Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Birthday, Marianne!!

Today is my brother Jeff's wife Marianne's birthday!  How I wish I could be with her to celebrate!  She is busily working, getting ready for New Year's Revolution get together!

Jeff and Marianne

The whole family
I love you, Mari, and hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 30

Whoops, missed a week, and still a day late!  Excitement is running at a high rate here, as we leave Friday to go on a little holiday with some friends, and won't be home until Christmas Day!  A midst the somewhat stressful busyness of getting ready for holidays, going away, Seedsowers, having company, etc, there is Much to be thankful for!  Here is my list for this week:

1.  A baptism.  In October, a neighbour of a young lady in the meeting started attending.  She had never heard the good news of salvation before.  Within a month she was saved, and then wanting to be baptized.  A good number of her family were out to see it.

2.  Several years of testimony in Tirocapes.  Recently, Tim has made the prayerful choice to close the doors in the south outreach of Tirocapes.  I don't know exactly when the doors were opened - and they've closed a time or two before we arrived.  But I do know that for well over 7 years, the gospel has been preached to children and to adults by a number of people.  We are thankful for the children and adults who have come to know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour over that time, and we are looking to the Lord to direct us as we seek His will where He would have us to go next.

3.  The Sunday school treat went well.  This is the first year we haven't done a play as our treat in Hermosillo.  This year the children memorized verses about who God is, and each class took a different one of His attributes.  Of course, the littlest class was the funniest, and actually needed a couple big sisters to accompany them for moral support, but over all, it went really well.

4.  Progress in school with Vivian.   While one of the most exciting parts of homeschooling, for me, is teaching a little one how to read, it can also be one of the more stressful parts!  I haven't seen a lot of progress the last little bit, and then yesterday she was putting two letters together to make their sound!!  It was pretty exciting for both her and me!!  =)

5.  All the Christmas presents bought.  Most of our shopping has been on-line this year, which has gone mostly well, but then there were some things like stocking stuffers, plus some winter clothing we needed to get (and try not to spend the exorbitant prices down here for such things if we can), so we made a quick trip up to Tucson last Monday and got home Tuesday night.  It's a nice feeling to be done, even though we won't actually be having "Christmas" until my folks get here in January.

6.  Nathaniel is gaining weight again.  He certainly was never skinny, but he was having some of the same issues Alisa had when we realized she had some health problems, and found out she needed to be gluten-free.  We have taken Nathaniel off of gluten (it's been a month, now), and he's definitely gone up in weight already!  We're praying this is the only issue, as he continues to have bad diarrhea, but we're hoping he is just still healing, and this will stop, soon.

7.  Flannel sheets.  Oh, the cozy, snuggly-ness of flannel sheets!  =)  I've slept so well the last two night since having them on!  Once we go a few more degrees lower, the heated blanket will also come out, but for now, we're good!!

8.  Great cleaning helpers.  Mika has been such a great helper to me, recently, and Shaelyn and Kyla both have contributed greatly to getting things ready for going away/company coming.  I remember days when I did it all myself and how hard and stressful it was getting ready, and I'm thankful we have made progress!  Not that all the stress is gone, of course, but the extra sets of hands have been such a blessing.

9.  The ironing being done.  Is it just me?  Our ironing pile is like a wild animal out of control sometimes!!!  =)  I got most of it done the other day, and then finished yesterday, and it's such a relief.  Now today I'll do the laundry again, and it starts all over, but for now...ahhhh!

10.  Our company is coming, soon.  Yay!  The girls are over-the-roof excited, and we're close behind!  Looking forward to all of our plans the next several weeks, and all the company we will be able to enjoy in our home!

I don't think I'll be doing any blogging while we're away, which will actually be for a while, with a day or two home here and there, so I'll try to get back on the band wagon in the new year.  Wishing you all a lovely Christmas and holiday season, enjoying the One Who came to bring peace, joy and salvation to a lost and lonely world.  Much love from our family to each of you!

Happy Birthday, Moriah!!

Today is Tim's sister Joia and Philip's daughter, Moriah's 6th birthday!!  I love seeing the wide variety of things Moriah enjoys - both girly and frilly along with daring and fearless.  This young lady keeps up to her brothers no problem!  Maybe even leads the pack like her mom did with a bunch of brothers...??  =)  Hope your day is extra special, Moriah!
Beautiful Moriah Joy!

The whole family

Caleb, Moriah and Keenan
I got these three pics from Joia's Facebook today, but you can take a look at her blog here.

Happy, Happy Birthday, sweet Moriah!  Wish we were there to celebrate with you!  
We love you so much!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 29

Happy December to you!  Our Christmas decorations are up, we've had Christmas music playing, and the girls can hardly wait to set up our tree!  =)

Today I'm thankful:

1.  For an amazing visit with Brian and Jeanette and family.  Tim (along with Shaelyn and Kyla) went up to the border to pick them up on Monday, and they were home by around 130pm.  We had a little time to get their things inside and show them around the house a little and then the Cains and Eleo came for lunch.  While lunch with 20 people is always slightly crazy, it seemed to go well, and then all the kiddos were outside playing and we adults had a chance to chat.  After the company left, we got a couple Littles down for a short nap before walking over the park around 6pm.  We stayed until the fountain lights and music came on at 7pm, then headed back to the house.  Then we drove over to the university for hot dogs, and  then up Cerro de la Campana to see the city and all the lights at night.  All but the two youngest shared the two bedrooms upstairs, and that seemed to go alright.  Tuesday we drove to San Carlos, playing on the sand dunes, before going to a hotel right on the beach where we paid for day passes to use their pools, and which amazingly included our meal!  The kiddos swam (only for a bit as the water was freezing), then collected shells and played on the beach.  It was a really great time!  We left around 330pm to come home, get showered and dressed for meeting.  Brian spoke on the Lord Jesus being our High Priest, and it was a great message, plus in English so our older girls listened, too.  We went for tacos after meeting, and they left after breakfast this morning.

2.  That the kiddos all got along so well.  SO, so well, actually, that it was pleasantly surprising.  The two 3 year old A's were not best friends on this trip, but they refrained from fighting, so all was well!  =)  Mika and Olivia were two peas in a pod, Shaelyn and Aubrey were two more.  Kyla, Vivian and Honour all played nicely together, and the other two just went about as normal.  11 kids, 11 and under.  It was great!

3.  We were able to do lots together, and get lots of chats in.  I was a little afraid we planned too much to do, but knew we only had a bit of time with them.  It worked out well, and between some interruptions from the littlest ones, we got lots of chatting time in, too!

4.  Tim got an extra 6 hours of visiting in with them. With Tim driving up to pick them up and drop them off, he got in some extra chatting time.  I'm so thankful that he can connect and share with them!

5.  Getting a nap this morning.  I felt a bit blurry-eyed when I got up today, and after everyone left, Shaelyn put on a video (it ended up being a couple) for them to watch, and I lay down and had a good sleep for over an hour.  I've felt so much better since then, so that was great!

6.  Naps for all kiddos this afternoon.  We had an early lunch, and then I told everyone (even though today is a regular day for a couple of them to miss their nap) that they were heading to bed.  It didn't take longer than 15 minutes for everyone to be out!

7.  A second nap for Gwendalyn today.  I put Gwendalyn to bed a little before I went to sleep this morning, and then after the rest of the kiddos were resting we played for a bit, but she seemed tired again.  She didn't want to go to bed, and fussed for a few minutes, but she's out again and the house is so quiet.

8.  All three of our bougainvillea are blooming.  Change of subject, but the last few days, I've been noticing tons of blooms on all our bushes.  They've been attacked by caterpillars the last few seasons, so haven't been too pretty, but they sure are right now!

9.  School doesn't start again until tomorrow.  I had thought I might start school again today, but with my nap and their naps (except Mika, who is with Tim), tomorrow sounds better!

10.  More visitors coming soon. We all love having company - both the looking forward to them coming, as well as the time spent with them, and we're always sad when they go.  One thing we like to do after company goes, is remember some of our favourite moments with them while they were here - which we did at lunch today - as well as look forward to who will be coming next.  In just over two weeks, our next visitors arrive, then we look forward to my parents coming early in January.  The Lord has blessed us so much!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 28

Good (Wednesday...shhhh!) morning!  Lots more to be thankful for this week!  =)

1.  Good listeners at the rehab center.  Every Monday night, Tim goes to a drug addiction rehab center close to our house to preach the gospel the gospel to around 60 people; mostly young, a few older, mostly men, sometimes a few girls/ladies.  He goes by himself, or 1-2 other young men go with him.  When he got home on Monday, I asked him how things went.  He said, "It went well.  Everyone listened respectfully, like they usually do."  Then he told me that the guy at the reception desk stopped him afterward and told him that he needs to come on another night to listen when other people are speaking.  He told him, "I don't know what it is, but everyone looks forward to when you come, and they all listen quietly (usually). On most other nights, the guys need to be sent back to their rooms for being a distraction and disrupting the speakers.  Please keep coming!"  Please pray with us that God's Word will reach in to their hearts, and they will be changed by His grace and power.

2.   Visitors coming soon.  We are looking forward to Brian and Jeanette and family coming and visiting for a couple of days.  They arrive Monday, Lord willing, and we've got lots of plans for the time we have together!

3.  Lots of cleaning accomplished. We're in the middle of Fall Clean up here, trying to get a good chunk done before our slew of visitors come between now and January.  I wrote out a detailed list of what I wanted to accomplish each day this week, and have crossed off everything off the list except one thing, plus done a few extra things.  Monday and Tuesday were the heaviest and hardest cleaning jobs, and Tim has done some painting touch-ups, too, so things are already looking pretty good, and hopefully it will be a little easier the rest of the week.

4.  Nice weather.  Oh, I can't get enough of the gorgeous weather right now!  Although it gets down to 10 C sometimes at night, it is sunny and beautiful during the day, and we love being able to keep windows and doors open, and the children playing so much outside - it's a great time of year!

5.  A husband who loves me unconditionally.  Recently, I have been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  I have been irrational, irritable, unfocused, frustrated, distracted, stressed out, easily upset, etc, etc, etc.  Tim still loves me.  He still speaks to me and treats me in a respectful and loving way, and in no way do I deserve it.  While he is not perfect, he is perfect for me, and I am so thankful for him!

6.   To talk with Ada and Rob this past week.  We had a mostly uninterrupted conversation, and it was so great to hear their voices, and chat about things.  I'm so thankful that Ada is doing so well, and pray for a quick recovery so their kidlets can come home, soon!

7.  To have some Christmas presents picked out and ordered.  Deciding on appropriate, usable, affordable gifts for each person can be time-consuming and frustrating, sometimes.  I think we're doing well, and I'm happy to have some of the time-consuming stuff out of the way.

8.  For everyone feeling better.  I think stomach issues have all been resolved as of yesterday, without even a small tummy ache!  It's been quite the week +, and I'm hoping we're all done in time for company to come!

9.  Dates with my girls.  Even though it's a crazy busy week, I decided on Sunday that I would take each of the girls out for a short trip to the park this week.  Monday I took Alisa, Yesterday I went with Vivian, today is Kyla's turn, tomorrow is Shaelyn's, then Friday is Marika's.  We have gone to the playground, visited the fountain, and just walked around talking - it's been nice so far, and I'm glad it's working out!

10.  Fresh, cheap fruit.  Sunday after meeting, we saw a pick up truck across the road, advertising melons and oranges.  We got four cantaloupes for about a dollar, and 50 smallish oranges for about $2.  All of the fruit (except for one cantaloupe) has been sweet, juicy and delicious!  It's a good time of year for fruit, everyone's been enjoying it!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jared!!

Today is my brother Jeff and Marianne's son Jared's 10th birthday!!  I can't believe my first nephew born is so big already!  Praying this special boy has an extra special day, and that the Lord will continue to use him for His glory!
Mr. Jared
Four Adorable Siblings
The Sharp Famjam - XOXOxoxoxoxo
Happy Birthday, dear Jared - We love you and miss you so much!  Hope you had a great birthday party last night!!

Thankful again for all these pics I stole from Facebook to make the post - guess we really need to get together so I can take some myself!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 27

I skipped a week, I know.  I was planning to get the post done on Thursday, but then made the impromptu decision to go with Tim to Tepic for the conference, so it was a pretty crazy day!  At least this week it will be on time!  =)

Some things I am thankful for this week:

1.  That Ada is alive and mostly well.  Yesterday on our return trip from Tepic, we got a phone call to say that Tim's brother Rob and Ada and family had been in an accident Sunday night.  Rob and the children were fine, but Ada, who is also 22 weeks pregnant, had broken her neck!  They did surgery yesterday, and she is doing pretty well - even up and taking a few steps.  The baby is fine, and they plan to discharge her in the next couple of days.  This is one of those times when you want so badly to be back with your family, but where you just pray your heart out to the Lord, and thank Him for others who can be there instead!

2.  The many family members and friends who have been taking care of Rob and Ada's kiddos, praying for them, visiting them, helping out, etc.  It warms my heart knowing there are so many there that love them, too.

3.  A great conference in Tepic.  The last time I was in Tepic was for a Sunday in December, 1999.  It was pretty neat to be back again, and see some of the changes there.  There were a lot of missionaries there - I think 10 (which includes Eleo, even though she didn't preach!)  =)  I counted 13 MKs beside our own that were there, which I can't remember ever seeing that many at a conference before that I've been to.  The messages were so challenging and encouraging, and I'm so glad we were able to go!

4.  To be home again.  12 hours of driving down, and 12 back, of course, not including stops.  Our trip down was the absolute worst, behavioral-wise, we have ever had (which is saying a lot, since we've traveled so much).  Another couple with their little girl were with us, and it was a little embarrassing, to tell the truth - we stopped at least 10 times on the way down for disciplinary reasons.  Thankfully, the rest of the weekend went reasonable well as far as behaviour went, and Eleo came home with us, too, and was a great help keeping littles occupied.  Great to have gone; great to be home!

5.  To be feeling better.  On Saturday, Kyla was sick all day. On Monday, Shaelyn threw up just as we were leaving to go home.  Part way through the morning, I started feeling sick to my stomach, and ended up with some bad GI issues.  By the time we got home last night (midnight), I was feeling much better, only exhausted, but Tim was starting to feel crummy!  He didn't have a great day today, but I think he's on the road to recovery tonight.  Praying the rest skip what we got!

6.  To be in my own bed again.  The hotel we stayed at in Tepic had the most uncomfortable beds I can remember ever having slept on.  I could not lie on my stomach or side, but had to lay flat on my back, and it still felt like I was lying on a concrete floor.  It was so wonderful to home in our own comfy, warm bed!

7.  To see Christians from many of the places we had visited on our trip south.  It was pretty special seeing people at the conference that we never would have gotten to meet, had we not gone on our trip this summer.  It was nice reconnecting with them, and seeing some familiar faces

8.  To have a short visit with Jesse, Emily and Anaya.  They invited the whole bunch of us to stay with them in Santiago on Sunday night, so it would give us a bit of a head start on the way home.  We enjoyed comfy beds, a yummy breakfast, and a nice visit with them before heading out Monday morning!

9.  Spontaneous acts of love from Nathaniel.  Every once in a while, Nata will reach out and wrap his chubby little arms around my neck, and it just melts me.  Yesterday, saying goodbye to Anaya, he went and gave her a hug and a kiss, and then today, he hugged Alisa when she hurt herself.  I just love seeing those sweet little moments!

10.  To have all the laundry done from our trip.  It's not all put away, and maybe it seems like such a small thing, but it just feels so great knowing that all those clothes are washed, dried and folded, and ready to go away.  But that's one of tomorrow's projects...  =)

We didn't have Gwennie's birthday celebration today, since we had just gotten home, and weren't feeling well, so Eleo will join us tomorrow for a birthday lunch.  I'll post some pics of that in a few days, hopefully.

Happy Birthday, Gwendalyn!!

Today is our sweet Gwendalyn Hope's FIRST birthday!  How we love this sweet bundle the Lord blessed us with!  We have had a relatively easy year with this little lady, but methinks that 'easy' might be a thing of the past!  =)  While she is not walking, she crawls and 'cruises', and she can definitely make it across the room as quick as anything when she wants to!  She loves Nathaniel: she rubs his head, pulls on his clothes, takes his toys, and chases him around the room - it's funny for us to watch, and he mostly endures it patiently, but it's hard to know how he feels exactly.  She says Dada, Mama, Nata, and No-no (learned from Nathaniel).  She prefers to be with Daddy and Mommy, but is pretty good to go to anyone as long as she isn't too tired, or we're not within close proximity.  Her siblings love to play with her and tease her, and some of her biggest smiles are for them.  For better or for worse, we're pretty sure her disposition leans toward the impish and energetic side of Alisa.  Of course, every child always comes so unique and special, so, we shall see...

Gwennie, we love you so very much!  We are so thankful that you are a part of our family, and we pray for you every day!  You are a joy and delight to all of us!  Happy 1st Birthday, Sweetheart!
Brand new dolly

6 months old

Getting so big!

Precious girl - xo

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Happy Birthday, Rob!!

 Today is Tim's brother Rob's birthday!  Wish we could be with you to help celebrate, Rob (see: eat cake- ha!) ;).  We really miss you and love you, and hope you have a great day!!
Rob and Ada

The whole sweet fam

Their cutie-pie kids
As with my last post, all pics are stolen off of Facebook.  Thankfully, I have more than one sister-in-love who is an amazing photographer - thanks, Bekah!  =)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Happy Birthday, Caleb!!

Today is Tim's sister Joia and Philip's youngest son Caleb's birthday!  His THIRD birthday!  Now just take a look at this sweet little man, and tell me he doesn't have his whole family wrapped around one of those chubby fingers!  

One of the great things about having photographers as in-laws, is that there are always lots of gorgeous pictures to choose from when doing a birthday post!  =)  Check out Joia's blog here for more - although I stole these ones from Facebook.

Three gorgeous children: Caleb, Moriah, Keenan

A beautiful family - miss you all!
Happy Birthday, sweet Caleb!  We love and miss you tons!  Sending lots of hugs and kisses across the miles to you! xoxoxo

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday 26

Okay, today I'll call it what it is - Thankful Thursday!  =) This week,  I'm thankful for:

1.  Madeleine.  Tuesday night, Mad flew out from Phoenix to spend 8 months or so up in Canada.  I'm happy for her and the experience she will get from being there, but I'm sad for us and how much we'll miss her.

2.  Company.  We seem to have had lots of company recently, and it's been great!  Well, mostly.  There are always little glitches here and there, but all in all, we've loved having people over.  It's nice to teach your kids hospitality and how to serve others, and it's nice to get to know people on a different level, too.

3.  A big yard.  This past Sunday we had 23 people here, 10 adults and 13 kids twelve and under.  It is an understatement saying how glad I am that we have a big yard that the kiddos played in the entire time, except when eating.  It gets lots of use the rest of the time, too, but I was especially thankful when we had so many kids at once.

4.  A better schedule with Gwennie.  Since coming home from our traveling trip, it's been a little crazy, getting Gwendalyn back on a proper schedule.  Nothing concrete, but she's generally taking one long nap now, unless she wakes up early and then she'll take two.  She'sating a wider variety of foods, and at more routine times.

5.  A visit to San Carlos.  Last Thursday, we went down and spent several hours with Shad and Debi, Joe, Shyla and baby Katie.  I know I mentioned it last week, too, but it's nice to be able to be thankful for something both before and after you've done it!  =)  It was an unbelievably relaxing day.  Josiah took Eva and Mika to play life-size chess and then swim in the pool.  Shaelyn caught crabs, Kyla swam and explored, Vivian, Alisa, Nathaniel and Gwennie splashed at the beach, and the adults chatted (and grabbed Gwennie once again as she dove into the waves - she LOVED the water!).  I didn't take many pics, but it was a super day!

6.  A sing coming up.  This Sunday we plan to have anyone who can attend come to the house after gospel meeting for a hymn sing.  We had one at the beginning of the year, too, and we're looking forward to this one!

7.  Cooler temps.  The temperatures have been down to 13/14 C the last few nights!  The girls woke up and put on sweaters, mittens and scarves, and I made hot oatmeal for breakfast.  The day warmed up nicely, and we stayed "cool" at 29 C in the afternoon.  Nice to be able to turn off the a/c's finally!

8.  Progress in school.  Up until two weeks ago, Shaelyn was always the first one done, Mika next, then Kyla - and Kyla took FOREVER.  It was like her brain was in high distraction mode, and she couldn't stop paying attention to everything but her own work.  Well, the tides have changed.  This past week, Shaelyn couldn't concentrate, and was struggling like crazy with division.  She's never had any problems with math before.  Each day this week I've been making sure to sit down with each of the girls and spend some serious time with them, and am thankful for how much progress they made in such a short time.  Moral of the story: Mom needs to be really close, and paying attention!  =)

9.  Imaginative kids.  With the cooler weather, the kiddos play outside for hours every day.  On their breaks, and when school is done, and when they wake up from their naps, they are out.the.door!  We have several two-by-fours, some boards, buckets and cement blocks that have been off to the edge of the property since our construction days.  They have been using all these great items making obstacle courses, play grounds, balancing beams, forts, etc, over the last while.  I wish I had taken pics of each of their creation, but I would get out there and they had taken down the last one and were in the middle of constructing something else.  They've done such a great job, and I love seeing everything they make.

10.  Cute sayings by some cute kids:
Vivian (5 yrs): "Mommy, I just want to be lonely (alone) with you!"

Kyla (7 yrs): "Mommy, Shaelyn and I are best friends forever!"
Shaelyn (8 yrs): "At least for today."

During the meetings we had on Stewardship, Andrew was speaking to parents, and said, "Your children aren't really yours!"  Shaelyn turned around to look at me with her eyes opened wide - "We're Not?"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 25

Isn't it great that you never can run out of things to be thankful for!?!  Sorry to be so late again, but this week, I'm thankful for:

1.  Capturing a cute video of Gwennie.  She does this funny, "scrunch-nose" sniff, that is so adorable - and doubly so if she's trying clap her hands at the same time (she's not in the video).  Love this dolly!

Ha ha!  A scrunch-nose selfie!!  =)
2.  Time to get away with friends.  Tomorrow (Thursday), we're heading to San Carlos to spend a few hours with the K family, whose daughter Shyla is down for a bit with her baby, Katie.  Can't wait to see them, and spend some time together!  Plus, the day is a surprise for our children!  They know that something special is happening, but don't know what (we'll tell them in the morning)!

3.  The young people from our assembly.  This past Sunday we had 14 extra people at our table(s), to make a grand total of 23 of us.  Our visitors were our older young people (17 and up), and we had a great time with them!  I was telling Tim before and afterwards how thankful I am for such a great group of people - we are truly blessed to know them.  On Sunday night, two of the young men sent Tim a note to tell him they wanted him to take Monday night off (speaking at the rehab centre), so he could stay home and relax with his family.  They are so sweet!

4.  Our safety.  Safety is such a loose term, really.  Generally, we feel quite safe here in our little corner of the world, even though we know there is violence all around us.  We know the Lord has called us here, and so we trust Him - not imagining for a minute that nothing will ever happen to us, but knowing we are in His perfect will.  Sunday afternoon, I got a phone call from a girl who lives in another state.  In the past hour, her family had received a phone call saying they had kidnapped this girl's sister, and wanted ransom money.  We were called to pray, and we did!  15 minutes later, we received news that the girl had not been abducted after all (she had not been answering her phone, nor was she at the home she was supposed to be at, so no one knew where she was).  How thankful we were (and are) that she is safe, but we continue to pray for this family, as it's quite possible they are now a target.  I'm also thankful that the scorpion I came across in our bathroom the other day didn't sting my foot!  We think it was just random, as we generally don't get them in the house.

5.  Phone conversations.  I was able to chat with a few of our family members the last few days, and I'm always so glad when I do.  The time change is always so frustrating (although I know it's not as bad for us as for some others) - but it's hard to get a time nailed down sometimes to chat!

6.  Adopting families.  There is something about adoption that makes my heart do flip-flops.  Yesterday, a little boy in Vietnam met his forever family.  Please pray for little Jadon, his dad, mom, brothers and sisters.  Jadon is actually having respiratory problems since leaving the orphanage, and had to spend the night in the hospital.  You can read more at their blog, Love Multiplies Here.

7.  Cooler weather.  I LOVE this time of year!  It's still hot (30's) during the day, but this morning it was 18 C!!  Yesterday we didn't have the a/c on at all, and today just for part of the day (usually depends on whether the oven is on or not).

8. No school tomorrow.  Because of our trip to San Carlos, we skip the day (and will pick it up the next day).  We just told the girls tonight, so it's an added perk for their surprise - Yay!!  =)

9.  Homeschooling.  I love that we can be flexible (sometimes) in our routine, and, while keeping schooling at high importance, also having the ability to do something different if we choose to!

10.  My husband.  Not only am I thankful for him every week, I'm also thankful for him every day.  I still can hardly believe the Lord blessed me so much by bringing us together.  I love this man!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brayden!!

Today is Tim's brother Rob and Ada's oldest boy, Brayden's FIFTH birthday!!  We miss you, sweet boy, and wish we could be there for your birthday!!  Hope you have a wonderful day!
The birthday boy!

Brayden, Josh and Galina

Rob, Ada, Brayden, Joshua, Galina, and ...?  =)

Thanks to Bekah, I had some beautiful pics of this family for my post!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Birthday, Kiernan!!

Today is my sister Liz and Trevor's son Kiernan's SIXTH birthday!!  Can't believe how quickly this little boy is growing up.  Yup, sure makes me feel far away, when I realize birthday after birthday, how time flies!  So thankful for the social media today where I can at least see him growing, even if it's not face to face!

What a sweetie!!

The whole fam jam

Kiernan, Katja, Ellie

Happy Birthday, Kiernan!!  We love you, and hope you had a wonderful birthday!!  =)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tour of Mexico - Part 4

This post takes us from Puerta Vallarta, Jalisco, to Zacatecas, Zacatecas.  If you missed the first few posts, you can take a look at Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.  

We left PV after lunch on Monday, and traveled the beautiful, but stomach lurching 4 hours back to Zapopan, where we spent the night.  Paul and Barb weren't there, but Sergio let us in and we zonked for the night.  We were up early, and on the road between 6-630am.  We thought we would "grab breakfast on the way", which means we were hoping there would be someone selling yummy burritos at some of the toll booth stops like they do in the state of Sonora.  Well, apparently the rest of the country hasn't got the (great) memo yet, and there was nobody, and nothing around.  It's funny what you get used to around where you live, and think it should be normal!  Finally, we found a convenience store and Tim went in to find us something.  He came out with cookies and potato chips, saying that there sure weren't many options!  Breakfast of champions, right there!!  =)  

It was a four hour trip, and we arrived at the Wahls' home in Zacatecas just before lunch.  There sure was a lot of excitement - both before we got there, in the van, and then when we got out - it had been too long since we'd seen them, and everyone was pretty happy we had several days to spend together.  After lunch, we headed out to where Jason and Shelley labour, with their 3 girls, Grace, Hope and Faith, an hour away in El Barril.  We were all able to drive together, which was great, because we got lots of chatting in.  It was great for me to meet the believers there - Tim had been there a couple of years ago.  The hall is very simple - it doesn't even have a bathroom in it, but it's all they've been able to find so far.  I found El Barril very....hmm, what do I say?  I loved being in the town.  It was very rustic in many ways.  The roads in the town are mostly all dirt, with huge pot holes, and I couldn't figure out where we were going at any point as it's not really in any grid pattern (I'm usually pretty good with directions, but I was pretty lost).  Many people ride horses, and there were farm-type animals at many of the houses.  There were no grocery stores, only convenience stores.  It is very simple.  Unfortunately, along with its simplicity, comes ignorance.  Many women suffer from domestic violence.  It's just what's done, and it's tragically normal for them.  Everyone turns their head or closes their ears, and lets what happens happen.  While it has been tough slogging much of the time, I'm thankful for Jason and Shelley and their faithfulness in sharing the gospel there.  The gospel of Christ offers hope and light and wisdom in exchange for despair and darkness and ignorance, and quite a number have been saved and baptized.  Please join with us in praying for the work there - especially the men.

Wednesday we had nothing we had to do and nowhere we had to go.  We did lots of chatting, and then did some sight-seeing.  We went up the beautiful little mountain called the Bluff (Cerro La Bufa), and looked through some of the touristy shops they had there. It was quite warm at the time we went, and I think I got sunburned, if I remember correctly, but the temps were mainly quite cool the whole time we were in Zacatecas because the elevation is so high. No a/c needed at all! Their three girls played constantly with ours, and while there is almost always drama with girls, everyone enjoyed being together most of the time! =) We went to a really nice park that day, too. Nice walking trails, a little lake, playgrounds, etc. They took bread crusts and were able to feed the ducks, too - that was definitely a highlight! 

 Thursday was our last full day there, and we were invited out for lunch in El Barril. It was a really nice meal - very deliciously Mexican, and we enjoyed getting to know the family a little better. We went to the hall after that, and stayed an hour or so before meeting started. The four adults stayed up quite late that night chatting - always worth the time and lack of sleep!!

We were heading to Chihuahua (8 hours away) for their conference on Friday, so we were up in good time and left after breakfast.  So hard to say those goodbyes, but we have lots of good memories stored away of our great time together!

A market along side the road

Lots of colour here!

Bananas anyone?

These trees were SO HUGE!  We saw a beautiful blue bird along this part - kind of looked like a large blue jay, but with a really long tail.


There are apparently hundreds of different types of palm trees, and we saw so many, especially in PV, but this type looked like a combination of a palm tree and a cactus.

The hall in El Barril

Playing out the back of the hall at a neighbour's house


This was up on Cerro La Bufa

At the park: Zacatecas

Out for lunch: El Barril

These two ladies are sisters, two of 17 or 18!!

Can't quiiiiiite reach!

For some silly reason, I didn't get a family picture of the Wahls, and the few pics I did get of the family, hardly anyone is looking.  We'll have to remedy that the next time we see them!  

That's it for now!  I'll try to get to the fifth and final part of our trip in the next week or so, so I'll be back soon!  =)