Thursday, December 29, 2011

Today Garry and I are headed out to celebrate 20 years of marriage! Unfortunately, the car has a bit of a problem, so I'm sitting here blogging while Garry and Kevin fix it. Life happens.

I was thinking yesterday how 20 years ago I married a man who I thought was pretty cool. Twenty years later we've been through a lot of things, and I KNOW I am married to a man of strength, integrity, and a million other amazing qualities. It's been an amazing 20 years, spanning 6 countries, 3 continents, and over 20 homes together. We've seen God do things beyond our wildest dreams and know Him in ways we never thought possible. We've journeyed with God these 20 years, and He has proven Himself more than faithful!

Here is a photo of Kevin and Dave just before they left for their survey... but I'll let Kevin post his favorite photos before I put a lot up here:). They checked out a rather large area, with Dave talking to pastors and asking about the health of the local Christian community. It is amazing to chat with Dave and hear how People Group Assessments (the new name in our little world) are done and what kind of information they need in order to properly assess the need for missionaries in a particular area! This was quite a privilege and quite a learning experience for Kevin.

We had a great Christmas, despite the chaos leading up to it. I may even post some photos later:).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The flood nearby has made this Christmas a jumble of emotions. Yesterday one of my friends said that about 80% of Cagayan is affected and I checked out some of the news online. They estimate about half a million people are homeless after the flood... pondering it is overwhelming.

A couple weeks ago I was in the grocery store and bought a couple of gift packs for a few people. One of the ladies I had in mind is a young lady who sells me empanadas. Her mother-in-law spends the morning making these empanadas and she spends the afternoon selling them. In an afternoon of traipsing around town she gets about $2.50. As a mom of a young son, she is happy for the income and thankful she has a little job. Her smile always blesses me. Anyway, yesterday I gave her the little pack of food, worth maybe $6 or so. She burst into tears. Wow, did I feel awkward! How little it takes to bless people. I pray the truth of Christmas is, or becomes, a reality in her life and that I am planting or tending it by small acts of kindness.

Garry took this photo a little while ago when he was doing some checkout flying. These kids are children of the King, people you'll one day meet in eternity. Their lives are vastly different than yours, but their hope is the same, their God is the same!

As we read Christmas updates from friends we are blessed to hear what God is doing all over the world. And we are blessed to remember good times with friends who are now far away as well as enjoying good times with friends who are close by!

Kevin should be home later today with a new batch of experiences, stories, and thoughts. I can't wait to hear it all!

Kaleb is busy making a movie with his friend. His creative mind has an amazing number of ideas for camera angles and transitions between scenes.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kevin left yesterday on a survey trip with Dave, one of our missionary friends. As NTM seeks to partner effectively with local churches and spend their energies reaching the most needy of tribal folks, surveys are key in finding viable locations in which to minister. Kevin and Dave are on motorbike, riding some remote but beautiful parts of the country. While Kevin can't communicate because of the language, hopefully he's good company for Dave while he learns from him. What an opportunity for Kevin!

Though Kevin is on his motorcycle and not his bicycle, I can only imagine he's about this dirty by now:).

These days we get a lot of carolers at our house, only a small percentage of which have apparently sung together or practiced before arriving at the door. The real point of caroling here is to ask for a "small something" for Christmas. Small treats are in order, and we have a pretty good stash of them.

I've also done a fair amount of baking, some of which we've taken to friends and businesses in town. It seems something homemade is a real treat... and that made me wonder whether this is something "odd" we do here, or whether all our friends at home are baking for each other-- swapping plates of cookies, Christmas bread, and other treats. Strange to say, I have no clue!

As I finished a plate of cookies for the neighbors the other evening one of the boys asked for something and got a rather snippy reply from me. It brought me back to reality-- the joy, love, and abundance of Christmas should be apparent not only to our friends and those we consider "needy" at this time of year, but also to our family. Why do I spend my energy baking for the neighbors and wish my kids would give me a little peace? There's something wrong in that, and adjustment is needed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Over the past few days I've been pondering the reality in Cagayan de Oro, where many families are reeling from their losses. Hundreds of people died in the recent flash floods and many more have lost their homes and belongings. In fact, many estimate over 1000 people died when a flash flood enveloped communities and parts of the city. One of our friends was traveling when the flood happened and got a call that 5 from her household had died, among them her 11-year-old son. Pray with us for her and for the many other families who have lost loved ones, homes, and businesses.

This tragedy, this pain, is part of living in a fallen world. We are living in the world that Jesus came as a baby to save. He experienced life as we do with its pain and hardship. He came into the pain to redeem us. He lived totally dependent on the Father, seeing beyond the pain to an eternity with the Father and knowing the Father’s joy and provision.

This hope of eternity compels us to seek Him and to know Him. It drives us into His arms and causes us to follow where He leads. We are blessed beyond measure to be His kids this Christmas season and throughout the year. We are privileged beyond our wildest dreams to be part of what He is doing here in the Philippines. Thank you for being part of what He is doing. Thanks for your friendship and prayers.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas is on Sunday! Today I'm planning to start on Christmas baking. I had planned to bake some fun things to give to our friends in town, but at this point I'm wondering if we'll even have many Christmas cookies. I guess we'll see how far we get!

When we started talking about Christmas cookies, there was no discussion about needing to make sugar cookies in order to decorate them-- a first in our home. First it was Kevin, then Kaleb. And now I guess they've just grown out of the fun of decorating cookies. So we'll have our traditional favorites, but I don't think I'll be decorating any sugar cookies this year.

While Garry was in Palawan he spent an evening at the pier, where this huge Christmas tree is. I believe's it's the tallest Christmas tree is Asia-- an incredible amount of work, but a source of pride and fun for those who live in Palawan!

On another note, the typhoon that ripped through Mindanao last week has left over 700 dead and a lot of devastation. All the water from a large area flows down a relatively small number of rivers to the bay, through Cagayan de Oro and Illigan. 10 inches of rain over many, many square miles of land is a lot of water to rush through cities, and it has caused a lot of damage. One of our friends lost her son and 4 others from her household as well as the house and everything in it. We are on high ground here and haven't been affected beyond having heavy rain last week.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Garry and Kevin actually took a couple pictures on their little trip! Garry had to go to Manila for immigration paperwork, and Kevin went along for a birthday trip. They enjoyed dinner at Chili's and Kevin got some practice stringing racquets as well as some great badminton play. I think they had a ton of fun!

And, we got our Christmas tree up last night! I've been putting off listening to Christmas music simply because it didn't seem right with so few preparations made at our house. But now that the tree's up and I have hope of starting on my Christmas baking on Monday, it all feels much better. Garry and Kevin did a little Christmas shopping in Manila, and I'm not sure we're going to do any more. Strange at it sounds, none of us are really wishing for anything in particular this Christmas-- we are simply looking forward to being together and having some quiet time over the Christmas season.

Our flight programs are busy these days, both with scheduled flights and with delays. One of our families is waiting for paperwork and here in Mindanao we're waiting for the weather to clear. Some days it seems to many "odd" things are happening... but the reality is that these are the norms of living here. Kaleb mentioned this morning that there are lots of things that don't make us look twice but we wouldn't often see in Canada: things like someone walking out the upper story window to lay their laundry on the roof to dry.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On Saturday morning we headed back to the city for a one-day badminton tournament. Kevin and Kaleb both played well, though neither of them won this time. We enjoyed doing some fun things together-- swimming, eating pizza, and playing pool.

Monday morning Garry and Kevin went to Manila for a hearing with immigration and a couple of father-son days. Kevin got more good badminton at his favorite court as well as learning to string badminton racquets. Kaleb and I drove home, stopping for lunch at little gas station and having some adventures of our own.

I thought you might like to meet Mr. Lego, one of Kaleb's recent creations. Kaleb seems to continually find new mediums for creating and testing things, and he was inspired by some photos on the web to see if he could make a simple picture out of Lego. Yesterday he started making various puppets after watching the creator of "Sesame Street" do so on a short YouTube clip.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I can't believe it's been nearly a week since I was on, but it's the truth. It's been a good and crazy week. I picked Garry, Tim, & Kay up from the airport as planned on Tuesday morning. It was so much fun to meet Kay, who was a huge blessing to me this week as we talked about knowing God and life in the mission aviation world. We spent most of Wednesday with Joel & Missy and Tim & Kay, discussing the flight program and our worldwide mission aviation program. It was great to hear what God is doing in Arizona and where our leadership is hoping to go in the coming months and years.

Thursday morning Garry and I drove back to the city with Tim & Kay and enjoyed a nice lunch before they headed to the airport and we headed home. (Trivia: the city is about 93 km away, and with current road conditions and "normal" delays, it takes over 3 hours to drive one way!) Lately I've been dreaming about freeways as we've made the trip back and forth multiple times over the past weeks.

Christmas is just 2 weeks away! And no, I haven't blogged much about the Christmas season, because it hardly seems like it will happen.... or maybe that should be, "is happening". The abnormally normal parts of life keep us moving at a quick pace. And so we haven't started to decorate or shop... maybe next week:). On the other hand, the reality of Christmas doesn't need trimmings, it remains firm as it has throughout history. The birth of God Incarnate is something to celebrate and ponder, but the "trappings" of Christmas aren't a necessary part of that process. Still, with two kids still at home, I think we'd better do something!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Monday isn't usually my favorite day of the week, but today has been good. Garry, Tim & Kay made it to Manila this morning, and should be here tomorrow! Garry spent the rest of the morning in the government aviation offices and is still there, trying to do a few things for our flight programs. Later this afternoon he and Tim will meet with our field leadership, which I'm sure they'll all enjoy.

Both Kevin and Kaleb were star students this morning, studying hard and focusing on the task at hand. Now Kaleb is enjoying a novel while Kevin does some badminton training. I need to go do some bookkeeping with Missy in a few minutes.

I called Garry and thanked him for the flowers he'd bought me the other day (aren't they beautiful?!) He sounded a bit confused about it, so I had to explain that I'd been close to the flower shops that afternoon. It crossed my mind that if he were there he'd buy me flowers, so I did him the favor and thanked him for it. It seemed to work out just fine!

Hope you enjoy my flowers with me!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Yeah for Saturday! I am so enjoying not doing school today, and the boys are not far behind in their excitement. As simply as we do school, I'm not really sure why it's so exciting to have a day off. It just is:).

One of our friends took these photos the other day... and doctored them up a bit. Anyway, I had such a good laugh that I thought I should pass the photos on to you! This is the last day of Joel's checkout at one of our airstrips, a rather challenging one at that.

Garry enjoyed his time in Northern Luzon and is now in Palawan. He is really enjoying getting to know Tim and Kay as well as catching up with our pilot families and other friends along the way. It's been a busy trip, but a good one so far. Monday he'll head back to Manila to turn in some aircraft paperwork and meet with field leadership. Hopefully he'll make it home on Tuesday!

Culture hits you at the strangest times. Yesterday I took Kevin to the barber shop. Although there were 6 chairs, only 3 of them were in use. The barbers were busy snipping away and a row of 3 guys sat on a bench, apparently waiting their turn. We sat down quietly and waited close to half an hour. When the barber closest to us began to pack up his stuff and lock drawers, I asked him how much longer we'd have to wait. "For what, ma'am?"

"My son is waiting his haircut."

"Oh. He can sit here," and he motioned to one of the empty chairs. As Kevin took his seat one of the guys stood up and came over. Apparently he was one of the barbers, not a customer! In fact, I think all 3 of the guys on the other side of the shop who were sitting facing us were barbers waiting for customers. Go figure-- after all, what did they think we were doing there?!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tuesday morning and I'm enjoying great worship music by Aaron Gillespie and Casting Crowns. It is so good to be reminded of the truths of God's Word, His character, and our blessings. Kevin has helped us update our music over the past couple of years as he has been exploring different musicians and styles.... but guess I'm still stuck in a bit of a rut when I want to relax and be blessed!

Garry got to northern Luzon yesterday. He's enjoying his time with the people who came on a field visit from Arizona as well as Brian & Katherine. Brian has a flight this morning so the guys are helping him get loaded and on his way.

We had a bit of a whirlwind day yesterday as the badminton trainer from the city came. We were hoping he'd come near the end of the week, but yesterday was his only option, so he came. It was great play for the boys, and I must say it improved our Monday to have something fun going on.

Kaleb is working on a puppet play he wrote a while ago. He's made a very nice stage as well as several characters. Yesterday afternoon he got "stuck" on that project, so did a quick animation. You can check it out here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Garry's back in the air again this morning, and I'm sitting by the radio. I'm doing radio because Missy is hosting a big Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon. She's pretty ambitious to have 30 people over for dinner and we're looking forward to hanging out and good food!

After a lot of delays, it seems that the guys are almost done checkout flying. Garry said the weather is perfect this morning and Joel's gotten a lot of practice already. Next week he'll be back at this location to bring the missionaries to town. Each step of the checkout journey is amazing... seeing people become proficient at the ministry God has called them to is incredibly rewarding as well as fun!

Kevin and Kaleb just texted that they are headed out for a bike ride. I think they're quite thankful for a Saturday:). And a friend just stopped by the radio room with a beautiful cup of coffee, so I think I'll close for now and enjoy a chat with her!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends!

A list of things I'm thankful for would be far too long for this post as would be a list of people I'm thankful for. As I ponder life today I realize I am incredibly blessed and I am grateful for that. Thank you for the blessing YOU are in my life!

We are celebrating American Thanksgiving with some friends here this evening.... we're looking forward to some amazing food and a great time with Bob & Nancy and their kids! Their son Richard and our boys are great friends, which is a particular blessing after all the years that Kevin didn't have anybody around that was close to his age.

Garry and Joel went flying this morning, completing the second phase of checkout at one of our airstrips (yes, this is the flight that they planned to do on Tuesday). The boys and I did school and are very thankful to be done for the week.

BTW, I did bake cookies on Tuesday. And it was fun!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Garry and Joel headed out to the hangar under sunny skies this morning, but unfortunately the skies at their proposed destination looked quite different than they did here. They loaded the airplane, did some practice at our home strip, worked on a few projects, and now they're headed home in time for lunch. Tomorrow they'll try again.

I went out with a couple of friends for breakfast this morning. I love these women who challenge and inspire me. I love hearing their perspective and knowing I'm in a safe place. This morning was a bit sad because it was a goodbye of sorts for Judy, who leaves the country next week. I guess that constantly saying goodbye is one of the hazards of our calling.

The boys finished school in record time, and I'm considering baking cookies just for the fun of it. I should do something that has some holiday to it, but Kevin wants chocolate chip cookies this time. Kaleb is voting for another batch of peanut cookies, but we just finished the last ones, so I think Kevin will win this time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

This morning Garry went flying, so the boys and I did school. Garry and Joel were able to do a lot of flying at the last airstrip that Joel needs checked out on! (This is where they did all the work on the airstrip a couple of weeks ago, and the guys were waiting for the dirt to settle a bit before going in there.)

The flight was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was delayed by some issues with the airplane and then poor weather. When a flight is delayed multiple times it feels even better to get it done!

It's raining again this afternoon, which makes me doubly thankful to have the flight done!

In the meantime, though, the process of waiting and being delayed has been good. We have thought about things we wouldn't have considered if the path had been easier. We have taken time to ponder realities that would have escaped us otherwise. We have enjoyed some quiet times together that we would have missed if life had moved at the pace we had planned. We have seen God answer prayers we wouldn't have thought of praying if things had been different. Truly, we are blessed!

All this has made me once again think that when we ask God to make us comfortable and make our paths straight we sometimes miss the bigger blessings. Like the Israelites, we can have meat to eat with leanness of soul.

I finally got the photos from our weekend away... here are a few shots of the climbing wall, the pool, table tennis, and my fun coffee!

Monday, November 14, 2011

This morning started with Garry getting a quick phone call from Joel, who was preflighting the airplane in preparation to fly to one of our locations here in Mindanao. Unfortunately an important spring on the airplane is broken... which means he isn't going anywhere today. And probably we won't get the needed part for another day or two-- which is changing the plans for several flights. The checkout process is being delayed, which wouldn't make much difference if Garry wasn't scheduled to go to Manila in just over a week. Still, God knows. Beyond knowing, He has a good plan and He is working out that plan.

Maybe that certainty of God's sovereignty is what we are supposed to be grabbing onto these days in a new way.... yesterday my house helper told me that she's applied for another job and had an interview. She should know by Friday if she's going to go somewhere else to work as of next Monday. OK. It was all a rather strange thing, and I'm just praying that God does His will. The other job would have more future and better pay than working with our family.

My parents also had a somewhat interesting experience yesterday... a rather scary one considering where they live. And one of our co-workers had a bag and lot of valuables stolen at the end of last week.

I'm sitting here listening to Casting Crown's latest CD and I'm so blessed by it. Our future is truly in the past from God's perspective, all the questions and problems are already answered and resolved in His perspective!

I found my photos from our weekend away... and they are somewhere on my computer now, but not where I can upload them at the moment. Next time:).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Today Garry went to check out one of our airstrips where they have done significant work to improve braking and touchdown.

We have been so excited as we've heard from the missionaries how the whole village, and particularly the Church, have been working hard and working together to do this project!

They've done all the work by hand-- moving dirt to level the airstrip, hauling in gravel, and tamping down the dirt to make a firm surface. Talk about hard manual labor!

And the airstrip has turned out to be amazing! Garry landed there this morning and it is so much better. There were tons of people there waiting to hear what he'd think about the work they've done.

Our co-workers are gone for a few days, so I was by the radio today while Garry was flying. It was rather strange to be listening to static again after not having done radio work for a while. In another way it was like coming home and doing something I feel comfortable with.

We truly are blessed to be a small part of the Church planting effort here in the Philippines!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

It's been amazing to have a couple days in a row of quiet... swimming, doing flips into the pool (that would only be Kaleb), climbing the climbing wall, long walks, badminton, and long talks as a family. Thank you, Jesus!

I have some more fun photos that I'll post when we get home and I can download them.

Today we also had a fun lunch with Brian & Bailey, Maycie & Dylan. They are headed out for furlough and this was goodbye for a few months. I'm happy for them. Still, the lump in my throat doesn't want to go away.

I'm sitting here listening to worship music and enjoying it to the fullest. I am reminded that God sees our future as the past and He deserves all honor and praise. Seeking His face is our highest goal. Leading others to His throne is our highest privilege. Knowing Him is the answer to all our problems, frustrations, and questions. Sitting at His feet is our greatest joy! Truly, He is good and He does good.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The road goes on... this in on the way from home to the city. It's beautiful, though I must admit that there isn't much of the road that looks as well-maintained as this patch does!

We are in the city for a couple of nights right now. We're enjoying some fun as a family, some time to reflect on all that God has done and wants to do, and some rest. It is good to be away from some of the norms of life at home!

There's a pretty nice climbing wall here (by our standards, anyway!), and Kaleb wants to spend some time trying to conquer that. Kevin's fun will be badminton. I want some good coffee, quiet (which I'm enjoying right now), and uninterrupted time with the boys. Garry is hoping for some quiet time and fun with the boys. We've all been enjoying the pool and hot tub.

As we ponder God's realities and life we enjoy considering all that God has done over the past weeks, months, and year. We are in such a blessed place! Yet the land of promise is not without its battles, its hardships, and its stresses. Freedom is never free and chains of darkness are not easily broken.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fall break! I love school break... time to clean up spaces that have accumlated clutter, time to bake, time to update school records and plan the next quarter. It's always busy, but a bit of a different busy than school time!

This is us on our way back home from Manila last time... early morning breakfast at Yellow Cab at the airport. It was tasty... but a bit early to be eating Yellow Cab food.

Garry did a bit of flying this week and also spent some time at the hangar. The guys had a large cupboard in town that needed to go to the hangar, so Garry borrowed Brian's truck and took it out on Tuesday. The thing was monstrous-- should have taken a photo of that!

Yesterday we got a badminton trainer from the city to come down and give the older boys good games for a few hours. Kevin and his friends had an amazing time with him-- they had great games and got VERY tired playing!

Kaleb has been working on various projects over break and is now building another balsa wood airplane. I think this one he's going to make his own wooden propeller for... I'm interested to see how it flies when he's done!

Today is another cooking day for me. I know, I just put a bunch of stuff in the freezer last week, but you can't believe how much of it is already gone! Today I'm making some beef dishes to freeze and also baking some sweet breads. Funny thing about cooking days is how hard it is to get a whole meal on the table in the middle of all the prep work:).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good morning! I've decided this blog is getting downright boring... which is rather funny, cause our lives are anything but boring. Still, there are so many things going on that affect our co-workers or are unanswered questions that I can't really post, that life sounds boring from my recent blogging.

As I pondered what might interest you, I came up rather blank. Still, I think if you came to visit for a few days or weeks you would find our lives to be somewhat interesting. But which part? That the owner of one of our tribal airstrips recently planted a third of it with coconut trees, making a long airstrip very short?

That our missionaries at one location are facing a near-epidemic of resistant tuberculosis and trying to deal with it? That our friends are working on surveys of many areas of Mindanao and finding out a lot about the local churches, both positive passion and lack of teaching among other things. That one of the tribal groups is spending two days this week taking the undulation out of their airstrip by moving dirt, topping it with gravel, and trying to pack it by hand? That Juliet's husband just lost his job because the company is waiting for supplies and they won't pay him to wait, but he needs to be available when the supplies arrive? That the aviation requirements in this country change so often that it's useless to try to do anything without first going into the office and asking how to do it this time?

So, those are things I consider posting about. But I'm just not quite sure which direction to go at the moment, so maybe I'll close my computer for the day and trust you have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday afternoon... we had a lovely farewell party for Pruetts today. We're sad to see them leave for furlough, but excited for them that they will have the coming months in the US with family and friends!

Tomorrow Garry and I are planning to head to the city to see the chiropractor and do some shopping. The hours in the car are always a nice time to talk! The boys are just about finished with school for the week, which means they are almost to their school break!

The other day I did do my cooking, so we now have some nearly-ready food in the freezer. It's a rather good feeling, particularly with all the food our boys can eat in one day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tuesday morning and I am enjoying a good coffee... admittedly not as beautiful as this one that I had at a nice hotel in Manila a while ago! But still, there's a certain nice feeling that that first cup of coffee.

Garry got up at 3:30 this morning to head to the hangar for a full day of flying with Brian and Josh. They're headed to one of our locations where the winds tend to pick up later in the morning, so they wanted to get an early start. Garry is doing all his flying from the right seat these days because of the checkout he's currently working on.
This is our last week of school before fall break, which we are all ready for. It seems we're all a bit tired and ready for a break. Several of Kevin's courses haven't turned out to be quite what we had anticipated, so we'll be thinking through some of that over our break. Kaleb's school is going really well. Kaleb continues to do a lot of animation, which is giving him great opportunities for writing, art, and storytelling.

When school is finished today I hope to do some food prep. With very little prepared food available here, I like to prep ahead-- cook some meat for quick meals, freeze chopped onions, freeze cookies and cookie dough, and bake extra muffins and breads to try to keep up with the constant demand for food at our house. I asked Juliet's daughter to come help today, so that should be a new, fun experience. She's excited for the work as she needs a costume for a Christmas program she's performing in.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good morning! It's been a VERY long time since Monday... unusually long seeming, anyway! Garry went flying a couple of days... one day they just sat for a long while and waited for the wind to die down, which it never did. They'll try again next Tuesday, I think. The other flight they were able to get some practice in. We were very happy to get an internet technician into both locations, so our missionaries now have internet access again!

Various things have come up this week, decisions that need to be made and situations that need addressed. What is the right thing to do? What is God doing in these situations? Our desire is to honor God in every area of life, in every relationship, in every decision. Sometimes His way takes a while to become clear to us.

Juliet is such a blessing to our family with her ready smile and willingness to do so many things. Her daughter came down with another ear infection yesterday, now in both her ears. I guess the antibiotics weren't strong enough or weren't the right kind... or maybe something else is the matter. Pray with us for healing for this girl.

Scout continues to be a healthy eater and grows almost every day. He's a fun, smart little puppy.

Kevin continues to battle a tummy flu, but he seems a bit better than he was last weekend. He was gifted some huge improvements for the motorcycle plus instruction in how to install them this week. What a blessing it has been to him-- and us!

Kaleb has been studying some more animation techniques and trying them out. He's also mastering some trials biking techniques, like horse jumping.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We went to Dahilarayan on Friday and spent some fun hours there. It's the home of Asia's Longest Dual Zipline (which we didn't do this time) and they have a lot of cool stuff to do at reasonable prices. Plus, it's a large, beautiful place to just walk around.

On the way home the view was just breathtaking! It's amazing how each place has a beauty of its own. Here in Northern Mindanao the land is a series of large plateaus and deep ravines. Amazing to look at... not always fun to drive around!

Garry's back at the airport doing some more flying this morning. Kevin went to bed with a nasty stomach ache, headache, and sore back, so I thought I'd let him sleep in a bit this morning. Soon the house will be abuzz with school, laundry, and cooking.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's a rainy Saturday afternoon. I love the coolness. I am quite tired of the mud and dirty floors! However, the rain seems to quiet things down a bit, which is nice. I can't hear the traffic on the street or the dogs yapping or the roosters crowing. In fact, all I hear is the steady beat of the rain on our roof.

Garry's flying, getting ready to do some checkout flying with Joel, which is always an exciting, busy, and somewhat stressful thing to do. Next week he'll be heading into our various airstrips and getting current again on them, so today was an opportunity to get current in the airplane after a long while behind the desk. (He finally mailed the stacks of annual paperwork on Wednesday after several days of long hours at his computer.)

Thursday evening Juliet texted to say her daughter had a very sore ear. They took her to the doctor and got the medicine she needed. All considered, the trip to the specialist and the medication she needed were quite inexpensive in comparison to North America. However, for her they cost a week's wages. It's sobering.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday afternoon.... and a great start to our week! Some friends invited us to a birthday party at a pool about an hour from here, so we headed out there for lunch. We did some visiting and some swimming, and now it's back to normal life. The boys got most of their school finished early, so hopefully we won't be paying for our fun for too long!

Juliet asked me this morning if I had medicine for little kids... her older grandson has stomach issues now. I sent her home over lunch to buy some meds and some Gatorade for him. Poor little guy. And I just feel for the family.

Garry's one stack of papers is almost ready to put in the mail, and the other one is getting close. I think he's be incredibly relieved when it's finished for good... or at least for these two airplanes this year!

The other day we took our camera to the badminton court and it got pushed off a chair by a little girl. I think it's ruined, so we'll see how many photos we have for the next while. Our last camera gave up the ghost last summer and we just got a new one while we were home. Stink!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I think I have the "fall bug"... since I've never really lived for any length of time where there are four seasons in a year, I must have caught it from my friends and co-workers! All the same, this week I had an irresistible urge to eat pumpkin pie. I bought a squash last week, which was designated for making "pumpkin bread" but got turned into pie instead. I don't think anyone in my family minded... pie of any kind is always a big hit at our house.

Kevin's enjoying riding motorcycle whenever he gets a chance. Someone gifted him a pair of boots, which has made riding even more fun (and safer, by my standard!). He rides with some amazing guys who have experience in different kinds of riding, enduro and trail riding. As missionaries it is sometimes tempting to believe there are "great opportunities" our kids are missing out on. But God so often does amazing things, giving our kids amazing opportunities we couldn't have orchestrated if we would have tried!

Garry's desk is a jumble of papers as he finishes the paperwork for annuals on two of our aircraft. It's incredible the stack of papers you have to turn in for every aircraft every year! Kevin and Kaleb have pretty much cleared their desks off, a sign they've finished their school work for the week. Yippee! Weekends are wonderful, aren't they?!

Juliet, my helper, has been on my mind this week. She is a constant reminder how hard life is for so many people. Her son-in-law has recently been threatening his wife with a knife while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Her grandbaby has been sick with a fever, and it's all the family can do to buy medicine. Her father is ailing and is at home where he has been waking up unable to breathe: doctors say there's nothing they can do, so it's watching him suffer. Her husband works on a plantation, and he leaves for work at 4 am. Juliet gets up at 2:30 to cook her hubby breakfast and a lunch to take to work. She gets an hour or so of sleep before getting up to start the day with her daughters who are still in school, then coming to work for me. She's asking for extra hours to make a little extra. Yet she speaks highly of her church and the ways her girls minister to others. She loves God and seeks to do what is right. She works hard and doesn't complain (these are things she's just mentioned in passing). In fact, she seems to accept her life with its complexity and hard work much better than I do some days. She challenges me, and that's a good thing.

Monday, October 03, 2011

I want to welcome Scout, our new puppy, to the family! He's a beautiful, happy little guy. Although I must say that he can whine really loudly when he wants attention or food. "He's a voracious eater," the man told us when we bought him. No kidding!

Our morning started out well, and now I'm off to school. Just got this photo and wanted to share it with you!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Garry downloaded his photos yesterday and I was shocked to see all the dirty water that is running through parts of Manila. This was 2 days after the typhoon hit, when the water had already receded a fair amount. Pray for the people of Manila, particularly the very poor who are the most affected by these kinds of things.

Kaleb has been working hard to ride over this table top, or whatever you call it... I think it's quite impressive that he's got it nearly mastered! His other interest is free running. He'd love some tips or links on free running if you know of a good way to get started!

Monday is promising us a busy week as we look ahead. This morning Garry has been working on annual paperwork for two of our aircraft. The work on the helicopter itself was completed last week, and they want to turn in the paperwork this week. The guys will start work on the annual on the airplane here next week, if all goes as planned.

Mexican night with Joel & Missy and Brian & Bailey was a big hit! The ladies who joined our team here are great cooks, and we had a tasty dinner and fun evening together.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Garry did, in fact, make it home yesterday morning! He had quite a crazy trip, so it's especially nice to have him home again. In the end, though, he was able to accomplish the things he went to Manila and northern Luzon to do. His license will still take a little while to come through, but now it's hopefully just a matter of time.

I drove up to meet him... a LONG drive at the moment because the road is so torn up. The boys stayed home and kept themselves busy riding bikes, cooking supper for us, and making some new things for their trials biking course. In fact, they even tidied up the house before we got home! Way to go, guys!

This morning we're preparing a space for a new puppy. He's a cute little guy and I'm sure he'll be a fun addition to our family:).

Another typhoon is supposed to hit the Philippines today. I think this one isn't supposed to be as bad, but coming so soon after the last one, it feels pretty major. The typhoons don't really affect us where we live in the mountains, but they can shut down a lot of the country.

We're looking forward to Mexican Night with Joel & Missy and Brian & Bailey this evening! Joel & Missy invited us all over to their place, and we'll each make something to add to dinner. It should be tons of fun, and yummy food!