The birthdays never stopped and I think it has the little boy confused. His birthday was a couple of days ago and he has probably asked 5 times since then, "Am I still 4?" Yes, Truitt, you are still 4!
Our family is really cheap. So, when it comes to pictures of the kids, we have squeaked our way along by taking our own pictures and having them printed at Walmart. Well, a few have been good and a few have been bad, but we have saved some money. Anyways, the only time we have gotten any portraits taken is with the "free 8x10" coupons we get in the mail. We determine before we go in that we are only getting the free ones and we walk out thinking we are pretty smart. Well, I am not convinced being cheap is always the best option and I am sure I have many things I could blame it on, but for now I will accept full responsibility. I say all of that it introduce this story. The other week, a small group visited all 3 CCCD campuses to take portrait pictures of the kids. After they were finished, they offered to take some pictures for our family. We took them up on the offer and got a few pics of the kids. The lady's name was Dee and she was very sweet. What a blessing!
Drew happened to go to school that day and so he got a picture in his uniform. We will see if we can get some sponsors to pay for his schooling. Just kidding!
This is Drew's normal picture, what a little squirt.
Ohhh, speaking of squirt, this little princess rules our world. She knows she is beautiful.
He marches to the beat of a different drum, and we love it!!!
Sometimes, we stop and ask ourselves, "why are we blogging?" There is no hiding behind the reality of what blogging looks like if taken only at face value. Always writing about yourself can come off as self-promoting or self aggrandizing as well as presumptuous that other people will be interested in reading about the details of your life. On occasion, this runs through our mind and causes us to check our hearts and motives for continuing to write in this forum. While we will never claim that our hearts are free of such motives, our recent trip back to the states reconfirmed our commitment to continuing to utilize this blog, maybe not forever, but for sure during this stage in our lives. Allow me to share with you a few of the "why's."
#1 - Grandpa and Grandma's - This is by far the #1 reason we blog. This coincides with one of our biggest struggles in living overseas, the fact that our kids are separated physically from Grandpa and Grandma. It is our hope that this blog helps close the gap just a little bit for G-pa and G-ma. This was confirmed for us on our recent trip back to the states for the holidays as in conversations we could reference various events that we had referenced on our blog without full explanation. And, G-pa and G-ma, and our entire immediate family for that matter, would be able to reference events with our kids in conversation because they had already read about them on the blog.
#2 - History - Just last week a team was here and they asked where our family was during their previous visit to our campus. It was just 2 years ago, but we couldn't remember, so we pulled up the blog, went back in the archives, and found our answer. This represents a sort of public diary for ourselves to use for historical reference.
#3 - Supporters - While back in the states for Christmas, we had many people who would come up to us and not have to ask the standard questions, because they were already caught up on the blog. We have heard from many random people who we would not have suspected had an interest in the work in Jamaica who have said they keep up on the blog. Thanks for checking and thanks for praying.
#4 - Random people - Whether workteam members or old friends or the random visitor, we hope that this forum educates people regarding who we are and what we are doing. And, we hope that it is a positive testimony to God's faithfulness in our lives.
I know this may start getting a bit repetitive, but I love "downhome" folks. While I don't want to get careless with my stereotypes of southern people or downhome folks, they are the first words that pop in my head. Last weeks team was from Western Pennsylvania. A team consisting of husbands and wives, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, mothers and daughters, and mothers and sons. I love watching family units grow by serving beside each other for a week. Our prayer is always that this will carry on for them into the future. Thanks Pioneer Pres.
This picture represents the single most effective barrier breaker for relationships. They work within your own culture and they even work cross-culturally. It's amazing! We feel very blessed with 3 very flexible and friendly children. While it also has its share of challenges, when a team is here our kids are playing, and talking, and making friends, and building relationships. We hope that this helps them in building a solid foundation when it comes to relating to others in their own lives. Praise the Lord!
Ok, really I just love people who are different than me, and southern folk are no exception. I dont know if Arkansasan's, or people from Arkansas, are Southerners, but they are certainly further south than IL and IN. Everytime I hang out with Southern folks, I get a new perspective on life and an appreciation for their spirit. Last week, we hosted a team from Little Rock, Arkansas. What a great group of people! We laughed and worked, laughed some more and had some good chats. When it comes to teams, I enjoy teams that have a broad age range and teams that are from the south. This team was both! Thanks again Covenant team.
This little guy was in our kitchen awhile back. Obviously, he must have come in through the front door, but there he was hanging out in our kitchen window. He really wanted to go out through the window but we cant remove the screen. The kids thought it was pretty interesting but they were not about to go in to try to get him out. After a little coaxing, he decided that going back out the front door was his best option.
This is for Uncle Kory and Uncle Kyle. I am not so sure they regularly read this blog, but I think that the women in their respective lives will draw it to their attention. The other day, Drew came into the house and sat on the chair and said to Keri, "Can I use your phone to pretend I am playing "Angry Bird." And, he proceeded to act like he was playing "Angry Bird" complete with his tabulation of the scores. I guess this is a transition for him as well, a technological transition. Our lives in Jamaica are considerably less advanced technologically. "Angry Bird" is a game on Uncle Kory's iPhone and Drew loved to play it. Come to find out, it was also on Uncle Kyle's iPhone and it happened to be just as fun. So, now Drew is back to life with no iPhones or Wii, but he still has his imagination and that seems to be working just fine.
Every time we fly back to Jamaica, we talk about transitions. It is such a huge thing. Our lives are very different in our two worlds. And, as our kids get older, we can begin to see it showing up in them as well. We have some capacity for processing the differences, working through reasons, and making the pigeon holes for our two lives. The kids, well we hope that we can hold their hand through it and we pray that it makes them stronger for having experienced it. We are getting back into the swing of life in Jamaica as we dove right in with a work team our first week. Ready or not, here it comes. Below is a few pictures of the weather transitions. Many people bring up the weather and we talk about it as well because of the contrast, but we are still of the belief that seasons are a blessing. Granted, I would take a 2 month winter over a 4 month winter, but having not experienced a winter for 2 years, we were ready for some cold weather. It was awesome to be in the snow again and bundling up. We are not complaining, being back in the 70 degree weather is a blessing, but there are two sides to every coin. Stay Warm!
What an odd combination of emotions! There is something striking about experiencing sweet joy in the midst of chaos. Not that it is serious chaos, but life is not normal when you are living displaced. We had a stretch the other week in which we were in a different bed for 8 straight nights. Again, its not meant to sound like complaining, we wouldn't have traded the fellowship of any of those times for more continuity. It is a just a reality, a reality that is full of profound joy in the midst of chaos. We are flying today and so this wraps up our "holiday" for the winter of 2010. In so many ways all of our expectations for this trip were met and even exceeded. We still go home with a few remaining questions which we were hoping would be answered, but we are thankful and ready to get back to work. We thank the Lord for His faithfulness through the past 4 weeks. Now, we are praying for smooth travels today as well as a safe trip up to our home at CCCD. Praise the Lord!