Friday, May 21, 2010


Sunday, May 16, 2010

"You know why I am so excited about this birthday? Because I don’t think I’ve had it for a long time.” Joshua

Ever since day #1 of us arriving in Belton, the kids have had their eye on a water park that we pass nearly every day. For Joshua’s birthday we decided to try out Summer Fun. And fun we all had. Ryan and Jeff spent much time on the bigger slides. They all loved playing in the lazy river (Ryan thought we were saying “lousy River”). It is so much fun to be a family!

It was a full day for us – we left immediately after church to go to the park, then we had 15 minutes at home to change and go over to our friend’s house for their house blessing (they have the roof, foundation and siding up and they wanted people to write scriptures on the wood before the walls went up). While we were there, another friend took Ginny to her dance dress rehearsal.

We got home at 8 and Joshua finally got to open his gifts. He loved the punching bag, books, and Bakugan for us and the scooter from Grandma and Grandpa.

A couple days after Summer Fun Ginny told me that while she was swimming in the lazy river someone asked her if she was 5 years old. When she told them that she was 8 they acted amazed and commented on how short she was. Ginny told me that every time she passed them, they made a remark about her height. I asked Ginny if that hurt her feelings. She said, “No, I like being short because if I was bigger, more of me would stick out of the water and I would be cold. I like having the water up to my neck.” Now that is a positive attitude!
FYI – Ginny has always been on the short side – at 81/2, she is the average size of a 6 year old.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

My three best friends and their families met for one last get together at Alexis’ house before we head back to Paraguay for another 4 years. The weather had been gloomy all week and it was supposed to rain, but thankfully it didn't. We enjoyed eating Ashley’s teriyaki burgers and fixin’s outside while the kids swam & played in the cold water. After late lunch and after the guys played Washers, it was time to celebrate.


Abby and Micah

Avery and Ginny

Eating lunch

We sang Happy Birthday to Josh (who turns 7 tomorrow). I made a Tang Soo Do (Karate) cake at his request.
Then we sang Happy Birthday to Kendall (who was one on the 1st) and ate pick cookies.
Then I opened gifts for the baby.

Happy birthday, Kendall!

Happy karate birthday, Joshua!

Pink for the baby

We always have so much fun together and it is hard to say good-bye knowing so much will change in 4 years….we’ll have teens (and perhaps more gray hairs) the next time we’re together!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Friday, May 14, 2010

Today was Jeff’s last day of work! Working at Doctor’s Express has been a huge blessing for our family. It allowed him to work just 20 (or so) hours a week, have a flexible schedule and work with a wonderful staff. I am so thankful to have a husband who is hard working, loves his profession and genuinely cares about both the physical and spiritual needs of his patients. Three weeks ago the full time guy quit, so Jeff has been working 50 plus hours. The extra income has been a blessing and has allowed us to bless others, but the change in our schedule and the hours he was spending away from family definitely took its toll by that last week. Since the kids wouldn’t otherwise see Jeff for days on end, I kept them up past bedtime for us all to have dinner together when he got home at 8:30 or later. Then, of course, they wanted to wrestle with him and they got all rowdy…and of course, they didn’t want to go to bed and had a hard time settling down each night when we finally got them into bed. We all miss him when he is gone. Even Micah, who is such a mama’s boy said recently, “I hate daddy work all day long.” I love that they love their dad and even after a loooong day of work, he is excited to be with us and wants to spend time with us.

So all this staying up late and getting up early (we had many morning appointments for some reason these weeks), the lack of sleep was taking its toll on us. Thursday (yesterday) I really just lost it and walked in my flesh all day….well, until that night when I had to give my testimony for our home group….then, I acted like I had it all together spiritually (ha!). Seriously, I am thankful for our home group that loves, cares, encourages, and prays for me. I am also thankful for a God who loves and forgives me when I forget to DAILY lay my burdens down at his feet and die to self.

All that to say….Jeff is now unemployed and we all love it! Now he can get back to doing dad things again. The first of which, was to teach Tyler to ride his bike with no training wheels (he’s been asking for a couple weeks now). I am just glad that I didn’t have to do the “run behind and help balance the bike so the kid who has no balance on the bike won’t fall off” thing….that’s a lot of exercise! Tyler did ok, but will need a few more lessons before he set completely loose.

Ginny loves riding her bike.

Micah finally learned how to ride his bike. Before he was wanting to push backwards which made his bike brake. When he finally got the hang of it, he ran over to me and said, "My bike works now. You put in batteries?"

Tyler learning to ride with just 2 wheels

Ryan on his rip stick...or as Micah calls it a lipstick


Thursday, May 14, 2010

Our time in the states is drawing to an end – less than 2 months – AND we only have 2 more weeks in Belton. I posted our crazy west coast itinerary below and on the left side tool bar, so you could be praying. Please pray for us as we have our “lasts” …piano recitals, dance recital, karate classes, day at work, trip to Dallas, good-byes with friends, church, home group, play dates, etc. We want to finish our time here well.
Starting May 24th, please pray for traveling mercies as we cover a lot of ground - literally. Our east coast trip was so fun (some of you can’t even imagine being trapped inside the car with your kids for that many miles…but we loved it!) that we are all looking forward to doing it again. We love visiting our friends/supporters and draw so much encouragement from them….plus we get to see God’s amazing creation (and some man-made things) along the way. Because things/friends seem more spread out on the west than on the east coast, we have planned camping trips along the way. It will be our first time to camp and try out all our new equipment.

WEST COAST itinerary
May 24 - El Paso, TX
May 25 – Grand Canyon, AZ
May 28 – Las Vegas, NV
May 30 – San Francisco, CA
June 2 – Rancho Cordova, CA
June 3 – Ashland, OR
June 4 – Gresham, OR
June 7 – Seattle, WA
June 9 – Victoria/Vancouver, Canada
June 11 – Kuna, ID
June 13 – Yellowstone
June 15 – Pueblo, CO
June 17 – Amarillo, TX
June 20 – Arkansas
June 23 – Belton, TX
June 24 – Houston, TX
June 25 – Harlingen, TX
July 1 – Back home to Belton
July 7 – fly to Paraguay

Monday, May 17, 2010


May 11, 2010

First of all, we just purchased our tickets to fly back to Paraguay July 7th! It looks like a pretty nice itinerary too (anything looks nice compared to our itinerary to get here). Once that was done, SIM needed us all to get physicals and declared medically cleared to leave. Although it is never really easy to get a family of 7 in and out of a doctor’s office smoothly, it was helpful that we were able to go Jeff’s office. One of the nurses was gracious enough to meet us an hour before the clinic opened. We got 7 urine cultures (which by the way, Micah LOVED peeing in the cup! All morning he kept asking for a cup so he could potty in it again), 6 TB tests, 7 blood draws, blood pressure, weight, head and waist circumference on all the kids, temperature, heart, lungs, vision screens, etc. I took my 27 week glucose tolerance test.

That afternoon, we were informed that the lab told the clinic the wrong color of tubes to use for the blood draws and we all need to get stick again (I thought things like that only happened in Paraguay)! The following morning we went up again an hour before the clinic opened in order to be re-stuck. Turns out (thankfully) that they were able to use the blood from the three older kids and only Tyler and Micah needed to be stuck again (they were not too happy). The kids were so brave though. They had an especially hard time hitting a vein on Tyler and had to poke him several times….he held still but he did scream/cry both times (which freaked Micah out even more since he was next). However, in the car, after it was all over Tyler declared, “Yeah! Now we get to go home to Paraguay!”

And….if all that time in the doctor’s office wasn’t enough….my blood sugar came back WAY high so I had to go back another morning for a 3 hour fasting blood sugar test. In between sticks, I sat in Jeff’s office and prayed my levels would be normal – especially in light of the fact that we want to deliver in Paraguay with the least amount of complications as possible. Praise the Lord…all my labs were great. The first really high reading must have been a machine glitch.

Jeff had more needles come his way too. Because we redid our life insurance policy, Jeff had to get a physical from the company. They, of course had to drawn the same labs he had just had drawn. So…that is a total (and record) of 23 sticks for our family in a week!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Today was the boy’s last soccer game. Both ended up with a trophy. Ryan’s team played so hard and ended with 2nd place in the league. I am very proud of them both. Both gained so much confidence and skill. I am especially proud of Ryan’s attitude of hard work, giving it all and sportsmanship. And Tyler, well he is just so stinkin’ cute out there!

Tyler's team

Ryan's team

cupcakes i made for the final game

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Monday, May 3, 2010
(You’ll have to read the previous post to understand this post better.)

When Micah flipped off the front row chair at church and then cried because I told him “no”, I took him out of the service. I began talking with Paula, a lady I knew from bible study. She, in turn, introduced me to her friend, Karen. Karen’s eyes got so wide when I began to tell her about my family and that we were missionaries being commissioned by Temple Bible Church that morning. Her daughter (also named Amy), son-in-law, and their 4 small kids were commissioned two months before and have just arrived in India as missionaries. During the second service, I introduced Jeff to Karen and her husband and we ended up talking for an hour or so. They asked all kinds of questions – how have your children adjusted, what does your extended family think, what is God doing in PY.

The following day at bible study Paula came up to me and said what an encouragement we were to her friends. Karen felt that God had allowed us to meet during a time when they needed it most. They have been struggling with their daughter being so far away and grieving the “loss” of their grandchildren. It made her feel better hearing our joys and struggles and the ways that God has provided for us every step of the way….a nice reminder that God will do the same for her children and grandchildren.

Paula said to me, “I know you were frustrated that Micah was so wiggly and you had to take him out of the service, but God used that wiggly child for you to meet someone who needed to hear your story very much that morning.” I had never thought about it that way…..yes, thank God for wiggly children!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Our biggest goal on home assignment was to find a home church. Many of you have been praying for that very thing right along with us. After filling out an application, meeting with the missions committee and the elder board, Temple Bible Church has agreed to be our sending church. Today they introduced us to the congregation. God is good.

Since we were being introduced, we had to be at all 3 services. At all 3 services, all 7 of us stood up on the stage with the Pastor as Jeff briefly shared about the ministry and the Pastor prayed over us.

Service #1 (8:30) – First of all, let me say that 8:30 is early for our family to be up, dressed and coherent, especially on a Sunday. However, the kids all did great on stage. When we first got on stage, Micah said to me, “Lots of people.” He was content for me to hold him. Our intent was to sit through the service (no Sunday school for the kids that early) but Micah had a different plan. He saw his chair as a personal playground and he would not sit still. During worship it wasn’t too bad (since it was already loud), but once the pastor got up to preach, Micah decided to do a flip off the front row. He then proceeded to cry when I told him no. Jeff shot me “a look” and I quickly made my way down the long isle to the foyer where Micah and I sat for the service.

Service #2 (9:30) – Micah wasn’t content for me to hold him on stage and he sat on the stairs. He tossed and turned, but for the most part he was quiet and not a distraction.

Service #3 (11:30) – My children are tired as we lead them on stage again. Micah is not content for me to hold him nor does he want to just sit on the stairs. He decided to lie down on the stairs. And if that isn’t enough, he decided to make funny faces at the pastor….you know, the face where he spreads open his checks to look like the Joker, his fingers pulled his bottom eye lids down and his tongue wagged in and out. Tyler (who really should know better) thought it looked like a fun idea and decided to make the same face at Micah. People on the first couple rows were laughing (and egging the two on). Jeff shot me “that look” again and I picked Micah up. Micah did not want to be in my arms. He started wiggling and kicking his feet and trying to pull away from me (he already is hard for me to hold since I have a big belly and he is pretty big/long). He also started saying pretty loudly, “Put me down. I wanna get down.”

What a morning!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ginny lost her 3rd tooth on top. Her smile looks lopsided now because the middle two teeth still haven’t come in.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


April 2010

After living in Paraguay 4 years, we prepared to leave for our first furlough. Not only did we pack our bags with souvenirs, clothes and other things we thought were important, but we also tried to prepare our family of 7 emotionally for the change of living in Texas for a year. The first months back were busy. We immediately drove to the East Coast to visit supporters and do some sightseeing. During those 7 ½ weeks we stayed with 31 friends in 18 states. Our kids, who were too young when we left for Paraguay to really remember much about the US, got a taste of American life from the get go. Each home we visited had something new to offer them….trampolines, Wiis, scooters, movies. We went to parks and beaches, aquariums and zoos. After awhile I thought, my kids will never want to leave America. What child would want to leave “the land of plenty” and go back to playing marbles in the dirt?

About 6 weeks into our trip I asked rather nervously, “Do you miss Paraguay?” There was a loud chorus of yeses. “I miss my friends!” “I miss the food.” “I miss my animals.” “I want to go back home!”

It delights me when the children talk about wanting to go back to Paraguay. When people ask them about home, I love seeing their faces light up as they tell about their chickens and our house and their friends. After an American Christmas with a big tree and lots of gifts, they said, “Remember how we light fireworks to celebrate in Paraguay?” And while playing in snow for the first time they said, “Do you think our Paraguayan friends would like this?” I usually don’t have to try very hard to remind them of home, they talk about it often on their own. Just yesterday while discussing in American history the US flag and I asked the kids to draw a picture of it. Ginny asked, “Could I draw the Paraguay flag instead? I remember what it looks like.” Don’t get me wrong, they have loved the US. We have squeezed in so much and they have been able to experience a lifetime of memories. But they know that this is not permanent. They know that this is not home.

Now we have been in the U.S for 9 months and we are again faced with the challenge of packing our bags and preparing our family for the changes ahead. The year, which seemed so long at the start, is rapidly coming to an end. My children know that one day I will tell them to pack their bags because we are leaving. It would break my heart if they decided they didn’t want to leave. If they decided that life in the U.S was far too exciting and they never wanted to go back to Paraguay. For our family, an American life is not an option. God has clearly called us to another part of the world.

As Christians, we too are called to a different place. One day Christ will come and he will take us to the glorious mansion he has been preparing. O, how it would break his heart if we were not anticipating that day. “God, I like life here, can I stay one more day?” “God, can I have more time to get my life together?” “God, if only you hadn’t shown up now, I was just being able to enjoy the fruits of my labor.” It is OK to enjoy life here. God sends us such rich blessings and wants us to delight in them. But we must be ready to give them all up when he calls. Going home is not an option. He tells us in the Bible that our time is brief. Along the journey he reminds us not to get too comfortable. He sends beauty into our lives that point to a magnificent Creator who we will one day see face to face. He sends disappointments to remind us that it gets better that this. And he calls people back home before we are ready to let them go to keep us longing for that glorious reunion of the saints. I want to be like my middle child, Joshua, who is counting down the days till we get to go home.