Sunday, April 29, 2012

View from the jet...

30,000 feet is a LONG way up. And yet here we sit-- squished in airplane seats, eating and drinking and watching movies and writing blogs. It hardly seems possible! In fact, much of the last few days has felt more like a dream than reality!
Garry and Brian finished up their meetings just after noon on Friday, and that seemed like a good time to get serious about packing. Because we’re only headed back for a few months, we aren’t taking a lot back. Still, closing up a house and getting everything you’ve used for 7 weeks into suitcases, stored, or returned to the lender is a bit of a process. But it all got done, and now we’re on our way! 
We stand amazed at all that happened in our last week in McNeal. Garry and Brian spent several days together, many hours of those in meeting with other people. All in all, Garry was able to tie up quite a few loose ends this last week, though there are still things that are in process. We were invited out for supper most every night and got to catch up with a few more people. I caught a the cold/flu that my guys had last week. Friends showed up on Saturday to bless us by helping us clean. We packed up and had a good day with friends on the way to Tucson to leave this morning.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Heading out again...

We've really enjoyed having Brian, one of our co-workers from the Philippines, here this week. It's been good to catch up, though not nearly as much fun as it would have been if the rest of his family could have accompanied him. The guys have been having endless meetings with various people, sharing ideas.

This week quite a few friends have had us over for meals and a good visit. It's been fun to see a few people we hadn't really gotten to connect with yet. There really is something about chatting over a meal or in the living room that is different than talking in the office.

We leave on Sunday, so things are getting busy with packing and sorting once again. It seems the suitcases barely get stored before we're filling them up again. This time we aren't going back for very long, so the packing isn't such a big job. Still, there are things to store and things to go, the house to clean up a bit before we go, and several items to return to people who have lent them to us. It's a process. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Water, Blessings, and Expectations

Water. It's one of those things that we use constantly, and however it comes to us is usually a blessing! The availability of drinkable water here in North America continually amazes me-- you can drink the water at restaurants and even water fountains are not really scary. I drink water from my faucet at home. I love using hot water to wash and rinse dishes without the hassle of heating it on the stove. I love being able to simply rinse a spoon I had in one pot and use it in another (no need to dry off every contaminated drop of water!) Yet, like so many things that are readily available, it is easy to forget the blessing of it. The access we have to quality food, health care, and any number of goods here in North America is incredible. Still more amazing are people who touch our lives-- blessing, challenging, and encouraging us. And worlds beyond that is the constant access we have to the God of the Universe. He's right here-- have you talked to Him today?

We've all been sick over the last week, and it's changing our expectations as we look at leaving Arizona at the end of the week. We have shortened our "to do before we leave" lists and are sad for the friends we aren't going to see this time around. Yet we are confident that this is God's plan, that as we follow Him the really important things will happen. I'm seeing that probably He has someone better in mind to do some of the things we thought depended on us!

Kaleb is really enjoying riding bicycles with friends here. They've made a little BMX track on the property here and they are all jumping higher, faster, and better than they did last week! Kevin has been doing a lot of sitting since he injured his ankle just over a week ago. He's pretty thankful for a new series of books someone just introduced him to!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm expecting Garry home any minute, but I thought maybe I'd see if I could fit in a quick blog before he gets here. Kevin isn't feeling the best, so he's been napping the better part of the afternoon, though now he's busy again at his computer. Kaleb is outside with friends. What a blessing for him to have friends to do things with after being pretty much on his own for the past years!

I've had an unexpectedly quiet afternoon. I needed to do a little cooking for a potluck we're having this evening, and another appointment got cancelled. So I've been here cooking and doing a little cleaning. The music is blaring (or close), and my heart feels at peace and refreshed. I need to take time to slow down, time to be refreshed in God's reality and to catch up with the frenetic pace of our lives and my mind. I once heard that peace is a good indicator of spirit health, and I think it's at least somewhat true.

We have been facing some major challenges lately, and it seemed that more challenges arrived daily in our inbox. This morning, though, we had two incredible answers to prayer in our inbox! Wow, God! You work when we trust you and commit ourselves to you in prayer! What a great reminder that this is truly God's work, a team effort of so many people who are committed to seeing the name of Jesus known and glorified throughout the world.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It's turning out to be a lovely Saturday morning, despite the howling wind, low temperature, and yet another bottle of spoiled half and half! Kevin is hanging out with a friend and Kaleb's laying rather low this morning since it seems he has a bit of a cold. For my part, I'm enjoying some quiet.

It's been a good week. Intense. In fact, a friend of mine told me a few weeks ago that when she was praying for our trip, the word came to mind. It sums up life since we left home about 7 weeks ago. We're loving getting together with friends and making new friends. It's great to be back in Arizona where we lived for nearly 5 years at various times. It's amazing to see what God is bringing together here. But it's intense as we hear stories, adjust to life on this side of the world, learn a new job,  homeschool our boys, and make plans for our return to the Philippines.

Our plan is to return to the Philippines at the end of the month, and we're getting excited to be back in our own home again. We've missed our friends and co-workers there. We miss the life that's become our norm. And realizing how long it seems like we've been away, I wonder how we will actually say a semi-final goodbye and leave there in just a few months. Grace is God's amazing gift, and I'm sure we'll need and get lots of it!

Monday, April 09, 2012

So, I was actually going to post a photo today, but blogger won't let me. Every time I choose a photo, blogger logs me out. I can't figure it out, so once more, no photos!

I've been reading some Kempis lately. I've been challenged once more to think about my priorities and what I'm investing in eternity. I love this quote, "It is vanity to follow the desires of the flesh, and to labor for that for which thou must afterward suffer more grievous punishment." Truly, it is easy to pursue that which will only bring us loss in eternity!

And this one for when we wonder about things that don't matter, "What availeth it to make a great dispute about dark and hidden things; whereas for being ignorant of them we shall not be so much as reproved at the day of judgement?" To pursue Christ alone should be our goal and our greatest joy!

In the tangible world, we are busy with school and work. We are trying to make plans to return to the Philippines at the end of this month, and working on how to get everything done that needs done before then.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

This week is almost over. As Easter gets closer, I've been surprised by how little I see to remind me of this holiday. In the Philippines Easter is HUGE and you are constantly reminded of the crucifixion and ascension. Here I've seen a few Easter candies, but otherwise no mention of this amazing celebration. 

God Himself conquered death. We live because He both died and rose. We live and breath and have our being in Him who is all and in all. He is the only source of hope, the only hope of abundant life. And as believers, we live in the reality that He is enough-- all our hopes fulfilled beyond our greatest imaginations, our hope for eternity and the strength and grace to live today. Truly, we should be celebrating this weekend! 

We continue to stay busy here in Arizona, and are making plans to return to the Philippines at the end of the month. The boys are studying hard and Garry is working hard. I'm cooking plenty and teaching some and enjoying catching up with friends. 

The other day I made my coffee and poured my half and half in (a real treat after mostly putting skim milk in my coffee for a couple of years), only to realized it was spoiled! My milk was also sour. And I am in the USA! I was telling my mom how my day had started and she asked me if I'd checked the date on the milk. I had, but I well remember when I realized what those dates were. It took me a while. But this milk was nearly a week from expired, and it was definitely sour. Life just isn't perfect. We live in a fallen world, after all, where milk spoils and bread gets stale.