Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mika!!

Today our Mika-girl is seven!! It continues to boggle my mind how quickly time flies, as well as make me aware how I need to "redeem the time" (Eph. 5:16 & Col. 4:5) God has given to us.

Our sweet Marika

We are looking forward to Eleo and Sarah joining us for lunch today, as well as Mika's friend, Jazmin. It makes it especially good since Mika's Nana is here to celebrate too. We're having Mika's favourite meal, charbroiled chicken, rice and beans on tortillas, then some "castle" birthday cake for dessert. Tim had some neat ideas for decorating, so I'll have to post pictures in the next few days.

Mika, something Daddy and I have remarked on so often is what a sensitive spirit you have. We are so thankful for this, and have prayed much that that softness will be preserved. Our heart's desire for you is to love the Lord Jesus above all else.

My verse for you is, "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)


Sweet girl, there is so much to pull at your heart and soul and mind and strength - but if you give them all to the Lord, you are sure to be doing the right thing. Continue to hide God's Word in your heart, laying up treasure in heaven, and not on earth.

Sisters

Mika and her friend Jazmin

A very Happy 7th Birthday to you, Marika Ruth!! We love you SO much!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Back to "normal"...

Alright, I've been a bit lax on here again - hard to believe a whole week has gone by already!! We sadly dropped Ruby off at the airport last Saturday morning - it was so great having her here! Then we did some shopping in Tucson, and then more on the way to Phoenix.

We visited the Spanish meeting in West Phoenix for Sunday, and it was nice to meet some new people - we haven't been there since moving to Mexico, and the last time was at a Seedsower distribution in 2002 when I was expecting Mika. Hopefully we'll be able to go back up for their Bible Conference in April - we'll see. The weather while we were in the US was terrible! Very windy, rainy and COLD!! I was thankful for the pants and long-sleeved shirts I had packed for the girls, but I didn't have enough of them.

On Monday, we wanted to do something fun with the girls, and had been planning to go to the zoo. It was raining again when we woke up, and the power even went off for about 10 minutes. We packed our things in the van, and then sat trying to decide what to do. As we were sitting there, the sky broke out in a bit of blue, and the clouds didn't look as dark as they had been. We told the girls that we'd been wanting to go to the zoo, then prayed and asked the Lord to please keep the rain away for a bit, then went. We had a wonderful time, and except for one short shower of rain at the end, it was practically perfect weather. The girls especially loved being in the petting zoo part. Shaelyn and Kyla got to "brush" the goats - I really liked this goat section, as no one is able to feed them, so they're not pushing and shoving, and Kyla wasn't scared at all! There was a calf that had just been born that morning, that was in a pen with its mother, plus some horses we got to see and pet. Great fun!

We picked up Mike D, and headed back to Tucson. It was getting late when we met Michelle and Eleo and dropped off Mike. We went right to our hotel and to bed. Tuesday morning we did some shopping, then happily picked up Mom and Sarah S around 1pm. Sarah went home with the other van load, and we got back to Hermosillo by 8pm.

The last few days have been filled again with school and Spanish lessons. Mom has been a great help by taking over Ruby's "job" =) of doing the dishes, plus has been taking the younger girls out for walks while I do school with Mika. Speaking of school, I got out the order magazines for school next year, and figured out what each girl will need. Kyla is just a year behind Shaelyn, so she'll be doing Nursery stuff next year, so I pretty much have most of the same things written down for her that Shaelyn did this year. Shaelyn will be starting Junior Kindergarten (yikes!), and Mika will begin grade 2 (double-yikes!).

Tonight we made homemade pizza, and watched the documentary DVD, "March of the Penguins". I also made the cake for Mika's birthday on Sunday - so I'll ice it tomorrow. Later tonight, Tim, Vivian and I popped over at John and Michelle's to see David A, and meet his wife Penny - it was nice to do that, and chat for a bit.

We will hopefully be able to sleep in a little tomorrow - I am planning to make crepes for breakfast, since Mika had wanted them for her birthday breakfast, but we likely won't have time. Yum, yum!!!

I think that's it for now - I'll have to post some pictures on here another time. Good night!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Update on "Project Smile"

This is an update on the little girl Bethany, who has cancer. The letter below is written by her mom, Amy. Please lift up these dear ones in Christ!

Hello friends,

My husband and I went to Ann Arbor yesterday to meet with a few doctors. We were kind of hoping to get some good news. However, after talking to the doctors for over 2 hours the news is NOT good. Bethany will no longer be receiving any treatment. Her cancer has progressed so much that at this point, nothing would really help. The doctors went into great detail why she would not be able to get any treatment. Rather than just saying no, they actually explained it. We talked a lot about what other hospitals have and basically, there is nothing out there that U of M does not have.

She has cancer basically on every bone of her body except her hands and feet. 95% of her bone marrow on her left side has cancer in it and 50% on the other side has cancer in it. The cancer has done major damage in her skull area. The bones near her cheeks and sinus area have eroded and so even if they were able to get rid of more cancer, they would never be able to fix those bones. Those eroded bones in and of itself are fatal. Basically, we are at the point right now, where we are really concentrating on keeping her pain free. She will continue to get transfusions for a short time, maybe a couple of weeks top. After the transfusions stop working, then she will have just a few days left.

I apologize if this is a very difficult thing to read. Trust me, I understand how emotionally hard it is to hear our story and what Bethany is going through. My own emotions are going through the roof. I HATE having to look at funeral homes for my 3 year old little girl. I HATE seeing her miserable. I HATE feeling stressed, confused, sad and really scared. I continue to put my trust in God... I know He sees each of my tears and hears my heart cry. I will continue to turn my eyes on the Lord.

Please continue to pray... Please pray for my family. These next few days are going to be extremely difficult on all of us, especially Bethany's older sisters. They know that Bethany is very sick, but I don't think they have a clue what is going to happen. Thank you all for your continual support and love shown through all of the mail. It really has brightened our day!

God Bless,
Amy

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Picture update

I guess I'll back up to Sunday. Valentine's Day went well - we had a pot luck after morning meeting at the hall, then Mika's friend Jazmin came over for the afternoon. Shaelyn stayed up too, and they enjoyed having a tea party, and then playing outside. Kyla joined in the fun when she got up from her nap. My sweet husband brought me some beautiful flowers, and we all devoured some chocolate!! =)

We went to the beach on Monday afternoon for Shaeyn's birthday. It was around 28 degrees C here, and then a little cooler there with the wind, but very nice. We started off the day though, with Tim and I switching "jobs" - while I decorated the birthday cake, he taught Mika school! Both went pretty well, then Eleo came over just before 1pm, and we had pollo asado (coal-grilled chicken) with rice, refried beans and tortillas! Yummmmy...one of our favourite lunches!! Eleo couldn't join us at the beach unfortunately, but we made it out there at about 4pm. There was hardly any one there, which was great - the sand was warm, the waves were crashing....and the vendors were selling!! I guess even if we coloured our hair and skin, they would still know we are gringos because no one else goes to the beach this time of year!! Anyway, both Ruby and we got a hammock, as well as a few little animal carvings out of iron wood. The girls collected shells and played in the sand. Tim and Shaelyn played in the water too, although didn't go swimming. Thankfully I had an extra set of clothes for Shaelyn though, as that water baby was wet up to her chest! Just before we left to go home, Mika, Shaelyn and I were walking down the beach a bit. Shaelyn kept saying, "Ouch, my foot hurts!" I asked her, "Which foot hurts?" She replied, "These two!" =)

Tim's brother Andrew called from Mozambique, so that, along with a few other calls we received, made the day extra special!!

My mornings recently have been extra special, as Mika has been getting up, and reading her Bible beside me on the couch. It was my idea, but she's been quite happy and excited to do it, and she also made a prayer list of both "famaly" and "frends". =) I love that girl. How my entire being desires for her (and each of our children) to follow Christ whole-heartedly. How absolutely unworthy I am to be her Mommy - but how thankful I am for the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness, and the opportunity to serve Him in this way.

I've read some really good books recently. First of all, "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs. If you are married, and haven't ever read this, I highly recommend it!! It's interesting though, I heard a tape on the book when Mika was just a baby, and I don't remember it hardly affecting me, but now...Wow! It was just what I needed!

"Keeping our Children's Hearts: Our Vital Priority" by Steve & Teri Maxwell (http://www.titus2.com/) I have never "heard" (as in, from platform ministry) most of what is written in this book - I have read much of it in my Bible. Some of what it talks about is: turning our hearts toward our children, and our children's hearts towards us; sheltering them, but not isolating them; preserving their hearts, and directing them toward godly goals. If you have children, I would highly recommend this book. I think it takes a perspective of parenting that is not often thought of, and that I believe is very important.

Okay, here are some pictures: Here is Shaelyn the other day, when she had to wash off all the crayon she coloured on the wall. Amazingly, she got it all off with no help.

Tim teaching Mika school

The final product of Shaelyn's "Farm" birthday cake

So exciting!
The birthday girl - FOUR years old!
All the sisters that weren't sleeping
Blowing out the candles

Shaelyn and her birthday presents
On our way to the beach - Kyla fell asleep leaning on Ruby, with her sunglasses still on!
Our new hammock...
...with our littlest cutie inside! She quite enjoyed swinging in it.I was just reminded that I hadn't taken any pic's of the girls room since we got the new bunkbed, and switched rooms. I took some today. This one is looking from the far corner of the room towards the door. Shaelyn has the top bunk, and Kyla the bottom.
The "new" bunk bed - Mika on the top, and the girls have loved playing "hospital" bed on the bottom.
View from the door
And just in the door toward the end wall.
That's pretty much it. Hard to believe Ruby flies out Saturday morning bright and early - it has been super having her here. We'll be heading up to Tucson Friday sometime, and then continuing on to Phoenix to spend Sunday with the Spanish-speaking assembly there. On our way home, we're planning to pick up my mom, as well as another friend of Eleo's who is coming down for a few weeks. We'll see how things go, but it might be a little bit before you hear from me again... =)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mark!!

Today is Tim's brother Mark's birthday. We are so excited that Mark and Bekah are coming to visit us in just a few weeks! We really miss being close (in proximity) to them, like we were when we lived in St. Thomas.

"Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace."
(Psalms 37:37 KJV). I generally use just ESV for verses on here, but thought I would give Bekah a chuckle! =) ESV says, "Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace." While I wouldn't try to fool anyone in pretending that you are perfect, Mark, I'm thankful for your godly deportment and shining testimony to those around you. There are many struggles you have, and do face, yet you face them with a positive attitude, continuing to serve the Lord with a wholeness of heart. You have been "marked" by your uprightness, and peaceful spirit. May you continue to put your whole trust in Him, and He promises there will ever be peace in your future.

A sweet picture of Mark and his dear wife, Rebekah

Hope you have a wonderful birthday, Mark - we love you tons!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Shaelyn and Philip!!

February is the busiest birthday month for the Woodford's - there are at least 6 from Grandpa down! Four years ago today, our Shaelyn was born on her Uncle Philip's birthday.

Philip is Tim's sister Joia's husband. He is an MD in the air force on a base in the States, and was elected as one of the Chief Residents this past year.
The verse that has continued to go through my head since thinking about writing this post, is:
"But as for you, O man of God, ... Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. " (1 Timothy 6:11) I was thinking how it's so easy to just chug along at our daily routine - wanting to do the Lord's will, and praying for His will to be done. It just struck me that this is definitely more than just "chugging". He wants us to pursue these things - making an effort at being different - at being bright lights in the world. The Lord has blessed you in so many ways, Philip. What a tremendous and special priviledge you have, to both minister physically and spiritually in people's lives. May the Lord continue to use you mightily for His honour and glory!

Sweethearts - Philip & Joia

The whole family in September
Hot off the press - Keenan (2.75) and Moriah (1) all dressed up for Valentine's Day - CUTIES!!

A very Happy Birthday to you, Philip - with lots of love, from the Mexican Woodheads! =)

*************************************************

Our sweet Shaelyn - how can it already be four years since you were born? I would have said last year without a doubt that Shaelyn is our "strong-willed" child. There have been some huge changes this past year, however, and while she still is a challenge in some ways, there's no way we would want to trade this sunshine in for anyone else!! =) She is our hysterical giggler, our distracted dawdler, our cuddler, our animal-lover, our "Cute but Crabby", full-of-zest girl that we love SO much!

My verse for you, is: "My (daughter), give me your heart," (Proverbs 23:26). God has such a special purpose for you, Shaelynnie, and what He wants from you, is your heart. For now, your Daddy and I want to keep your heart for you - protecting it, encouraging it, and feeding it with what it needs, until you're ready to give it over to Him. We want the very best for you, and know that God's will for you, is that very best. We pray that you'll get to know Him better all the time, and that as you learn to love the Lord Jesus more and more, and trust Him in some small things, you'll soon trust Him with all of you too!
Our Shaelyn Grace

Our four sweet girls - so precious!

Happy 4th Birthday, Shaelyn - we love you more than we could ever say!
XOXOXO

Friday, February 12, 2010

Surprise!

Not only is it a surprise that I actually blogged twice in one week, =) but I have a real surprise too!! My mom called me this morning, and wondered if we'd mind having some more company? I told her that we love having company, and she said she was going to come from Feb 21st to Mar 9!!! Yay!! The girls were very disappointed that their Papa wasn't coming too, but are very excited nonetheless! We then are looking forward to Tim's brother Mark and Rebekah who will be joining us just a few days later for March Break! =)

This morning Ruby made crepes for us again, and Eleo came over, and joined us for breakfast as well - crepes are SO yummy!!!

I think I forgot to mention that we went to the zoo last Friday, as well as introducing Ruby to Taco Bongo. The zoo was lots of fun - we went with Michelle, Mike, Brady and Jake. There was an adorable tiger cub that we got to see. Then, the girls' favourite part, the petting area at the end. Somehow we missed it when we went through the first time, but we spent a considerable amount of time there this time. There were miniature ponies, miniature cows (!?!), goats, a llama, sheep and bunnies. Kyla was hilarious, as she would shriek if anything came close - however, Shaelyn was in her glory. I think we could have left her there all day, and she wouldn't have been the least bit concerned! She's decided on a farm for her birthday cake - so we'll see how that turns out!
Here we are at Taco Bongo with Eleo
Vivian enjoyed munching a cooked onion
The petting part of the zoo - Kyla "riding" a goat.
Vivian didn't want to miss out - she enjoyed it more than Kyla, I think!

Some pic's of the girls: Vivian - she is getting up on all fours now, and "climbing" on to the bottom of her exersaucer. She gets all around now, not just backing herself into corners like at the start.

Shaelyn

Vivian again, this time reading a book! =)Kyla blowing bubblesI love this picture of Mika
Tomorrow, Mika and Ruby will go again to the children's meeting Eleo and the young girls have in the south of the city, Tirocapes. They enjoyed going last week. Then we'll get ready for a potluck on Sunday, then Shaelyn's birthday on Monday. Looks like it will be a busy weekend, so I'm off to bed now, hoping for maybe a little sleep-in tomorrow! Good night! =)

PS (All pictures are compliments of Ruby!!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Catch-up

At supper last night, Kyla had one cookie for dessert, and then asked for another. I told her she was only going to have one, but then she asked again. I said, "Did you already have one cookie, Kyla?" She shook her head no. I asked her, "Then why do you have chocolate on your face?" She got a funny look on her face and said, "Can you pass a napkin, please?" =)

Okay, so it's been a while again since I've updated. We've had a good and busy last week and a half. My pantry cupboards have been cleaned out, cleaned and reorganized, and all the girls clothing has been gone through and put in their proper places. Ahhh.... (that's a great sigh of relief!!)

School has been going pretty well too, and Spanish classes for all - even Kyla takes a few minutes of Eleo's time twice a week now. This morning, she learned blue is "azul" in Spanish. Eleo stayed for lunch afterward, and while it was getting ready, Eleo asked Kyla, "What is blue in Spanish?" Kyla - "Blue!" Eleo - "No, aaaa...." Kyla - "Aaaaa...blue!"

Here is a picture of a little critter we had outside the front door the other day.

Sunday night after meeting, Mika wanted to have a picnic tea party. So I made quesadillas, and we had a tea party in the middle of our living room floor!
Ruby made DELICIOUS crepes for us one morning for breakfast. She is going to make them again on Friday morning, and Eleo is going to join us!Yesterday after school and Spanish, all the girls went up La Campana to see the view of the city.
Bienvenidos a Hermosillo!
Ruby
The three oldest girlers
There was a huge puddle in the middle of the parking lot at the top, so the girls got as close as they could! =)
It's been rainy a lot recently - quite unusual for this time of the year. This afternoon when the girls got up from their naps, I told them to get their shoes on, and we would go outside and play for a while. JUST as we got out the door, it started to sprinkle, but we thought we would just do a quick bike around the block and got Soaking wet as the rain poured down. So instead, we got out games and puzzles, and then coloured pictures for a good part of the afternoon.

We are looking forward to Shaelyn's 4th birthday coming up on Monday - how can the time have flown by so quickly?? We still haven't decided what kind of cake to make, so we'll have to figure that out in the next couple days. Speaking of Shaelyn - although she and Kyla haven't been getting along really great, the last few days have been okay. This morning, for some reason, for All the girls, it was not okay. Everyone was grumpy and fighting and crying. So at one point I took Shaelyn and put her up on her bunk bed for a minute. When I went back in, there was blue crayon scribbles all over the wall! She apparently had had a crayon in her hand when I put her up there, and I hadn't seen it. Both Kyla and Shaelyn have done more than their fair share of colouring on the walls, and recently we have been making them scrub it off if they do. So, Shaelyn spent about an hour scrubbing all the crayon marks off this morning. Tim and I were both surprised at what a good job she did (it wasn't easy), but she was quite sure that she wasn't planning to colour on the walls any time soon!

While not a complete catch-up, it's some of what has been going on with us the last little bit. I've been reading a couple really great books that I'll share another time, but want to get to bed now before it gets too late.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Project Smile

Just recently, Tim's sister Joia posted this on her blog, and I thought it was more than worth passing on.

"Have five minutes and a stamp? Want to make a difference in the life of a little girl and her family?
I was recently made aware of a family in Michigan (friends of Philip's cousin, Denise) who are currently living out their last few months with their youngest daughter, Bethany (16 months old). They have decided to make life as full of joy as they can for the remaining time they have with her. Getting mail is a bright spot in the day for Bethany and her sisters. By sending a card, or a note, and just saying "Hi! We're praying for you!", we can help brighten their day, lighten the load on their hearts, and "bear one another's burdens". "

Sisters Katy & Audrey with Bethany
Here is the email that Amy, Bethany's mom, originally wrote about the kick off of Project Smile:

"Hello Friends, As you may or may not have heard, we got some pretty difficult news from Bethany's doctors this week. We have never been given a time frame on Bethany's life expectancy before, but this week the doctors gave us one. The chemo that she has been having has not been working. If this continues and nothing we try does damage to the cancer, than she may only have 2-4 months left. We have been waiting to get on a brand new clinical trial. If that one works, that may add another 2-4 months. What do you say or do when someone tells you that your child has only a few short months left in this world? How do you smile? How do you find the strength to even get out of bed? The only answer that I know is through JESUS! Our families heart has been so overwhelmed with sadness these last few days. It is only by the grace of God and His mercies that we have peace. We have to now focus on the happiness of Bethany. We do not want these next few months to be miserable on her. It brakes our heart to see her feeling sick and we want to do everything we can to brighten her spirit. So, I really feel the Lord placed an idea on my heart. Here it is: PROJECT: SMILE! We would like to brighten Bethany's day with a piece of mail from those who have been praying for her. So many people have asked me if there is anything they can do for her or our family and this would be a great idea. Help bring a smile on Bethany's face and not only her face, but her sisters and family member's faces. Send a card or postcard. She loves getting mail!! It doesn't have to be anything special. If you need an idea, she loves animals and in particular puppies. We really aren't asking for anything special, just a simple hello will do.

Our address is:
The Hagerman Family
1257 Leonard Ave.
Muskegon, MI
49442

We are so thankful for all of your prayers and love! May God bless each of your lives in such amazing ways!! Keep believing for that miracle!! With much love, Amy"

It's hard to imagine how difficult this must be. Please pray for this dear family in Christ, and if you can, send them a little note.