Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 3

Posting a little late here (Wednesday).  We got home last evening from Phoenix, and then our modem went on the fritz, so we didn't have internet until this afternoon.

1.  West Phoenix conference.  We had a great weekend in Phoenix!  The ministry was great on a variety of different topics, we had a super time seeing many people we don't often get the opportunity to see, and of course, delicious food!!  =)  We're so glad we were able to go!

2.  No pressure day.  Monday we had some shopping to do, with nothing else on our schedule.  We pretty much spent the entire day within a mile of the hotel where we stayed.  After our shopping, we went to Cabela's (think Pro Bass Shop).  They had fudge, a bunch of really neat taxidermied animals of all kinds, a museum, plus an aquarium, and did I mention they had fudge?  =)  Yummy!  We spent about an hour and a half wandering around in there.  We left Phoenix about 830pm, and just went to Tucson (a two hour drive) from there) for the night.

3.  Gracia.  There is finally a name for what the docs think dear Gracia has, and that's Lemmiere's Syndrome.  She was walking And eating today, which is serious progress, and everyone is so thankful!  They have been told that she can go home from the hospital when she is finally eating and drinking, so once they have gone to Sick Kids in Toronto to put in a special line to get medicine, she will be going home.  Looking at 4-6 weeks of IV antibiotics and 12 weeks of blood thinners.  Continuing to pray for this sweet girl.

4.  Funny kids. This past week, Alisa asked me, "Mommy, can I hold the baby?"   I told her not right then, as it wasn't a good time.  She looked at me very indignantly and asked, "Well, why do YOU get to, then?"

Tonight, after the girls had a swim, they were showing me their "diving ducks" for the pool, and I was asking what their names were.  Vivian's is red with a yellow beak.  She told me the name of hers is,  "'Bloody'", or 'Yellow Beak', no, no, no, 'Golden Beak!'"  I still can't stop chuckling about "bloody"!  =)  She was so serious, too!

5.  Nathaniel.  My "baby" boy turns two on Thursday.  His birthday kind of sneaked up (yes, that's the correct way to say it) on me, so his cake isn't baked yet!  =)  He doesn't care, though, so I won't either!  Will do another post just specially for him!

6.  Cool weather.  Still enjoying cool mornings and hot days.  Knowing that the crazy hot days of summer are coming sooner than we would like, we are enjoying each breezy day that comes!

7.  Lice.  I'm still trying to be thankful for this one, to tell you the truth.  But my daily reading keeps reminding me that I need to "not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6)  So I know this is possible and necessary.  Would appreciate your prayers as we get rid of these nasty bugs!

8.  Washing machine and dryer.  While this is "normal" for much of Canada and the US, there are MANY people in Mexico, and I know many other places too, that these are luxuries.  Especially given the issue in number 7, these two things make me Especially thankful!  =)

9.   Videos.  What a great way to keep bored, unhappy kiddos somewhat occupied while they have to sit still to have their heads combed and picked.

10. An AMAZING husband who helps during very stressful de-lousing times - doing laundry, making up beds, combing hair, etc.  I know I've said it before, and I hope I say it many more times - my Tim is the best!!!

Sorry there aren't any pics this time.  Will try to post some again, soon!  Good night!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 2

1. Gwendalyn.  Sweet Gwennie turned 5 months old the day that Vivian turned 5 years old.  I'm thankful that she is a smiley, happy and chubby baby, who still smiles at anyone and anything that pass by her!  I finally got out the exesaucer for her, and she had a fun time in it today.  She still sleeps a good chunk of the day, as well as all night.

2. Our pool.  We were given a pool for Christmas from some dear family members.  While the pool was set up and filled up last Friday, we were missing a tube it needed for the pump, so had to wait until Tim found one yesterday morning to get the system going.  Eva came over for the first swim last evening, and stayed the night.  Another two swims happened today!  =)  We ordered a salt water system, rather than the regular chlorine, since there were good reviews for that.  It's also under our covered patio at the back, so no direct sunlight (which  = no sunscreen for in the pool!), and hopefully it will be slightly cooler, too.  So far the 78 F temp that it is, makes everyone shiver after a short while!  I'm thankful for the hours of cool play the kiddos will enjoy this summer.
Almost filled...

Enjoying the first swim!
3. Cloudy weather.  I know it seems odd for people from Canada down to the mid-US for someone to be thankful cloudy weather, but we really are!  The temps are mid-30's Celsius during the day, so when there is cloud cover, it's feels so nice!

4. Gracia.  My brother Jeff and Marianne's little girl Gracie is back in the hospital.  I'm thankful that today they found out what has been causing her so much pain.  It is a clot in a jugular vein. She's had a hard, miserable and painful day.  We pray she will be feeling better, soon.

5. Cake decorating.  Shaelyn decorated Vivi's cake for her birthday, and I am thankful that our girls enjoy and are able to show some of their amazing creativity while doing something out of the norm!
The Cake Decorator!

Vivi and her cake.  She wanted a cake with "a rabbit family"!  =)
6. West Phoenix conference.  This Friday we plan to head up to the Spanish conference in Phoenix.  We are all looking forward to it, and thankful for the special time where we can listen to God's Word and visit with other believers.  There will be a good number going up from here, and we're looking forward to a weekend away, as well as staying with friends for a couple days.

7. Cleaning schedule.  It seems to take me Ages to get into a new normal for house cleaning.  I remember getting married, and trying to figure out how to put it all together, then when we moved to Mexico, same thing, and now this house.  We have almost been in the house for a year now, and I feel like we finally have a good schedule for getting the house clean.  We are doing pretty well working together - I love having a clean house, and am so thankful to finally have a little more order at home!

8. House meetings.  For the past many months there have been house meetings weekly in both Nogales, Mexico, as well as across the border an hour in Tucson, Arizona.  In each there are souls needing to be saved, who are asking good questions and listening carefully to God's Word.  I'm thankful for these dear ones, and pray for their salvation.

9. My parents' 40th anniversary.  Sunday, my parents celebrated 40 years of marriage.  How thankful I am for a relationship that, by the grace of God, is still together.  While depending on the Lord for their strength, they too have worked hard at making their relationship work.  I'm thankful for their example, and am blessed by them.

10. Visitors.  We found out just recently that our dear friend Victoria B from Ontario will be coming to visit  this summer for a few weeks!  Everyone here is very excited, and hope the time flies along before she gets here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, Vivian!!

Today is our Vivi's 5th Birthday!!  I truly cannot believe how quickly the years fly by!  I was expecting Vivian when we moved here to Mexico, and she is our first Mexican baby.  While she definitely shares some similarities with her sisters, I would say that on the whole Vivi is quite different than her siblings.  While she can be emotional, she doesn't show it the same, and tends to be more quiet than the rest.  She gets embarrassed easily, and is sensitive to others' looks and what they say to her.  She usually takes time to think before answering a question.  While her siblings all love babies, she distinctly LOVES them!  =)  Vivian is a sweet and loving girl, and we are so thankful for her!

Sweet, sweet Vivi-girl
Vivian, you are the best "scwubbie kid" in the whole world!  We love you so much, and thank the Lord daily that He blessed us with you!  We pray that you will grow up to be a woman after God's own heart!
Happy Birthday!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 1

Since I love a dear friend's Multitude Monday, where she writes each Monday about 10 things she is thankful for, I thought I would try to blog in this small way a little more regularly, too, just on a different day.  I definitely need to work on being more thankful, so I thought this would maybe help a bit as well.  =)

1. I can't begin without first being thankful for a wonderfully loving God and Father, Who loves me and has saved me, and shows me such grace!

2. My Tim.  He might make it onto a few of these lists!  =)  My best friend in the world, greatest husband, best dad to our kiddos - I love him so much!

3. 7 great kiddos.

4. It was "sibling day" this past week.  Not only am I thankful for the crazy siblings the Lord blessed me with by blood, I also am blessed to have 2 married in to the Sharp family, as well as 8 on the Woodford side.  I love each and every one of them!
This was taken in 2008 - way old, but I couldn't find any of the six of us since then.  A little crazy looking, but it maybe doesn't get any better??  =)  Love these guys!
Taken last summer - Dad and Mom W with their five children and spouses.  So thankful to be a part of this family!

5. Parents.  I have the best of both worlds, in that I got blessed to have amazing parents of my own, plus the blessing of having great parents-in-love!  So very thankful for these two godly couples who have invested so much into us!

6. Lunar eclipse.  The moon began to eclipse (in our area) at around 1130pm.  We were planning to set our alarm for 1230am or so, but I'm glad Tim went up and checked first.  Once it was almost completely eclipsed, we woke up Marika, Shaelyn and Kyla so they could see the 'orange' moon, as well.  They lasted for a bit, but were back in bed in less than 10 minutes!  Tim and I then went up on to the roof and checked out his "space" app on his phone that shows where the star constellations and planets are.  It was really neat to check many of them out!

7. Homeschooling.  I admit I am not Always thankful that we home school - but Most of the time I am!  I was especially thankful to not have to get up early to send off our kids to school this morning since we had been up until almost 2am!!  =)

8. Our church family here in Hermosillo.  Being so far away from our family and friends in Canada and the US, we are so blessed to have these dear folks as our 'family' here.

9. A big yard.  It gives me such joy to have a safe place that our kiddos can run, bike and explore!

10. Internet access.  This is another thing I am not Always thankful for. =)  However, since it helps in so many ways to connect us with loves ones across the world, I am especially thankful for it today.

What things are you thankful for today?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Back again!

HELLO!  Yes, we are all alive and kicking - I just keep finding other things that need to be done rather than blog.  I know, I know - What Else could there be to do????  =)

Things here have been flying along as per usual.  School continues to go 'well' - especially considering that one year ago we were moving and it so wasn't then!  We have 55 more lessons to go until the end of the school year.  Marika is doing well, but we struggle some with Language.  She is writing book reports, and getting further into the intricacies of it all, and she (and I) find some of it quite confusing.  Math is going well on the whole.  She was ECSTATIC to get 100% on a math test a couple weeks ago - the first time this year!  I am loving her play right now outside of school.  She's doing such a variety of things, from Lego, to My Little Ponies, to rollerblading, to dolls - and enjoys both inside and outside play.  Shaelyn is doing well over all as far as school goes.  No problems I can think of, and she does her work pretty quickly without distraction.  She just started division.  She just got Playmobil for her birthday, and thinks that all those little pieces are the best.  She and Mika play a lot together right now.  Kyla is having some trouble concentrating in school at this point, even though she does most of her work well.  Except for Phonics.  We were making head way, and we're back-tracking again.  She just isn't getting it.  I've been distracted these last couple of weeks, too, though, so hopefully starting next week, I can take her aside and spend some one-on-one time with her.  She would much prefer to be outside riding her bike.  She told me the other day that she would like to join and exercise gym (there is one up the street from us).  She thinks it's important to get lots of exercise.  =) She is playing mostly solo these days, but would prefer to play with the older girls when given the chance.  Vivian - no sit down school work - just play these days.  She happily spends her time looking at books, setting up tea parties, playing with Alisa, or playing with Nico the dog.  She's looking forward to turning 5 in less than one week!  I still have a hard time believing that Marika was 5.5 when we moved here, and our first Mexican baby is now turning 5.  Alisa continues to make our days a little more dramatic and interesting.  She expresses herself with no problem, and loves to imagine how things ought to be, and then tell you all about it with great detail.  She believes herself to be the boss of the family, and seems genuinely confused when she is informed that she is not.  =)  Funny writing it down, but it's not Quite as funny in real life!  Nathaniel also keeps us on our toes, with his "Go-go-Gadget-arms" that reach to the far corners of the counters!  While he will snuggle a dolly (then throw it on the floor), he prefers to play with anything with wheels or that he can throw.  Having experienced toddler-hood with 5 girls before him, I remember there being two - Shaelyn and Vivian, whom we bought cars for, and they played with them for brief periods of time.  They still both will play with cars, but they seem to be more of a distraction from their usual play.  Nathaniel will zoom cars on anything, and play with them, either driving, or just turning the wheels around on them, for hours.  It's been interesting to see.  This has been very distinct to him.  Nata has just moved from the crib up to the 'little girls' (now 'littles') room, with a rail up on the bed.  He transitioned quite well, and after about 3 days of sitting in the room at nap and bed times, he now generally always stays in bed, and goes immediately to sleep.  Alisa is on the other bottom bunk, and Vivi and Kyla are on the top bunks.  Which means baby Gwendalyn has moved from the playpen in our previously unused bathroom to the crib!  It is also the spare room, and I have both hers and Nathaniel's clothes in there.  Sweet Gwennie is now 17.5 lbs, happy, chubby, drooly and adorable.  =)  Her dark hair from birth is slowly being replaced with lighter hair - much like what has happened with most of her siblings.  She does not use a soother or suck her thumb - so she is the first one of any of her sibling to do that!  She also rolled over two day ago for the first time.  Her favourite thing to do is to chew on her hands and smile!  She smiles her cute smile at anyone who looks her way, and has most definitely got each and every one of her family members wrapped around her little fingers!

I love our sweet kiddos.  I love how different and unique they are.  I love that the Lord challenges me and stretches me because of them (okay, I don't Always love that in the middle of it, but afterward I do).  Having children is hard.  They are babies for such a short time, and then you realize they are Watching you, and Acting like you, and these children need to be loved and respected; to be trained and taught.  I read a neat, short, on-line book the other day, called DeConceived which, above everything else, I appreciated the focus on how children are a Blessing.  Whether you have one, or 19, planned or unplanned, healthy or not - they are a blessing, with the potential to bring glory to God.  She talks about several lies society at large tells us, why we Shouldn't have children - how they burden us, and are secondary in importance to our own lives.  I don't want to forget that children are dearly and specially loved by the Lord.  One thing I consistently struggle with in my own particular position as a mom, is when I read all the things "a child needs", and "the best way to handle...", is that, with the seven children the Lord has given to me, I don't always feel like I have the time to do those things.  I know some would say that if we hadn't chosen to have this many children, or if we hadn't chosen to home school them, then this wouldn't be as much of a problem, so I don't say it - or haven't, until now.  I feel guilty, especially knowing how quickly the time does fly by, and soon my little chickies will be flying from the nest.  I have been trying to be more intentional about spending individual time with each one.  I spend quite a bit of one-on-one time with Marika, as she doesn't nap most afternoons, so I'm thankful for that.  I have a plan that I'm trying to work out, in going for an early morning (before breakfast) walk with one child two times a week.  It's only happened once so far, and right now my struggle is going to bed on time so I can be up in good time so we can go!  I doubt I'm alone in this struggle though, even though I feel alone.  I was thinking how that Satan wants me to feel this way, so I can be less effective for Him, and in our home and family.  We've chosen to be different in the way we have children, and how we raise them, and I'm finding this particular season in life (with 3 really littles) to be quite difficult.  I know as far as trials go, this is nothing, so I hesitate to even say anything on here.  But I really don't want to forget this season either.  I know that the Lord has a particular plan for our family.  Not the same plan He has for your family, or theirs.  Two verses have just come to mind, so I'll put them here:

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." John 12:24-26

Just by the way, if you choose to read that book, I'd be interested in knowing what you thought of it, too.

Tim has been hard at work the last little bit here around the house.  The roof needed to be waterproofed - two coats, then he finished up our bathroom, now that little Miss G is no longer in it, and he just put all the closet doors on.  The only ones he couldn't were in our room, as the termites had eaten the inside of them.  So glad to have that done, and so thankful to have a hard-working husband.  The other day, I had a "I have the best husband in the world moment, 'cause he's the best daddy in the world!"  =) Tim was ready to fly out the door - he was actually quite late.  Alisa was finishing supper, but hadn't been feeling well.  She saw Tim run out the door, and came running after him, crying at the top of her lungs.  He was already out the gate and to the car, but he came back, opened the gate, and planted a kiss on the messiest little mouth you've ever seen, and gave her a big hug before running off again.  Thank You, Lord, for blessing us with such an amazing man!

I have been reading through Philippians every day for the last couple weeks, and appreciating something from each chapter.  So thankful the Bible never 'gets old' or out of date.  It's so applicable to my life!  We have an amazing God, a wonderful Creator, an exalted Saviour!
"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11

Let me introduce you to an extremely yummy and nutritious dessert!  It is called 
Raw Chocolate Mousse (we just call it the Good-For-You-Chocolate-Pudding-That-You-Don't-Like)
1 large avocado
1 ripe banana
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt.

1. Depending on your blender, you need to put the softest/runniest ingredients in first, otherwise it's difficult to blend.  It's quite thick, so it takes some work.  I have added a little bit of milk so it would mix better.
2. Blend, then refrigerate 1 hour.
3. Tell everyone how yucky it will be - it has Avocado in it!!!
4. Lick out the blender and the spatula well.
5. Wait 10 minutes, then take a (large) spoonful of pudding to see if it's cool enough, yet.
6. Lick spoon off well.
7. After one hour, remind everyone how much they don't like avocado, and so couldn't possibly like this!
8. Enjoy!  =)

I have so far succeeded in convincing all but Tim and Alisa of this - so I only have to share with two!  Seriously though - this is so yummy!  It doesn't make much, so best if you can double it, and it's good in teh fridge for a couple of days.  There is a slight, slight banana flavour, but you don't taste the avocado at all.  Give 'er a try and tell me if you like it!

Okay, some pictures!!
Sweet picture of 3 of my favourite people.
We went to Obregón the last Sunday of February for a baptism.  Enjoyed being with the believers there, again, as well as seeing Duncan and Anna, and meeting baby Donovan!  He is just 10 days older than Gwendalyn.

It was a short visit, but since they were on their way up to Phoenix two days later, we invited them to come and stay over, so got a bit more of a visit in.
Donovan and Gwendalyn

Sweet family!
Mika's birthday.  Since Tim was leaving the next day for Iguala, we decided on a low key day, with  a birthday party to follow the next week when he got back.  Evelyn slept over, we had cupcakes for her cake, and then Tim took everyone from Alisa and up to the Children's Park the next block over that we had never been to.  They had a ton of fun!
The beautiful birthday girl - 11 years old!

Parque Infantil

For their birthdays, Marika and Shaelyn got roller blades. They have already had hours and hours of us from them - well worth it!

The day after Mika's birthday, Tim left to go to Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, for a week, to help out Abisai and Carmen, previously from our assembly here in Hermosillo.

There was a big fair going on while he was there, so they went one night.
Keren and Abisaito
There was a cool bear show.

Part of the beautiful country.  Many houses are 'stacked' on an angle up the hill side, with another house (usually a family member) on top of the house below, but at the back.  There is no entrance between them, but that's how they're built.

Centro Evangélico (Gospel Centre)

Abisai plays hard, eats hard and sleeps hard.  =)

The famous massive flag in Iguala

Tim at the bottom

I'd love to make a funny comment, but will just say nothing!  ;)

We were glad Tim had the chance to go, but were especially thankful when he came home!  =)  The day after he returned, we had Mika's birthday party.  Eleo and Andrea came, as well as several of Mika's friends.

The next weekend was our conference.  We had over 200 people, which was big for us.  In the previous conferences, the speakers and topics were both assigned.  This year, the speakers were assigned a time, but came with what was on their heart.  It. was. amazing!  Just so enjoyed the ministry, chatting with other believers, and the great food!  ;)  We served manta ray tacos for one of our meals this year.  Mostly everyone liked it until they found out what it was!  Ha ha!  It really was similar tasting to chicken, cooked with sauteed veggies and sauce, served on tacos with beans on the side.  I thought they were amazing!

We had a great group of people stay with us.  Several we already knew from Canada, which was neat!  I took zero pics the whole weekend, so both the the pic before and after this comment were stolen from Facebook!  =)

Also wanted to mention the following two families, recently commended to the grace of God from their home assemblies to preach the gospel full-time.  Both have moved far away from their families and loved ones - please pray for them, and the new direction the Lord has for them.  
Leonel and Iemy Chávez, with their daughters, Jarisdy and Shyla
Commended from the Spanish speaking West Phoenix, AZ, meeting, living in Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Timothy and Amy Turkington, with their daughter, Sofia
Commended from Venezuela, living in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
(Amy - then Swan - was our first extended stay visitor here in Mexico in 2008!
We now live in the same country, but opposite ends!)
After the crazy conference weekend, we celebrated Alisa's 3rd birthday on the Tuesday (her birthday had been on the Sunday).  Love this sweet girl!

Shawn came back, and stayed with us for a couple of nights while he had ministry meetings.  Tim and Shawn go "way" back - good friends!  =)  We were so glad for him to stay with us!

After Shawn left, Sarah S stayed with us for a couple days.  The girls had her dressed up in a crown one day, with Gwennie to match!  =)

Sweet Gwendalyn in the bath
Nathaniel was in dire need of a hair cut.  Thankfully, Tim was here this time, and did it - yay!

He was pretty good, with a lollipop in hand!
Shaelyn built a tower from Lincoln Logs.  9 stories high!


The "twins".  He lay down on Alisa's lap - he is such a snuggler!

Matching with red dresses
Loved having Andrea, Eleo and Sarah over for dinner.  Loved our great discussion afterward, too!

Just took these pics the other evening.  Nathaniel and Gwennie love each other, and it is so sweet to watch.  I'm sure this won't last forever, but we're sure enjoying it right now.  I often have both of them on my lap during meeting, and Nathaniel will wrap his arm around Gwendalyn and give her a squeeze.  She gazes at him, following him as he walks around, and grins away at him.  He's pretty gentle with her still, except for a occasional time he pokes his finger into her eye.  He does the same to me if I'm not paying attention, though.  When Nathaniel was this age, and Alisa would come up to him, he would always pull back and squint, expecting a bop or poke from her.  Gwendalyn definitely doesn't react like that to Nata.


Big Smile!

Wearing mommy's flipflops

"My Baby" =)

Just watched these Woodford singing videos recently, so thought I'd share them again on here.  Love these guys!
#1 Tim, his dad and 3 brothers singing In Christ Alone - Sept 2009

#2 Tim, his dad and 3 brothers singing I Shall Know Him - Nov 2011

#3 Tim and his 3 brothers singing Here Is Love - June 2012

That's it for now!  Looking forward to Vivi's birthday coming up in one week, plus West Phoenix Spanish conference in two, so we'll be travelling up for that.  Will try to get on here again soon with some more pictures!