of school, I'm speaking/understanding way more Thai than I did in the previous 1.5 years I lived here. That is encouraging! On the days I don't feel like going to school, I'm reminded that learning the language is part of our ministry because our end goal is communicating the Gospel. We're getting there!

- Driving: I'm a big fan of driving. When I was single (and gas was cheaper!), I would take weekend adventures and have no destination in mind... just drive, drive, drive! One of my goals was to learn to drive stick shift and here in Thailand we have the extra twist of driving on the opposite side of the road. Something came up to really motivate me to learn stick shift and I'm happy to report I've now driven to the store and back and to church and back to center-city Chiang Mai. I plan on driving to school today and trying to get in as much driving as possible this week, so by the end of the week I'll be confident enough to drive by myself on the road with other drivers and the crazy road gnats (motorcycles) all while shifting with my left hand. I've only stalled a couple of times and that's a big accomplishment!

- Living in a new culture: A friend and I wrote back and forth on email a little bit (I still have to answer the last one!) and she made the comment not only did we move to a new country, we moved to a new continent, culture, and and language. Once I read that, it really put it into a new perspective for me. Nat and I mentioned to each other how smooth our transition was to Thailand and how we felt "normal" right away, but we did in fact make quite the jump! It's easy to forget since we've spent so much time in Thailand, but this was kind of a huge deal. :-)

- My niece: Tiana joined us for a 7.5 week trip as we got settled in and I really don't know how we would've done it without her help! From watching Paul numerous times while we sorted things out to helping deep-clean our house, this gal is worth her weight in gold. Our time with her is coming to an end soon, but I would keep her if I could. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday she watches Paul while we study in the morning and then when we go to school in the afternoon. That right there has been a huge help!

- Our Sunday routine: The church we attend here doesn't have a service until the afternoon so every Sunday morning we do a Bible study on the same thing our church is studying back at home. Right now we've been going through Proverbs and the study has been so good. After the study, we'll listen to one of the messages our pastor preached the previous Sunday. Our church streams the services live, but we're (usually!) in bed by the time the morning service is streamed (10:30 PM our time) and we're still sleeping when the evening service is streamed (6:30 am our time). I did have a extra burst of energy a week ago Sunday night and watched the service, but that doesn't usually happen. :-) When the time change takes place in the spring, it will be easier to catch the service since it will only be 9:30 PM our time. It sure helps us feel a little more connected with what's going on back home, and one of the girls from my Sunday School table sends me the prayer requests each week, which is a real blessing. I miss my table and the fellowship, but at least we're still there in spirit! This is a side note, but I really miss our nursery!! Ladies who work in nursery, your labors are not in vain! Most services here, I end up taking Paul to the other room, although last night he sat through the entire service. Crackers work wonders. :-)

- Sleep: We dealt with a very jet-lagged little boy when we first got here, and I don't want to do that again anytime soon! Paul's had a couple of rough nights since then, but is basically back to his normal pattern. We don't take sleep for granted and even though we're not able to have *our* morning routine settled yet, we're getting there. Paul is in our room and Tiana is in the second bedroom, so when she leaves we're moving him out! This kid could be in a dead sleep and then the second we turn the water on for a shower (the bathroom is off of our room), he wakes up. Or one of us rolls over in bed and he sits up. :-) Sensitive little ears! So we're looking forward to having him in his own room soon, but we're very grateful for the sleep we have gotten!

There's a lot more I could list and I think I will in another post. But for now it's time to get ready for our language study before we go to class in a few hours. :-)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happenings.

This morning was actually cool and I thought it was beginning to feel like Christmas... and then the sun rose higher in the sky. :-) I try not to have too high of an expectation when it comes to the weather in Thailand, unless of course that expectation is hot! Thankfully we are in cool season, because I know what's coming in April!

Humorous side note: an Australian man just walked by our truck, saw the (small) barking dog and said, "hello, Giraffe!" What a name for a dog. :-)

Our days are filled with a couple of key events: language school, studying for language school, and going to the grocery store every couple of days. Exciting, right? Gotta start somewhere. :-)

Language study IS coming along - and at a fast pace. I'm very thankful we're going three days instead of five days a week. Monday's class was learning about colors, reviewing what we studied on Friday, and our first quiz. Yeah, now I really feel like I'm in school! The Thai language is slowly starting to break down for us and we're recognizing letters everywhere even though we can't read the signs yet. Little by little, bit by bit!

Today's new adventure includes replacing the kitchen faucet and finding charcoal to grill out for dinner. Never a dull moment!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Riding The Elephants.

Today we decided to head to an elephant camp near us and really enjoyed the day. It wasn't our typical Thanksgiving Day, but since we were missing family, cold weather and the aroma of dinner cooking, we choose to do something that we wouldn't normally do in the States. :-)

We actually packed in a lot of things and the camp we visited was the best elephant camp we've ever been to, by far. So if any of you want to come for a visit to see us, we'll probably take you here!

We decided to do the all-in-one package which was well worth the price. We first enjoyed a Thai buffet lunch, followed by an elephant show. The elephants play soccer, move logs with their trunk and paint pictures. Very well, I might add! Always impressive. After that we took a ride on an elephant and returned to the camp on an ox cart. The day finished out with a very lovely and peaceful bamboo raft ride down the river. What a beautiful day!

I learned today that an elephant has 40,000 muscles in its trunk ... fascinating! As I watched the elephants, I couldn't help but marvel at the handiwork of God. What an amazing Creator!!


One of the 66 healthy elephants at the camp. 


Paul wasn't too excited about an elephant hug. :-)


Watching the elephants play


My niece (who is with us for another month) loved riding the elephant:-)


Paul and Nat on the elephant. Paul didn't make a sound the whole time we rode the elephant, but he definitely held onto the bar!


Just walking through the river


We had one tuckered out little boy at the end of the day! Here he is riding on the ox cart. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Arrival.

We have arrived! In Thailand, that is and that happened a week ago. Oops. We have been slightly busy moving into our new house and getting acclimated to a new country. As an aside, going from a three room apartment to a two-story house has been a big adjustment!  There is space everywhere and it's all filled with furniture. :-) We've done some shuffling around to make hard, wooden furniture a little more cozy (if that is even possible) and we're slowly getting things put away. Actually I feel like we've accomplished quite a bit in one week's time.

Wednesday night was my first time cooking an actual meal in our kitchen (unless scrambled eggs and oatmeal count)! A few days ago we got the ingredients for chicken parm and then each evening we would be so tired, busy, or away from the house that we didn't get around to making it. Plus the Thai food here is incredibly cheap. Our first day in the country, we decided to go to the neighborhood restaurant for lunch. My niece, who is with us for several weeks, couldn't believe the three of us ate lunch for under $2.00! Let's just say it cost a whole lot more to make chicken parm, so that's going to be a recipe reserved for special occasions. :-)

We've been enjoying having a market just across the street... well, it's slightly more complicated than that because the "street" is a 6-8 lane road filled with busy traffic and we have to wait at the light for 197 seconds to make the u-turn. Yeah, it's always depressing to drive up to the traffic light and see it just turn red. That would be the perfect time to catch up on some reading. :-) Nevertheless, the market is always a sight (and smell!) to behold. Of course there are lots of things I haven't tried yet. :-)

A few months ago, a missionary's wife wrote me a letter as I was in the packing stage and said, "there are things you are going to pack that when you get to Thailand you'll ask why you brought it!" That has been very true on a couple of things. My niece brought some of our stuff over in her luggage and I'm thinking she'll be taking a few items back when she returns home! No sense keeping something here taking up room when it can return to where it belongs! Overall though, I've been very glad for most of the items we packed. Since it's been four years since I lived in country, I've forgotten what it was like to live in Thailand. Other memories came back in a hurry. :-)

A new day awaits us and each day since we've arrived has been an adventure! Good thing we still have our sense of humor intact - we've needed it several times already. :-) I'm sure there will be more adventures to come!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Grace.

And so it begins. Our marathon, that is! The next three days are jam-packed with special events, saying "see ya later" to dear people we love, and walking away from our first home. You'll have to forgive me for being sentimental; it is somewhat warranted for where we're at right now. 

We leave for Thailand on Tuesday and I am beyond excited that this day has finally arrived. We've had plenty of starts and stops to this journey but I know the Lord has been faithfully leading us through it all. 

I think about my dad passing away 6 months ago and how God in his mercy allowed us to still be in the States to grieve with family. I also think about all the travels of the last year or so and I realize we got to see tons of people that we usually don't see. Our travels have taken us from Maine to Alaska, with everything in-between and we wore out a path down to Texas - to the point that things in a state hundred of miles away began to look familiar. :-)

We've always enjoyed coming home and my heart does an extra beat whenever i type "home" into our GPS. Funny how the miles seem to fly by when we're heading that way! I often say to my husband that my favorite street in the world is the street that leads us to our street. :)

The hardest part in the midst of all of "the lasts" and the packing has been packing up my house - completely. We've left it before for months on end but we've always returned. I still have some kitchen items to pack away, and those carry-ones still aren't packed, but we're getting there. Back in the summer I began to get serious about the whole "everything's gotta go" deal and so I took the first picture off the wall. I think removing that first picture hurt deeper than all the subsequent events because it was so final. Nat came home from work that day to a pile of bubble-wrapped pictures and a tearful wife. Thankfully God's grace is sufficient and He gives strength day by day.

So here I sit at the beginning of probably one of the the most busy and emotional weekends of my life, and I contemplate that thought. God's grace is sufficient. Friday I took my son and spent the day with my mom and my sister, primarily to get out of my husband's hair so he could have the concentration to finish up some important details. My husband didn't ask me to leave (and he never would!), but I know how loud my son can get and figured this was one way to bless my husband. Of all mornings, Paul was up early, and I do mean early! God's grace is sufficient no matter what's going on, even as I tried to rock my son back to sleep. Throughout the day, Paul exhibited lots of signs of tiredness, so I assured my mom and my sister that he would definitely fall asleep in the car. I'm not sure if it was the excitement of seeing so many people throughout the day or if it was because I was using his old car seat, but Paul would not take a nap, aside from a short 20 minute nap in the morning. 6 hours later, I was very close to tears and frustrations. But then the reminder came. God's grace is sufficient. Totally. 

I'm happy to report Paul did fall asleep as we were heading over to someone's house in the evening, in his new car seat mind you! And God's grace was sufficient for me the whole day... I just needed a reminder. :-) I am very excited and unbelievably sad all rolled into one this weekend. Such a bittersweet time. But the one truth I'm clinging to this weekend is God's grace is sufficient... for me. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Summary Of Deputation.

Since we began deputation 19 months ago, with 12 of the months actually being on the road, we've traveled 30,000+ miles (glad that's behind us), presented our ministry in 72 churches in 28 states, drove through 34 different states, had one car accident, stayed in all kinds of places and in all kinds of situations and met some of the sweetest people out there. Friendships were developed and strengthened, kindness was shown to us many, many times over, and our desire to get to the mission field intensified each time we presented our burden.

But now? Deputation is officially behind us. We were done at the end of June, but had two last commitments to complete in October, so now we can say we're done for sure. :-) As evidenced by this blog, I have a great love for travel, but after being on the road for a year and living out of a suitcase, I'll admit the novelty of traveling has worn off a bit. Add into the mix traveling with a newborn baby and that really puts a whole new spin on things! When we went to Texas for this last trip, Paul and I flew down while Nat spent four days driving (poor guy). So I missed out on the first leg of the road trip, but we experienced it full force the rest of the way! Paul did fairly well during the days, but nights were just a mess. In fact, one night he was up from 1 am - 6 am for no apparent reason (like teething, flu, etc). That one really baffled us and the next day we had a 6.5 hour drive to make. Thankfully he finally slept. ;) Since we've been home though, he's been doing very well and going to his bed with zero fuss. I guess he really does sense all the upheaval and chaos and reacts to that.

So now starts the mad dash to the finish line, so to speak. We hit the ground running with commitments and people to see and this next week looks pretty full. In between spending time with people, we have lots of packing to finish and things to put into storage. I thought I did a pretty good job of downsizing our stuff until I came home Thursday (after living out of a suitcase for three weeks) and realized things just multiplied while we were gone! So now it's time to get ruthless again. :-) In the end, it's all just things and I have to keep reminding myself of that. 

17 days before take-off!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Exciting Times!

We just ended our first of two missions conferences Sunday evening and it was exciting and sad all rolled into one. Exciting because this was the first missions conference of this church and we know the Lord is going to do great things as long as this church stays yielded to Him. But it was sad to say good-bye to the other four missionary families, knowing that we won't see them for a very long time or ever again until eternity. Unless we have layovers in Australia, Mexico, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island that is! I told Nat we could take a different route to and from Thailand every time because we have so many friends in so many countries. Can you imagine a trip that includes stops in South Africa, Scotland, and Canada? That would be a looong trip home!

One of the missionary families was quite delayed in getting to Texas from Oklahoma City (4 hours away). Last week someone tried to steal their diesel from their truck and made a real mess of some hoses. They got that fixed and then were on the way down to Texas when their transmission died. They finally got here Saturday by borrowing a church van. This morning the pastor was sharing their story and said a couple of people gave him checks to go towards the transmission repair. He then mentioned if anyone else wanted to give, they could. I was so thrilled and excited for this missionary family as this little country church took up a free-will offering of several hundred dollars. I know how it feels to have an overwhelming car problem that you have no idea how it will all sort out and then the Lord uses people to meet that need. God is so good and I'm thankful this family got to be on the receiving end of His goodness!

We have now entered the "under one month" mark for Thailand! That is to say, Lord willing, this time next month we should be in Thailand, travel weary and bone tired. Ahh, but before that month finishes out, we have exciting things in store. Birthdays to celebrate, an early Thanksgiving with my family, dinners, lunch dates, packing, more family time, a special sending service at our home church and yes, tearful hugs and goodbyes for now. I'm not a huge fan of long, drawn out goodbyes but there's something sweet about those teary goodbyes too. I know that God will give much grace to make this big move halfway around the world!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Texas Travel.

We've been hanging out in the middle of nowhere Texas for the last couple of days, but it has been nice to have a comfortable trailer to stay in! We're taking part in a little country church's first missions conference and we are glad to be here, along with a few other families we've crossed paths with while on deputation. If we can't see a missionary when they come to our home church, then we'll just have to meet up with them at a conference!

Yesterday we drove about 45 minutes to a nearby town (yes, that is nearby for Texas!) to what is considered the world's largest flea market (http://www.cantontradedays.com/). If it's not the largest, it's certainly a close second! We walked around for a couple of hours and gazed longingly at everything we couldn't buy. We did pick up two small Christmas items, and kept telling ourselves the day is coming when we will be able to purchase things again. For now, we wait until Thailand! 

The market we were at reminded us a lot of Thailand, with the exception of the booths having space between them and wide aisles to walk through. The day was hot and the sun seemed to be just above our head. It was a good reminder of what's in our future! Thankfully the humidity was low. :-)

From here we move on to Louisiana, a state I've not been to yet. I'm surprised the tourist in me hasn't started checking out things to do in Shreeveport and Baton Rouge. :-) I'll gladly take suggestions!

I can tell that we've been out of the traveling mode for a while, because we're all slightly off our groove and what little schedule/routine Paul had is gone.  I'm very grateful our deputation days are over because I'm not as big of a fan of traveling anymore. I'm ready to make the one last big trip to Thailand and then be done for a little bit. :-)



Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Poor, Neglected Blog...

Umm, where did summer go? Seriously. It was just here!  I suppose with today being the official start to fall that I should get off my summer slump of not blogging and resume this little place I call home. :-) So let's see... a quick recap!

Nat, Paul, and I took some cousins to a nearby amusement park in early August. While I did manage to write about it here (yay!), I failed to add a picture.  Here ya go:


Paul and I on one of the (few!) rides he could ride.  Just wait 'til he is older... he'll be zooming all over the park then. :-)


We also celebrated Paul's birthday in early August with a grand birthday party... balloon animals and face painting included! Between Nat's immediate family and mine, we had 15 kiddos running around.  It sure got confusing because the kids on Nat's side are siblings while the kids on my side are nephews and nieces, so we were forever saying, "Go to Uncle Nat, I mean... Nat!" or ".... Anne, I mean Auntie Anne!" But we had lots of fun. :-) 

His party was a little early since my in-laws were up from Texas at the beginning of August.  Hey, we figured this was the only birthday party for Paul we'll actually have family at since most of his birthdays will probably be celebrated in Thailand.


Paul's gift was his first set of car keys! Too bad the car didn't come with it! ;-)

Then we celebrated Paul's birthday on his real day by taking him to a local burger place.  Too bad the kid doesn't have any teeth so he could enjoy a burger! ;-) For the record, the burgers at the Creamery are amazing... seriously, they are so yummy. Although the name of Nat's burger was "The Heart Attack" so that should also tell you how good for you they are!


We did take Paul to a local yogurt place for dessert and he devoured an entire bowl of yogurt and blueberries... mmm!  Happy birthday little guy!

So the next plan on our agenda is head to Texas to visit with my in-laws before starting the drive back through the South. I am very excited to be adding three new states to my list of states I've been too. Once this trip is over, I'll only have ten more States to visit... like Hawaii and California. :-) But we'll save that for the next round of deputation/furlough.

 There's my little update and since we're hitting the road soon, I'm sure you'll hear from me a little more often now.... I tend to be a better blogger when I'm traveling or living in a different country! ;-)

Monday, August 19, 2013

No more stuff!

I feel like it has been an eternity since I last posted, but that's because life has been happily chaotic and full. I was glancing around my apartment this morning and realized we met a really important goal this weekend: getting rid of stuff. 

We had our yard sale Saturday and even with the dead-end street factor working against us, we still managed to get rid of quite a bit. One couple who stopped by mentioned their daughter was having a boy in September. Since Paul was a September baby as well, I gave them 5 boxes of baby clothing and both parties were very happy. :) 

We only hauled back half of a tote into our apartment and that made me really happy! What didn't sell we put out for free at church and then whatever is leftover goes to Goodwill. :)

There were several items that we were sad to see go, but that's just the way it is. Now my plan is to start helping my mom go through her house - now that's going to be a job! ;-)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cousins And Couches.

Friday Nat, Paul, and I picked up two little cousins and headed to an amusement park nearby to join up with my sister and her family. The five little cousins had so much fun together, although I will admit that the ones who had the most fun were the ones who could go on all the rides. :-)

Nevertheless it was a great day to spend time with some of our nephews and a niece, especially since our time here in the States is rapidly drawing to a close. 

In other news, our couch moved on today to a new home. Nat had bought a couch set with one of the guys from church when they were both bachelors and split the set when the other guy got married. Now the two parts will be reunited again and we have one more thing out of our apartment. I suppose we could've waited until we moved to Thailand to get rid of the couch, but the space it freed up was a little more important to me. :-) Now I feel like I can organize our remaining stuff a little easier! Plus we won't have as many last minute things to do if we start doing them now!

The next thing on my calendar is a yard sale on August 24th... Please buy our stuff! It would be lovely to get rid of the pile in my bedroom. :-)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Stuff.

The weather has been simply gorgeous here in Eastern Pennsylvania the last few days and I've been able to have most of my windows open ~ my favorite way to cool down our little apartment!! In fact, Thursday night on a stroller walk with Paul I brought along his blanket because it was a little chilly... but not too chilly that I couldn't later play volleyball. ;-) I'm glad my mom is nearby and more than willing to watch my little guy so I can get a little volleyball in.  I'm afraid there won't be a lot of volleyball in my future when we move to Thailand! It sure was fun Thursday night: lots of laughs, good volleyball action, and a great time to spend with friends. :-)

I wish you all could see our house right now: stuff is everywhere! I am in the thick of packing, sorting, and getting ready for a yard sale soon. The first wave of going through my kitchen cabinets was emotional because most everything we have in our apartment is from our shower/wedding, but now I've kicked into the "clean it out!" mode. :-) Of course there are still many decisions to make as to what to store here in PA, what to take with us to Thailand and what to sell off. At the end of the day though, it's just stuff.

My little munchkin is going to be turning one in September, which I can't quite believe. That year went way too fast! My in-laws will be heading our way the first part of August so we're planning to do a little party for Paul while they are here.  At first we weren't going to do a party but then thought that unless anyone comes to Thailand every September, we won't have family around to celebrate Paul's birthday with us. So party it is!

Not too much else is going on for us. We're home until the end of September and we're trying to soak up the moments with our family and friends before our big move overseas.  It's kind of strange in that we can't wait to get to Thailand but then also realize that a bunch of people we know and love won't be as much a part of our daily lives anymore.  What a blessing instant communication is! At least technology helps us stay a little more connected with life on this side of the pond. :-)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Picture Time!

There must be something so inspiring about cow appreciation day at Chick-fil-a, because we seem to time our family photos around that wonderful day. :-) And yes, we are going to dress up with our cute cow outfits and go enjoy some chicken for dinner tonight!

Last year we were waiting on our little Peanut and this year we have Paul joining us in the pictures... this time on the outside!

What a difference a year makes! Paul is now 10 months old and has brought a lot of joy and happiness to our little family. :-)  Now if we could just convince him to sleep... ;-)




Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy 4th!

We had a wonderful day, from early morning to a late night!

We joined my sister and her family for a morning of fun with a parade, sack races, three-legged races, and of course food!

Paul even had a festive outfit for the occasion!


Paul also competed in a race for the 0-2 year olds. He didn't win (shocking, right?!?) but he had a good time. :)

Nat joined in on the sack race, which was fun to watch. What a great way to spend the morning!


In the afternoon we had some family and friends over for a picnic. 30+ people definitely wouldn't fit into our apartment, so we opted for the great outdoors and was happy to see the weather cooperate. :)

We had a missionary family in all week so we had them over for the picnic too. The missionary entertained all the kids with balloon animals...


... including Paul!

Of course we finished the day with a few games of volleyball - my first time playing in two years!  What fun. :)

Most everyone else went to see fireworks, but we were too tired. We're hoping to see some Saturday night.

What a wonderful 4th of July. I'm sure next year won't be anything like this year. I'm so glad we were able to spend time with lots of dear people!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Playing Catch Up.

We've been home for almost a week and I finally feel like I'm getting into the swing of things. Unpacking was easy and getting adjusted to the East Coast was easy... for two of us anyway!  Our little babe decided it was way more fun to stay on West Coast time. :-)  Thankfully the last two nights have gone better than the previous four nights!

I was somewhat nervous going into our month-long trip out West, mainly because it was the first time we were on deputation without our car.  Up until that point, we were used to being in new places on new adventures ~ always in our car. :-) So, yeah, our comfort zone was gone for a month and replaced with planes, borrowed cars, trains, buses, RVs, and hotels.  We just kept rolling along and trying to be flexible!

But as usual, the Lord worked out all the details and we met some wonderful people along the way. My husband and I marveled at the way the Lord (once again!) met all of our needs, right down to giving us a place to stay when just the day before we were wondering where we were going to pillow our heads for the next night!

The West Coast is absolutely beautiful, and we only saw parts of Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. :-) I used to think Pennsylvania had mountains... nope, guess again!


Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska


We are grateful that our deputation travels have taken us to some amazing scenery across this great country! There's nothing like staring at a beautiful mountain and feeling pretty puny. :-) Add to that Paul is one of the most traveled babies I know of. This kid has already been to 22 states... and counting. :-)


Alaskan mosquitoes took to Paul and left their mark. Two weeks later, and he still has a couple of marks on his face! He was a pretty happy camper through it all and thankfully most of his bites took place just a few days before we left Alaska.  I told our friends who live there that I'm going to have a really hard time picturing Alaska being cold and snowy because it was so hot and full of mosquitoes while we were there. Oh, and it was light outside for 22 hours.  Sheesh. 

We had a wonderful time in Alaska spending time with our friends. We were in the Interior, which isn't your typical picture of Alaska. We did get to see grizzly bears, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, mountains, mountains, and more mountains! There aren't too many major roads in Alaska, and most of them are around Fairbanks, which made it convenient for us. :-)


Paul's latest adventure is cruising around, with a lot of help from Mommy and Daddy. :-) He has attempted to crawl, but doesn't quite make it... although it sure is fun to watch!  Now that we're home, we're hoping he doesn't get too bored with being in one place.  We plan to be in PA for most of the summer, with a quick trip out to Ohio to help friends with vacation Bible school. I'm grateful for the time home to spend with family, friends, and trying to pack our apartment up for our move to Thailand.

We have our tickets in hand and we plan on leaving November 5 - just a little over four months away. Downsizing our apartment into eight suitcases is going to be a wonderful challenge.  I was thinking again this morning of how I'm going to do this and was ready to burst into tears at the thought of leaving my home.  We've spent three happy years in this little apartment, but being sentimental is not going to get things organized! I think I'll have one good cry over it and then get to work. :-)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Some Firsts.

So yesterday was a first ~ Nat's first Father's Day!  While Paul and I didn't do anything over the top, we did celebrate by having ice cream and Boston Creme Cake.  I think every holiday should be celebrated with ice cream... don't you agree?!? We were also invited over to someone's house after church and we enjoyed some homemade soft pretzels and cheese dip.  I think that should become a tradition too!

Nat's been a wonderful daddy to Paul and a great help with the icky diapers.  He's not one to shy away from interacting with Paul and I'm grateful for that. Perhaps I'm a bit spoiled because Nat's with us quite a bit (being on the road full time helps!), but I'm really thankful that we are in this whole parenting thing together.:-)


It was also a first in another way ~ my dad isn't around anymore.  What a strange feeling. I guess this was the first big holiday since my dad died.  I was doing okay until one of the ladies from the church we were at mentioned she had her baby on April 29th.  My mind instantly ran back to what I was doing on that day and realized we had just buried my dad two days before.  

I'm not sure why, but the combination of that date and it being Father's Day really set me off.  I do miss my dad and really wish I could have one more talk with him.  Ever since my dad died, I have learned to appreciate my mom even more than before.  Something about losing a parent makes you almost cling to the remaining parent even more so.  

All in all, we had a really sweet, albeit long, day! We are currently in North Pole, Alaska and will be here until Thursday.  It's a little humorous to see "Santa Claus Lane" when it's 90 degrees out and the mosquitoes are multiplying by the minute! But I'll have to share more about Alaska in another post. :-)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mountains, Tickets, & Ice Cream!

When I saw my uncle at my dad's funeral, he told me there was one problem with the Pacific Northwest.  I was uncertain what that problem was until he told me that the problem was I was going to love it!  Since my uncle has lived in the Pacific Northwest for a really long time, I figured he knew what he was talking about... and, well, he did!


I am guilty to a fault of being very loyal to Pennsylvania. I love my state, my area, my home. But even I must admit there is one teeny tiny fault with my beloved state: the mountains just do not compare to what I've seen here in Washington. Last night we went for a quick drive to Lake Stevens and I was amazed to see the backdrop of snow-capped mountains to this beautiful lake.  I've almost started getting used to seeing these amazing mountains as we drive around northwest Washington.

But the one thing that these mountains have really done for me is show me what a magnificent creator my God is. The mountains are majestic, the lakes are stunning, even the trees seem like they are on steroids!  Creation turns my focus back to my amazing God and I have just soaked up His beauty.  I am so thankful we've had the opportunity to travel out West!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We also picked up a new supporting church, bringing our support level to 87%.  In addition to that, Nat and I purchased our one-way tickets for Thailand.  You talk about an adrenaline rush! Nat spent the better portion of the afternoon looking up airline tickets and kicking himself for not purchasing them three days earlier. Prices shot up $200.00 and so we decided to grab them while we could!  As we talked back and forth about buying a ticket for Paul (compared to holding him on our laps), the cost for extra bags, and the flight options, we feel the Lord gave us the peace for buying Paul his own seat.  This allows us to bring his car seat, get two extra bags and a carry-on, check his stroller, and have a place for him to sit down and sleep.  The great thing about the flight we chose is that it's the closest thing to a non-stop flight! We only have one layover for two hours, making this one of the better international flights I've taken. Yay!

My niece is also coming along with us for an eight-week stay, so that gives us another person to help and hopefully some extra room to pack a few things in her bags. :-) We're not planning on shipping a container, especially since we've always planned on setting up shop for Thailand in Thailand. Now I'm really eager to start sorting our stuff: trash, sell, give away, keep in USA, pack to go to Thailand. With the Lord's help I think it will all work out just fine!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Paul has really been enjoying the warmer weather. He absolutely loves water and his little feet start to kick when he sees a lake.  It's been fun seeing how Paul reacts to things.... like ice cream. At first lick, he wasn't certain about it, but soon the tongue started coming out faster and faster!  I think he's a fan of chocolate. :-)


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On The Road Again...

Baby and hubby are sleeping but I'm wide, wide awake.  Hmm, I knew I shouldn't have eaten that cereal bar so late at night!  I suppose it's a good thing though, or else my good intentions of blogging for the past two weeks would've been pushed off for yet another week!

We are currently hanging out in Bellingham, Washington... as in the state of Washington. Give or take 43 hours away from home in current driving time, according to Google Maps. :-)  We left the craziness of Memorial Day weekend traffic on the PA Turnpike on Friday and exchanged it for the not-as-crazy driving of a city with a population of 100,000.  


We also experienced Paul's first airplane ride, in which he did extremely well! As we were waiting to get off the plane, the people in the rows around us commented on what a good boy we had. We of course assured them that God truly answered prayer for a smooth flight! I'm sure they were grateful people were praying that way. :-)

Bellingham is located about two hours north of the Seattle airport, a little detail that slipped past our radar. We really had no clue, and at that point Paul had (in his opinion) endured enough and so he very nicely started letting the pastor driving us know that he was done. Unfortunately for Paul, there was no way around the drive except through it.  What ensued was a very long ride home for the rest of the occupants in the car.  Oh, and it was the pastor's wife birthday. What a way to end her happy birthday.  Poor kid.  Poor pastor's wife!


Saturday was such a pretty day and we really enjoyed the sunshine... especially since we haven't seen it again! We enjoyed a beautiful walk down by the bay and checked out all the fishing boats and yachts by the pier.


The folks at this church have been more than hospitable to us and once again we have been spoiled by God's servants.  We've enjoyed jumping in and taking part in the activities here and even experienced our own personal tour guide showing us around Whatcom County and taking us on a drive close to Mt. Baker.  This man's family has lived in the Bellingham area for over 100 years, so I think he knows a thing or two about the area. :-)

We plan on being in this area for the next week or so before heading south to Portland, Oregon. From there we're flying to Alaska to visit friends and we also have a few meetings.  Alaska has been on my dream list of places to visit for some time now, and I'm thrilled the opportunity is before us!  Isn't God good to give us the desires of our hearts?

Hopefully the updates will be a little more faithful in the weeks to come... it was insanely busy in the days leading up to our West Coast trip!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Closure.

This past week has been so incredibly long, but God has given such strength every single day.  I'm weak, and He is strong. It's as simple as that.

I wanted to share what I said at my dad's funeral on Saturday. I'm really glad I wrote most of it down...

My name is Anne and I'm Bob and Shirley's youngest child. Last night I heard wonderful stories about my dad and felt as if I heard his life story as people shared how my dad influenced them.
I too have a story to share. About eight weeks ago, my husband and I went over to my parents house and talked with my dad for about three hours. We wanted to resolve a conflict in our relationship with Dad and challenge him about his relationship with God. We had a good talk about how salvation is found in Christ alone. After talking about the need for a restored relationship with God, my dad and I were able to address the need of forgiveness in our relationship.
I'm so grateful I took that opportunity to be reconciled with my dad. Last night was an amazing time to hear testimonies of how Dad influenced so many lives. I am so thankful to hear all the kind words completing Dad's story on earth. But my greatest peace is to know that I was able to express my love to Dad before he passed into eternity.

Friday night I heard from so many people who came through the receiving line telling me about the impact my dad had on their lives. My dad had varied interests and pursued many of them. Along the way he was able to meet so many people. The one theme that many expressed to me was that my dad was extremely friendly and personable. Nat and I were talking about my dad last night and he mentioned the first time he talked with my dad was when he took a box of some of my things over to my parents after he returned from Thailand (about two weeks before I moved home from my year long stay there). My dad was sitting outside when Nat drove up and began chatting with Nat right away.

Of course my dad really knew how to talk, as I'm sure many remember!  When Nat went to ask my dad if he could have my dad's permission to marry me, I think Nat was there for three hours before my dad finally said yes. :-)


We received a lot of closure with my dad's funeral.  I know several in my family have been waking up early and thinking, unable to go back to sleep.  But the healing process has begun.  My dad had an appointed time last Monday, just as the Bible says. Hebrews 9:27 ~"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"

My dad's funeral was the best funeral I have ever attended. Nina and her sister played sweet hymns on the harp, which my dad loved. Our wonderful pastor, whom my dad really liked, preached a wonderful message on salvation. My three brothers and I each gave a testimony of my dad, and my nephew read a scripture passage from Job. I know my dad would've been very pleased with his funeral.

Nat and I cancelled the rest of our meetings (4) from the last leg of the trip we were on. We will be home until the end of May to be with my mom.  We also need to get our car fixed this week.

We weren't supposed to be home for another three weeks, but I'm really grateful to be home. What a joy to be with my family over the last several days and then to be with my church family on Sunday. Truly the Lord has been very good to me.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Funeral Plans.

We arrived home safely Tuesday morning at 1 AM. It's been a whirlwind ever since. Most of my family is in town, and my brother is coming in tonight.

Dad's funeral is Saturday morning at 11 AM, so I would appreciate prayers! Things are just about done for the preparations. God is so good!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

God is good!

Last night found my husband, son, and I starting the 24-hour trek home. We were not supposed to return to base for another three weeks, but my life changed early yesterday afternoon with a single phone call.

My husband and I were on our way to have lunch with a pastor and his wife. A lady in the church was very gracious in watching Paul so we could go out to eat and Nat and I were so excited to have some alone time. Well, we never did go out to eat with the pastor and his wife. Halfway to town, we got a phone call from my brother saying my dad had died as a result of a heart attack.

Shock, denial, and tears were my response. That and the desire to return home immediately. Small problem since we were in North Dakota!

Nat and I saw the Lord's hand right away, given that our son was not there in that initial moment. We were able to return to the place we were staying, pack everything up, get Paul and leave within 90 minutes.

6 hours down the road, we encountered a snow storm in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The snow fell quickly and made a sloppy mess of the roads. We hit one particular spot of ice that threw the car into a 180 degree spin and sent us sliding into the concrete barrier. Thankfully I was in the back with Paul and was able to shield him from the rear windshield as it shattered and rained glass pieces inside the car. Add to that we were facing the wrong direction on the highway and it was snowing inside the car. We had a little situation on our hands. :)

My husband is very cool and level headed and so he calmly got out, put the glass pieces in a garbage bag we had (that's random!) and then came up with a game plan to fix it.

We stopped at Walmart for tape and cardboard and the cashier mentioned there was a service garage nearby that is sometimes opened at night. I had my doubts since it was after 10 PM, but there happened to be a man there who fixed us up with a plastic cover! It's been a noisy ride, but at least we're able to drive it home. :)

So now we're driving thru Indiana and hope to be home by midnight. We are doing a 24-hour trip in 30 hours which is kind of funny because the most we drive in a day is usually 8 or 9 hours tops.

I'm so grateful Nat and I took the opportunity to restore my relationship with my dad before it was too late. There are rough days ahead, especially for my mom, but God's timing is perfect! I'm thankful we have a couple of weeks open now to help my mom out.

Family is coming in this week, including my brother who is in the middle of boot camp. How good the Lord is to allow us to be home, and not overseas yet!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Helping.

This week has been a unique one for us on the deputation trail. Through a series of events, we're staying with a friend of an acquaintance we met at a church in Ohio one time back in February.

I think the Lord wanted us to be helping hands this week. We spent Wednesday raking for the older couple we're staying with and today we're helping the acquaintance mentioned above with unpacking at her house.

As you can see, we have our work cut out for us! Praise the Lord for opportunities to serve! We'll see how far we get today. :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

All Tuckered Out.

We went for a walk today, and apparently the fresh air was too much for our little guy!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Letter E

I have decided that we have an "e" problem.  All three of us.  And it doesn't look like it is going away anytime soon.

What's our problem? Well it's actually very simple. People often leave the "e" off of my name -- Anne -- and attach it to Nat's name -- making his name Nate. That pesky "e" then migrates over to Paul's name in the form of a nickname, making him... Paul-e.

This whole "e" situation is ironic because it doesn't bother Nat (or Paul for that matter) at all. But it drives me nuts!

For the most part, people generally tag the "e" on at the end of my name nowadays.  Ann Williams just doesn't look right to me, so I always do a double-take when I see it and then I figure out why yes that *is* meant for me.    There are also the few times where I'm called Annie, which is a name I greatly dislike for myself. I have no problem with the name if it's an actual name for another girl. :-) Only two people in this world can call me "Annie" and for some reason it doesn't bother me when they call me that. Two older gentlemen in my church got into the habit a long, long time ago and to this day they call me Annie and so that's that.

Now when it came to Paul, I honestly didn't think a nickname was going to be derived from Paul because it's so basic and straightforward. So I was a little surprised the first time I heard someone say to him, "Hi Paul-eee!  Paaaaaul-eeeeeee!"  All I heard was "Polly" and I was horrified that my son was being called a girl's name.  Then I realized that little 'ole "e" was tagged on the end of his name, and I felt slightly better. But I still don't like the "Paul-e." :-)

But I'm genuinely confused when it comes to Nat's name because he'll introduce himself as Nat, spell it out, hand out a prayer card with it spelled out on it, and he'll still be called "Nate."   I'm not sure where the confusion comes from. :-)

In fact we were in one church recently that took it one step further and had in their bulletin, "Welcome Mat and Ann Williams." That takes the cake. :-)

Now it's second nature for Nat to introduce himself and say, "Hi, my name is Nat. You know, like gnat" as he slaps the back of his neck as if he's getting a gnat.  What's funny to watch is the people with a look of confusion on their faces before it dawns on them a few minutes later.  "Ohhh! I get it!!"

Our never-ending battle with an "e."  It's the little things in life. :-)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Big Boy!

A reader from England sent me this shirt when Paul was born and he's finally big enough to fit into it!

It says, "I love Mummy." :-)

And he just spit up all over the shirt so I'm glad I got the picture beforehand. :-)

Thanks Joycelin-Anne!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Late Night Musings.

Hubby is sleeping, baby is sleeping and I'm wide awake, which is nothing short of amazing considering we drove 9 hours through the night pulling in at 6 AM and just catching a couple of hours of sleep.  

Ahh, home! It's so nice to be home.  Clean house, clean fridge... and wrinkled potatoes.  

That last one was an oops.  In the midst of the flurry of leaving a month ago -- at the groggy hour of 6 AM -- I failed to see I had potatoes sitting in the bowl waiting to be devoured.  Unfortunately, no devouring is going to take place now.  Big oops!

Oh, going back to the clean house part, I should clarify and say mostly clean. When I walked into my kitchen this morning, I saw three stink bugs in various places with their legs decidedly pointing up.  Ignoring the little creatures, I wandered into the bedroom to see two more stink bugs in the same position and I finally realized that the bitter cold of Pennsylvania was effective in killing the stink bugs off and leaving them in the "legs up" position.  That's a wonderful solution to killing stink bugs except I don't want to keep my apartment at a chilly 55 degrees and I would rather not smash the stink bugs to smithereens since they give off a rather unpleasant smell ~ hence the name.  

That whole paragraph was brought on by the fact that there is a rather live stink bug wandering up my kitchen wall right now and I'm a big wimp at killing them. No worries though: I become rather fearless when it comes to ridding my house of bugs in Thailand, so I should be good.   Besides, the stink bug will still be there in the morning, Nat can come to my rescue of getting rid of it and he'll maintain his position of being my knight in shining armor and rescuing me from... bugs. It's all good. :-)

Wow, that was quite the rabbit trail. Moving on...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We just returned from another tour of deputation, although this past month didn't feel like deputation as much as it felt like an extended vacation because we saw so many friends and family members.  We even ran into some missionary friends of ours at the last church we were at.  That was fun!

I feel like we made some friendships on this last trip that will become life-long friends in the ministry.  For instance, we were in a missions conference in South Carolina for four days and by the time we left, we walked away with a supporting church and the feeling that we had known the dear folks there forever.  Another meeting the Lord put together at the last moment and we ended up staying with the pastor and his family for a couple of days and discovered we got along very easily.  With the last meeting we had, we camped out at the church for a few days (in a gorgeous prophet's chamber!) and our hearts were knit together with many in the church.  

So many blessings along the way, and yet most of them don't even make it into a blog post, prayer letter, or thank you note.  Not that we're ungrateful; we just can't record all that the Lord has blessed us with. But I will share one with you as a "for instance."

One afternoon a pastor's wife and I went to a second-hand shop because she had a couple of 50% off your whole order coupons that she wanted to use. Now this shop had the best prices on clothing I've ever seen in a second-hand shop and most of the clothing was name-brand quality stuff. I have been keeping my eye out for summer outfits since the weather in Thailand is summer-oriented, so as I was browsing through the shoe section, an older gentleman came up to me and gave me a 50% off coupon. I was so surprised, but very thankful.  Since Nat wasn't with us and the pastor's wife had a 50% off coupon for me, Nat and and I returned to the store the next day so he could look for some things.  He's been looking for several items for a while now, including a suit.  Wouldn't you know, there was a suit on the rack in his size that "just so happened" to be marked down 50% already and then he was able to use the 50% off coupon too, bringing the cost of the suit to $5.00! Isn't God good?

We're currently sitting at 71% of our deputation goal and we praise the Lord for that.  We're heading to the mid-west from March to May and then we'll be in Washington and Alaska during the month of June.  We do have several dates to fill in during those months, especially for the West Coast trip.  My husband has been praying about whether we drive or fly and felt as if the Lord was leading us to fly out to Washington.  He told me the other day that he feels like he "cut the branch off the tree" when he bought our airline tickets, but he is confident that the Lord will provide the right meetings. God has never once failed us and a couple of times now He's allowed a gap in our schedule that He's filled at the very last possible minute that have been turned into the greatest blessings of all. 

So we still have a lot of travel to do in the next few months, but the end is in sight!  We've had a terrific deputation run and we really can't think of any bad experiences along the way.  As I said before, God has been good!!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A New Decade.

My husband and I are hitting " milestone" birthdays this year - 35 and 30. Now we don't look our age (or act it - ha!) but the calendar is reminding me I start a new decade today.

I remember when I turned 10 and I was so excited to be in the double digits ... finally! But as a kid I didn't think about responsibility or just how fast 10 years went. Turning 20 begin to edge me toward that weighty feeling of "whoa! I need to be productive."

I am definitively feeling it as I start this new decade. A lot has happened in the last 10 years to make me want to make every moment count for the Lord. Having a son this past year has really made me realize the only thing that matters is my relationship with God. I often pray for Paul that he would be saved at a young age and serve the Lord with his whole heart. So much of my life was wasted before I came to Christ.

As I look back over time, I see that a decade didn't just pass me by in one big swoop. No it was month by month, week by week, day by day. I have a feeling that the next decade will go by even faster and I need to make those months, weeks, and days count... for eternity! What better way to start than by spending some good quality time with the Lord?

Of course today will be celebrated with some chocolate - times three! - because the man we're staying with is also having a birthday. I think I'm going to like being 30. :-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In The South.

I'm not sure if this is the Deep South or not, so I'm just going to call the Carolinas the South. :-)

We left PA a week ago Wednesday and it was nine degrees - as in cold! Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 78 in Charleston, South Carolina. I was actually borderline hot today as we walked a couple of blocks to get lunch. *Happy sigh* There's a reason we are not called to a cold climate!

We've really enjoyed our stay in Charleston so far, including staying at a bed & breakfast/inn that had this huge bed in it! I was also adventurous and tried grits once more (my verdict has not changed - no thank you!). Charleston is a terrible city to drive around since there are carriage tours everywhere, so we put in a lot of walking and enjoyed taking the boat to Fort Sumter, which is on an island.

Paul was a fantastic baby all day long and was a huge hit on the boat... not too hard when you're the only kid in the entire place!

More adventures await us in the morning!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Percentage.

We started deputation last March, with plenty of stops and starts along the way.  Numerous pre-natal visits made that a must!  We've done what we call "tours" of deputation, "lines of travel," and several blocks where we go out for weeks at a time, but no matter what it is called, it's been necessary.  We've met countless people, added some on facebook, laughed over the statement, "You know so and so too!" and have tremendously enjoyed our deputation.

It is what we make of it. We complain of the travel and guess what ~ the travel is going to be looong!  Paul's being cranky?  Mommy and Daddy will be too! We're going out to eat again?!?!?  Suddenly everything tastes like cardboard.  I've learned that my attitude really paves the way for my family.  Those days when my attitude stinks, I might as well just go back to bed and pull the covers over my head because it's going to be "one of those days." Thankfully, those stinky days have been few and far between.  Our hearts long to be in Thailand, but we know that deputation is where the Lord currently has us... and for a good reason too!  A seasoned missionary told us that we're not raising financial support; not really!  Our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He abundantly provides.  The main reason we spent every week in a new church is to raise prayer support.  Without that, we don't want to go overseas.  Really, we don't.  It would be so foolish to even set foot on an airplane.  Might as well stay here and be cozy.

But with that said, we are raising financial support.  It seems like I'm contradicting myself, doesn't it? God does have all the resources in the world, but He has chosen to use people to distribute those resources.  Many times we've been in a church and on the way out the door, a precious sister in Christ comes along and squeezes money into my husband's hand.  We've been humbled time and time again at the generosity of God's people towards us, kind of like the widow and her mite.

My husband texted me this morning and said a church in Connecticut voted to take us on for support, bringing our total support up to 63%!  Now we were at this church a little less than three weeks after Paul was born.  To be honest, that was one of the "rougher" trips we made since I was still recovering from a c-section.  But the Lord gave a lot of grace and we greatly enjoyed being a part of their missions conference.

We have a meeting this Sunday evening in Maryland and then head down to the Carolinas for three weeks before returning home.  We debated about "filling our schedule up" at the end of February, but then realized if we did that, we would miss our own church's conference.  We didn't want to do that, so we're looking forward to being at LVBC for the conference before heading on another two month trip to the Midwest and Upper Midwest. :-)

God is so good!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Update.

I'm feeling awfully productive this morning! My little guy woke up around 5:30 to eat and then quickly fell back to sleep.  I'm not sure if it was the Lord prompting/reminding me of my goal to wake up earlier or if I had "enough" sleep - it's amazing the amount of sleep I'm getting by on! - but I decided to get up early and have some quiet time with the Lord.  

Now that was refreshing!  Just being still and quiet before the Lord... no baby cooing in the background to distract me.  What a blessing to soak in the word of God and meditate on Ephesians 2:1-2.

I think I was running on ambition or something because I decided to make some bread.  From the smells currently wafting out of my oven, it's going to be delicious!  Add to that a shower and some computer time (I'm usually on my iPhone), and I'm feeling rather productive for 8:00 in the morning!  I'm sure I'll nap later, but it was worth it to wake up early today.  Plus my little dude is still sleeping, so I'm planning on enjoying a nice breakfast date with my honey... right in our own kitchen. :-)

Speaking of the little dude...


... he turned four months on Sunday and got all dressed up for a wedding on Saturday!  His first tux. :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We've been home for a few weeks now and will be home for about two more before we head out for a month to continue deputation.  We had a meeting Sunday night and Monday night (a missions conference) and will have one next weekend in Maryland before we head south to the Carolinas. Nat and I just booked a stay at a bed-and-breakfast in Charleston, SC for the end of this month and we're very excited to spend some time in that city!  Plus we're finally using up a b&b gift card that was given to us for our wedding 2.5 years ago. :-)  Since we both share the same birthday, we don't do presents for each other but always enjoy doing something special together.  On our actual birthdays we'll be in the midst of a mission conference, so we decided to celebrate a few days earlier and I'm sure we'll have a good time. 

Now that we've turned the calendar, we are extremely excited that this is the year we plan on being on the field, Lord willing!  I'm sure the months will slip by and sometimes I get overwhelmed with the thought of packing up our apartment.  We've tried to be "minimalists" since we've gotten married, knowing we were heading to the other side of the world, but we've also had to live now so we've accumulated a few things. :-) In the months ahead, there will be plenty of times to be ruthless in sorting, saving, and throwing away!