Where Would You Like To Go?

September 1, 2014

Things I didn't know before

- a spoonful of Jif Peanut Butter should be on the top of the list of comfort foods

- there is no rule to figuring out if you should kiss someone 2 or 3 times on the cheek

- there are places in the world where you have to sweep your house multiple times a day due to the amount of dust/dirt

- to be thankful when the electricity is on

- whether you have salted or unsalted butter does matter

- to appreciate a strong and hot shower (especially if both happen at the same time!)

- that I am immensely thankful for technology

- that I really enjoy taking a pousse (rickshaw) or walking places

- finding self rising flour can bring great happiness

- a market is more fun (albeit sometimes more frustrating) than a grocery store

- fresh meat is NOT always the best option

- board games with the right people are quite possibly the best way to spend an evening

- mixing creme cheese & an egg will make a decent substitution for cottage cheese 

- power outages make for amazing star gazing nights

- that Ritz crackers can be frozen...actually almost anything can be and will still taste just fine

- being a life long learner takes on new meanings when living overseas

August 29, 2014

Five on Friday

1. I've realized that suitcases and boxes can be both exciting & sad at the same time.  We are anxiously awaiting the hugs and hellos in MS but we are also ever aware of leaving our "family" here in SW Mada - it's a hard combination.

2. Lyllian has decided to start crawling, waving bye bye, and saying dada & mama this week.  I think she did it for me so I would be sure to witness the 1sts of everything.  I have a feeling once we get to MS there will be plenty of times when she's with others while I'm at (fill in the blank) .  Oh! And she also has been sitting up in her crib when we go in to get her in the mornings or after nap - such a big girl!
3. It's been my last week with the ESL students - some of my absolute favorite people on this earth.  They are awesome.  I love how much they end up teaching me when I'm there to teach them.
4. Ryleigh is speaking Malagasy better than I ever imagined.  She has amazed us this past week with her understanding and fluency.  We'll have to be sure to keep practicing while we're stateside so she doesn't forget it!

5. Steve preached this past Sunday at our church and I'm not sure I can adequately explain how proud I am of him.  He has worked amazingly hard at the language/dialect and I know how well he speaks - but since I don't get to go to the bush with him, this was the first time I heard him share from God's word in Malagasy.  I'd say all of that hard work has paid off!  Praising the Lord for His faithfulness in Steve!

August 25, 2014

To My Daughters

Sweet girls,
   My heart is full.  There are times when it's hard to believe that this is my life.  Married to your handsome daddy who loves all 3 of us so well, living in a 3rd world country, and being "mommy" to the most beautiful blue eyed girls I know.  Truly living out my dream - it's humbling for sure.  Most spend their time on this earth trying to figure out what their dream is and then chasing after it with all they have. I don't have words to describe how it is to know that I'm 29 and already living mine.  I want you to know that it's not because of anything I have done.  I have done nothing to deserve or earn this life.  My sweet, gracious, & merciful Savior has chosen, for now, to allow me to live this life and I am eternally grateful for every moment He provides.

  I so often have SO much I want to tell you that I have no idea where to start, so instead of it all staying in my head and in my prayers - I want to share some of it with you.  There are things I never want you to question, truths I desire for you to always be confident of.  
Ryleigh & Lyllian - you are LOVED.  You are loved more than you can imagine.  Both of you are uniquely created by the One who controls the storms and calms the seas.  He has an amazing journey planned just for you if you choose to follow Him.  He has entrusted your daddy and me to be your parents here on earth and we are completely honored with the task.  We will make mistakes, sweet girls...at times we will fail at showing you His perfect love but He.will.never.fail.  
  The way your eyes smile and light up when you see me in the mornings - it's incredible enough to make my heart burst.  Your giggles and grins have changed me in a way that's undescribable.  Our days are filled with laughter - have no doubt - but know that there are other moments, ones of tantrums, tears, and discipline...but they all hold a special place in my heart.  It's this whirlwind of ordinary moments that make our life together so extraordinary.  The Lord has used (and continues to use) the two of you to teach me much about His truths, His grace, and His forgiveness.  
  Sometimes the days seem long and we are all (whether you admit it or not) look forward to bedtime.  We're frustrated and in the words of Ryleigh "want to stomp our feet at you".  It's in those moments that I've learned to grab you and pull you in my lap - to hold you until we both start laughing and the tension is gone.  I've learned that Love really does conquer all.  There are times that consequences are needed but Love is always present and I desire to show the two of you that in all that I do.

  Other days the moments fly by.  I blink and it's bedtime.  Those are the nights that our bedtime routine takes a little longer, we rock for a few more minutes, we sing just a couple more songs.  Those nights, you'll look up and find tears in my eyes and I assure you that they are only there because of how happy I am - only there because of how much I love you.  I try to memorize the smell of your hair, the way you hold my hand, the crinkle of your nose, the way you body curls up on mine...it's all going by too fast and I don't want to forget a single second of it.
  This past week, as I was sharing about His love with the ESL class, the realization of each of your salvations weighed heavily on my heart.  The realization that it's truly out of my control - that it's a decision you must make all on your own...it's a hard thing for this momma to accept.  I desire above all else for you to each come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I pray that the stories, crafts, songs, and prayers lead you towards questions that only He can answer.  I ask Him daily to prepare your hearts to love Him alone.  
 Girls, no matter how much your daddy and me love you - you are loved infinitely more by the God that we serve.  We are proud of who you are and how He already uses you to bring glory to Himself.  No matter how old you are - you will always be our baby girls. 

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