Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bringing in the New Year...

     How will we celebrate the New Year? We reflect back on where 2011 has taken us and it's been a wild ride to be sure! A few of the highlights...
Peek a boo!
  • We listed and sold our house in the spring. It only took one month! Praise the Lord!
  • After selling our house, we moved in to a small rental behind Clay's parents. What a blessing for the kids to be so close to their grandparents! (And we had a GREAT reason to begin purging the excess belongings.)
  • Baby Matthew was born May 12! Need I say more?
  • The Harris/Blake family reunion in July found us driving from Idaho to Mississippi with a 2 month old baby! How sweet it was to see my family!
  • In September we said goodbye to friends and family in Idaho and began our journey across the country, again.
  • The trip across the country (from Idaho, to Iowa, to Ohio, and finally to Virginia) allowed us to visit more friends and family while enjoying a beautiful, warm autumn.
  • Mid-October found us settling in for 2 1/2 months of training in preparation for our final destination: Mexico.
  • It's Levi!
  • After training we took a whirlwind tour of the northeast--New York City, upstate New York, Toronto, a short stop in Detroit for our visas, and finally back to Columbus, Ohio.
     Wow! And now we are packing once again. The final purge is here! Of course, I have many little helpers who make the job much more enjoyable!   We are entering the final countdown...three more Sundays!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Brotherly Love

How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
Psalm 133:1

The kids are adapting well to "our new house." I am thankful for their resilience and adaptability!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Beginning our Christmas celebration
with the reading of Jesus' birth.

We have much to be thankful for this Christmas season. This has been an amazing year, full of changes and many blessings. While
many things have changed, the important things remain constant: God's love and family.
We are thankful to be in Ohio, where we will have the opportunity for a little bit of stability before leaving the country in January. It also provides the opportunity to be near my family. We are very blessed to be staying at a mission house at my brother's church. We have a lovely 3 bedroom home, fenced in yard, and internet! (We really weren't sure we'd have internet since no one lives in the house full time.)  Ryan asked for a box of cereal for Christmas this made me smile and I had to get it for him!

Ellie was so happy to get pretty hairbows this year for Christmas! She wanted to wear them to bed, but instead we planned what she would wear to church in the morning.
But the one thing I'm most thankful for this Christmas season is my family. God has been so good to us!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Big Apple Adventure, Live!

Our time in Virginia has come and gone. We are now homeless once again...we're on the road, visiting friends and family before we head out of the country. First stop...New York City!

Our "tour guide" for the day was excited to show off her stomping ground! She took us to the original Macy's to see Santa...

 I'm not sure that we prepared our kids well for sitting on Santa's knee. They really didn't want anything to do with him. I am surprised that Ellie didn't tell him the truth about Christmas though...

We were so excited to find Elmo on the street! He was so kind to pose with us for a picture!  (Ok, maybe he wasn't doing it out of kindness...and he didn't speak much English. I'm not sure where they
found him, but I'm sure it wasn't Sesame Street.) Unfortunately, we didn't notice the wonderful background of the picture until we downloaded the pic...perfect for America's most loved puppet!

Clay was excited to purchase a halal kabob from the street vendor!

Grand Central Terminal...minutes before Ellie fell asleep!
Ryan was excited to see Grand Central Terminal, a favorite from VBS 2011!
Unfortunately, we never made it to see the Statue of Liberty...Ryan is a bit disappointed, but I think he'll be okay!

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Mom, I didn't have any paper."

We've had lots of birthday parties here on campus recently. Saturday, Ellie went to a princess party for her friend, Becca. It was so much fun to see all the little girls in their long dresses and crowns, licking the frosting off of their cupcakes!

And of course, Becca's mom sent home a bag of goodies for the girls. (Thank you, Sarah!) Ellie was so excited when she got home to dig through her little bag. She found a ring, a wand, and a cute green, glitter pen! She immediately asked if she could write, and I distractedly answered, "Yes, just grab some paper."

Ellie walked into the living room about 10 minutes later and very matter of factly announced, "Mom, I didn't have any paper."  Upon looking at her, I replied, "I guess I'll have to take that green pen away from you if you don't have any paper."  And that's when the tears came rolling...anything but the pen!

"Mom, I didn't have any paper."
What I didn't notice until bedtime was that she didn't just use her face and was also all over her feet and legs. Even between her toes! A special thanks goes to Daddy who quietly left the room and grabbed the camera! A moment to remember forever...

Quad Worship

For the past 6 weeks, we have had the blessing of worshipping in our home, with our "Quad mates."  There are a total of 8 adults and 4 children in our quad. There are no Sunday School classes, no musical instruments, and no sermons, but there is lots of prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. (And in our home, there's lots of Spanish, Portuguese, and English...or a mixture of all three!)

Worship in our Quad

Recently, we have been practicing chronological Bible storying, which will be an important skill for sharing the gospel once we get to Mexico. (Currently, we have the blessing of worshipping together 5 days a week.) One of the most exciting parts of storying is that even our children will be able to share with their new friends. Yesterday, Ryan shared with the whole group.

Ryan told the story of creation from his scroll!
 I am so blessed to know that as Clay and I are learning, so are our children! They are becoming an active and integral part of church. Ryan, Ellie, and even Levi prayed during our worship service on Sunday!