At Last.


We have arrived.

Fully unpacked.

Reality is sinking in.

Despite Rachael’s arrival day strep throat diagnosis, we’re all settling in well. Our dear little trooper is on a strong antibiotic that will allow her to be safe for kid public  in a short 12 hours after dose one. We’re thankful for a quick discovery, quick acting medical team recommendation and quick responding medication. Rachael’s in great spirits and excited to be here despite her sore throat. 

Early bedtimes for all tonight as tomorrow promises teacher meetings and scavenger hunt completion. Oh and let’s not forget our need – NEED – to play on each of the three playgrounds available.ūüėČ

It’s still a bit surreal to be here, but we are SUPER excited and thankful for the privilege of being here! 

Wahoo!!!!!

We made it, dear ones, we made it!

Equipping and Preparing

It’s the name of the game, always thinking in smaller and smaller packing space. Smaller and lighter. Smaller and tighter. 

This morning it’s medicine. I’m combining like kinds into smaller and more efficient packing. 


Twenty-one bottles become eleven. And just like that our family of six has close to a year of fever and allergy medication. 

We’ll bring more, that’s for certain. But it’s an amazing start thanks to the beautifully enabling hands of “Aunt Jes’ Housechurch”. I don’t know if you all are aware of it, but that’s your new name. You know, so feel free to start making church signs and distributing letterheads with said name.ūüėČ

Seriously, dear friends, we are crazy overwhelmed by God’s beautiful equipping through our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Overwhelmed, friends!

And it leaves us at His feet, with lifted hands crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord, God Almighty!”

Holy.

Holy.

Holy.

Amen and amen.

– 7 days until orientation. Seven!

Dancing through Disney

So as promised, here’s our 2016 Disney World trip, as seen in¬†some¬†of my¬†favorite pictures.

 

 

 

 

(Merida was my favorite. Her accent, her mischievous character, her attempt to give her three little brothers to our family to even out¬†our family of¬†girls… And even down to her genuine investment in¬†our little ladies. She was great!)

 

It was hot, but it was wonderful and I’m thankful we were able to spend the time with Matt’s parents and cousin, Brittani.

Oh the fun can’t possibly be summarized, even in spite of the oppressive heat.

But I must tell you, one story of sacrificial love. Rodger, who would never even mention it, carried around these little ladies, giving each a shoulder ride in the dead humidity without a single complaint. And while he would never say a word about it, I saw his heart so beautifully in the way he loved everyone on the trip, giving so selflessly. He would so humbly dismiss it, but I just wanted to share my appreciation for his dear heart. His knees were tiresome, even causing him to limp away quietly, but his heart and his arms were so incredibly big throughout the whole trip. He was so focused on making sure everyone had a good time. Friends, he’s just such a sweet grandpa. So thank you, Rodger, even if you’d¬†immediately¬†humbly come up with¬†examples of everyone else’s good values. I still saw your dear heart of service to us all and I thank you.

It was a wonderful trip full of sweet little moments investing in our little ladies, fun rides (even some fast ones with “just the adults”), and pounds and pounds of sweat.ūüėČ

Yay for our first family Disney trip, now onward to Africa!

-EIGHT days until orientation! EIGHT!!!!

-Thankful, grateful and beyond blessed.

 

And in the middle of it all she turns 2!

Today my baby turns 2 years old. Sorry for the scuzzy phone pictures, my laptop is in our van coming back from Disney. 

Eden Rose,

Happy birthday, my ringlet baby. You are talking like crazy, so easy to smile, and an “up, please,” “hold me” kind of baby. You want to do everything your sisters do with a “me too, me too!” Your laugh is contagious and your cry absolutely breaks my heart. Oh and the way you snuggle in close, Eden, and say, “Mommy pet hair,” so I’ll stroke your hair while you fall asleep… Eden Rose, you are a sheer blessing. 

So much has changed in the past month as you’ve watched all our normals get packed away into boxes and a truck. And while we know those things are going to Mozambique, to you those things are forever gone and you won’t remember them whe we see them again. 

Thank you for trusting Mommy and Daddy. Yes, we will hold you extra. No, we’re not leaving too. And yes, singing puppy will not be put into a box. Puppy’s coming. 

We’re sorry that the kitties are gone and yes, baby, Mommy misses “kitty Piper, Kitty Pounce and kitty Pipsqeat” too. But blankey and Mommy and Daddy and Rachael and Abi and even “Nana’s” arms are still here to give you hugs every day. 

Your second birthday is a little confusing. We don’t usually live at grandma and grandpa’s house. But still you run about joyfully playing with the familiar toys. 

Baby, we adore you and we’re so blessed that your bright smile is still just as luminous amidst all this change. 

Your hair is bleaching out from the sun and your vocabulary is taking off. Boppy (your pacifier) is long gone, even if your front teeth are still just a little crooked. 

Eden Rose, you are an absolutely precious gift from God and we all absolutely adore you. You and Hannah are two peas in a pod, Rachael is your fill-in Mommy who lovingly and willingly pets your hair at night during this transition when you need a little extra love, and sometimes only Abi’s hugs make things right after nap time. Abi may barely be able to pick you up, but you know her love is to the core and sometimes the only thing you want. 

Happy second birthday, beloved baby. And just like Rachael says sometimes I want to freeze you and keep you this way forever. 

You are all of our delight. 

Happy birthday, precious love.

We’re delighted to watch you grow into such a wonderful little girl.

My Favorite Ride

I will get a post up within the next week sharing our Disney trip joys. 

As a very quick recap, Disney was wonderful.  I enjoyed most this week getting to watch their joy. Even the smothering heat couldn’t contain their abounding squeals. 
After I go through the hundred+ pictures, I’ll share a sampling of the light on their thrilled faces. It takes so little to cause erupted squeals. And this time it was Disney’s turn. 
But I must confess that my favorite ride was by far the plane ride back. No it wasn’t because of the AC, though after the week of oppressive heat the AC was a welcome friend. But the returning plane ride was my favorite because it was where this happened:


These little ladies can sleep anywhere. But even beyond the entertainment, my favorite time will always be stroking their hair as they breathe heavily resting on my lap. They’re only tiny for a short time and I’m so blessed to get the privilege of holding them in such undeserving comfort and trust. 

Disney was amazing, friends, but they were and will always be by far the most wonderful treasure to behold.

– My cup overflows.

– Thankful, grateful and beyond blessed.

The End of a Beautiful Chapter

The past two weeks were filled with packing and goodbyes.

First we said goodbye to our three fur babies, Piper, Pounce and Pipsqueak, as they moved to their new homes. We still miss our fur loves, but we know they’re settling in well to their new families.

 

We had our last Sunday at the church on June 26. So many wonderfully dear friends came out to say goodbye as Matt preached his last sermon with a  prayerful, thankful and hopeful goodbye.

 

We crated Tuesday, June 28th. Thanks¬†to¬†our dear friend, Ms. Susan, the girls were able to hang around to see everything packed into the truck and play next door at the church when they got bored. The three oldest little ladies then went down to my Mom’s house for¬†a slumber party while Matt and I kept little Eden for the next two days of cleaning. And then on Thursday we quietly said goodbye to¬†our church and our home for the last ten years.

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Goodbye kitties, goodbye house, goodbye local church body.

We are beyond thankful for these past 10 years.

Cheers to a new chapter in life’s¬†beginning.

Because of Your Hearts…

Thank you, Calvary Baptist Church, for very literally equipping our feet to go share the gospel in Mozambique.

Because of your dear hearts blessing ours, we are one step closer to the work He has for us.
Thank you again for your willingness to love on us very practically.

– To God Be the Glory!

– 33 days until orientation.

– 7 days until we crate for Africa.

A Quiet Morning

This morning we just needed a quiet morning.

No more packing.

No more preparing.

A morning of our feet in the bean bin, wiggling our toes as they are covered like sand.

A morning of playing with magnet dolls;¬†doesn’t Belle look beautiful in this fancy dress?

Time to draw yet another picture, carefully crafting the stick figures into perfection.

And the little library had to be set up, categorizing each book by subject because my kids are awesome and adore books. And need to read books. So many beautiful pictures to comment on. The familiar words. The snuggling close.

Then of course the toddler had to slide with her library selection. ‘Dewey the library cat’ tumbled down in her squealing arms.

A quiet morning of puzzles, the oldest nurturing the little middle, as seven year old smiles guided the three year old learning curve. Tenderness. Patience. Quiet love. And at last Cinderella’s ball gown was complete.

Jumping on the trampoline while watching the breeze in the trees out the window. And popping those awesome bubble wrap delights, even riding the scooter over them! How many different ways can we hear those joyful pops?

It was enough.

It was needed.

A quiet before the day picks up; visiting with the cousins, a busy dinner and then running out the door to another VBS night.

How¬†we drank in the morning’s quiet.

How we breathed in the time.

Time to sit.

And be.

Together.

-Thankful, grateful and beyond blessed by our Lord.

Checkmate

It’s official. Today marks our last month at the church. Today marks our last month with a permanent US address. Today marks the last month with our Stateside furniture. That’s right, friends, it’s coming fast.

53 days (8 weeks) until orientation. 

25 days (4 weeks) left at the church. 

27 days until we crate our household contents for Mozambique. 

It all comes with a flood of emotions, thrills and griefs. 

But it sure is coming. 

#preparingforcheckmate

Hello, You All!

Just a quick update:

Tomorrow morning we have our crate estimate before our last 30 days of Mozambique packing. We’re still collecting items and preparing for crate day so the countdown is definitely on! And while crating is stressful, I’m thankful for the combined OCD tendencies with my packing professional mom. We WILL overcome you, Mr. Customs requirements.ūüėČ


Plus, packing suitcases has begun! (Cat is not included.) Time to play an intense game of Tetris as we aim to cram everything into 12 or so suitcases that fit within the weight limitations. And as if that’s not pressure enough, there’s the looming challenge of preparing for the next up to 18 months of language school in which we will be living out of these suitcases and some mystery furniture that we will discover once we get on Moz soil. No worries, we’re not nervous about living accommodations, just rising to the challenge of clothing and entertaining our crew until we see our crated items again sometime in 2018.


Homeschool is all packed away and we are beginning our six weeks of summer school before vacationing and then orientation. It’s so crazy to completely pack up everything, knowing we won’t see it for more than a year!


The countdown chain, which once spanned the entire kitchen wall, is dwindling down to a mere 62 days (9 WEEKS, PEOPLE!) before we leave for orientation and 5 short weeks before we say goodbye to our church family.

We have been blessed to present up to date at two churches and one association all meeting about God calling our family to Mozambique and we are thankful for the desired partnership from some other dear brothers and sisters in Christ in the area. We look forward to getting to share with a handful of more churches before orientation.

So we’re off to the races into the busy season filled with goodbyes and many wonderful joys.

If I don’t update too much in the next 62 days it’s because we are:

  1. Crating for Moz
  2. Packing our suitcases
  3. Doing VBS
  4. Going on a church missions trip as a family to Missouri
  5. Going to Disney World
  6. Going to visit my sis and Nayt in Minnesota
  7. Attending three weddings (Matt’s cousin, friends, and Matt’s youngest sister, Sarah)
  8. And making some last memories for a while with dear friends and family

Yep, it’s jam packed but we are crazy thankful and blessed.

God is Good.

All the time.

And ALL the time

God IS Good!