Monday, November 30, 2009

Please Pray

Yesterday morning, two believers in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico, whose names are Antonio and Veronica, left their home in their little Datsun - the husband was driving the wife to work. At some point after they left, their vehicle was hit by a Malibu. I have not heard yet how the three people are doing that were in the other vehicle - but they were all drunk.

When Veronica looked over to see how Antonio was, he wasn't there, nor was the back half of the car - the vehicle had split in half. Antonio had been thrown out and Veronica found him beside the road. At that point he was already unconscious. He was taken to the hospital, where the doctors did surgery for 4.5 hours. They performed a decompressive craniotomy (not sure if that's the technical term or not, but that was the translation) on the left side due to an acute hematoma. Then there was increased pressure on the other side and they repeated the operation on that side. The doctors say the first 72 hours are the most critical - someone (family or friend) needs to stay with him 24/7.

This morning, the doctors said that Antonio's vital signs have been stable since the surgery, and there is currently no indication of further injuries. They are limited in their ability to know that 100%, as they are waiting for the swelling of the brain to decrease before making any further determinations.

Antonio and Veronica have two children, David (20) and Samantha (16). We have been getting updates from Marcus Cain (who lives in Tepic), so I will update again on here as I hear more.

Although we don't personally know this family, our hearts ache for the pain they must be going through. Please join us in lifting them up before the Great Physician.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I will praise You in this storm

These are the lyrics of a song by Casting Crowns, and the words have recently meant much more to me than they had before:

Praise You in This Storm
words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms

I was sure by now, God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away


I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth



Tim and I have faced a few storms together - some have been like hurricanes, some have been relative breezes, and some have been in between. We're in a big storm right now. We lost our baby yesterday - our fifth child. I went to my OB for my first appointment, and when he did an ultrasound, there was no heartbeat, and it was apparent that the baby had stopped growing a few weeks before. We are so incredibly sad.

I know that this trial is a common one - many of the women in just our immediate families have miscarried babies, and, to tell the truth, I felt guilty sometimes because although I tried to imagine how awful it would be, I really couldn't empathize completely with them.

Over the last couple days, one of the lines of this song kept ringing through my head, "I will praise You in this storm". Yesterday morning I was reading in 1 John 1. Verse 5 says, "...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." I hadn't realized until just today that the words, "This God--his way is perfect." is twice in the Bible - in 2 Samuel 22:31, and Psalm 18:30. It's hard to understand why this happened - but we really can only see such a "tunnel vision" view of life - and God has the whole tapestry perfectly woven in His will. Someone dear mentioned in an email that we have been "carried" in prayer - and that's really how it's felt too. We're so thankful for our dear family and friends who love us and pray for us and grieve with us. Above all we are thankful for our great God, Who although He could have preserved this baby's life, wanted him/her with Himself earlier than we wanted. Christ is our strength and comfort - He draws us close to Himself, and we praise Him - even in this storm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back home again...

It's been a while since I did an "update" post, but I'm finally back again!

So, we are the new owners of another vehicle. We have been looking for a new van for quite some time, to be able to help in transportation - both within the city, and between cities. Last Wednesday we headed up to Phoenix, stopping in Tucson on the way and looking at two different vans. There was another van we had hoped to look at, but there was a deposit already on it. We arrived at the Vizzini's around 545pm, just in time to gulp down a yummy supper, clean up the munchkins a little, and head out to meeting. We had never been to the Sunnyslope assembly before, and it was nice to see some people we had met a while before, or had only heard about but never met. Tim spoke after the prayer meeting on faith in the life of Abraham, and applied it to our Christian life. It was great to hear the praying, singing and preaching in English! We headed back to Vizzini's after that, and ended up staying up too late talking (surprise!)! =)

The next day, Wendell, who helped us move our things from Phoenix to Mexico last year, came over, and he and Tim went out all day looking at vans they had found on the internet that were in the area. The girls all stayed home, and during the next two days we went to the library, a park to feed peacocks, played outside, had picnic lunches, gave the girls "real" baths (we don't have bathtubs in Mexico), and just generally enjoyed ourselves. I also got some necessary shopping done, and found a great discount store, Ross. It reminded me of Winners in Canada, although it didn't have so many books, but has better prices on most things!

The guys came back on Thursday with more or less 3 possibilities - so we figured for sure we would have something the next day. At some point during that first day, Tim got a phone call from the second place we had gone to in Tucson. He had been in contact with this guy before, but hadn't seen him when we had been in to see the van. Tim told him we'd been in, but we hadn't been able to see one of the vans we'd wanted because there was a deposit on it. This fellow said that there had been, but it was possible they weren't coming to get it. On Friday we were pretty sure about one van, but the ownership was in another state and would have to be couriered over night, and there were a couple other things that just weren't "settling" about it. I asked Tim if he'd called the place in Tucson to see if that other van was still available, so he did, and it ended up that at the end of the day it was available. What to do? We decided to head to Tucson that night, stay in a hotel, and check out the van in the morning. We figured if that one didn't work out, we would still have time to make the 2 hour trip back to Phoenix for the other one.

Saturday morning dawned sunny (of course), but freezing cold! We couldn't believe the difference in temperature from Hermosillo to Arizona - I definitely hadn't taken enough warm clothes for us. Anyway, the van was in the best shape that Tim had seen so far. It is a 2007 Ford E350. I was hoping for a 12 passenger, as I thought it would be easier to drive, but this is a 15 passenger - but since it's not white (95% of the 12-15 passenger vans are white), and it is blue (my favourite colour!), I decided it would be okay!!! =) We are so thankful that the Lord directed us in all of this.

I was able to get some shopping done at Costco while Tim was checking the van out Saturday morning. We were walking by a display, and all of a sudden, my senses were overwhelmed with the smell of pine! Mmmmm...they had pine garlands in a big bin, so the girls and I spent the next 5 minutes taking turns smelling it! =) It actually brought tears to my eyes, it was just so familiar.

We got lots of shopping done Saturday afternoon, but that meant we left late from Tucson. We didn't arrive home until around 10pm.

Our girls must be having major growth spurts right now. The Vizzini's were laughing at my skinny girls, and how much they ate - well, they didn't see anything!! Sunday at lunch we had roasted chicken and rice on tortillas. Kyla and Shaelyn both finished FIVE, and were working on their 6th when they stopped. Yesterday morning Shaelyn had 2 bowls of cereal for breakfast, 4 helpings of tuna casserole for lunch, and several pancakes for supper! Kyla wasn't far behind! =)

This picture has all the girls in outfits our friends Mel and Simon sent. Vivian's shirt says, "Daddy, I want a pony" on it, Mika's and Kyla's both have My Little Pony's on theirs, and Shaelyn's has, "I'm a little teapot" on it. So cute!

The other morning, Shaelyn and Kyla were fighting one minute, and the next, Shaelyn said, "Kyla, do you want to sit in my lap? I'll read you a book!"

We've been seriously getting into some Christmas fun these last few days home! Tim walked in the other day and said, "I don't remember you ever playing Christmas music this early!" =) I don't think I have either. I found some fun, cheap, Christmas crafts in the US, and my mom sent us some too, so we've been enjoying doing some of them. Also, Mika decided she wanted to make a Christmas chain out of red and green construction paper, so that is now decorating up our stairs. I also got the girls' presents wrapped yesterday, so that's nice to have out of the way!

Christmas chain and foamie Christmas trees

A fun gingerbread garland. The picture on the packaging showed all of the gingerbread people with bowties, and Mika decided we should have some gingergirls too, so put half of them with the bows in their hair! =)

I know I had more I was going to put on here, but can't think of it right now and I want to get this posted. Hope you're all having a great day!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jared!

Today is my nephew Jared's 5th birthday! Wow, how can time fly by so quickly!?! Jared is my brother Jeff and Marianne's oldest son, and is big brother to Gracia (2.5) and Lucas (3 months).

I don't think I've met anyone with quite so much energy as Jared (not even Shaelyn!). He just started kindergarten this fall, and is doing quite well, despite the fact he doesn't wear off quite as much energy as his mommy thinks he should! =) He loves to copy everything his daddy does, and even can make the right noises for all his "saws" as they "cut wood"! He has a sweet, gentle spirit, and gives great hugs!

My verse for you, Jared, is Proverbs 22:1: "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold."

It's hard to imagine what the world will be like when you're grown up. Many people make it their ambition to have lots of money, and a name that everyone recognizes. My prayer is that this won't characterize you. I hope instead that you will put all your energy into bringing honour and glory to God, and living for Him, and Him alone. I pray your name will be good as it is recognized as a follower of Christ; one who is obedient to His Word, and who loves others.

Mr. Jared
I love this picture of all the boys!

I didn't have a photo of all three munchkins together, so here's one of just Gracia
Sharp Family photo - September 2009
A very Happy 5th Birthday to you, sweet Jared! We love you SO much!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last update on Kiernan

Praise the Lord Kiernan and family are all back home again! Thank you to everyone for your prayers. This is the latest information Liz sent me, so I will pass it along here:

"As far as the Doctor can tell, Kiernan started off with an ear infection and it got into his blood stream. That's what caused the super-fast temperature high, and may have caused some problems with a urinary infection, but that was not confirmed. The pain may have come just from the 3 tries with a catheter. He's at home and loving his own bed. He hadn't had much sleep for the last 2 days and got an almost full night's sleep last night. He's on antibiotics still and we'll see our local doc next week likely for a check up. He's quite thankful to have the IV out of his foot and is ripping around the floor and acting much more normally. THANKS to everyone for their prayers!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Update #3

Many thanks again for everyone's prayers, as well as notes of encouragement, suggestions and advice!! Kiernan is still feeling miserable, but thankfully his meds seem to be helping for the fever somewhat, anyway. The doc's have considered H1N1, urinary tract infection, and ear infection - but still really don't seem to know what his main problem is. He will be in hospital at least until Thursday, so hopefully something concrete will show up in the next day or so. Please continue to pray for Kiernan, Trev and Liz, as well as wisdom for the doctors and health care workers.

Update #2

Kiernan's temperature has finally come down, for which we thank the Lord! It sounds like they are still waiting on tests to come back, so are still unsure what the cause of the problem is. We all appreciate your prayers so much. Kiernan has been eating and drinking some today, so that's really good! Trevor has arrived, and he and Liz seem to be holding up okay, although Liz is extremely tired. They're not sure where they are going to stay while they're there, so are looking into hotels. They don't know anyone in the city, and are 3 hours away from home. Please continue to pray! Thank you!

Update on Kiernan

According to a doctor in Regina, Kiernan is a "very sick little boy"! Although his fever started to go down last night a little, it spiked again just as they reached the hospital. It took quite a bit of time to put in an IV, and they realized just how dehydrated he was when they put in a catheter. He is now getting lots of fluids, as well as antibiotic(s) through his IV. He has had a little to drink this morning. The doc believes he has some sort of flu, but not sure if it is H1N1. They are awaiting results from his blood and urine tests. The doctor is pretty sure Liz will get this flu too, and they're not sure how it will affect her since she is pregnant. Trev left this morning to go to be with Liz and Kiernan, and Katja is staying with her grandparents. We would appreciate your continued prayers for the family, and I'll update again as I hear news.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Requesting Urgent Prayer

I just got a call from my mom, who had just been speaking to my sister Liz out in Saskatchewan. She, and their son Kiernan (1 yr old) are in an ambulance on their way to Regina. Kiernan has an extremely high fever, and the hospital they were at during the day was unable to get it down. They recommended him being transfered to a bigger hospital. Please pray for Liz and Trevor, and Kiernan and Katja. I will update as soon as I hear anything. Thank you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

3 Little Pigs

Ever heard of Jillian Jiggs? I hadn't, until someone gave us the book, "The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs" by Phoebe Gilman. It's a really cute book, and at the end, there are instructions on how to "Make your own" - something that would Never cross my mind to do in 100 years. That's where my girls come in... =) Mika's been talking to me about doing this since we got the book, and I told her that I didn't have any nylons, so we couldn't make them. I was going through a box of my "winter" clothes yesterday, and guess what I found? Yep, nylons. So this afternoon, after ALL 6 of us had an almost 2 hour nap (YAY!), we sat down and started working on these. It took a lot longer (of course) than I thought it would, and I had to do lots of improvising, and I think they're The ugliest pigs in the world, but I thought I'd post them on here anyway. I will warn you they are not anatomically correct, but the girls Love them - and I must say, I enjoyed cutting up the nylons!!! =)

Putting them with the flowers was Mika's idea!
Front View: L-R Mika's ("Daisy"), Shaelyn's ("Angelina") and Kyla's (unnamed so far)
Side View:
Back/Other Side View

We have been without power at the hall (no light/water) since Wednesday, so we missed having meeting Thursday night, young people's on Saturday and then tonight since it's too dark. We had meeting this morning, but it was definitely interesting without having bathrooms to use. We brought a little potty for the littlest ones to use. We are switching electric companies, and for some reason the new one isn't able to give us power yet - I don't understand everything about it - but we're hoping to have power by Tuesday again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Back in the swing of things...

I guess it's been a while since I've updated on here - almost a week! It's been a busy last little while, so I guess that's why. Sunday lunch we had some company, and the girls had lots of fun playing with their two little ones. Tim and I enjoyed practicing our Spanish! =) Kyla was sick in the van on the way home that night after meeting though, so that made a less than enjoyable clean-up afterward. She went right to bed and to sleep after having a bath, and seemed fine in the morning. The other girls were feeling a little funny though that day, so in the evening we opened up the pull-out couch in the living room, and they enjoyed that.
Someone was asking me about the "G-1" flu that we had - I couldn't figure out what they were talking about until I remembered I had written about our GI sickness (gastro-intestinal) - just thought I'd clarify that! =)

The girls have been asking about getting out some paint for a while. I finally dug it out of a box, and the girls had a blast painting one evening.

Update on Beatriz: I actually don't know too much, except last we heard (which was a couple days ago now) she had indeed been moved to another hospital in which the family thought she is receiving better care there. The family also seemed to think she was making progress - Praise the Lord for that! Both Shad and Duncan are away for a bible conference this weekend, but when I hear back from them again, I'll update.

Wednesday was Remembrance Day in Canada, as well as Tim's special remembrance day - it was his 23rd "second" birthday. There is a song we sing in Sunday school for birthdays:

"Happy Birthday, yes two!
Only one will not do,

"Born again" means salvation -
How many have you?

There's a Saviour for you,
And you need Him, 'tis true!
Jesus died for your safety,

and happiness too!"

We are so thankful for the men and women who have given, and now give their lives for our freedom, and yet I believe the ultimate sacrifice was shown when, "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

I took Vivian to her six-month doctor's appointment the other day, and she weighs 15 lbs. She a nice chubby little cutie, and her disposition only gets sweeter! =) I got a sling for her at a second-hand store while I was up in Canada, and have used it several times now - it's called a Maya Wrap. Vivian seems quite content in it, and I like how it works. Thought I'd get a picture of her in it, so I set up the camera, but Vivian would look at it - just at me! =)

We've been on a baking "spree" the last couple days. Tim's been "mentioning" that he would really like some Monster cookies, so finally Mika and I made some the other day. Then we got thinking about Snickerdoodle cookies, and my mom mentioned she had made Gingersnaps while she was out at my sisters, so...we now have all three kinds. Tim and the girls are all quite delighted! This is my biggest kitchen helper - who usually doesn't like doing dishes (although sometimes she likes to wash), but is doing the dishes so we can bake! Such motivation!! =)

We had our last Spanish class on Wednesday. Eleo left with John and Michelle, and several others to go down to Tepic conference for the weekend, then she is continuing down to Ciudad de Carmen where her cousin David and his wife Penny live. She is planning to give Penny some intensive Spanish lessons for 3 weeks. We stopped by her house last night to say goodbye, and also to pick up our homework. We are hoping to get lots done while she's away!!

School has been going pretty well this last bit. The first five weeks the girls have been memorizing John 3: 14-19, and both Mika and Shaelyn can say the verses perfectly. I'm really proud of their hard work, and there is something just so amazing hearing the Word of God coming from the "mouth of babes"! They're now working on part of Psalm 34.

Tonight we decided to make a fort and have a picnic in it. This is under our dining room table. There are cushions for walls, and blankets over top of everything. Tim also put a light in there, so we turned all the other lights out, and we all (yes all, except Vivian who was in bed) ate under there - or at least partly under! =)

Shaelyn's prayer at bedtime tonight:

"Thank You for this good day. I pray for our fort. I pray for Uncle Rob and Auntie Ada's baby Brayden. I pray for Uncle Rob and Auntie Ada. I pray for Uncle Andrew. I pray for Uncle Trevor's nine toes. I pray for Jesus dying on the cross. In Jesus' Name, amen."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rob!

Today is Tim's brother Rob's 30th birthday! Rob and Ada live just a few minutes away from Tim's parents, who now get to enjoy a grandchild close-by! =) Rob and Ada's son Brayden Lukas was born just a couple weeks ago.

Rob and Ada
Rob, Ada and Brayden
I think this verse is just right for you, Rob!

"Behold, we consider those blessed who remained have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful."
(James 5:11)

You have seen many "curveballs" thrown at you in your life. I haven't seen you "duck", or try to run away, nor have I heard you complain. What I've seen is a person who has remained steadfast, and I've seen some of the purpose of the Lord worked out in your life. What a compassionate and merciful God we serve! Thank you for your consistency, your example, and your godly manner of life.

We love you! Hope you have a wonderful birthday, Rob!


Sorry to have left you hanging about Beatriz. Just heard back from Shad in Obregón a bit ago, and this is what he wrote:

"... her platelets are boosted from what they gave her over the weekend. The family is trying to move her to another "better" hospital, so hopefully that won't jeopardize her progress any. She gave us all a pretty big scare and I imagine she's not out of the woods yet."

Not a ton of information, but obviously she is still alive and we thank the Lord for that! I will let you know again any information we hear about her.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Prayer Request

I was just talking to Tim a little while ago on the phone - they were just leaving Obregón. I hope I can get the whole story straight, and if I don't, I will correct it soon. There is a new believer in Obregón whose name is Beatriz. She would be in her late-30's, early-40's, and she is currently lying in the hospital there dying of Dengue fever. The doctors said she needed a blood transfusion, but that they didn't have enough blood. Several who went to the baptism offered to give their blood, but then they said they need platelets, and apparently the people who work in that department don't work on Saturday and Sunday! It is believed that if she doesn't get proper treatment tonight, there will be irreversable damage. Shad K and Duncan are doing everything they can to get her help. Her condition is very grave, and we pray that the Great Physician would reach down and work a miracle in His will. Beatriz' son was one of the ones who got baptised today.

It got me!

So I didn't "miss out" on being sick, unfortunately! =P Yesterday I was down and out for most of the day, but thankfully I am feeling much better today. No one else seems to be showing any signs of sickness, for which I am incredibly thankful! I think at least one person in our family has had soup for a meal except breakfast for 5 days now.

I slept in yesterday until 10am, and when I woke up, Tim took the girls outside to play for a while. The power went out shortly after (not too uncommon), and stayed off for 4 hours (very uncommon for so long)! Thankfully we have a gas stove! After lunch the girls went to bed, and Tim decided to check outside to see if a button got switched or something. Right in front of our house at the sidewalk is our energy meter in a little box. Down at the middle of the box, open to the public, is a switch, that will cut the power to the entire house (?????). Our switch had been turned off. So Tim turned the switch back on, and we got overhead power downstairs, but none of the electrical outlets on the walls would work, and upstairs all the outlets on the walls would work, but not the overhead lights, plus the A/C was making funny noises and wasn't working. Wierd. After fiddling for a bit with switches, etc, Tim called our landlord, who came over with an "electrician" around 5pm. After changing some of the fuses (our house is about 15-20 years old, and the fuses were originals and wiggled when you touched them), we were able to have overhead lights upstairs (at only 1/2 power) but still no outlets downstairs. Thankfully we had our fridge plugged in to an extension cord from upstairs. They went out to the energy meter by the road to see if that fuse needed to be changed, but the "electrician" said it looked fine, but didn't actually check it. Around 7pm, they left, saying they would be back in the morning with a different electrician and an A/C guy. Amazingly, they actually arrived right on time this morning, and within 10 min, our problem was solved. It was the fuse out at the road. As soon as it was changed, everything worked totally fine, and was back to normal. We still don't know if that switch turned off by itself, or if one of our dear little girls maybe "helped" a little! =) On a side note, we are so totally thankful for our landlord, who has been super to us here!!

This afternoon at 1pm, Tim left with Mika and Shaelyn to go with about 25 other people down to Obregón for a baptism. I so wished I could have gone too, but just didn't think it was very practical since I was just sick. As I sit here, I see that I forgot to send the camera with Tim, so I guess I won't be seeing any pictures of it either. It has been exciting to hear how God has been working in many lives down in Obregón, and there will be eight people baptised this afternoon. We are looking forward to Christmas-time where there will be a Seedsower (a beautifully printed Bible verse as well as an invitation to special gospel meetings) distribution there, and we're glad we'll be close enough to attend this year. Last year it was in Veracruz, which is about 30 hours away, so we missed that one!

I am trying to get laundry, and a full house cleaning done this afternoont while the others are gone, so I'd better get going, otherwise I'll be scrambling later one! =)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sick again...

We're in the middle of another bout of GI sickness here. So far, Tim, Shaelyn and Kyla have it, and I'm holding out for the rest of us Not to get it!! Kyla was first, waking up Tuesday morning with her "sickness" all through her hair, pj's and bed! =P She's been doing relatively okay since then, but isn't eating much. Shaelyn says her stomach hurts, and that she's tired, and definitely isn't eating. She finally had some chicken noodle soup at lunch today which was her first meal since the little she ate yesterday at breakfast. Tim started feeling crummy yesterday morning too, but had Spanish class anyway. Afterwards he laid down and slept a good part of the afternoon. So we kind of made it movie day. They watched The Sound of Music before their naps, and Charlotte's Web after supper. We pulled out our living room couch so the the three girls could lie down. Today I went walking with Eleo, but called her when I got home to say Tim and the girls still weren't feeling good, so we skipped Spanish class today. I did do school with Mika, and that continues to go well. I feel like we're almost getting into the swing of things - yay!

Not much else is going on here, although yesterday I finally got Mika's apron cut out, and I'm hoping to try to sew it in the next couple days. Hopefully the next ones will go a little more smoothly since I'll know what I'm doing then! =)

Just a quick funny: yesterday when the girls lay down for their naps, Shaelyn asked if I would leave the door open, because she was afraid of the dark. I told her that she would be fine because there is a nightlight on in their room. Then she said, "Oh, I know! I'll just close my eyes and keep the dark out!" Great idea!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Some of our goings-on lately

This ugly thing is an upside-down shrivelled-up Tarantula that we found right outside our house the other day. It was right under our tree on the sidewalk, and now we're wondering how many more live in the tree! Yuck! Some of the unsavoury "wild life" we've had either in, or just outside the house since moving here are: brown and black widow spiders, rats, geckos, iguanas, lizards, termites and now this tarantula.
Vivian had her first solid food the other day, and while she didn't mind it, she sure isn't terribly interested in eating much of it. She's been struggling with a cold the last week or so, and hasn't been eating much in general, and has been sleeping Tons, so maybe when she's feeling better.
This was the view outside our house the other evening to the east. I thought it was so beautiful!

The pictures below are more than of just an ordinary desk. It was a gift that 3 different people contributed to. The ends were made by our friend Brian several years ago, when he was making it for himself. When they moved to Kitchener, he gave them to Tim. The drawer fronts were all made except one, but hadn't been stained. I tried on many various occasions to get rid of the beasts since nothing was being done with them, and they were just in the way! When we were moving down to Mexico, I was sure that we would finally get rid of them, and then my brother Jeff called and said he had a huge piece of maple that he had made for someone, but it hadn't worked out or something, did we want it for the desk? Tim was very excited! Tim got another friend Alan to build the other drawer front that was missing, and stain all of them - which he did for free. The only thing Tim bought for this was the drawer handles. Anyway, on Friday night, Tim finally got the drawer fronts put on, and then the handles, and here's the final product. You can't really tell from the pic's, but it's very large, and we like it ALOT, and are so thankful for it! =)

Here is a picture of all our girls this morning before heading out to meeting.
I got a couple of just Vivian - I love these two shots! Some might recognize this outfit - I bought it for Mika's first St. Thomas Bible conference 7 years ago! =)
Sweet girl!
These are some Shaelyn stories - either about, directed at or said by her. They've just been accumulating, and I've been trying to write them down so I don't forget.

-This is what we heard Mika telling Shaelyn the other evening, when we were in the other room:
"Shaelyn, don't let her (Vivian) suck on your feet!"

-The other day while the girls were playing together, I heard Kyla say, "Saynyn. Woofod. My. tuhn. Now!" (Shaelyn Woodford, my turn now!) Kyla speaks very slowly, and often has long spaces between each word.

-At supper the other night, Shaelyn totally randomly said between bites, "Mommy, I love you - just not all the time!"

-At another meal, she was telling us that her name is not Shaelyn, it's Abilissa. We asked where that name came from, and apparently both Mika and Shaelyn like the names Melissa and Abigail, so Shaelyn decided to combine both for her name! =) She informed us that in her house where she lives (as Abilissa), her parents are very fun, and don't make her eat things she doesn't want to. We learned a few things about how wonderful her life is there from some discreet questions from Tim! =) Throughout this whole time, if one of us would tell "Shaelyn" to take another bite, or whatever, she would correct us saying, "I'm not Shaelyn, I'm Abilissa!", and she's anywhere from 3-10 years old!

-The other night just before bed, we were asking each girl what they were thankful for. It's always interesting doing this, because the answers are so totally random. Kyla is fairly predictable though, she almost always says (Uncle) Andrew.
Anyway, Shaelyn's was, "Ummm....for (Uncle) Trevor's 9 legs..."
I asked, "Do you mean his 9 toes?"
I don't know where exactly this came from - he does only have 9 toes, and I was wondering how to be thankful for them. I did manage to thank the Lord that Trev has the 9 toes he does have without laughing. Since then, she's said either legs or feet, and it remains a struggle to not burst out, and to correct her without making such a big deal about it that she'll do it on purpose.
I have been continuing to enjoy going walking 3-4 mornings a week with Eleo. I was thinking the other day how blessed I have been in this regard. In St. Thomas, my friend Rachel went out of her way to come to our house so we could walk from there, and she even helped push strollers. Those were wonderful times of spiritual talks and encouragement. I am thankful to now have Eleo, who also has adjusted her schedule for us, and I am again enjoying spiritual stretching and chats (this time it's kid-free, though)! The Lord has truly blessed me in so many ways.
We've had quite the weather changes these last couple weeks. We no longer have any humidity, and so mine and the girls' hair are very staticky (sp?). Then the temperature dropped, and we woke up one morning to 8 C weather!!! Very chilly walk that day and the next, and I went from shorts/t-shirt to long pants and sweater in just one day! Thankfully it has been warming up during the day from low-twenties to low-thirties. I have had to go through all the girls clothes again though. First because they have been out-growing what they're wearing, and also to find some winter things for them to wear. I still have 2-3 boxes to finish up, but 3 out of 4 girls have all their old clothes out and new clothes in to drawers and closets. Mika is now wearing sz 7-8, Shaelyn is sz 4, and Kyla is sz 2-3. They have all been having serious growth spurts these last couple weeks - eating like there won't be another meal for a while, etc. I think I'll be needing to do shoe-size changes soon too!
Our six-month-old baby has finally moved to her own room! This is definitely the longest we've had a baby in our room for - Mika was only in for 2 weeks! Tim and I were saying that either our babies are getting quieter, or we're more tired at night so we don't notice when they do make noise! Kyla has moved out of the crib, and is sleeping in Mika and Shaelyn's room in a playpen until we head up to the US and get another set of bunk beds. Then we plan to switch the guest room/nursery and the girls room so that there should be more room. So Vivian is in the crib. She is also sitting up - at least in the middle of our bed. I'm not sure when people start trying out their baby's sitting on tile floors! It won't be for a while for us likely!
That's it for now, I think. I was trying to get Vivian to blow bubbles in this video - it's so cute when she does it, but instead she was doing this mouth-popping-open thing. =)