Tuesday, October 29, 2013

the kids...

I am one grateful mama for the joy that these treasures are to me and for the privilege that it is to be refined as I learn to serve them and pursue Christ with them.  Set our hearts after You, Lord!

We got one morning in the city to wander a bit by ourselves and we got happily lost between parks we couldn't find.... and so, perfect time for photos of the kids I love!  This post is for you, dear Grands!

(she was trying to break that stick...  sweetest little beaver builder girl)

Monday, October 28, 2013

the arrival...

I don't want our blog to be a place for complaints....  I don't want any place in my life for that... not when I have all the promises and grace of God for me!  But it does seem worth recording these crazy full days just for the record.  Praise be to the God of grace to see us through even the dumb days of so many little trials that can feel heavy when all added up like this....

Isaiah travelled how many thousands of miles on Friday SICK.... five stops on the morning drive, threw up on the plane, and, (mama is so grateful for this!) was our first ever successful barf bag user.  Poor boy.  We arrived home (with new guests staying with us) around 1AM Sat morning and Saturday was too filled with Joy, Fun, Celebration, Far Away Friends....  (one dear friend's 40th b-day bash, hosted to pintrest perfection by another amazing friend, with yet more precious friends coming to join in- see that friends post below)  We were exhausted.  And Vivi threw up.

Sunday morning Vivi and I stayed home from church because she told me she still felt sick.... and then she threw up on my face.  John and Marian commence their throwing up Sunday afternoon/ evening and our guests are oblivious....but very interested in telling us all bout their lives and issues and sharing their nice food with us..... Yes, I'd love to try your lovely dinner, but I just can't right now.  Got a basin of throw up to clean up here...

Monday there is some misunderstanding about the washing machine (and did I mention, there has never been such a load of K laundry before- 5 last days of travels' laundry + 3 days of throw up.  We don't have enough clothes for this!!!)  She needs to wash her few items and I've still got how many loads and yes, let me take my clothes out so  you can use the washer.  And then the washing machine was mysteriously broken.

And that night I threw up (probably germs from the throw-up in my face) and Matt got to tackle the washing machine (that wouldn't let me take the last load out) and then discovered the dryer is broken ("yes, Jill, I guess you could try to still use it but I'm pretty sure it would catch on fire." or something like that) and battle our slow internet for the all kids he's arranged to be in an online English course and put our kids to sleep because my toxic tummy was being too mean to let me out of bed.  He's a champ.  The evening ended watching poor Wong, or whatever his name is, loose the game for the Card's in game four of the World Series. Go Red Sox.

And I woke up feeling a bit better Tues morning and the repairman came by early afternoon to fix the washer and give us a terminal prognosis on the dryer and as soon as i could get to our newly fixed washer, I got to lay down my laundry mountain of dreams again and wait for her four items to finish.....  Lord refine me.  This is so petty and little but it does pile high.... Humble me Lord.

Thank you that there is grace for this.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

the news...

We're home.... back from travels that blessed our souls and honestly, changed our lives (yet again!) More about our unexpected changes soon, but for now we have photos to share!

Here's the best family photo we got during our travels (yep... it's quirky / just like we are).  Many more photos in the next two posts below... and still more stories and photos coming later this week too.

the wedding...

The Niqa, the actual wedding ceremony, at the bride's house...

My dear friend, the bride, thought long and hard about how to answer when the Imam asked her (calling into the next room) if she wanted to marry the groom.  She decided she wouldn't make him ask three times before she called out her answer from her room (men and women, including the bride and groom are in separate rooms for the ceremony).  In the end, she answered the first time she was asked, even though traditionally that would be thought to mean that she's a "loose" girl.  It was more important to her that she communicate her love for her man....  :)

the next day was the wedding party...  with lots of lovely ladies to meet (and two very uninterested photo subjects!)

the mother of the groom was a sparkly princess... hair, face and dress!

the bride... veiled in red
the traditional fabric and hats.... and hair that every local girl wants

the beautiful bride... I love this girl!
The gold earrings and necklace and rings were sent to her secluded room at the banquet hall, gifts from the groom to adorn his bride.  
the kerpas (household seating and beds- the prime furniture every home needs) are gifts from relatives...
and John was trying to sneak a peak at the well surrounded bride

the cool groom 

yep... he's riding in the front seat... her dress was that big!

(really John was there too....)
This was at the end of the 10 hour wedding party,  now at the groom's parents house where once the guests all leave, the couple would spend their wedding night.  And in the morning, pretty early, more guests would arrive to check on them..... how 'bout that for a honeymoon!?  

the land we love...

We arrived on holiday when a lamb is slaughtered for most every family... it often has some religious connection (to Abraham and his son, in the hope of the lamb helping carry them to heaven after they die) but many people today celebrate it like Americans do Thanksgiving:  just a day for good food and family.   

in front of the mosque

(Remember:  He's Chinese... the blue eyes aren't what we normally picture are they!?)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

the friends...

These treasured friends visited about a month ago.  We. Love. Them.  Our quick visit was such a gift but I'm just terribly sad that I was so consumed with conversation (our kids played so great that we actually could talk!) that I didn't get the camera out at all!!!  Argh!!!!  This one precious picture is all I've got....  our 8 kids by age.... and the amazing-gift-of-a-friend, Emily.  We love you M Family!

So when this beloved crew came to visit I had to find my camera and be sure to get some photos.... 

oh how precious, loved, delighted-in are these friends.... all six of them.... to us!  

Our hours together were just too few.... ending at nearly 11pm!  John's stoned look alone tells the time perfectly.  (And this was the night after our midnight arrival home from travels.... what a weekend!)

And what an encouragement to see the Father provide more sweet friends for us all along our travels...  I really haven't figured out how to swing traveling, cameras and kiddos, so I don't have pics of most the kids we played with while away, but trust me, they are another sweet, cute crew!  

We are so blessed by the Father to fill our lives with such friends!