Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home Tour

I can say we are finally unpacked, pictures on the walls, organized, and getting ourselves into a routine.  It is now time for you to come visit us!  We are only 10 miles from Washington DC.  You can walk to the end of the driveway, catch a bus to the train station, ride the train into DC, save yourself the stress of driving, and have a great time touring our nation's capital (and visiting us!).

Until you come to visit, here is a tour of our house.  This is our front door with the coat closet on the left. 
I just realized the picture has slipped in the matting and the cardboard is showing at the top.  I've got to fix that!  I get a lot of my pictures printed through Snapfish and they gave me a free poster, so I had this picture of my friend's mom made up. 

The front entry goes right into the living room.  This looks a bit funny because of the back of the chair right there.  But we have a very nice fireplace and mantel with floor to ceiling bookshelves beside it. 
We have decorated the living room with our Niger stuff and my elephant collection.  The couch is covered with a hand-woven Songhai blanket.

Also in the living room is my desk.  We have a nice large window where John's keyboard is.  I love to sit in this chair in the morning to have my devos and look out into the woods.

The living room and dining room are an open room. I have a really nice hutch where I can display my Grandma Margie's china. 
The kitchen is not large, but it makes good use of cupboard space.
And I have a dishwasher!!!!!!! One of the really nice features of the kitchen is this pantry,
shown here with the doors open.

Down the hall is the kids' room or the guest room....depends on who shows up first, I guess!
It's an interesting color of green!  It's also kind of our store room.  We have things in the closet and under the bed as you can see.

Across the hall from the kids' room is the "green bathroom".
It's also the laundry room.  It's quite a large room with a sink, shower, toilet, laundry facilities, and an ironing board I don't have to take down whenever I'm done with it.

At the end of the hall is our room.  Our bedspread goes nicely with the picture of the Starrucca Viaduct.  I know it would normally be a living room picture, but it goes well with our bedroom colors. 
John has his own office at the college but he also has a mini office in the corner of our bedroom.

We have a large walk-in closet,
through which you must pass to get to our bathroom.  The "yellow bathroom". 
I'm NOT a fan of yellow, but it's better than having a pink bathroom!

I've been reading the book of Job and came across a verse that I never noticed before.  Job is speaking, longing for the days when things went well and he lived a blessed life.  He says, "Oh for the days...when God's intimate friendship blessed my house."  That is what I want in this place...that God's intimate friendship will bless my house!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Moving to Maryland

The last two weeks have been pretty crazy.  We finished packing and cleaning the house in Pennsylvania.  I have to have my living environment/work space pretty clean and organized to get anything done, so it has been a pretty frustrating time for me. 
More than once one of us lost something important and couldn't remember where we had last seen it.  My biggest heart-stopper was when I couldn't find my credit card.  I was pretty sure it wasn't lost out in the world somewhere because I knew I had last used it at my desk. I just couldn't find it there!  Sure enough, I eventually found it in a different pocket in my wallet than where I usually keep it.

We did find some time for fun.  One night our family and Tam went to the Wayne County Fair.  Our favorite fair is the Harford Fair, but it was not open yet. 
I'm pretty sure John is buying lemon aid, not funnel cakes or fried oreos.  He doesn't do junk food.  I love going to the fair on a warm summer evening, just walking around, watching people, enjoying all the sights and sounds, looking at the HUGE American farm animals, and seeing people's creative work on display.  And, of course, there are fun things like bumper cars!
 It's a good thing we had that evening of fun together, because later that week Suzanne had all four of her wisdom teeth removed at the same time.  She was in a lot of pain the first three days and had issues with the pain management.  Or maybe I should say it had issues with her.....her teeth hurt so she couldn't eat, but the pain medicine wouldn't settle if she didn't eat.  She decided she'd rather have pain than an upset stomach.

Daniel and Suzanne left for Cedarville on Monday, the 16th.  Poor Suzanne was still all swollen up and in some pain, but felt much better than she had over the weekend.  She has had some problems since with one of the extractions and is supposed to have it looked at today. 
Daniel is doing an internship in Washington, DC this semester but he doesn't start until the end of the month, so it worked out for him to drive Suzanne out to Ohio.  He's helped out with Getting Started weekend and, of course, he didn't mind since there's a special girl out there he wanted to see! 

Later that day we got a rental truck and loaded up our stuff.
As far as furniture, we only had some shelves, a small table, and a desk.  We had a lot of boxes of stuff (how can transient people collect so much stuff??!!!) and it wouldn't all fit in the car, so that's the reason for the truck.  It wasn't a hot day, temperature wise, but the humidity was just crazy, so it was a hot steamy job.

Our trip to MD went well....no pictures....  It was a nice, warm sunny day.  No rain thankfully.  I made John let me drive the truck.  It was not difficult to drive.  We arrived in MD around 3:30 and unloaded the truck.  The problem is that we live on the back side of the building, away from the parking lot, so it was a lot of work.

The apartment had been surface cleaned, but wasn't as clean as I like it, so the scrubbing began.  Now it is looking really good and I will give you a virtual tour next week.  We had originally been told that the apartment was unfurnished, but it turns out that it is furnished.  Not having to buy furniture has been a huge savings to us and we are thankfully.  The apartment also has a fireplace and a dishwasher and some other nice features.

Best of all, I'm almost organized and completely set-up, for the first time in at least three weeks.  We've lost our "little black book" with people's phone numbers in it, though.  So far, that seems to be the only important thing we've lost.


Monday, August 16, 2010

24 Years Ago Today

24 years ago today I walked down the aisle to meet my husband and to say, "I do".  I said that I would take him to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."(A picture from when we first started dating.)

Vows made in love but without a full understanding of what the years together would bring.  We've been through a lot together.

*Living as the only missionaries in our town, at least most of the time we were there.  Some days were pretty lonely.  Some days the burden of the work was pretty heavy.
*Watching our kids struggle with serious asthma attacks (Suzanne) and grand mal seizures (Daniel)
*Learning how to help our friends and neighbors who had nothing....and the stress it brought to not ever be able to help enough
*Exhaustion brought on by the emotional and physical strain of the work.....total exhaustion that resulted in a near nervous breakdown
*Seeing demon possession up close....experiencing the hold it has on people
*Helping our neighbors deal with their health crises...tetanus, severe anemia, typhoid, malaria, injuries.  Using our truck for both the ambulance and the hearse.
*Helping each other through some pretty serious malaria
*Dealing with an enervating climate
*A crazy man coming in our house at 3 in the morning and another one getting in our truck with me and two small children and trying to drive it away
*What would appear to be failure in ministry as people turned their backs on Jesus
*Yanking up roots every four years or so and changing location.  We're doing it again tomorrow. 

Things have been good, too.
*We have friends around the world
*We love our jobs
*We've been blessed to minister cross-culturally
*We have the peace that comes from obeying God even when the going is tough
*Our kids love the Lord
*Our parents always have been and continue to be great examples of how the Christian life should be lived

I'm so glad we haven't had to do this alone.  God has been with us every step.  "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."  (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

No, we didn't fully understand what keeping those vows would entail.  But today our love is deeper than we ever imagined.  God has been good and we give Him the praise for keeping us together all these years.  
Here's to another 26 years (or more)!  (That brings us up to 50.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Trip to Washington (State)

On July 23rd John and I flew with his mom to Washington State.  My mother-in-law is one of five sisters, all of whom are still living. 
She is the oldest.  

All five of them have the gift of hospitality, so we attended picnics
at each of the four sister's homes.  I think we had a picnic or outing almost every day.
One day we went up THE mountain. That is Mt. Rainier, the favorite landmark of the area. 

Another day we went to the beach
and spent the day in the beach house of one of John's cousins. 
It was a cold, dreary day, but we had fun anyway.  One of the sisters and her husband couldn't go on that outing.
One of John's aunts and uncle live on a lake. 
We spent almost a week just enjoying the peace and quiet there.

We got to visit friends from Niger,
including the Bankes and the Kozakowskis.  It was fun to see them on this side of the pond.

One day we drove north of Seattle and visited a friend from high school days.  We stayed overnight and then the next morning another friend from high school
and his family came for breakfast.  Here we are, three friends from high school.

One Sunday we shared about our work in Niger at a church near Tacoma.  It was neat to see their wall displays about the T---, the people group from Niger that they have adopted.  

We flew home on the 8th and are now back in PA.  A week from now we move to Maryland.  There is a lot to do between now and then!