Where Would You Like To Go?

September 30, 2011

Pool Time

a post by Ryleigh

Mom and Dad keep saying that it's going to get pretty warm while we're here in Madagascar.  The last time we were in Tana, I spotted a blow up pool that looked like lots of fun.  It only took one sweet look at my daddy to get him to buy it for me.  Mom says that I have him wrapped around my finger...whatever that means!  Sunday after lunch, Mom and I came downstairs to find the pool blown up and filled up!  I got super excited...there was just one problem I couldn't decide what swimsuit to wear! 
After deciding on the ladybug one, I was ready to go!  However, my parents thought the water needed to heat up some so in the mean time I tried out my cupcake cover up from my Lhi Lhi...it looked cute but I was just ready to be in the pool!!
Finally, it was time... 
 I loved playing with my soccer ball...
splashing around with mommy...
and looking around to see what was going on outside the pool...
It was such a fun day!  Thanks daddy!!

September 28, 2011

Thank You PPBC

Ladies from Jana's Sunday School class - THANK YOU!!  What a blessing to receive both of your boxes today!  Being able to make a meal in 20 minutes here is a priceless gift.  Thank you for the love that you poured into those boxes.  I can now say that I'm fully supplied with chapstick, which is great since it's about $10 for one tube here!  I know that you are faithfully lifting us up and there is nothing that means more to us than to know that you intercede on our behalf.  The spice packets, salad dressing, BBQ sauce, Hamburger Helper meals...all of it - it may seem like small things to you but when you're here making most things from scratch - it goes a long way in helping out - especially with a 8 month old starting to go mobile!!

Hannah Grace - Ryleigh LOVES her piano toy!  Her daddy let her play on a real one at a hotel when we were in the capital and so I think this is now her new favorite toy.  You are too sweet to think of her!

Thank you again PPBC - all of you - for being a prayer partner church - we can't wait to see some of your faces over here in Mada!

September 27, 2011

Bath Time

  This past Saturday we were hoping for warm enough weather to try out a small pool we found for Ryleigh.  However, it only ever reached about 70 degrees - so we improvised!  Ryleigh loves bath time and we figured it may be time for her to take a bath by herself in the tub.  She loved every single moment of it. 
 Our only regret? That we didn't have the camera out when Steve grabbed her towel to get her out. The look she gave him was PRICELESS!  She was not ready for it to end!

September 23, 2011

A Doctor Visit in Mada

Last week I had an unfortunate accident with the stairs.  My friend, Natalie, would be quick to tell you that I had quite a bit of trouble with them in high school too...especially at her house!  In this case I was going down the stairs (I haven't fallen up them in quite a while in case you were wondering Natalie) without Ryleigh - thankfully!  My foot slipped out from under me and I proceeded to plummet down our stairs.  You can call me "Grace" I guess!  The result was immediate swelling and bruising which quickly led us to the doctor's office. 
We had been to this office several times to get Ryleigh's monthly measurements.  However, this was the 1st time we had noticed that there are several large steps to get into the doctor's office.  We looked around but unfortunately no "handicap accessible"  (aka "I think my leg might be broken") ramp was available.  As soon as the doctor saw my leg she said "Ohhhhhh Hmmmm" which pretty much translates in any language to "that doesn't look so great".  She said she was sending me to get an xray, but first wanted me to take some pain medicine.  The nurse/receptionist/pharmacist gal (yes, she's all 3) brought me a coffee cup of cold water/oil/sizzling medicine...our guess is some form of alka seltzer.  Let's just say that momentarily I forgot about the pain in my leg due to the taste of this medicine!
We were sent out of the doctor's office and up the street to where the xray would be taken...did I mention we had to walk there...with my hurt leg?  Oh the life of living in Mada!  The reciptionist there told us that we had to pay our bill upfront before we could recieve the xray.  The grand total was...$12.00!  We then walked up the stairs (yes, stairs are why I was there to begin with) and down a long hall to an almost empty room.  Picture an unfinished room in a new house...concrete walls, a few windows, and some wiring still hanging out in random places.  In the middle of the room was a giant machine, which we assumed was the xray machine.  The technician brought up a wooden kitchen chair for me to sit on and picked up my leg and placed it on the machine.  He quickly snapped two photos and praise the Lord it wasn't broken!!  We were then handed the xray...

and told to take it back downstairs to the doctor.  The doctor told us it was not broken or fractured ( Hallelujah!) and wrote up a prescription for 2 different medicines (some more alka seltzer stuff and ointment that's equivalent to muscle rub).  The grand total for all of the medicine...$6.00.  By far the cheapest doctor visit I've ever had!
The end result?  A very bruised and painful - but no longer swollen shin :)
Thanking Him for His protection through the prayers of all of you!!

September 20, 2011

Care Packages

Several of you have been so gracious as to send us care packages.  I don't know that we could adequately express how thankful we are for them.  There's just something about going to the post office and seeing a box with our name on it!  It's so much fun to have a little taste of the USA.  However, the reason for this post is because this past week we realized that several items were taken out of some boxes that were sent to us before they arrived here.  No food items were taken but a few items for Nala, some tools, and a shirt & sippy cup for Ryleigh were.  These all are items that are easy to sell on the streets and were probably taken because someone can make some quick money off of them.  We thought this might be the best way to make everyone aware so that if you are sending a box, we could share some precautions that might help the items make it to us!

1 - please do not send anything electronic or that looks expensive
2 - be creative in your packing (ie - stuffing items in cracker boxes, cereal boxes, etc) and taping them back up
3 - use colorful tape to seal the outside of the box so that it's not easy for someone to open up and retape with the clear packing tape

We appreciate these boxes so very much and while it is frustrating that items have been taken - that's just one more reminder of the people who still need to know a loving and gracious Savior.

September 17, 2011

Vazaha Zazakely

Anytime we head out into town, we know we will hear "Vazaha...Zazakely!!" which when translated means "Foreigner...baby!!"  It's quite comical and of course Ryleigh loves the attention.  Perhaps the place where you would really notice it is when we're at the big market - Tsena Sabotsy.  There are aisles of sorts set up where different people are set up with their goods...fruit, dried fish, rice, plasticware, baskets, hats, etc. 
As soon as the 1st seller has noticed us...aka notices Ryleigh...she/he will start passing the word down the aisle that the vazaha zazakely has arrived.  Often whoever is not holding Ryleigh will simply pay attention to the ripple effect happening down the aisle.  The people will stop what they are doing and start looking around others to get a glimpse of this vazaha zazakely.  They want us to come down their aisles so they can get a closer look at our baby girl.  Our reputation, per say, preceds us.  Let's just say there is no way we could ever sneak up on anyone.
Steve and I have both, at different times, been struck by how much attention was paid to us when we go out.  My prayer from the 1st time I had noticed this was that one day, perhaps the only reason we would be noticed is just because of Jesus.  Not because our skin is a different color, our hair looks different, or because our Malagasy has a Southern twang to it...but only due to the difference that Christ makes in our lives. 

One Sunday morning during the worship service, the pastor was preaching from Luke 18.  In verse 36 & 37 it says, "When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”  That afternoon, Steve started talking about how he flashed back to the way people are in the market.  He was saying that he knows that right now people are just telling others we're coming because they think Ryleigh looks like a baby doll (this is what our language teacher told us).  However, what if one day people started telling those around them that we were coming because they knew we brought the Good News of a Savior? What if they knew that we'd share stories of a Love that was greater than anything they ever imagined?  How amazing would it be if people wanted us to come closer to them because when they looked at us, they saw Him?  What if our reputation preceded us because His reputation was known?

A lot of "what ifs", yes, we know...but it doesn't mean we're going to stop praying that they come true.  Will you join us?

September 13, 2011

The many faces of Ryleigh

I think this is my good side mom...
how do you make a fish face again?
oooooohhhh scary....
happy (as long as there is something in her mouth)
whatever face she's making - we're just thankful she's ours!  LOVE HER!

September 11, 2011

Happy Grandparent's Day!!

A blog by Ryleigh...
Happy Grandparents Day from Madagascar!!
I can remember this time last year...you guys were always talking about me as if I couldn't hear you.  I may have been tiny and inside my momma but I could hear you.  I knew before I even arrived in January how much you loved me.  That 1st week was so much fun getting to be in your arms!
Lhi Lhi
Gran Gran
I know that I'm exactly where the Lord wants me to be...but it does make me a little sad that we can't all take a picture together today. The Lord also knew exactly what He was doing in giving you guys to me...you show me His love in more ways than I can count.  A girl couldn't ask for better grandparents and I wish the 4 of you the greatest grandparents day ever.  I love you!!
Happy Grandparents Day!!!

September 9, 2011

Hot Dog

A couple of weeks ago, our friend Pastor Chris was visiting with us.  Chris is a good friend of ours here and he speaks English very well.  We were having tacos for supper and he decided to stay and join us (he went to America a few years ago and remembered Taco Bell).  I told him it wouldn't be quite the same but he was welcome to stay.  Over dinner we started discussing his time in the states.  As we were asking him about his favorite American foods, Steve asked if there were hot dogs in Madagascar.  Chris said that there were, even here in Antsirabe.  Steve wanted to know how he could know that a place had them.  Chris explained that there would be a sign of course...they usually said BEWARE HOT DOG in Malagasy.  Apparently, Chris had not had an American hot dog in the states...he thought steve was trying to look out for mean dogs!!

September 6, 2011

Do you know how many??

Do you know how many Fruits of the Spirit there are?

I'll wait as you list them off...Galatians 5:22-23 if you need to look...9 right?  That's the number I always came up with too.  However, when we were translating the words during language one day we came up with 6.  It turns out that love, kindness, and gentleness are all definitions of the word fitiavana.  But when we actually brought out our Malagasy bibles there are indeed 9 listed.  The difference being the language people use on a daily basis for conversation versus the official Malagasy language.  So for all of you who would like to try your hand at Malagasy here you go...
"Fa ny vokatry ny Fanahy kosa dia fitiavana (love), fifaliana (joy), fiadanana (peace), fahari-po (patience), fahamoram-panahy (kindness), fanovan-tsoa (goodness), fahamarinana (faithfulness), fahalemem-panahy (gentleness), fahononam-po (self-control); tsy misy lalana manohitra izany." Galatiana 5:22-23

*There are Bibles in the Malagasy language (official language of the island) but there are none in the Mahafaly dialect of our people group in Tulear.

September 4, 2011

Happy 8 months Ryles!

We seriously can't believe you are already 8 months old sweet girl!
You weigh 18lbs 5oz (58th percentile) and are 27.5 inches long (71st percentile)
You have started eating solids 3x a day in your high chair.  Your favorites this past month have been papaya and apples.  You've also started using a sippy cup as more than just a chew toy! 
Your 2 bottom teeth are quite noticeable when you grin (which you love to do) and we're definitely aware of them when you decide to bite down on our fingers!   
You love to look at/chew on books and your favorite place in the house is looking out the window.
Ryleigh, you seem to be in no hurry to crawl and are the happiest when you are standing up. You can't get there on your own yet, but you love pulling up on whatever you can grab.
If you're not grunting at things (this seems to be your favorite form of communication), then you're probably saying "dadadada" or "bababababa". These sounds have not been linked to a person or item yet, just trying out your vocal cords, we guess. The ladies at church this morning said you sure had lots of things to say!
There are no words to express how thankful we are to be your parents.
How precious of a gift the Lord chose to give us when He gave us you. 
We love you, our beautiful, blue-eyed, baby girl!

September 2, 2011

His Design

"But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."  1 Corithians 12:24-26

So much truth in these verses...such a beautiful display of how He designed the church to be.  I wonder how often what we actually live out is the opposite of verse 26?  Someone suffers and perhaps our 1st thought is that they brought it on themselves and quite frankly think they deserve it.  Someone else suceeds/is honored and we suffer in self pity and pride.  Of course we might never actually admit these things, but yet, there they are. 

His challenge to me today?  Live out the truth - this is how we were meant to be.  It is His design.