Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reunited, and some pictures!

Tim's home!! Let me just tell you how happy this wife and our 5 girlers were when he came home the other night. He brought Papa (my Dad) as well, so that made for an extra special reunion (especially with my Mom!!) This is the longest Tim has been away, and although our days here were very busy, he was very missed!

So, a bit of a recap on the last few weeks, since I haven't done too well on the blogging front. Mainly our days with Tim gone were full of trying to maintain some routine, working on completing chores and doing them well, school, extra practice with Nana, going for walks and bike rides with Nana, and me getting some extra cleaning and paper work done. It was a very productive time, really! =) Also, Kyla learned how to ride her two-wheeler without training wheels (not without several bumps to prove it!), Shaelyn lost her "double" tooth - she had two teeth that came up together and fell out as one. My mom and I taught the girls how to skip. Mika mostly knew how, but Shaelyn didn't, and then we taught them how to jump in and out while two people are turning. Made for lots of laughs! Mika's been working on learning how to clean bathrooms. She offered (!) when the Dyck family came and stayed over, cleaning all three, and then the day before Tim and Dad came, she cleaned them all again - doing a SUPER job! I was so proud of her willing spirit to do them (of course, knowing that it's still 'new' to do!) =) It sure is a big help to me, knowing they're getting done, and done well! Tim and Dad drove down with Jesse and Emily K, and arrived in Hermosillo just before midnight this past Monday night. I drove up and picked them up in the north end of the city so J and E wouldn't have to come all the way down to our place. My stomach was doing flip-flops and my heart was doing double time the whole way up to pick them up. Have I mentioned yet how happy I am that my sweet husband is home again!?!? =)

While things are not actually "routine" right now, things are going along pretty well. Gospel meetings begin here in Hermosillo on Sunday night, with Tim and Jesse K preaching. I took Mika and Shaelyn with me on Monday evening to the hall to help pack Seedsower texts, and it was neat to see the help they could be. There is a distribution planned for Saturday, to give them out around the hall. Last night, some of the young people, plus Tim and Marcus distributed invitations all around Tirocapes before the gospel meeting there, plus all our girls and I, as well as Eva went around our neighbourhood and put one at each door. We pray there will be many people who will come out to hear God's Word and be saved!

Before the summer last year, I taught Mika how to knit a little. Just cast on stitches, and do the knit stitch. She practiced some during the summer, but I only had one set of needles, and they were really too long for her. During our last trip to the US, I picked up some shorter ones - 6 pairs of them! Since then, Shaelyn has been asking if she can learn how to knit as well, so of course the other two littles wanted the same. Last evening, I sat down with Shaelyn, Kyla and Vivi, giving them each a set of needles and some yarn. Vivi just played, of course, but Kyla and Shaelyn both were able to cast on well, and then I went on to teach Shaelyn the knit stitch as well. Thankfully she was ready to be done after about 20 minutes, but it went well, and we have a base to work on. It even went better than I thought it would! ;)

In other news, Alisa is looking like she will be on the move soon - just about ready to crawl. Her second tooth came in recently, and she's eating lots more "real" food, rather than baby food. Vivian is clownier than ever, making quite the match with Shaelyn. Her faces, expressions, and what she says makes everyone around her laugh. She "lubs" people, rather than "loves" them, and there's something very sweet about hearing, "I lub you, Mommy!", and hearing her sing, "I lub you, Jesus..."! Kyla and Shaelyn have been working together at putting letters together, and Kyla is doing much better with which letters are which, and getting the sound correct. Shaelyn is taking off in reading, and enjoying knowing more than just looking at the pictures. Mika has been doing some extra work with Nana, which has been fun for her. I've been trying to rotate where we work (trampoline, dining room table, outside the front door, etc), and the girls have enjoyed that diversity as well.

This morning Tim and I went on a "date" to go for an in-depth ultrasound (including 3D), while my folks watched the girls.  That hadn't happened in a long time, and it was nice to be out just the two of us!

It's almost time for lunch, so I need to get off of here, but just wanted to catch up a little, and share some pictures (mainly taken by my parents) with you. Have a great day!!

"Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things."
(Psalm 72:18)

Kyla learning to ride without training wheels
My Mom curled the girls hair one night, and I was reading Mr. Mocker to them.
Learning to skip
Teaching them how to "Figure 8"
Bestest sisters!  =)
Goofy face by Vivi
Tickling from behind!
Sweet baby Alisa - 10 months old
Enjoying the swing
The girls' matching hair 'do's' - from behind
Four sweet girls!
More goofy faces - Vivi
Here are some pictures Tim took while he was in Iowa.  There was no snow when he arrived, but they had quite the snow and freezing rain storms while he was there.  One day the Sluiters took him to the Mississippi River, and on the other side was Wisconsin.  It looks very beautiful!
This is called Bridal Veil falls.  Although you can only see a little of the ice covering now, by the end of the winter it looks like a bride's veil
Coming in behind them
I love this one!
Christy made a little igloo in the back yard
Getting some extra cleaning done before Daddy and Papa arrived
I somehow deleted the one of Shaelyn scrubbing - here's Mika.
Vivian trying on Daddy's ear-warmer and gloves that he wore in the freezing cold north!
Quite the teeth!
Loving the bath!
Vivian practicing foot-washing!  ;)
Enjoying the scooter
Skipping with Papa
Couldn't resist focusing in on Shaelyn in this one!
Vivi spent about an hour hauling around the mop bucket!
Learning to knit
Sweet little baby girl!!
Um..there's something on my plate!! =)
Crazy kiddos!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Word for the Year

This post has been banging around my head for quite some time, and I'm just getting around to write it, finally.   Last year I wrote about choosing a word for the year.  I couldn't narrow it down and choose just one word, so I chose three: Disciplined, Kind, and Content. I wrote them on my prayer list, and read them, and prayed about them each day. I feel like at least in some ways I did make some progress on all three, but of course have so far to go still.  It's always good to have a goal - "Where there is no vision, the people perish:" (Proverbs 29:18)  - a goal to work towards, with the help of the Lord, to make me more like Him. 

I'm not going to stop praying about those first three things, but I've been racking my brain to think what one thing I need to work on. One word kept coming to mind: selfish. Not a word I want (or need) to work towards - I'm unfortunately very predisposed to being this.  I likely have always been very selfish, but it's been especially since we've moved here to Mexico that I've noticed how selfish I am.  Selfish in my relationship and time with the Lord, in my relationship with Tim, with the girls, with other believers, with neighbours, etc.  It's been all about Me - and in my selfishness I have chosen to be very discontented!  In realizing this, I've been trying to think of a word that is opposite to 'selfish', and the word I've chosen for myself this year is servant

Some women will be appalled by this, I know. I have read and heard many people putting down women who desire to take a low place. I will say again, as in another post, that if there is a woman (or family) out there who is being abused - that is not being a servant. Please get away and get help! But God does not just call women to be servants. He calls every child of God to be a servant, and that is because the Lord Jesus Himself was the Ultimate Servant. Philippians 2 was one of the first chapters I memorized as an adult. I am so thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ Who chose to become a Servant for me, and is my Example. Please read the chapter for yourself.

These verses are my inspiration: "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:3-8)

Choosing to be (or at least, trying to be) a servant will not make me less discontented - that needs a specific change in my attitude - but I pray it will help me to be less selfish.  I pray the Lord will use me this year to bring honour and glory to Him.  That I won't waste the time and resources He has given me.  "So then each of us will give an account of himself to God." (Romans 14:12)   I pray I will be obedient to Him and His Word, and will be able to say in a year from now, "I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me." (Psalm 118:13)

If you choose a word for yourself too this year, please feel free to share it in the comments.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Yes, we really are alive, and even mostly well!  So where in the world are we, and what have we been up to?  The girls and I are at home, and hoping to stay put for a while, anyway!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've updated! I have a few pictures that I'll share, but I apologize ahead of time, there aren't many for all that we've done!

I sure hope the rest of this year doesn't pass as quickly, or are as busy as the last few weeks have been!!  It's been a bit of a whirlwind since even before Christmas. We 'celebrated' on the 24th, opening stockings first, then a traditional breakfast of Swedish Tea Ring and clementines, followed by Tim reading Luke 2.  After we got dressed and hair done, we opened gifts, and then made final flurried dinner preparations before heading out to the Cain's for Christmas dinner.  Poor Alison was sick the couple days before, so Marcus and Madeleine did a great job cooking the turkey and doing veggies.  I brought the potatoes and pies.  It was a crazy day - we were expecting to have Jesse and Emily with us as well, but they were stopped part way between Obregón and Hermosillo helping friends fix their van.  They didn't think they were going to be able to get it done, so 1/2 way through the afternoon, Tim and Marcus drove down, planning to pick them up, and they would spend the night in Eleo's, the Klein's and our home.  Thankfully they were able to get it fixed by about 6pm or so, and continued on up to Phoenix.  We played games at the Cain's while they were gone, and Alison got up part way through the afternoon, feeling a little better, thankfully.  I went home around 730pm to get the girls to bed and get packing to leave for seedsowers the next day.

We had a nice Christmas morning meeting with some of the believers, then we left for Phoenix around 3pm after (finally) finishing packing!  Seedsowers began Monday, and there was a super group of adults and young people there.  The girls and I stayed at the hotel that day to get settled in, and get some good naps in.  Then we went for supper at the hall, and enjoyed some singing and testimonies.  The morning and evening singing and devotions with everyone were just super.  It is always great to see people - whether young, old or in-between, who are seeking to obey and live for Christ.  It was also nice to see some 'old' friends, and meet some new ones.  John and Joanne C, originally from Ontario and now missionaries to Nicaragua were there, and it was great visiting with them, plus more dear friends and fellow missionaries that we usually only see at these types of things.  The girls had a ton of fun running around outside and playing with the other children that came as well. 

The week of seed sowing went really well - 100,000 invitations given out, in both English and Spanish around the two halls.  My dad arrived on that Thursday, as he and Bill S are speaking in the English meetings at the Orangewood Gospel Hall.  Him being there was a pretty big bonus for all of us!  John D and Shad K are speaking in Spanish at the West Phoenix Gospel Hall.  We left early Saturday morning to head back to Hermosillo.  We actually got back in pretty good time in the early afternoon, giving enough time to prepare food for the New Year's Eve get-together we had that night at the hall.  We had a nice time singing, eating and playing Bible Jeopardy (which the ladies won, just by the way!!)!  =)  The girls had just gotten into bed, and the clock was about to turn to 12am, so we did a countdown to the New Year.  They thought that was pretty fun - the first time they've stayed up for New Year's.  It was nice to bring in the New Year with my most important and beloved people!

The following several days was a whirlwind of unpacking, washing clothes, cleaning, and....getting the Cain family moved!  They moved from their house in the next subdivision over to the house 4 down from us!!  =)  We just yell down the street now instead of calling on the phone!  ;)  It's nice to have them even closer by - they are such a dear family.

On Thursday we left bright and early to head back up to Phoenix.  Tim flew out early Friday morning to Postville, Iowa, for 2.5 weeks, where he is currently having Spanish gospel meetings there with Shad S.  While we were gone, there was a small Seedsower distribution in Obregón, and Duncan B and Johnny S began gospel meetings as well.  There has been interest shown in each of these four series, and I would ask your prayers for help for the speakers to be able to present the gospel in its clearest form, for hearts of the unsaved to be searching, and open to receive the Word as they hear it, and wisdom in the visits and talks they are having together besides the meetings.  There has been one young (about 10 years old) girl profess to be saved in the English series in Phoenix so far.

So, Tim flew out, and my mom flew in!  We spent the weekend in Phoenix - the girls were all sick, unfortunately, but are doing better now - and then, with my mom, we drove back home to Hermosillo this past Monday morning.  I was actually quite proud of myself for getting the van all packed with all the things we had - that's usually a job Tim does.  We did a little grocery shopping on the way home, and got here just a little after dark.  Our new friendly neighbours came out and help us unload the van and topper (which I was dreading, since Tim usually does that, too!) and carry everything inside.  So thankful for all the help!  It just took one day, and we had all the things put away and in their proper places.  It doesn't always happen like that, so it was nice.  I love being (at least some-what) organized!  =)  We started school back up again, and my mom's been taking the girls out for walks and playing at the park, which they've been loving, of course!  I've been getting some things checked off my list, which is great too. 

Wednesday morning we got a phone call saying that James and Nelly D and their 6 children, plus James' brother and wife were on their way through and had something to drop off for us.  I asked if they were able to stay the night, so last night they arrived shortly after 10pm, and amazingly, we all (17 of us) fit in pretty well - without even feeling too squished.  I'm so thankful for pull-out couches and bunkbeds!!!  Enjoyed breakfast with them this morning, and they were gone by around 10am.

Mika (or Bika, as Vivian calls her), is at Eva's at a sleep-over.  Tomorrow is the first Children's meeting of the year in Tirocapes, so we are looking forward to going there in the morning.  So anyway, I think that mostly catches us up to where we've been and where we are now, and why I haven't been blogging much lately!! ;)   Here are the pictures:
Vivan with her bandaid-covered stitches
I couldn't resist putting this one it - just for Shaelyn's goofy self!  =)  We got a kit of five gingerbread houses, and the girls really enjoyed decorating them - or, in Vivian's case, licking the candies!
Almost done!
The final product
The night before Christmas (actually the 23rd) - opening one present before bed.
Tim bought sparklers for the girls - ALL of them were terrified, and didn't want to do it.  Thankfully they reluctantly changed their minds!
Mika - standing as far away from the sparkles as possible
Christmas morning
Four sleepy, but excited girls
Tim and my Christmas present - thanks, Dad and Mom S!
Swedish Tea Ring and Clementines - Yummy!
Skyping with the Sharp family - if you look closely, you can see my Dad's face on the screen.
Skyping the Woodford family - gotta love technology!!
Opening stockings
The family clown.  The three eldest girls have an 'initial' pillow - Marianne adapted this one to make a V for Vivi, and she is quite delighted!!  ;)
Sorry this one's a little blurry - we wrapped it up, and then made comments (before she opened it) about hoping Shaelyn would share her mop.  She was quite delighted to think she would have her own, and was sure she would be happy to share!  =)
What was really inside!  ;)  She received this, a bouncy ball, and a nerf-ball gun - can you guess who chose her present this year??  =)
Vivian also received this Butterfly sleeping bag backpack.  It was some time before she took it off!!
17 people for breakfast when James and Nelly & family, plus James' brother Matthew and wife Amanda stayed overnight.
Grandpa and Grandma Woodford sent gifts down with them, as well as Uncle Rob and Auntie Ada - the girls were delighted!
New pjs for all!
Josiah (7 months) and Alisa (10 months) - 'bout the same size, and Josiah has two more teeth!  ;)  Alisa finally had one pop through while we were up in Phoenix the first time!
Seeing how well the new jammies do on the trampoline!!  ;)

I've got a few thoughts on the beginning of this New Year that I'd like to share, but will save it for another post.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)