Friday, February 28, 2014

Happy Birthday, Marika!!

Today our firstborn turned 11!  While generally calm and serious, Marika also has a silly, fun side that comes out regularly.  I love her sunny smile, and how she gets along with all ages of people. She devours books regularly, and is always on the lookout for more!  We love you, sweet girl!
Precious gift!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Back again!

Hello!  Thought I'd update again after the last birthday party (Shaelyn's), and before the next (Marika's is Friday).  Plus I took a few pics of all the kiddos recently, and wanted to put them on, too.  Right now we're enjoying the beautiful weather that, while it has gotten up to 37 C (no humidity, but hot in the sun), it cools off to about 12-15 C at night.  Mostly, the days are in the 20's, sunny and nice (sorry to all of you being dumped on by snow - you Could come and visit! ;)  ).  The citrus trees are blooming right now, and we have an orange tree outside our front window.  The smell of the flowers reminds me a little of lilacs, but I'm not sure why.  I really miss the smell of lilacs, so I feel like it's kind of a replacement.  We can't eat the oranges, though, as they're bitter.  I've thought about getting a recipe for marmalade, but I would be the only one that would eat it, so I don't know.

On Valentine's Day, I got a message saying that Shad and Debi K, along with their company whom we know from Ontario and Michigan, were planning to go to San Carlos that day for some time at the beach.  I got the message at 7am, but Tim was already out and didn't get back until about 845am.  We tossed it up, trying to decide what to do, since we had lots of prep to do for the weekend's activities.  By 9am we decided to go for it!  Tim went and picked up Sam, Eva and Mika, who had slept over at Eva's, and we left shortly after 11am.  While it was a planned school day, I was thankful we could just set it aside (double school day the following Monday), and be spontaneous.  We had a super day together!  They had checked out some hotels on the beach there and found one that, if you eat at their restaurant, you can use their beach front, pool, covered shelters, bathrooms, etc - instead of having to pay a fee per person, that generally tends to be more expensive.  We hadn't seen Justin and Naomi P and their family in over two years.  This is the second time Justin has come down to do a free dental clinic for the folks in Obregón.  Naomi, Debi and I enjoyed chatting while watching some of the kiddos, and talking about our previous and present thoughts on nature vs nurture in our children.  =)  We agreed that while much of their behaviour comes from how we parent them, much also comes from the amazingly unique personalities the Lord gave each one!  =)  We spent the whole day there, not leaving until sunset - it was a super day!

Shaelyn's birthday was the next day, Saturday.  She had been hyper excited about it coming for weeks before, so I thought it might be a bit of a crazy day.  However, we decided to have company over on Sunday to celebrate, so she opened her presents in the morning before breakfast, and had her choice for lunch (scrambled eggs - that was easy!), and other than that, it was a pretty ordinary Saturday.  I guess Evelyn came over, too, after children's meeting in Tirocapes, and they played My Little Ponys all afternoon, so she thought that was great!  Sunday, Eleo, the Cain family, plus Marcus' parents came over for lunch.  It was great for a visit with everyone, but of course, I forgot to take pictures, except for cake and present time!

So, I finally have gotten to exercising on a regular basis.  Two of my sisters-in-love have done "Couch to Five Km", and in January, when my doctor gave me the go-ahead for more exercise, I started.  I'm so thankful for Tim's sister Joia and the encouragement and help she's been in the last several weeks.  Friday I ran 20 consecutive minutes, which I didn't think I'd ever be able to do!  I go three days a week, before breakfast, and so far, that's worked well.  Two Mondays I have missed completely, and then ended up repeating the week, and two to three times, I've just done my time walking/jogging around the house, since Tim wasn't there for me to leave.  I like having a schedule, since with walking it was always just when I felt like it (which, of course, was almost never).  I've also enjoyed the challenge this has brought, so I'll tell you some things I've learned in the last few weeks.  I don't often 'push' myself in day to day life and I've been pushing myself in running - a new experience, and one I want to repeat, especially in my spiritual life.  It's been taking self-discipline, something else I need to work on.  I've needed to learn to pick up my feet - they kept dragging.  It's reminded me that there are things in my life that weigh me down that I need to change.  It hurts.  Well, right now especially!  =)  My muscles are killing me, and today was an extra hard day.  The only good thing I can think of regarding the pain, is that the extra work pays off, in that it's at least slightly easier (usually) the next time.  Speaking of weight (sorry if this is TMI), I haven't lost anything yet.  Which, to me is both fine and sad at the same time.  Fine because I know this is new and I'm building muscles, plus I know I need to cut down in the amount of food I eat, too.  Sad, just because I figure these last few weeks have been worth going down a few pounds!!  =)  I can tell my strength has increased, and definitely my endurance.

Some of you may have heard of John Short - originally from South Australia, he and his wife, Karen, have been missionaries in Hong Kong for many years.  Mr. Short is 75, and last week, he was detained in North Korea for distributing Bible tracts.  His wife has so far heard nothing, except from the man who was with him who was released.  Please pray for this couple!  Here is an article and video clip about them.

I've read some really neat articles on facebook recently.  The one I feel has impacted me the most is one by Ann Voskamp.  If you have the chance, please read it - it is called Why the Battle for Joy is Really Worth It.

Yesterday afternoon we went to Obregón for a baptism.  Two men had gotten saved in a series of gospel meetings Tim had shared in last October/November, plus another young man.  Tim was happy to share the meeting with Duncan B, who is up with Anna and baby Donovan.  There were about 100 people out to hear the gospel and see the baptism.  A young lady from Venezuela, Andrea, who stayed with us last February and is spending the year in Iguala (where Duncan & Anna and Abisai and Carmen live and work) came back to Hermosillo with us.  She's staying at Eleo's, and will be here for about a month.  We were glad to see her again!  Duncan, Anna and Donovan will be driving up tomorrow night after meeting and spending the night with us!  We're looking forward to a little visit with them before they head up to Phoenix.  Tim is actually heading to Iguala this Saturday to help out Abisai and Carmen for the time Duncan and Anna are away.  He's looking forward to seeing them, and spending time with some of the Christians there.  While I'm glad for the opportunity Tim has to go visit, it also means a week on my own here with the kiddos.  I've done whole days by myself, and even to meeting with everyone on my own, but it'll be a different scenario without him for so long.  I have so much to be thankful for, one of which is having a husband who is such a great help!  Guess I'm just a little too used to it!  ;)  Abisai and Carmen will be coming up for our conference, which is the weekend after Tim gets back.

Okay, here are some pictures:
Nathaniel found some "balls" (eggs) that he thought he would pitch to see how far the would go.  He wasn't too worried about the mess he made.  =)
 Here are some pictures of our sweeties:

Shaelyn (and Nico)






Nathaniel loves to give Gwennie hugs!

Vivi wanted a picture with Gwendalyn, too - this is her newest 'look', and I've got to say, I hope it passes soon!  =)

Alisa wanted one, too!

All Seven!

Eldest and youngest daughters

Alisa likes to help by "washing" (drying) the dishes (she does a pretty good job).  Nathaniel likes to help by getting his hands into the dish water and see how far he can splash it!

We've had a couple of picnic suppers outside in the carport.  Seems like this is a favourite way to eat food!
 Pictures of San Carlos:
The beach area

Shelters and outside eating area

 There was even play equipment!
I love this one - Alisa pushing Liam on the swing, and Lainey and Kyla on the 'horse'

Josiah, Sam, Joe, Kelsey and Shay

Justin and Naomi, Lainey, Liam, Lawson and ...?  =)
 Shaelyn's birthday:
She's wear the magician's hat she wore in the Sunday school play, now converted to a proper birthday hat!  =)

A few of the kiddos have been sick the last couple weeks with fevers.  Alisa wanted to be in the kitchen where the action was, but fell asleep on her chair!
 The makings of Shaelyn's cake.  She wanted a regular cake with My Little Ponys on it.  She also wanted a waterfall and a river.  Tim's great idea was to use cooked spaghetti (I dyed it blue) and run it down the 'mountain'.

So creative!
Unfortunately, when it dried, it stuck out in every direction but down!  Next idea, put double-sided tape going down the mountain and run icing down it.

It's so great to have such a creative husband!

Done!  *Sigh of relief*  Except for the ponies, who went on the next day.

I like how it turned out...

...and more importantly, so did Shaelyn!!  =)  Happy 8th Birthday, sweet girl!

Nathaniel had cake and icing Everywhere!  Didn't want his picture taken, though!

An amazing "Dinosaur egg" from Mr and Mrs Cain.  This was Shaelyn's favourite gift.  The 'dinosaur' has hatched and grown, and is taken everywhere.  I love Kyla and Vivi's looks here!

Lots of girls!
 We had a great game of soccer out the back on Friday.  It's fun to play altogether!  Alisa sat on a chair with Nico and watched for most of it.

Hot and tired from running!

Nata being silly!
Yes - updated!!  It hasn't even been a month!  =)  Hope you're enjoying the Lord where He's placed you, today!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mark!!

Today is Tim's brother Mark's birthday!  Mark and Bekah are in the throws of packing up house, and moving to another, but we hope you have a few minutes of down-time to enjoy your special day!  Hope you have a wonderful day!

 (Love these pics of you two!)  xoxo

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Birthday, Shaelyn and Philip!!

Happy 8th Birthday to our sweet Shaelynnie!  Shaelyn's newest favourite colour is 'light blue', she loves to ride her bike, push her siblings in the wheelbarrow, and play with My Little Ponys.  Shaelyn has pushed me to grow as a Christian more than anyone else has.  Her middle name is Grace, and the Lord has shown all of us lots of it!  She is full of life and full of love - we are so thankful for this precious girl!
Shaelyn Grace
Our family - November 2013
We need an updated picture - but here are all 7!  =)


Today is Tim's sister Joia's husband Philip's birthday!  We hope you have a wonderful day, Philip - we are blessed to have you in our family!
Joia and Philip

Joia, Philip plus their 3 sweeties - Moriah, Caleb and Keenan