Friday, August 8, 2014

Back in the USA!

Four weeks ago today our family left our home in Shell, Ecuador where we had served at Casa de Fe for more than two years. It was bittersweet--saying good-bye to wonderful friends that we considered family, yet knowing that we would soon be seeing all the friends and family that we had left behind.

I was concerned about returning to the US after such a long time away. Would we like it? Would we hate it? Would we fit in? We've all changed. What if we no longer had anything in common with our friends and family? Would the kids adjust well to their new surroundings? No worries. By God's grace, we are all thriving...blooming where we're planted...learning to be content.

We arrived in Houston where Dwight's parents met us with hugs, snacks, and a vehicle. 

Abi guarded the snacks as we traveled. 

"Thanks, Gammy!" (Johnathan's Gammy, that is.)

Breakfast at Chik-fil-a. They don't have these in Ecuador!

Enjoying their old bed in their new room.

Getting my hair cut was top priority on my list of 'things to do'. Twelve inches donated to Locks of Love. 

AG5 has learned to ride a bike without training wheels. 

And we were given a puppy.

The girls participated in our local little theater's production of Sleeping Beauty. JC17 helped backstage after he spent his first week at a leadership camp at Mississippi College. 

Good Southern food!
Nothing beats a fresh Georgia peach!

We've had several outings to the library.

We visited the local splash park
And found this park right beside the splash park. This wasn't here two years ago.

Family reunion

Tilt-a-whirl at the local fair with the cousins

More tilt-a-whirl fun!
Kiddie carousel... Reminded us of Ecaudor! ;) we miss Ecuador? ABSOLUTELY! But we are learning to take one day at a time, to enjoy life as it comes, to NOT worry about tomorrow, to trust HIM for today.

11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. ~Philippians 4:11-12

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Very Overdue Update!

I can't believe I haven't posted an update here since last July! That is crazy! As much as I enjoy writing, sometimes living my life gets in the way of writing about it. I do hope to do a month-by-month catch up soon, but in the meantime, know that we are well.

Photo Booth Fun at a recent Christmas party

Monday, July 22, 2013

New Blog!

Yesterday, I launched a new blog--a sort of extension of this one. The new blog focuses solely on Casa de Fe. This one will remain our family blog and will include all of our adventures from homeschooling, homemaking, exploring and serving.

I hope you'll click over and check out Life with these the Jungle! Don't forget to sign up for email updates. :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Naomi Update

Thought some of you might like to see the incredible transformation that is our sweet Naomi.

Naomi, when she first came to us. 

Naomi now!

She still has a colostomy, but she is a much happier child now that she is receiving more consistent and specialized care. Please continue to pray for her.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our First Year

We celebrated our one-year anniversary here at Casa de Fe on May 19, 2013. Here is a video that chronicles our journey!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Overdue Updates!

After I wrote the last post and I had bared my heart and soul in print, I had no idea how to follow it. The normal day-to-day things seemed trivial and hardly post-worthy. It has been too long, and you all are worthy of an update, so here goes...

For those that are curious, the teacher that endured such devastation recently seems to be healing well. She came back to teaching and has found her smile again. Please continue to pray for her and her daughter as you think of them.

A couple weeks ago, we had a mission team from our home town come to serve at Casa de Fe. What a treat! I was really inspired by these guys. The only "negative" thing they had to share about their experience was that we didn't put them to work fast enough. (They had come in on a weekend, so we started with the usual weekend sight-seeing.)

And again last week, we are spending time with yet another group from our home town. This is their sixth year, and they are actually Patti Sue's home church/sending church. Many hands make light work, and that is definitely true of this larger-than-average size team. The first week was 28, and the second week was 26 people. This is a pic of the 10 that had to head home after week one. Eight more came to take their place.

We also had a great time visiting with Mr. Mark and Mrs. Ava Jane. She taught my older 2 kids art classes back in the states, and she was able to do a few lessons at Casa de Fe for the kids there. Jeff enjoyed hanging out with Mr. Mark and playing the role of his "mini-me" for the week.

The most wonderful thing that I have to share with you is that Edison's adoption is nearing completion. His parents are here in Shell, and the bonding process is going well. Please pray that things continue to go well. There is still much traveling to be done and many adjustments to be made before the family settles back in their home in Minnesota.

I have tons more to write. In fact, there are several months worth of posts that I need to write. Be patient with me as I try to get my thoughts in order.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Selfish, Shallow Me...

In the morning, I was frustrated... I was impatient...

My children were loud. They were not cooperating. I was annoyed.


In the afternoon, I was frustrated... I was impatient...

I walked across town in my black pants and black shirt... Funeral appropriate, but hardly comfortable in the 90 degree heat. I chose the wrong shoes, and now my feet were hurting. I was myself. I was annoyed.

Why was I even going? I hardly know her. I don't like funerals. I don't have the language skills to be of any comfort or support. Why do they do funerals so quickly anyway? I hardly had time to change and get there...

And then reality...

A tattered, wooden fence... a dirt yard... a small, sparsely furnished home with chickens and ducks in the yard...

"How dare I?!" I screamed inside myself... How dare I think so much of myself to be inconvenienced by someone else's loss?!

I am ashamed of myself. I entered the house (even though I didn't want to) where the tiny coffin sat on a table. She sat in a chair nearby, her eyes swollen from her grief. I hugged her. What else could I do? We cried together, and I whispered the only words I had in her language... "lo siento"

I screamed again inside myself, "Why haven't you learned this language any better?!"

In the past six months, this woman has faced more than I have faced in my entire life... Her mother was murdered. Her father was beaten. Her husband left her. And now, her precious six-month old baby boy, suddenly gone.

And I had the nerve to complain, even if only to myself, about the heat...about the inconvenience of hiking across town in uncomfortable shoes...

I watched, and I cried as she begged him to wake she denied the reality of it all... I wished, for her, that it really could all be a dream... that he really was just sleeping... that this wasn't real.

I went home to a house full of loud, uncooperative children.

She went home with only her daughter left--a child that needs comforting as much as her mother does.

Father, would you be the comfort they need?

Lord God, let me not continue on in my selfishness and shallowness! Let me be your hands and feet, no matter how inconvenient it may be.

"Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me your paths." Psalm 25:4