Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 16

1.  Today, I'm thankful that we have the internet back in the house again, after 12 days without.  Thankfully, Tim has had it on his phone for part of that time, so at least we could get email, and be on for a short time, but we haven't had our international phone that whole time either!  I'm also thankful that this isn't a "normal" problem we deal with.  It still isn't functioning properly (really slow), but at least we have it and the phone.

2. An ice cream date with Shaelyn.  Shaelynnie has been struggling a bit lately with the extra "authority" in the house.  She has always had the hardest time adjusting to both change and visitors, and I knew she needed a little extra TLC.  Two days ago, she and I walked around the corner to a cute little ice cream shop, and sat and chatted for a while.  Then, we took the "scenic" route home for a bit more time together. 

3.  A park date with Alisa.  Alisa was the first kiddo up today, and she came down and asked if we could walk to the park together.  I was happy to oblige!  We walked there, I pushed her on the swings, and she played a bit, then we walked home.  A short, but sweet time together.

4.  The legacy of a godly woman.  Barb Nesbit is a lady that I have known since I was about 6 years old.  I haven't seen her face-to-face in several years, but have kept in touch by facebook over the last couple.  Monday morning, she went home to Heaven after a short battle with cancer.  She, along with her husband Russ, were an amazing couple, who were an example and blessing to everyone they met.  She will be so missed by her family and friends.  I was blessed to have known her.

5.  Gwennie progressing to eating different foods.  Gwendalyn was not wanting to try anything new other than rice and oatmeal cereals.  She would do a full body shiver over the texture of bananas, and grimaced over everything else she tried.  I finally thought of applesauce (not sure why I didn't think of it earlier), and she was pretty happy with that mixed in!  We tried mashed potatoes yesterday, and she did Not like them, but at least we've seen some progress.

6.  Trying something new.  Yesterday, I made horchata for the first time.  Horchata is a creamy, cinnamon-y drink, made from rice water.  It is so delicious, and it turned out perfectly the first time!  It is quite a bit of work to make, but we'll definitely be making it again!

7.  Swimming with Erika's girls.  On Saturday, Erika and her girls came over for lunch, and then the girls all went out to swim afterward.  They played in the pool for FOUR hours!!  The playing included water fights (in and out of the pool), getting both Tim and I completely soaked, and just general water fun.  Tim jumped in with all his clothes on after he got soaked and had a blast with everyone.  Erika just watched and howled with laughter!  =)  It was a fun afternoon, then we went to the park to watch the lights on the fountain, and out for hot dogs for supper.  We really enjoyed our time with them.

8.  New supplies for school.  School begins on Monday, and yesterday, Victoria, Cortney and I went to Office Depot and found some nice things to begin school with that I will surprise them with on Monday.

9.  The organizing working out.  It's been great to have so many things organized, but also seeing how well the organizing is working.  The littles' room works so much better without all the toys - it is so much easier to tidy and keep tidy.  I'm so thankful for Victoria and Cortney.  They have been such a blessing to our family, and we will miss them so much!

10.  A visit with the Kleins.  Last night, Jesse, Emily and Anaya, as well as Jesse's sister, Tamara, came over and spent the night on their way through to Obregón.  We had a nice chat and supper together (that Cortney and Victoria made for us, and then cleaned up!).  They had to leave early this morning, but it was nice to see them, and meet Tamara!

Happy Birthday, Rebekah!!

Today is Tim's brother Mark's favourite (and prettiest) wife, Bekah's birthday!   Yes, I do realize I think more and more like a Woodford every year.  ;)  We haven't had internet in the house for over a week (or international phone if you've been trying to call), so even though I usually have tons of pics to choose from, I'll have to upload them another time.  Anyway...

Rebekah is one of those amazing people who can encourage and challenge you all at once.  She's real, open and honest, and it is an honour to call her both my sister and friend.  I love you, Bekah, and hope you have an amazing day!!!
Sending much love and hugs!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 15

Hmm, not doing too well on blogging on time, or getting those pics up!  My apologies once again - I really want to get them done before the year is over already!  ;)

I haven't run out (not even close) to things I'm thankful for, though, so here goes for another week:

1.  Cortney arrived safely.  Victoria, Alisa, Gwendalyn and I left just after 5 am on Friday.  We needed to get up to Phoenix first, to get new tires (and eventually a new battery) for the van.  Cortney flew into Tucson at 8 pm, and after eating supper, we bedded down at a hotel for the night.

2.  A special "I know where you are and what's going on, and I'll take care of it" moment from God.  On our way up to Phoenix, I stopped at a Costco gas bar to fill up with gas.  When I tried restarting the van, it just clicked, and wouldn't turn over at all.  My stomach dropped and I started to sweat (thankfully it wasn't too hot, yet).  What in the world was I going to do?  Several people offered suggestions, figuring it was the battery.  Most batteries only last two years in desert heat.  A few vehicles pulled in front and pumped gas, then left.  Then, a beautiful, white SUV drove up - it looked brand new.  A trendy older lady got out and pumped her gas, but checked us out while she did.  Afterward, she walked over and said to the gas attendant guy who was standing near our van, "Does she need a boost?  I'd help, but I don't have cables."  I had already found my cables, and told her so.  The gas guy told us we couldn't boost the van next to the gas tanks, and he pushed our van out to where the lady was waiting.  Then he set up the cables.  The lady mentioned she had just had a new battery that morning, and the van finally started.  I thanked the guy, then went over to thank the lady.  I was crying a bit and asked if I could give her a hug.  She gave me a big hug, and whispered in my ear, "Are you a believer?"  I said, "Yes. You blessed us so much - I prayed the Lord would send someone along, because I didn't know what to do!"  She said, "The Lord had me here just for this reason!"  Then she handed me $15, and told me she really wanted me to have it.  I cried harder, thanked her again, and then we left.  Thank you, dear lady and sister in Christ, and Thank You, dear Lord, for showing in yet another way how much You love me.

3.  A good trip to Guasave.  We got home about 9 am Saturday morning.  We got unpacked, then packed the other van, and were on our way by 11 am.  It was a six hour drive, and went pretty well - we had lots of snacks!  It was really great to see Leonel and Iemy, their two girls, plus their two moms and a friend visiting from Chihuahua.  That meant there were 18 people staying under one roof for 2 nights!!  We enjoyed our time with them, and getting to know some of the new believers there.  Gospel meetings started the Monday night after we left with Jairo (from Hermosillo) and Leonel.  We pray that many will be saved.

4.  A fun birthday party for Kyla.  Kyla's birthday was Monday, and we traveled most of them day.  She got a sweet gift and cupcake from Leonel and Iemy before we left, and Jeff and Marianne had sent Odyssey CDs that I had brought along and she opened, plus another small one.  We listened to Odyssey all the way home!  She had wanted to go to McDonalds on her birthday, too, so since we arrived in Obregón about lunchtime, that worked out well.  Victoria and Mika had been planning a special Frozen party for the Tuesday after we got home.  Along with Cortney, they pulled it off amazingly.  A big snowflake to hang up, along with little snowflakes on blue tablecloths to grace the table.  Blue jello, and best of all, an Olaf (the snowman) cake.  It looked great!  Eleo joined us, too, and Kyla was really excited and happy.  Everyone had a fun time.

5.  Another visitor coming.  We just found out that our friend, Jessica, who was here last September, will be coming in August.  She will be coming in, as the other two girls fly out.  We're really looking forward to seeing her again!

6.  New organizing ideas.  I read recently about a mom who took away all her kids toys.  I thought that sounded interesting, so I read the article. It was good!  She was tired of the mess, and, well, you can just imagine, I'm sure.  She boxed up all the kids' toys, and eventually just left two stuffed animals each plus kitchen dishes, etc, in their room.  The other toys were put away, and they switch them out occasionally when they're done playing with the one thing.  I though, We could do that!  I got some new containers, and today, Cortney, Victoria and I worked on organizing all the toys in the Littles' room.  The rest are hidden, and all that is left are stuffed animals (still to be gone through tomorrow), dolls, plus their clothes and accessories, and dishes and food for the kitchen.  We need to "hide" some things in the big girls' room, but most of the organizing is already done, so  it should be easier.

7.  Lots of work getting done.   We've really got lots of things done.  Tomorrow we'll be doing a long over due clothes change over, and we'll relax by going to the beach tomorrow!  =)

8.  Air conditioning.  It.was.SO.hot.today!  44 C (110 F), plus humid like crazy.  It felt like a sauna walking out the door!  I know we would survive without a/c, but today, I'm just extra glad we have it.

9.  Cool showers.  See #8.  =)  Aaaah, it feels so nice to cool off!

10.    Handles on our doors and knobs on our cupboards.  Does this sound random?  Tonight we were talking about what the house was like last June after we moved in.  Cortney was visiting, and we were feeding ourselves plus 7-9 extra people every day who were here helping us finish fixing up the house.  We didn't have handles or knobs/pulls for the first month or so, and after the guys put them on, I thought, I will never forget how wonderful it is to have these on!!  =)  It was a good reminder to be thankful for things I often just take for granted.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Birthday, Kyla!!

Today our sweet Kyla girl turns S.E.V.E.N.!!!  How can this be?  Energetic, competent, servant to others, happy, outgoing, are just some of the words one could use to describe this girl.  She is a joy to us -  we are so thankful she is a part of our family, and we look forward to all the Lord has in store for our girl!

Once again, we are away from home on her birthday.  This time, in Guasave, Sinaloa, visiting the believers here.  We will be driving most of the day (6 hours) to get home, but we've got lots of special party plans made for Tuesday, with her cake already baked.

No picture today, but I will put some on when we get home!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 14

So, last night after I got into bed, I remembered, oops, I didn't do my Thankful Tuesday blog post today!  Oh well, I'll do it in the morning.  This morning, I took a look at the calender, and, lo and behold, it's Thursday!  Whoops!  =)  So here's Thankful Thursday instead!!

1.  VBS  #1, plus gospel meetings.  Our first week of VBS in Tirocapes went really well.  It rained almost every night, and we didn't get more than 30 children, but the response of the children was good - both they and we enjoyed it!  The gospel meeting also wasn't as well attended as we'd hoped, but there 2 men who came out once, an older lady, Anaberta, who we know well who came out several times, a teenager, Alejandro, who has been interested in getting saved for a while, plus several children who attended each night.  The best news of the whole week was that we heard a 10 year old girl said that she got saved Wednesday night!  We rejoice, along with the angels, and pray for good fruit to be seen in her life.

2.  VBS #2.  Our second week of VBS is in the main hall, and has also been going well.  Our highest number of children so far is 77, as well as 5 adults.  It has also rained hard a couple of nights, and one night the power went off for an hour at the beginning.  It was extremely hot, but the children did well, and we were so thankful when the power (and a/c) came back on.  The messages both weeks have been so clear with the gospel.  We pray many lives will be changed as a result of hearing the good news of salvation!

3.  Gwendalyn.  Our sweet baby girl turns 8 months old, tomorrow - how in the world did that happen??? Gwennie's first tooth came through July 8th, and she is up on her hands and knees - quite stable, and wanting to go.  She 'swims' a little (think army crawl), and she also does the 'worm' (lifting her bottom into the air and then pushing herself forward) - it's so cute.  We're pretty sure she'll be crawling like a pro any day now.  She definitely has her 'favourites' who hold her, and if someone she doesn't know picks her up, she usually cries and wants to go back to someone familiar.  She is a smiley, happy girl, and we are so thankful for this precious baby.

4.  A fan in the computer room.  Anyone who has spent any time at our house knows that in warm weather, no air really circulates through the computer 'room' - which is the hallway between the living room and downstairs bedrooms/bathroom.  Last week, Tim picked up a small fan and set it up so it's a lot more comfortable in there when someone needs to sit at the computer.

5.  Office Depot.  Last week, I needed to pick up some new markers, as well as some other things to get some stuff done for VBS.  Victoria and I headed off to Office Depot (I've never been before), and I was so pleasantly surprised at the variety of things I found, as well as reasonable prices!  We generally get our school supplies across the border, because the Walmart here doesn't have a great selection, or great prices, but now I'm excited we'll just need to go up the road a bit!

6.  Littles mostly done soothers.  Mika and Shaelyn both used soothers (pacifiers) to go to sleep, Kyla and Vivian sucked their thumbs, Alisa and Nathaniel both have used soothers, and Gwendalyn doesn't do either (she does suck on her hands, but not to go to sleep) - just recently, we cut part of the ends of of the twins' soothers off, and both of them are mostly happy to go to sleep without them now.  Sometimes they pop them in at nap time (it Does help them to go to sleep sooner), but only occasionally.  It's so nice to be mostly done that, as I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with soothers!  =)

7.  Cortney coming. Tomorrow, Victoria, Alisa, Gwendalyn and I head up to Tucson to pick up Cortney!  We're excited about her coming, and looking forward to having her stay here with us again!

8.  A trip to the US.  Since we're going up to pick up Cortney, we also get to do some shopping while we're up there.  We actually are going all the way to Phoenix for some new tires on the Chevy, but we'll have several hours to get some shopping done the rest of the day.  It's (usually) always fun to go up and do that!  =)

9.  A trip to Guasave.  The next few days are going to be a little crazy.  We head to the US tomorrow, head home early Saturday morning, then, as soon as we can pack up the van, we'll be heading down (the 11 of us) to Guasave - a new-ish work 3 hours south of Obregón, 6 hours south of Hermosillo.  We will head home on Monday, which is Kyla's birthday.  We're looking forward to seeing Leonel and Iemy and their daughters, who moved this year from Phoenix to preach the gospel there.

10.  A plan to get some more things done.  I often have great plans, and they don't always get done.  Having a (very) organized young lady in the house definitely helps, and with both Victoria and Cortney's help, we plan to get some serious organizing done in the two weeks they both are here.  Very much looking forward to it, and very thankful for the extra help these girls are to our family!

You likely remember I had great plans for a picture post.  It doesn't look like it will happen before the middle of next week, so I'll try my best to get at it next Wednesday after we've returned and had Kyla's birthday party (Tuesday).  Hope you're enjoying your week!  =)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Happy Birthday, Trevor!!

Good thing Trevor has no internet access, or he might realize it took me all day to write the blog post for his birthday!  =)  Today is my sister Liz's husband Trevor's birthday, and he's off on a canoe trip with his dad and two brothers.  I hope they have a fabulous time, and that Trev has a super day - although it likely will be without cake!!
Vet Trev with his dogs
Trevor and Liz

Their 3 sweet muffins: Katja, Kiernan and Ellie

Family <3
Love and hugs to you, Trev, on your special day!!

Thankful Tuesday 13

Well, it's plain to see that I did not get around to getting that picture post done, and, given what's going on around here right now, I won't go promising that it will come any time soon, but one can  still hope...

As always, there is so much to be thankful for!

1. A great first two days of VBS (Vacation Bible School).  We are in the outreach area of Tirocapes this week, with VBS from 5-630pm, then a gospel meeting from 7-8pm.  Despite a ginormous storm that went crazy a couple short hours before the first class yesterday, and left the streets flooded and most people at home, there was still a good turnout for the children's meeting, and 2 visitors who had never attended before for the gospel meeting.  This afternoon there were even more children out, and two ladies who are not saved for the gospel meeting.  Tim and Tibi are sharing the meetings.

2. A fun theme for VBS.  Two years ago, the only other time we have ever done VBS, we did an Olympic theme, which was tons of fun.  This year, Eleo came up with a FBI theme, so we have lots of fun decorations and games that run from that.  I'm looking forward to showing some pics, because it's turned out quite well!  The gospel messages to the children so far have been very clear, and we are praying there will be many lives changed for eternity because of God's Word going out and the Holy Spirit working in them.

3.  Rain.  While we weren't too happy to get it yesterday at the beginning of VBS, we are very thankful to be finally receiving precipitation after having 0 for several months.  Our street was totally flooded yesterday, but thankfully it didn't come up into our yard.  The joys of living in a desert!  Ha!

4.  School is done.  Wait, let me say that again.  SCHOOL IS DONE!!!  Now why isn't this at the top of the list??  =)  We're very happy to be done for the year, and even got done a day early (Thursday, instead of Friday).  We ordered pizza for lunch, and then went to the children's museum on Friday to celebrate.  We've been crazy busy since, getting ready for the meetings (we have another week of VBS in another location next week), so it hasn't been much of a vacation yet, but it's still nice to have one less thing to do.

5.  Victoria.  This young lady has been such a blessing the two weeks she has been here.  I walk around making messes, and she walks around behind me cleaning them up.  Dishes are never left in the sink - they're always washed, dried And put away, usually before I'm done cooking!  She's been organizing rooms, books, toys, etc - it has been wonderful!  She's done hairdressing, so not only does she do the girls' hair often, and beautifully, but she also took the time to trim my hair, Marika's, Shaelyn's, Kyla's and Vivian's!  She told us how glad She was to get the practice, but I'm quite sure we got the better end of the deal!  We have been wonderfully blessed having her here.

6. CD/DVD cleaning wipes.  The other day, Victoria and I went to Office Depot, and she had just been telling me that her family had found some sort of thing that cleans CDs and DVDs even if they've been scratched, haven't worked, skipped, etc.  We found some wipes while we were shopping, and it's worked on one CD so far, stopping it from skipping.  I'm looking forward to trying it on some more things.

7. A dishwashing/drying and sweeping schedule.  I've been wanting to make up a dish schedule for a while, but haven't done it.  Since we don't want Victoria leaving thinking that all she's done here is wash dishes, I decided to quickly go ahead and get at it!  Vivian dries the dishes once a week (she also washed the dishes today, but only because she Wanted to, and Kyla gladly let her - she did a good job, too!), Kyla washes and dries 2 times each a week, Shaelyn 3 times each a week, and Marika 4 times each a week.  While that seems like a ton of times, there is still lots of time for me to do them, too, and it's been good working together with some of them on it already.  I've always felt compelled to sweep all of the downstairs when I sweep, but since Victoria has been just sweeping the dining/kitchen area every few days, I decided that that would be a good idea, too.  The girls switch off with each having a turn twice a week.

8.  Extended summer visitors.  After writing that bit about Victoria, I got thinking about the many (I counted 12) young ladies who have come and stayed with us since we moved here almost 6 years ago.  I know some people have had very bad experiences having people come in and stay with them and their families, yet that has not been our experience at all.  We have been blessed beyond measure with the young ladies who have either come down to see what it is like living in a foreign country, to get a glimpse into one missionary family's life, or just to come down and help out with what is needed.  Most have become special "big sisters" to our girls, and have been godly influences on them.  I'm really thankful the Lord has allowed these girls into our lives.

9.  Another visitor coming.  Last year, Cortney was one of the special visitors who came, and spent two weeks with us in June, and she's coming back soon!  The plans are still being finalized, but we're all looking forward to seeing her again!

10.  My Tim.  Last week, while marking Marika's penmanship test, I flipped the page and wrote (in cursive, because I never do it, and enjoy practicing once in a while) Tim's name.  Then, I started writing down some of the many things why I respect, love and appreciate him.  I thought I would put them on here, too, not in any particular order:
-hard working
-loves the Lord
-loves his wife
-loves his children
-a good listener
-has a shepherd's heart
-spends time with his family
-reads the Bible every day - both personally, and with the family
-forgives me
-has the best smile ever

That's it for now - I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thankful Tuesday 12

Hello!  It's HHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT here now!  The humidity has come and will be here 'til October, with 40 C weather - plus or minus a few degrees.  It's already been a hotter summer than last year at the same time.  But, no matter how hot it is, or how cold, depending where you are, there is always much to thank the Lord for.  That's really what these Tuesday posts are about.  I realize I kind of use generic terms sometimes, but when I am thankful, it is to the Lord.  "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

I know I've said this before, but I'm really going to try to get some pictures on here for a separate post this week.  Here are some of the things I'm thankful for this week:

1.  A planter with pretty flowers.  Tim picked up 6 small pots of flowers the other day, and since the previous owner of the house had left a big planter, we had a place to put them, and it's right out in the front of the house where I can see it all the time.  Tim bought a big bag of soil to go in it, and I planted the flowers.  Now I get to enjoy watering them each morning, and enjoy seeing them smile at me each day!

2.  Trees with pretty blooms.  While we do live in a desert, one of the perks of living here is beautiful flowers all around!  The trees flower, the bushes flower, and of course, the flowers flower.  But there's just something extra special about seeing huge trees everywhere you go, with all types and colours of flowers - makes my heart smile!

3.  The last week of school.  Three more days!!!!  I will say no more, but I am both excited and thankful for this!!  =)

4.  Jazmin's baptism.  Jazmin is Mika's good friend.  She is 14, and got saved in April, while visiting with friends down in Guasave.  The changes in her life were immediate, and she asked last week to be baptized.  It was so encouraging and heartwarming!

5.  Several visitors out to the gospel meeting Sunday night.  There were at least 11 unsaved adults out Sunday night, besides several children.  We pray that we might be in tune with the Lord and where He is working.  Praying for souls to be saved!

6.  A good brainstorming session before VBS begins.  Monday begins our first round of FBI themed Vacation Bible School.  Eleo came over yesterday for lunch, and we spent most of the afternoon coming up with (or finding on Pinterest) good ideas.  It was a lot of fun! She returns tomorrow, and we'll get to more hands-on work.

7.  Visitors.  Sunday we had company in for lunch.  It's always interesting having different people in and hearing what their "normal" is and hearing some of their life's story.

8.  Chocolate mousse.  I've shared the recipe before, so won't now, but our dessert Sunday was Raw Chocolate mousse, made up of banana, avocado, coconut oil, honey, cocoa powder and a little salt. Dee-licious!!  Got my chocolate fix for the day!  =)

9.  Organizational skills.  We are loving having Victoria with us, for more reason than one!  Hard to believe she has already been with us more than one week.  Besides being a beautiful hairstylist, and doing the girls' hair at least once every day, Victoria also went to work on the big girls' room to get it organized.  Since organization is not my strong point, it is especially appreciated!!

10. Canada Day.  While not living in Canada, we most definitely are very thankful for Canada and that we are Canadian!  Most of us dressed up in something red or maple leaf-ish, and Tim went all out and got sunburned just so everyone would know he was Canadian and very patriotic!  ;). Just kidding, but he did get sunburned because he was working hard outside today.  We sang the Canadian national anthem several times today - sometimes at different pitches, and a couple times to tunes I had never heard before!  =)

If you didn't happen to see yesterday's post, please take a look and pray for the Groothuis family.  The funeral is Thursday, July 3.  Here is a link for more information