Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pretzels and Haircuts

Jeff is in Costa Rica, so the kids and I have been trying to keep busy and make the time go faster until he gets back. (He'll be home in a week.)

One activity we did was to make pretzels out of bread dough. The kids loved it, and even Sawyer wore an apron (he insisted) and tried to roll his own dough.

Yesterday, I cut Olivia's bangs, which prompted Sawyer to grab a pair of Olivia's scissors (she'd been doing crafts at the table) and try to cut his hair. Thankfully he was unsuccessful! But he's been in need of a haircut for awhile and I was inspired to see if he might be ready to sit still long enough for a cut. So we went and the results can be seen above! Olivia decided she wanted to get her hair cut, too--short. So, I took a deep breath and let the hairdresser cut off both of their curls. They look so much older to me now!

Please pray for us as we 'survive' here without Daddy. The kids have been ok, but were sick this weekend. I'm afraid I am catching it, too, which would be really. . .inconvenient. :) Also pray for Jeff and all the guys on this trip, that God would move to transform lives for the sake of his kingdom.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Devotions with Olivia

About 45 minutes ago I was sitting in the papasan chair praying and reading my Bible when Olivia burst out of her room, "Good morning daddy! Let's read the fruits of the spirit!" After reading Galatians 5:22-26 she said, "All people do bad things, but God and Jesus help us to do good things and to do the fruit of the spirit."

Later in the conversation she said, "And God made the trees and the grass and the dogs and takes care of us. He gives us food, clothes, blankies, and socks to keep us warm, and fruit and daddy (looking at the pineapple on the refrigerator) pineapple is a fruit and when we love and share with people that is worshiping God.

Fast forwarding a bit, "God is always with us. When we go to school, Mimi's (daycare), church, Costa Rica. Like when I fall down and get owies God helps me....If Ella, Alyssa, Micah, Noah, and Owen, and Judah, and Sawyer where here and they all tackled me down God would help me."

I am pretty sure that Olivia teaches me more about faith and God these days than I could possible be teaching her! Praise God!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sawyer's Video Debut

The Saga Continues

Thanks for the many emails, text messages, and phone calls today about my teeth. Thanks for all the prayers on my behalf for something as seemingly insignificant as a tooth. I wish I could say that all went well and now we are just waiting for everything to heal and then this will all be behind us, but alas no can do.

The bone graft that was done late last summer with the hopes of then being able to put an implant into (basically a fake root of a tooth that a crown is then screwed onto) failed to integrate. So instead of putting the implant in the doctor simply removed the chunk of bone that was sitting loosely beneath my gums. So now we wait again for things to heal up and the doctor is doing some research as to what to do next. Most likely it means a bridge will need to be put in instead of an implant. I should feel quite unique as he says that what has occurred in my mouth occurs about 1% of the time or less. I always knew I was special (can't wait to read the comments about that one!)

On the bright side in order to save some $$ I decided to do this with a local anesthetic. All of the staff at the doctors office thought I was crazy for doing this except the doctor who was excited to be able to talk me through the procedure. As it turns out I did watch it all take place via a mirror. I know I am a bit weird, but hey I am unique after all.

Monday, February 11, 2008

August it is!

We have decided to push our move date back to August for a couple of reasons. First, the regular language school program is a better fit than an intensive for our family. This means we will be in language school from late August to mid-December instead of June and July. Second, this will also give us more time to pack and move once Tracey is done with the school year. We had been planning on moving about a week after she was to be done. So language school begins August 27th. Most likely we will move about a week prior to this.

Also this may allow us to take advantage of a program at the language school called FARO where instead of having conversation class in the classroom you have a route through a community and assignments to complete. You then touch base with a teacher a few times a week to debrief and ask questions. Sounds like more fun that being in the classroom and perhaps we may be able to do this in the area we will be living and working in after language school.

If you want to check it our here is the language school's website: http://www.thespanishinstitute.com/

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Testing new email feed

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Tracey's Reflections from MTI

I've been procrastinating this entry, and I'm not sure why. I think it has to do with the fact that there is so much I could say about MTI, and I'm not sure how to condense the experience properly. Here goes an attempt!

I will say first of all that MTI was wonderful, and actually much reflection is still to come as the things we were taught prove true later on once we're IN Costa Rica.

The thing I appreciate the most about MTI is that it was not a pep rally for missions. Our teachers told us their true stories, shared the hard realities of living overseas away from the familiar, and explored a long list of areas of potential (probable) conflict and stress. You might think that this approach could be depressing, or at least de-motivating, but it was actually quite refreshing! Jeff and I have traveled enough, worked cross-culturally and in ministry enough, to have seen some really ugly things. I suppose they aren't things that should surprise anyone too much, except that we naively used to think so-called "Christ-followers" held themselves to a different way of thinking, to standards slightly higher than people who do not claim such allegiances. We have, I think, come to grips with the human condition enough to be on guard for some of the pitfalls, and also to extend grace much more readily. All the same, it was healing balm to hear that it will be hard, and it will be normal if it is hard. And especially if the difficulties involve relationships with other Christians.

Lifestyle choices. What does this cover? What doesn't it cover? This was insightful for me. Before I became a mother, I would have had no second thoughts about going and living in the middle of a slum, or some "dangerous" place. I would have forsaken all for the the sake of seeing people's lives transformed into the image of Christ. I would have identified with the poor by becoming poor; I would have "gone native" as they say. Now the issues are more complicated. Now I am responsible for 2 young children. I am to see that they eat, sleep, learn, play, and thrive in life. I believe that I am giving my kids a GIFT by letting them grow up somewhere different than home. I believe that the experiences they have in Costa Rica, learning another language, adjusting to another culture, will make them richer humans. But I know it might not always be easy for them. And I know that the 'lifestyle' choices we make as a family because of our kids will be different than if they were not around. Unless God directs otherwise at some point, we will probably live like middle class Ticos. We don't plan to live completely sheltered, but we will probably have a car, a blender, and US linens. We will live a simpler life , but for the sake of longevity, (and our kids) not a deprived life. And much guilt was relieved in hearing that this is all right.

Paradoxes. In the kids program at MTI they show the children two rubber ducks. One is clean and pretty, the other is dirty. A 'yeah' duck and a 'yuck' duck. A 'pair-a-ducks.' Two things that are opposite, but true, at the same time. :) I think of this in terms of my feelings about moving to Costa Rica. On one hand, I have feelings of nervousness, things I'm not sure about, fears. And on the other hand, I am so deeply excited that the day is finally approaching. I am sad--really sad--to be leaving our Visalia home, our friends, our support. But I look forward to new friendships, ways that old ones will be strengthened, and ALL that God is and will be doing in our lives. So, it's not simple. But it's all true. And it's a paradox. There will be lots of those.

I could say so much more, but I will wait and say it later. This at least gives a taste of some things I've been thinking about. :)