Saturday, December 28, 2013

From Jonestown, With Love

Our dear friend, Paula Kissinger, created these one-of-a-kind gifts for our children this year.  Thank you so much, Paula, for your love and creativity!  These photos are for you!

From Iquique, With Love

My sister Stephanie and her family are missionaries in Iquique, Chile.  They sent back some gifts with our parents after their trip to Chile in November.  Thanks, Garcia family, for thinking of us!  These photos are for you!

Christmas 2013, Part 3

Dave says his favorite part of Christmas morning is watching the kids open their stockings.  I hate wrapping those little gifts, but the joy of seeing the kids dig in and find their little gems is worth the hours of labor.  :)

This year Sophia sort of got the idea of opening gifts...after she chucked a few across the room, that is.  Overall, however, she did seem to remember what we do on Christmas morning, and wasn't quite so overwhelmed as the last couple of years.  Hard to believe this was her third Christmas with us already!

One of our children was missing again this year.  This is Jonathan's second year in a residential treatment facility over Christmas.  Dave and I were able to visit with him the Saturday before Christmas and give him a couple of gifts.  We continue to pray that God will heal his mind and heart and that someday, he will be able to enjoy Christmas with the family again.

Christmas 2013, Part 2

One of our annual traditions is the opening of one gift on Christmas Christmas pajamas.  And, of course, the requisite photo must be taken in the pajamas in front of the tree.  This year I didn't try to be matchy-matchy with everyone, much to Sabastian's relief.  And, of course, I couldn't get all of them looking in one direction, either, so thus, two photos to share with you.  Sigh.  Maybe one of these Christmases...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013, Part 1

It's hard to believe that we are at the end of 2013 already!  I have been a neglectful blogger this year...but I have plans for this blog in the new year, so stay tuned!

This Christmas was a blessed one, yet again.  For the second year in a row Dave is unemployed at the end of the year, yet we have seen God's grace so clearly and freely given to us.  Every gift under our tree was given to us by a friend, family member, or total stranger this year.  I bought the items that filled their stockings, as is our tradition, but the gifts were blessings from God given through others.  As I mentioned on Facebook on Christmas day, the lessons learned through our times of unemployment could not have been learned any other way, and the blessings from those lessons are worth more then any job.  Praise the Lord!  God has been working in our lives in very specific ways this year (which is a blog post unto itself!) and we are so thankful!

One of our special friends is Nancy.  We met at church and she just adopted our family as her own.  She has been such a blessing to us in so many ways.  When Nathaniel said he wanted to make cut out cookies and gingerbread men this Christmas, I knew Nancy, as a former home economics teacher, would love to help us out.  We enjoyed a fun morning together, and Nathaniel was in his glory.  We might have a future chef on our hands!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mid-Summer (Almost!) Post

In four days, this handsome young man and I will be boarding an airplane bound for Santiago, Chile, Lord willing.  If you were to ask me about my summer agenda a couple of months ago, my answer would not have included a trip to South America, but God had other plans.  Thanks to the prayers and generosity of many friends and family, God provided for Benjamin and me to take this trip in order to serve the Lord in various ways, including in service teaching at my high school alma mater, Santiago Christian Academy.  It is Benjamin's first time in an airplane, and he is excited to be spending time with his cousins in Chile.  It is really the highlight of his summer vacation, but he has also enjoyed swimming in our little backyard pool and studying the various species of ants in our yard.

This young man just returned from a week of camp at Camp Conquest in Lancaster County.  He has been attending camp there since he was in second or third grade, and this was his last opportunity to be a camper, due to his age.  He has worked a lot this summer in a variety of jobs, and has graciously taken his dear old parents on "dates" to the movies with his earnings.  While I'm in Chile, he will be attending a basketball camp at Messiah College and helping his grandparents care for his younger two siblings.  I think all in all, it's been a good summer thus far for Sabastian!

Nathaniel has another hole in his head, as he lost his second tooth just last week!  He is enjoying his backyard swimming pool, too, and has learned to hold his breath under water and swim around with his goggles on.  I'm going to miss this little guy while I'm in Chile, as he tells me several times a day, "I love you, Mommy."  We are working on writing his loooong name and reviewing his letters and sounds in anticipation of kindergarten at our home school in the fall.

And then there's Sophia.  Home for two years earlier this summer, she is growing and maturing, albeit at her own sweet pace!  Hopefully she will be as excited as this when she realizes she is spending almost three weeks at her grandparents' home beginning this Tuesday!  She amuses herself in a variety of ways during the day, but truly loves to be out and about with the family.  She is much more interested at being outside these days, and we have to watch that she doesn't run out into the road before she gets into the house after disembarking the van!  She certainly keeps us on our toes!

And as for my sweet hubby, he will be holding down the fort and working hard to meet the needs of our family.  His job is going well, but is very physically demanding, especially in the heat we've been having.  I'm very thankful for Dave and his commitment to me and the kids.  Lord willing, he will be visiting our oldest son, Jonathan, while I'm away.  It will be the first time Jonathan has sat down and talked with one of us face to face in almost a year.  It will be good for both of them.

Many thanks to my dear friend and sister in Christ, Naomi Atkins, for taking these lovely photos of our family earlier this summer.  You can find her and her partner's work on Facebook or their blog.  We highly recommend them!  Happy rest of the summer to all!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our 2013 Summer Bucket List

Our last day of home schooling for the year, and Sabastian's last day of school, was Friday.  So, Monday was our official first day of summer vacation!  To celebrate, we made our Summer Bucket List of activities that we would like to try and do during the course of the summer.  I found the idea at this site and we printed the list and got to work choosing our summer fun.  We actually checked off most of the ideas on the list, and then added a few of our own.  Monday evening we went to the store and picked up a few cheap items to help us accomplish some items on our list, like water guns, a small pool, and a few pool noodles (the latter of which is not for what you might think!).

On Tuesday, we were able to check off swimming (in our little kiddie pool, but who cares?) and water guns.  I'm sure they will actually be almost daily occurrences when the weather cooperates.  On Wednesday, we checked off strawberry picking and play date with friends at the park.  We have been super blessed with wonderfully cool weather for summer the last couple of days, which made it very nice to be outside.  Here are some photos from our adventures!