Thursday, January 24, 2019

Clinic Update & Visitors

Just in case you're following the concussion journey we're on with D, here's the latest at the one week mark:

The clinic said the good news is that he's not showing symptoms of anything getting worse. The bad news is that he just needs more time and more rest to heal. One week in and he's going stir crazy as anyone would being isolated. He needs limited to no stimulation (that means everything and anything around him...games, phone, computer, books/homework) and that's a struggle for a 15 year old boy who typically has nothing but energy he needs to get out.


Since D is homebound...and bored beyond himself...he's had heaps of visitors. Not great for his stimulation but good for his emotional state, so we're trying to balance that. Throughout the afternoon and evening, our porch and living room were packed with smelly, teenage boys who care enough about our kid to stop by, catch him up on all the school drama he's missing and make him laugh. Today at lunch most of his class came by...including girls-ha! 

I had to snap this picture yesterday. You can see where the boys were lined up to get in the house. It's customary here to take your shoes off before entering so you don't track dirt all over the floors. My mama heart is thankful for this community and for these kids.

Thanks for continuing to pray for D and for us. Navigating this has been more challenging than I anticipated. The longer this goes, the harder it gets. 

Pray with us for:

-miraculous, quick healing of his head
-heaps of patience (for him and us!) 
-peace in the midst of the boredom and waiting
-that D wouldn't worry about missing school assignments or being behind

We're trusting the Great Physician and His perfect timing.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Concussion


Earlier this week, D was at basketball tryouts when, playing defense, he shuffled his feet backwards, lost his footing and fell. Hard. On the concrete. His head taking the brunt of the hit. The coaches, who heard his head hit, said he got up and wanted to keep playing, but they made him sit down for a few minutes. He complained of his head hurting and they wouldn't let him back in the scrimmage.

We got a call from one of the coaches asking us to come pick him up where we determined he needed to visit the clinic. In that visit, the doctor diagnosed him with a pretty major concussion. We're watching him and the situation closely.

So this has been our weekend. A very restless, bored teenage boy, trying to sleep and refusing help...even though he really needs it.

If you think about us, pray for him...pray for us as we try to take care of our boy.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Nine



Somehow the baby of the family turns nine today. And yes, I had to stop myself from posting 100 pics of that baby face!

The little baby that thought sleep was overrated as an infant, perfectly completed our family. She is hard headed, determined, the comedian and loves animals. She's also decided that she's a big fan of sleep :)

Happy Birthday Mal...we love you more than you'll ever know!


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Helllllooooo....



Wow.

Did you know I even had a blog?! I was worried I wouldn't remember the password to log in.

Sigh...I won't even attempt to apologize for the silence on this space. And I certainly won't promise that in 2019 there will be more blog posts. Of course, that's what I'd like to have happen, but...let's count how many times I've said that in the past and see where we've gotten?

But as it goes with the end of the year, I've been reflecting about the last 365 days and this journey God has us on.

Honestly, I really miss writing on this space. Several people commented on our furlough that they loved reading the blog just to get an inside look at life here. Last year was hard fought on every level and at the end of the day--some that seemed like they'd never end--I just had nothing to put into words.

I had my fair share of fear in 2018. Fear of being vulnerable, fear of making sure my words were "just right" on this space and if they weren't...the fear of being criticized. I feel like the enemy has been using that fear to disable me on so many levels. Isn't that just what he wants to do? Strike in our weakness (pick yours) tell us we're not good enough. Then we slither away to our selfish, introspective worlds, all the while feeling inadequate, defeated and silenced. And when we do that, guess what? He wins.

I'm not an eloquent or motivational writer or speaker. I tend to be more of a "realist", a "tell it like it is" person and lack some tack. (If you really don't want to know what I think, don't take me shopping with you!) Age hasn't helped that personality trait. I don't like whining (ask my kids!) and as I thought about writing on this space last year,  I didn't want to come across as being a whining missionary :)

As inadequate as it will be, my renewed attempt on this space will be to share the real life...the good, bad and sometimes ugly part of our little corner of the world. I'm tired of feeling defeated, fearful and silent. In the end, hopefully you'll see that really nothing is about me/us and everything is about the Lord.

So...what now?

With the arrival of 2019, we begin our 6th year here. 2018 was an adjustment year as we came back to the life we have grown to love. We settled in to a new routine, a new job for me, changes for Jason's job, new school grades for the kids (um, hello...we have a high schooler now??), new friendships, sorely missing our family back home...the list could go on. So while things were familiar on our arrival so much was unchartered territory. Over the years we've found missions life to be full of constant transition and change. Change is our "normal" life.

But God.

Through all the adjustments, challenges and heartache, I saw His hand in the details. I've had to trust Him and be reminded of His promises more than ever before. I've had to cling to Him when I had nothing else would do. Even though I've known this for years, I was reminded over and over again that my own strength, my own will, wasn't going to carry me, our family and what we were going through at the time. I only need Him. I can't have it any other way. It just doesn't work.

2019 will no doubt bring it's own challenges. We are already aware of some big changes on the horizon. Am I ready? Did I learn anything from last year? I pray I have.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

And Here We Are...Again

So in case you hadn’t noticed, I didn’t exactly get to write about our Northwest trip. Here’s the thing: the Lord started moving and orchestrating the last 3 months of our furlough SO fast, I could barely keep up with what HE was doing let alone write about it. Today, I will attempt a brief (ha!) recap, so grab a cup of coffee and dig in…

In September, the week before we left for our Northwest trip, we found out that a missionary transport company would be coming through town and able to pick up our crate and take it to North Carolina. From NC, it would then get on a slow boat and head to PNG. The crate is chock full of items we’ll need for the next 4 ½ years: clothes, towels, sheets, kitchen supplies and tools that Jason has desperately needed to make life in PNG a little easier. Oh and heaps of ziplock bags and cling wrap…I wish I were kidding!

We weren’t expecting the timing of the crate to leave so soon and spent the week making mad dash, last minute purchases. Amazon got a workout from us that week! It was hectic but awesome to see the Lord orchestrate the coordination of it all…down to the final 30 minutes before the transport truck arrived! 

That was a Wednesday and we hit the road early Friday morning and headed west. A couple of memorable things happened in that 3-week trip:

-Mal had prayed even before we left PNG in 2016 that we would see snow on furlough. Living in East Texas, snow is extremely rare so we tried to lower her expectations. But wouldn’t you know as we’re driving through Wyoming, it started snowing?! Jason pulled over to the closest rest stop and let the kids run around in the snow flurries. Later that night at our stop in Montana, it snowed a couple of inches and you’ve never seen more ecstatic people. It was such a gift for us, especially Mal as she had seen her prayer answered.

-Our final destination of Spokane, Washington was beautiful. Fall showed off in a big way with vibrant colors and awesomely cool weather. Between homeschooling in a hotel room, Jason’s Kodiak training and visiting some dear friends, we took in the beauty of the Northwest and I was hooked. Towards the end of our visit we went to Idaho and I determined I could live there despite the cold and snow that piles up in the winter.

With Jason’s training for PNG officially complete, we headed back to Texas towards the end of October. Still needing a large portion of our support and partnership, we were unsure what the next couple of months would hold.

In November, through a series of events and through His people, the Lord brought the rest of our support in LESS THAN A WEEK. Only God could work such a miracle. That situation proves as a reminder to us that the Lord is in control over this journey. It also solidified for us that He really did want our family back in PNG another term.

The one ongoing and unresolved issue we’d had most of the year was Jason’s visa. Our plan and prayer for months was to continue on to PNG in January, but do we still keep moving in that direction? We never heard anything from the Lord other than “move forward”, so that’s exactly what we did. Thanksgiving came and went with family time, delicious food and an increasing amount of contentment in our plans.

In December, we moved out of the house we had been in for the year and moved in with Jason’s parents to begin the transition of wrapping up our life in the US and get our minds focused on coming back. The reality of having one foot in each country began and my head was officially split into two places…again.

My work permit had been approved so we sent mine and the kids passports to the PNG Embassy in DC to get visas. The week before Christmas, passports with the necessary visas back in our hands and we could finally buy plane tickets. We knew Jason would just have to wait in Australia until his visa was approved, but how long would that take? The official word was 3-4 weeks, but our seats on the Kodiak to get us home in PNG were booked for January 10th. There wouldn’t be space on another flight until the 19th and school started the 17th.  

We kept praying and decided to all travel to Australia together on the 1st and the kids and I would continue on to PNG on the 10th.  We would wait to see, again, how the Lord would work out Jason’s visa.

Christmas came. The goodbyes were beginning and the reality of coming back was drawing closer. Another transition was in the making.

We left on the 1st as we had been praying for months. Our travels to Australia were seamless and really went off without a hitch. We spent a week as a family in Australia getting on this time zone and enjoying some down time together. The kids and I left on the 10th to return to PNG and left Jason behind for what we thought would be a long haul.

Only doing what the Lord does, Jason’s visa was processed in a week!! To say we were stunned and thrilled is an understatement. He joined us in PNG on the 17th, just one week later than us.

I know as I type this, it sounds easy. Like it all came together seamlessly and we were just so chill and go with the flow. In some ways that was true, but there were also many hours (days and months!) of waiting, prayer and conversations about what exactly needed to happen. There was the stress of putting everything into motion, packing 5 suitcases and leaving the life we had made in the US over the last year.

But hear me when I say it was all the Lord. He carried us through the last year, made the impossible possible and showed Himself in so many situations that we can’t help but give Him praise and glory for what He’s done. 

And if you've stuck through to the end of this update, thank you :) Stay tuned...more coming on transitions, beginning our second term and life here in the Land of the Unexpected!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

East Coast Road Trip

In mid-July, we hit the road heading east to visit friends and/or partners of our Wycliffe ministry. Connecting with our partners is an aspect of this ministry that I really love. Plus, this trip would give our kids a glimpse of America that they don't remember seeing when we did this 5 years ago at the ages of 8, 5 and 2. (Another plus: no diapers this go around...big kids are AWESOME!)

Jason and I took a morning at the local coffee shop with the computer, calendar and too much coffee, sorting out the logistics:

*Are people going to be home and not out of town?

*Where would we stay?

*How long would we stay in one place? (My dad always told me that fish and kinfolk smell after 3 days, so we kept that into consideration.)

*And the big question...how long can we *realistically* drive each day so our children and sanity stay in tact?!

With most of those questions answered, emails sent, phone calls made, we hit the road.

Affectionately known in this house as "the beast", this is the vehicle we've been blessed with driving this year!
We have a TON of room for bags, people and snacks. "The beast" has made our road trips this year so much nicer...as if driving on smooth roads wasn't enough this throws it over the top!

We made it through 22 states and Canada for a total of 4, 525 miles! Sanity was questioned on several occasions as we pushed through the miles forging our way to our overnight stop, but in the end, it was worth it.

We were blessed to hug, laugh, cry and hug our friends some more. With those same people we took pictures (and memories!) that we'll hold on to for the next 4 years. The kids took in some American history along the way as we drove through some beautiful country. We also determined that you can find a song that will mention the state you're driving through in that moment. Needless to say the kids were exposed to some FINE musical history from the 70's and 80's as well :)

And now we're looking at our trip to the Northwest in just a week and half! Jason has training in Spokane,  but we also have partners and friends we're looking forward to seeing. The Lord has already worked out so many details of this trip and we're excited to see what else is ahead.

Friday, August 11, 2017

July

ARGH!! I *thought* I put this post up while we were on the road a few weeks ago. Alas, I come to write about our East Coast travels and find this sitting my draft box. (Insert my eyes rolling. Technical glitch? Operator error? UGH!) Anyway...while I work on the road trip post, you can read my thoughts about July in August...better late than never???



Ya'll...it's hot in Texas in July!! It's been a long while since we've sweat just checking the mail or walking from the car to the front door of the grocery store!

Despite the heat we really enjoyed the 4th this year. I forgot how deeply patriotic most Americans can be during this time of year. We did enjoy everything red, white and blue and all out patriotic this year. D loved buying fireworks and burning up his hard earned mowing money :)


YAY for the patriotic bag of M&M's!! WHO KNEW?!
Jason took the kids flying last week, but later in the day when it was a bit cooler. The love of flying runs deep in this family.




Have I mentioned it's JULY!??! A couple of weeks ago I went to Hobby Lobby and was reminded that American marketing minds start thinking about fall and Christmas WWWAAAYYY earlier than I'm ready for!! It's almost as bad with SCHOOL SUPPLIES!! I'm in denial that I need to start wrapping my mind around homeschooling our 3 in the fall...YIKES!

We hit the road Monday for about 3 weeks to connect with partners and friends along the East Coast. I'm sure I'll have a few things to say once we get back...stay tuned :)

Clinic Update & Visitors

Just in case you're following the concussion journey we're on with D, here's the latest at the one week mark: The clinic said ...