First of all, I just have to say thanks for all the participation in this little give-away. How fun=) Maybe I'll do this more often, especially since we'll be in the studio recording a full band CD in June! We'll need to give one of those away for sure.
OK, back to business. I had my lovely assistant, Areyna, do the honors
AND THE LUCKEY WINNER IS...
Caroline!! Yeah, maybe we'll make our way up to NSCBC for the book signing=) If I don't hear from you by tomorrow night EVERYBODY check back here because I will post another winner!!!!
For those of you that didn't win you can still order your own copy on-line (not in stores yet) at the links I provided HERE.
Thanks again. It was so good to hear from old friends again=)
I just have to say...my hubbie's back! I am so glad this week went so well for him, but we sure missed him around here. 1 boy even gave his life to Christ, Praise The Lord! That is why we do what we do=)
Thank you all for praying for PATIENCE!! The kids were great. This week was so good for me as a mom. I fell in love with my children all over again with nothing to do but spend time with them. No list to check off, although somehow I managed to get EVERYTHING done to get caught up on with the ministry AND the house after being in Hungary.
**Don't forget to goHERE to enter to win Josh's new book that I'm giving away=)
This week has been GREAT! I have had NO expectations to get anything done, but have actually gotten TONS done!! Today was errand day. We went in a BIG circle to make all 11 stops. Man, I've never buckled and unbuckled the car seats that many times in one day, EVER.
We don't wear shoes much around this household. I LOVE going bear foot. In fact, the other day when Josh and I went for a walk and I put my tennis shoes on both of my kids made comments because they aren't used to me having close-toed shoes on. Zeke said "Uh-oh mommy, uh-oh mommy!" with a very concerned look while pointing to my feet, and Areyna said, "Mommy, why do you have those things on your feet? You should probably take them off." But, we have an understanding at this house. Our rule is: "We have to wear shoes at church and in stores, but we can take them off in the car and at home". Well, wouldn't you know, as soon as we got to the check-out at one of the stores and little boy walked in with his mommy WITH NO SHOES ON!!! Areyna turned and very loudly asked me, "Why, does that boy not have shoes on? His mommy should probably go get his shoes." Uh, what do you say=)
About half-way through our errand stops Areyna randomly asks, "Mommy, why do we have teeth?" That is only funny because last night after our Bible Devotions she had asked "Mommy, why do we have noses?" Oh, the questions of a 3-year old=)
Finally, our last stop was to mail off the newsletter. They were about to tape up the box and I realized that I forgot the paperwork to stick in there. So, we piled back in the car to run home, grab the paperwork and make 1 more trip out!! During the final outing the kids wandered around "Goin' Postal" which is decorated with boxes. I really wasn't paying attention until the worker said with a giggle "Uh, your little boy fell in one of the boxes." The boxes are all set up and stacked in towers so you can see the different sizes and Zeke had climbed one of the "towers" and fallen in the top box. He didn't even make a noise or cry out, he just sat there waiting for me to come get him out. I'm glad the workers were so sweet about it=)
Our errands are complete and the ministry is ALL caught up...for today at least.
Zeke has a new fetish this week; LICKING...EVERYTHING!
He will be 2 in a couple of weeks so it's not like he's 1 anymore where he just doesn't know better. Last night he was licking the steering wheel on the car cart at the grocery store and the plastic bags for the vegetables. Today I caught him sidestepping around the swimming pool licking it all the way around and then getting out and bending down, in half, to lick the grass. What in the world!
That's what I came home to last night. We got home around 4:30pm yesterday and we opened the front door to what felt like a sauna. Here is a picture of our thermostat after working non-stop for over 3 hours! It's still a little warm in the house but it's overcast outside this morning which is helping.
After opening the door I immediately went to turn the air down and on my way back to the front of the house I noticed a nice trend among my beautiful green plants throughout the house. Crispy and Dead. I guess this is just going to be the life for any indoor foliage I have as long as we keep up this traveling ministry of ours. Oh well=)
Ya'll are not going to believe this when you read it but we are in charge of a VBS in Raleigh this week starting...tonight. I wasn't sure what I was going to do since the kids have already been gone for 2 weeks and we are all overcoming some sort of jet-lag. I wasn't sure I would be able to handle 2 toddlers by myself for a week while trying to overcome jet-lag while they are still on Colorado time themselves. I thought it might be easier to just go to Raleigh so I'd have some backup help. Well, as soon as my feet hit my front doorsteps I KNEW I was destined to stay home this week! It is just too good to be home and I know the Lord will sustain me and give me the patience I need with the kids this week. It was so funny watching Josh unpack our large suitcase and putting his clothes directly into a small bag for the week.
We made it back a little after midnight last night. My poor dad drove all the way from Denver to Colorado Springs in complete silence while Josh and I struggled to keep our mouths shut while nodding in and out of consciousness. Our luggage didn't make it with us but should be delivered tonight or tomorrow morning. Praise the Lord our luggage at least made it to Hungary=) It was so good to wake up to Zeke and Rainy singing and giggling. I missed those sounds so badly!
Well, if you read my last post you know that we didn't have water, therefore unable to take showers before our trek home. BUT, Josh had a solution. We lathered up with shampoo and body wash, put our bathing suites on and RAN across campus and directly jumped into the swimming pool. Man, was that cold, but it definitely woke us up and cleaned us off=)
Now, I'm sitting here catching up on e-mail, trying to keep my eyes open, and waiting for the feast my mom is preparing for dinner. Hopefully it won't include any forms of potatoes and pasta=)
Well, it is only 12:45 in the middle of the night for a lot of you and I am sitting outside while the sun is rising and it's about 6:45am. It is our last morning in Hungary. We are supposed to be packed and ready to go by 8 to drive to the airport and the whole campus is WITHOUT WATER. Not even a trickle to brush my teeth. That should be a nice long trip home=) I can't help but laugh. I might even have to resort to using my friend Lindsey's method (check out #1) to go to the bathroom, except that all my diapers are with my kids back in the states!!!=)
What is the picture that flashes in your mind when you think of a "typical" missionary? I bet it's NOT this!! Take a closer look and you'll see what I'm talking about=) You can cross-reference this guy from Josh's post a couple of days ago about a family that is ministering to the gypsies in Romania. He was dressed up last night during a fun gathering they had, playing bongos on a couple of barstools. The missionaries here are normal, everyday people that have taken that step of faith toward the goal that God has given them. They have packed up everything, including their families, and moved to implant their lives in another culture. Some of them have moved numerous times, even within the last couple of months, weeks and even days leading up to this conference. I have been humbled as I listen to their stories of constant transition and have learned a lot that can be applied to our lives and our ministry. We came to minister and have in return been blessed by these precious servants in Christ! Read Josh's blog for more personal testimonies and stories about our new friends.
Sugar seems to be a scarce commodity here in Hungary. Potatoes and pasta, on the other hand, are not! We have had at least one form of each for every meal=) (I'm really not complaining, the food hasn't been bad at all).
Josh and I have had A LOT of free time here, but we're not complaining. Today during our free time we thought we'd do something a little different, instead of the usual falling asleep reading or walking around the villas.=) We rented a couple of bikes and took a bike ride up the mountains, well actually, they were hills but my butt and thighs would tell you otherwise;) Anyway, we were told there was an old "castle" to the left, take a right and up the hill. We'd been riding for about 45 minutes and my shaky legs could not go any farther. We had yet to find the mysterious castle. After a Mary mother of Jesus shrine, a homeless man, numerous wrong turns and 20 or so more minutes we found it! It was quite an experience=) I hardly peddled 5 times all the way back down so I didn't feel so bad for how out of breathe and exhausted I was after realizing the whole first half was UPHILL! I hadn't ridden a bike in several years but it was so much fun to get out and see the country a little. I think my body is probably going to regret this little adventure in the morning.
It's father's day today and I am thousands of miles away from my dad, but I just wanted to tell you, dad, that I love you and thank God that He allowed you to be MY dad! Thank you for being a dad to my kids this week while we are in Hungary! I also wanted to let everyone know how much I appreciate my baby's daddy!! He doesn't even get to see his kiddos on father's day. Don't worry we'll still celebrate this special day=) I love you, Josh, more than you'll ever know. Thank you for being the Spiritual leader of our home. Thank you for being the hard worker for your family and for our God. Thank you for loving our kids the way you do and for helping me along this "parenting" journey. Thank you for being the one to tell the kids their night-night stories and for being the one to clean up Zeke's yogurt face. Thank you for being the one to "elbow smash" them and play "gotcha" with them. Thank you for telling the kids that you love their mommy and for backing me up when they disobey me. I love you!! Happy Father's Day!
Jet lag doesn't necessarily mean TIRED. My achy and shaky body has been so dizzy the last day or so that I feel like I'm having a bit of an out-of-body experience. I'm really glad they have STRONG Hungarian coffee that brings me back to earth=)
I've always heard about these yearly meetings for the IMB missionaries. These missionaries and their families look forward to this time all year long. We've had several friends who have gone into the mission field who have talked so highly of this time. A time to get together with other Americans, to worship in their own language and to rest, relax, train and prepare for another year of selfless ministry. I must say, this is one of the neatest experiences Josh and I have had since we started our ministry. What a blessing and honor it has been to be here. We are supposed to be here encouraging these missionaries and I don't believe they will ever know how much of a blessing they have been to us so far and what an encouragement they have been to us. I just want to thank all of you who have allowed me to be here and minister with Josh and who are praying for our time here. I'll keep you posted on the rest of the week=)
While Josh and I were preparing our kids for our departure I wanted to make sure that Areyna knew what we'd be doing. I asked her,"Rainy, do you know what daddy and I will be doing in Hungary?" She replied so matter-of-factly, "You are going to go sing about Jesus...and eat a lot."
Apparently in Paris (and some other countries for that matter) you are not supposed to put the used toilet paper in the toilet but throw it away in the trash can. Hmmm. I learned that lesson too late=)
Well, we're here. It is 2:37pm Charlotte time and 8:37pm here. The flights over here were quite eventful. Let me just recap to save you all the details:
1-Got in the car to go from my parents house in Colorado Springs to Denver at 9:15am.
2-Got to the airport in Denver a little after 11am in plenty of time to get through the quickest security check we've EVER been through and catch our 1pm ride.
3-We flew from Denver to Dallas/Ft.Worth
4-We brought both of our instruments on the flight with us. Josh couldn't find a single place for his guitar on the flight except in the VERY BACK OF THE PLAIN!!!
5-As we were landing our connection to Paris was boarding on the other side of the airport. We just knew we were going to miss our flight. The airplane was Packed and it took Josh forever to get BACK to get his guitar and meet me even after the flight attendants asked everyone to let us through. That definitely did NOT happen! They had a special shuttle that waited for me and Josh to take us directly to our next flight to Paris. There is no way our luggage made it.
6-We made the flight to Paris!
7-Josh and I were in the middle section of the airplane. As soon as we were in the air the flight attendants started handing out our drinks. Sweet ol' Grandma, who was sitting right beside me in the side section, asked for straight up Vodka. And after receiving it she asked if they'd be back for another round of drinks. After the flight attendant told her the next thing on the agenda was dinner, Grandma went ahead and ordered another Vodka. She didn't stop there. She went back to the stewardesses to retrieve a couple more drinks before morning came. Let's just say her volume increased as the flight went on=)
8- We land in Paris without tickets. They said we were to pick up our last tickets from Paris to Budapest IN Paris. Nobody seemed to know where we should go. We ended up walking through a doorway that lead out to the main entrance of the airport. Did they check our passports? Nope. We just kept walking and asking around. It is the most confusing airport I've ever been.
9-We finally found the check point we needed to get our tickets. In Paris they have individual security checks for each gate so we stood in line AGAIN for security and waited for our plane.
10-All of a sudden our gate changed so off we go to go backwards through the security we just waisted a half an hour in and we went to go stand in line at our next gate's security.
11-We board the plain and we looked out the window and sure enough, there was our luggage. We couldn't believe it made it!!!
12-The luggage guys pick up one or our bags and loaded it on the plain. They went to put the second bag on the plain and they looked very confused as they checked out the tags, then they take it off the belt and put it on the ground behind them before loading it back on the luggage truck. I'm like..."hey, it's ours, and we're on the plane!!!!" After going up front to tell the flight attendants and showing them everything we finally watched as they loaded our other bag on the flight.
13-We arrive in Budapest at around 3:30pm or so on Friday and then hop in the van for the 2 hour trip to ...Here, wherever here is.
It's beautiful! I feel so honored to be here with these people who have uprooted their whole families to obey God's calling on their lives!
Josh, Rainy, Zeke and I flew into Colorado Springs around 3:30 Colorado time yesterday. You can't help but relax as soon as you arrive. The atmosphere around here is so laid back and WE LOVE IT. Right now I'm sitting here in my parents living room with all the windows open. Can you believe that their house doesn't even have air conditioning? We haven't even been able to keep our curtains and mini-blinds open at our house in Charlotte because of the suffocating heat, and our air still works non-stop!=) Anyway, the kids are content playing outside with all the fun toys here at Nonnie and G-daddy's house and running around on the deck waiting for the squirrels to come and eat the nuts they've laid out.
Just because I think you'll love it, here are a few recaps from the airplane rides over here:
1-Neither of them slept on either of the flights
2-Rainy's favorite parts were the landings. She squealed with delight during the last turbulent landing while everyone else held on to their armrests for dear life!
3-The person who thought of putting a playground inside of an airport is a genius.
4-Josh and Zeke walked off the first plane looking like they just finished watching a show at Seaworld with Shamu. Airplane pressure mixed with "soury drink" (sprite) in a sippy cup = a mess. There was an explosion after every sip=)
5-Zeke decided that he wanted to be a big boy and went poopie and peepee in the potty on the airplane. Therefore, I spent a huge chunk of the first plane ride back in the tiniest bathroom known to man between Rainy, Zeke and me=)
6-The kids were up for almost 15 hours without a nap and acted exceptionally well.
7-Rainy made instant friends with all the airline attendants
8-A 2-year-old is not meant to be restrained on a lap for more than 20 min.!! Zeke just wanted to dance in the aisle.
Josh and I were at Weddington Community again this morning. It went really well and Pastor Blake had a GREAT message about some small changes we can make in our lives that could have HUGE impacts. Then, we rushed home to grab a bite of lunch before round 2 at Ridge Church tonight. Rainy loves Ridge so after she changed into her Cinderella dress she headed out with her daddy for the evening. Thankfully I've got the night off because we are flying out tomorrow morning to drop the kids off at my parents in Colorado and then leaving for Budapest, Hungary. Josh and I will be leading worship for the regional missionary conference that will be gathering there. Right now I'm taking a break to recoup and then I'll get back to the packing. We should have internet access so we'll keep you posted on our journey=)
Several months ago I read THIS POST on my friend Lindsey's blog about a book she was reading called "Feminine Appeal" by Carolyn Mahaney. I decided that I HAD to get it. I always love a good toe-stepping word from God. I am trying to slowly go through it even though I'd love to just sit down and read the whole thing at once. This past week I've been reading about delighting in our husbands. Not just "serving" them but actually STOP cleaning the house, making dinner or fixing the baby bottle, to look at our husbands for an uninterrupted minute and delight in them. The word that Paul used in Titus 2 to describe the way our love should be toward our husbands isn't the Agape, self-sacrificing kind of love that comes most naturally to women, it is the word, Phileo, meaning affectionate. We get so caught up in doing things for and serving our husbands that we could even begin to resent them for ALL that we are doing. In fact she added this quote in her book by Jonathan Edwards: "Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination." Meaning, if I am being resentful toward my husbands it is a "heart" problem within myself. I need to love him regardless of his response. This chapter has really made me stop and appreciate, love and adore my husband. I've been trying to think of some things that I can do to show this kind of love toward him like writing him notes or bringing coffee back from Starbuck's after I've had a meeting there. What are some ways that you show YOUR husband that you love him affectionately? I'd love to get some new ideas=)
Today was a big day. I signed Areyna up for KidsPlay at Southbrook church in their 2-day preschool class for 3-year-olds. Josh and I prayed and thought about it a lot and we've decided that this is the right thing to do for several reasons:
1-Areyna would get stability in some friendships which I feel like she would cherish
2-She will def. learn a lot
3-It will teach her some good classroom structure that will be helpful when we homeschool. We're still praying about the homeschool step but will not really have a choice if we continue to travel the way we do=)
4-It will be a great bonding time and some quality 1 on 1 time with Zeke and me that we've never had before
5-It will give Zeke some forced independence from Rainy
(There are plenty of other reasons but these are some of the first ones we thought about)
So, after I filled out the paperwork I pulled out my checkbook to write the deposit and my friend at the front desk just told me that she'd have Raina, the director (actually a good friend of mine) give me a call. I really didn't think anything of it until Raina called me later this afternoon to inform me that she had 2 anonymous family's who were going to sponsor Areyna for the school year and we don't owe a penny. Praise The Lord!! I cannot put into words how thankful and how blessed we are.
Note to self: Running 5 miles off-and-on during my whole first pregnancy isn't such a good idea. I've always been pretty active. My parents told me that when I was a little girl I used to "run" everywhere. I ran track in middle school. I was fast, but kind of bored, so I decided to chase a ball while running instead to spice it up a little bit and took up soccer. I played through High School and College and continued playing on an adult co-ed team until I got pregnant with Areyna. Josh and I fell in love while jogging the mountains in Tigerville, SC so that has always been a big part of our relationship too. Well, I read up on exercising while pregnant and EVERY source said that it was okay to do what I normally do. So, I ran...a lot. I also read that exercising can induce labor and by the time Areyna's due date had come and gone I was desperate, so I kept on running. Well, sometime between Areyna and Zeke I began getting bad knee pain and I can't get more than a mile or so before I have to stop and walk. My theory is that all this happened when my ligaments started to loosen up during pregnancy and this is just the effect it had on my body. I used to make fun of those "power" walkers, I mean, how could they possibly be getting ANY exercise. Just kidding, I am one of those people now and I know that it does a body good. Well, last night I was out for my daily, or tri-weekly, or whenever I can fit it in-weekly, walks and I was using my "free" time to catch up on some phone calls. I was talking to my mom as I turned the corner 1-mile into my walk. In the middle of my path stood a dog. (I know you are going to laugh when you see what kind of dog it was, but to me, at the time, he seemed 10 times bigger!) Some people see a dog and think, "oh, he is just so cute" while I'm thinking, "look at that monster with HUGE teeth". Now, this is no ordinary dog, it is our neighbor's dog, Coda, who never had a problem with me until last week when he bit my foot for no apparent reason. I've never had a dog and I don't know how to relate to them or tell when they are mad or playing, but when Coda started growling at me and going for my legs with his ferocious teeth I started screaming and running. My poor mom didn't have a clue what was going on. I decided to do another lap around my neighborhood to try to lose Coda. As I turned into another cul-de-sac I looked to see if I'd lost Coda. Thankfully he was gone. I shakily turned around to watch where I was going because it was dark by this time and as I looked down at the ground I realized that I was about to step on a snake!! Yes, another one of those creatures that I could probably go without coming into contact with again in my lifetime. By that time my mom had to talk me back to my senses and tell me to hang up and call Josh to come rescue me. Man, that was not the relaxing walk that I had in mind=)
Josh and I were sitting in the living room this morning and lo and behold,the UPS truck. It slowly made its way up our driveway. Could it be? Yes, Josh's book came today! It has been a long process and it is finally complete. I am so proud of my hubby. What a great accomplishment. You can see a picture of the cover on Josh's blog HERE. Soon, you'll be able to purchase a copy on Amazon, but if you simply cannot wait, you can click THIS LINK to order it directly from Xulon. Thank you for all your prayers and support through this whole process=)