Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Getting back in the swing of things..

Thought I'd update with some pictures.  We worked in the yard/garden all day today and the only muscles that aren't killing me right now are in my fingertips, so at least I can type.  Last week was very cold (38 one morning brrrr), and rained every day, windy, no sun.  We ended up staying in and getting lots of schoolwork done and organizing.  James got back in his routine ~ he has evening Bible studies at either the youth center or somewhere in the city Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then the Sunday afternoon Bible study at the youth center. 

Our big excitement today was the sun was shining and we took off the training wheels on Caleb's bike!  Talk about a fast learner.. I was so impressed.  There are few things in this world sweeter to watch than a 4 year old riding a *real* bike for the first time! :)
Although I'd have to say a little towhead girl running up to you with a dandelion bouquet yelling 'pick flowers a Mommy!!' is also pretty sweet. :)  I would rather have dandelions from the roadside than roses from a store any day.
Yesterday we took our first walk to the woods ~ the kids loved it and had their special hidden *places* they had to re-visit.  Since coming back Johanna has dragged her stuffed stick horse ev.ery.where.  it's actually about to drive me nuts... but it was hilarious to watch her running through the trees yelling 'gid YUP BACK BOOOTY' 
All the wildflowers were blooming.. just beautiful. 
I just read something that made me laugh.. 'I used to have many theories about raising children, and no children.  Now I have many children and no theories.'  heh!  I can soooo relate.   Anyway, random notes from our lives.  Love to all...

Monday, May 19, 2008

We're back home! :)

Thanks for your prayers!  We had a great trip back.  The kids traveled well, Johanna even slept 6 hours straight.  I should have taken a picture of her, she looked so cute sprawled out on the floor.  Here's a picture of them watching planes in San Antonio.
We arrived Saturday morning to a cool but beautiful day.  Our back yard was carpeted with dandelions and the lilacs were blooming out front ~ Rachel went wild and happily picked huge bouquets.. and then took her beloved dog for a long walk.  Everyone seemed happy to be back home.

Here's a picture from the Sunday afternoon Bible study, when the weather is nice we have it in our backyard.  It was great to see everyone again and hear all the news.  

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Update on Grandpa Jack

This picture means the world to me.. doesn't Johanna look the picture of happiness and security?  James' wonderful Dad *Grandpa Jack* was diagnosed 6 years ago with spinocerebellar ataxia.   In laymen's vocabulary part of his brain is shrinking causing him to lose motor and speech abilities. 

It's been very difficult to watch this tall, strong, independent man become confined to a wheelchair and unable to talk.  As I've watched how Grandpa Jack has dealt with and confronted this crippling disease I am always reminded of Habakkuk 3:17 - 19 "Even though the fig tree shall not blossom, or the fruit be in the vines;  the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall  yield no meat;  the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength, and HE will make my feet like hinds' feet, and HE will make me to walk upon mine high places."  No matter the sadness and disappointments that life has given Grandpa Jack he has faced every.single.battle with a smile on his face, acceptance in his soul and the knowledge that his loving heavenly Father still loves him even though he is suffering.  There is no pity-party going on, just loving acceptance that God will get me through this.  What an example to us all of how to *finish well* the race of life;  to bless God's name no matter what our personal difficulties.   We may be hugging Grandpa Jack's neck for the last time on this earth tomorrow morning.. so please pray for grace and peace in our hearts.  We so wish we could stay and live here for the next year and help out and make life easier for Nana..  but at the same time clearly know that is not God's plan right now for our family ~ our hearts are breaking to be quite honest.

Well we're packed and ready to go.. and about to pack up the computer so I better end.  Pray as we fly out of San Antonio tomorrow morning.  And pray for all those passengers and flight attendants on Flight 46 non-stop from Atlanta to Moscow tomorrow.. :0  they will be the ones needing grace - heh! :)

Thank you for your prayers and love for our family... we can never re-pay the kindness we have been shown by so many the last 3 months.. May God richly repay you.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Seven years ago yesterday at a few minutes before midnight a beautiful 8lb little boy was born. The fact that he was a boy was a huge surprise to his parents as the Dr. told them at the ultrasound to expect a little girl... well lo and behold *Hannah Grace* turned out a bit different than planned.   We love to look at his first baby pictures wrapped in an adorable pink outfit and wrapped in a pink blanket.  We didn't even have a name picked out... but the only thought and prayer running through our heart at the moment was "God we beg you, make this baby boy grow up to be a man after God's own heart".. so we decided to name him David.   I can not imagine our lives without this amazing, incredible gift & blessing.  He is the kind, loving, quiet peacemaker of the family.  So loving to his little sister;  and is constantly making me think with all the questions of how something works or why, why why is it that way and not this way. Thank you Father in Heaven for the gift of David's life.  

David's current favori
te activities have been shooting a bow and arrow and exploring every water crossings/creek he can find.

For his birthday we went for lunch to a Mexican restaurant where he got to wear this sombrero and watch Daniel Boone pop out and play Happy Birthday on the violin.. I think he felt special!  Oh and please note his battered shirt.. I almost asked him to change because I knew I'd be taking pictures, but didn't because he LOVES his *soldier shirt*   I think he would happily wear it every single day.

I love these pictures.. for his birthday he received two cap gun pistols with a holster!!  Talk about joy unspeakable! :)   He is quite the 7 year old cowboy.

We love you with all of our hearts David and think you're the greatest thing ever!!!!

Your adoring fan club!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Travel Update.. *sigh*

Well I wrote the update below immediately upon receiving our visas.. I was in a hurry to share the happy news.  When I then called Delta to change the tickets I found out that to fly out anytime the 9th - 15th would cost $4800 more :0   plus we would have to split up as there weren't 6 seats available.   So we have tickets bought and we will be flying out Friday the 16th.  As much as we are enjoying this visit we are very much wanting to be back home.  Thanks for your love and prayers for our family.. 9.more.days.  :)  I guess we just needed to learn a little bit more about being flexible...

HOORAY!! Visas came today!

Our visas arrived safe & sound... only 5 months after we started the process ~ that's gotta be a record or something! :)  Anyway, we now have a work permit and if everything works according to plan we will be able to stay a whole year without leaving the country.. that's if no new visa laws are passed.  

We are planning to fly out Friday arriving in Russia Saturday the 10th.  I was sorta hoping to be there for the big May 9th celebration; after New Year's Eve this is THE big holiday of the year.   When James called Andrei about getting a van to pick us up at the airport Andrei suggested we wait to arrive the 10th because all the drivers would be drunk on the 9th... sounded like a good plan to us! :)

Thank you for your prayers and now you can rejoice with us!  Also pray as we pack up, clean, and say good-bye.  

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