Tuesday, December 30, 2008

family gifts

This Christmas was a first for a few new things in our home. We really enjoyed the stockings that my family made for our kids.

3 generations of B family hands worked on these beauties and the love stitched into them is obvious, and precious to us. Thank you dear family!

The banner below also has 3 generations invested in it.... K family ladies, this time, as well as two very dear friends here, saw this project through to completion. Since Christmas is so much more than a celebration of only gifts and snuggly, wintery characters, we're glad to have learned from more creative people a method of teaching our kids what the real meaning of Christmas is. My friend here, B, drew each of the pictures on the ornaments. She is a talented artist!

Dec 1 we'll put up the first ornament, a picture of the world that God created, and each day till Christmas put up a new ornament explaining a piece of the story of how God prepared his people for the birth of Jesus, our Savior. There are a few great books out there on how to create your own Jesse Tree and devotionals to read along with each ornament you put up.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We hope you enjoyed a most joyous celebration this year! Christmas is an incredible celebration.... our humble Savior King's birth, our salvation-life in him, and the Hope he sets in our hearts that he will make all things right. What cause for joy!

Our celebration this year included lots of fun gatherings with friends and started much before the actual day and lasted well past it... We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with just our family, four +. It was really neat (and a huge relief) to finally have our Jesse Tree banner finished to be able share with friends the real reason for our cheer(more about that soon.) Here are a few fun shots- mostly of the kids enjoying gifts that Grandpa and Grandma packed in when they visited last month. (Thank you again dear families of ours!)

In the way of gifts, Isaiah is thrilled to have a new dog which was first named with the local word for "they" but more lately is called "Pup." And thank you Auntie H and Uncle G for the super cool airplane! Matt helped Isaiah assemble it "all by himself" (toy drill was included for the assembly.) What a toy- perfect for our little engineer! (When Grandma and Grandpa were with us we opened still more gifts- a fun walkie talkie set and lots of cute clothes that more family members sent... we were really spoiled!)

Marian was also delighted to receive a baby doll and a stroller and a plastic tea set to dine with. She has made sure to take good care of her baby by spoon feeding Baby from her tea cup and by giving Baby a plate and cup to take along on her stroller rides.

This last family photo is hilarious to me... I would title it "Web Cam Face". The one thing I really dislike about web caming with family or friends is that our kids usually seem so sedate when they're groggy headed, eating breakfast, staring at the computer... it's just wonderful to see the people we love and hear from them, but for them to see us? I think web cam only captures 2% of the life and energy and spunk that our kids really have in them! This photo seems to capture my sadness for web cam just perfectly, still, I really love this photo!

In pregnancy news: I'm 15 weeks along with "K3" and glad to feel more pregnant lately. I've just finished an awkward and fairly short season of not being nauseous, not really showing (emphasis on "really"), not hardly feeling pregnant, and being a bit eager for some reassurance. I'm actually glad to feel more now- possibly our little one twittering around? The unconfirmable pudge has given way to a more assuredly pregnant feeling.... We're so excited!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

memory verses

We eagerly desire to teach our kids well about the Lord but we definetely do not consider ourselves to be gifted early childhood educators. So we're jumping in with memorizing some short Bible verses. It seems to be the best fit for our 2.75 year old's brain. And it's such a joy to see and hear him love the Word of God and to know these words and the LIFE in them are in the air, and hopefully, in the hearts in our home. Here's what we're working on:

* Psalm 19:1 ~ The heavens declare the glory of God.

* Psalm 24:1 ~ The earth is the Lord's and everything in it.

* 1 John 4:19 ~ We love because God first loved us.

* 1 Samuel 3:10 ~ Speak Lord for your servant hears.

* 1 Timothy 1:15 ~ Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

* John 11:25 ~ He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.

Many thanks to the Cs for your rich contributions for our Sunday School time. We miss you dearly, friends!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

heart ache by email

Living overseas is a wonderful adventure for our family and we really wouldn't change it for anything. But there are some hardships that come along with it, and, as it turns out, there are some difficulties that are still sinking in for me, even after being here for close to 2.5 years. Specifically, I have to confess that it's really sad for me to feel so disconnected from all the people I love! I knew we would be far away, wouldn't get to have play visits or easy phone calls (12-15 hour time change makes it hard!), but how about just feeling like we live so far away that it's just too much trouble to keep in touch any more! Ahh!

I feel like I fight against this with all the strength and energy I can, because I'm deeply committed to maintaining and growing in friendships with you, the ones that I love! But today we've discovered something that nearly broke my heart: many of the emails I've written in the past few months have not been sent or received or saved.... obviously there is some error with my own methods for these emails to just vanish. It's really sad for my pregnant emotional heart to realize this communication is gone and that I probably can't go back to retrace all of what's missing, who hasn't heard from me (when I thought they had), and what I replied to their (your) situations.

So dear friends, know that you mean so very much to me, to us! Even with some emails being lost, I know I don't get to write as much as I'd like, so if you have or haven't gotten personal emails from us, and if we have or haven't written, please know that you- dearest friends, you know who you are!- are absolutely precious to us. We would treasure hearing from you!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Do you see what I see?

Yesterday morning my language study was pretty distracted.... I sat for a while in front of my textbook, character paper and pen waiting to be used up, and I just listened to Todd Agnew's Chirstmas CD, Do you see what I see? Eventually I did get to my studies, but not before a sweet session of worship and appreciation with this music. I feel like my eyes were opened to some new aspects of the wonder of Christ's birth that we celebrate at Christmas. How rich we are to have food like this for our souls!

The CD is mostly all songs that are sung as if from the voice of the eyewitnesses to Jesus' birth: Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, the three kings, the innkeepers... the songs are excellent, vocals are sweet (I'm a sucker for the great choirs that pop up at times), and many of the lyircs are rich, profound, beyond what I expected (I just didn't know any better.) Abundant thanks to MF for recommending the CD to us. If you are looking for any new Christmas tunes, don't pass up this CD!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grandma and Grandpa's Visit

We greatly enjoyed having Matt's parents with us for the past two weeks. What a blessing that they were able to come, enoy and love on our kids with us, and get to know so much more than the web cam could ever offer of our darlings' personalities, quirkiness, humor, laughter, songs, tickle spots... We had so much fun! We miss you already- and lots- Ye ye and Nai nai

Grandma and Mama got to observe Isaiah at school.... but having us there with him was too distracting for him. Too bad we didn't get to really see him in action! Still, we know that he loves going to school and he's playing gladly every time I peek through the windows to spy on him. We are so grateful for such a great preschool so close to our home. What a blessing!

Isaiah proudly shares with you his "sleep toy".

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for all the fun paints and craftsy projects you brought for us to do with you!

We rode the new subway line out to the Olympic Village.... the subway was the real excitement for Isaiah!

Our sweet princess Marian

One of our top joys from their visit was getting to share with them, for the first time in person, the fantastic news of the newest little one the Lord is knitting together in me! It was great to share this joy with them. We are all so excited to meet you K3!