Sunday May 5, 2019

John 2:23-25 When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

Today we split up as a family, Jeff took the younger two kids down to the school for Junii, which is another celebration of Easter here in Romania, complete with a horse parade, while Anjali and I headed to church. Here is a snippet of the parade:

We all met up together at the house for lunch and then a quiet evening at home with the hope of having Mexican food and margaritas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but those plans fell through. The kids had something easy for dinner, while Jeff and I had a quick ravioli toss after the kids went to bed.

I was able to do get the process of obtaining my license all figured out and should be able to submit everything on Monday. I even started the readings that I will need to. I am so happy to be doing this because the types of jobs that I will now be qualified will be much more prolific. We also started looking at apartments in the same area where we were before and have at least narrowed our search down to a few.

The peace and calmness I have experience today is so wonderful. God knew that I needed this direction and because He knows me better than I do, knew just how to present it to us so we would understand. What is so funny is that this path has been here all along, we just were not following it.

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Sunday April 28, 2019

Isaiah 30:21 And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Happy Orthodox Easter! This is so weird to be celebrating Christ’s resurrection again, but we are embracing it. I guess in reality we need to be celebrating this event every single day, because every day is a celebration of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.

Jeff took the family to church this morning, but I was still feeling pretty tired after the last 2 days. I stayed in bed and rested, which gave me an opportunity to do some more job searches. I am excited to have found several possibilities, but am worried that I will continue to run into the problem that I haven’t worked for the last 12 years, so my job experience is quite out-dated. I know that I have a great work ethic and I will do my very best in any position that I acquire, but I need someone to take a chance on me and give me the opportunity to prove my abilities.

This scripture is a wonderful reminder of God’s plan for me, as long as I am willing to listen to that voice behind me saying “This is the way; walk in it”. So I have made a decision to apply for all jobs that fall in line with my experience and passions, and trust in the Lord to show me the way; He will guide me. This does make me a bit nervous because some of these jobs are not in Madison and some not even in the States. But I have faith that God will place us where we need to be.

Yesterday at the grocery store we picked up some Romanian seasoned pork to grill. I am not sure what “Romanian seasoned pork” actually is, but I do know it tastes wonderful. We had a great meal together as a family and finished the evening with a game of Exploding Kittens.

Sunday March 24, 2019

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.

What a fitting reading for today because it goes right along with the sermon at church this morning which was that we need to lift up our prayers to God who waits for us with arms open affirming that He will never leave or forsake us. Towards the end of the sermon the pastor was very clear in his profession that “God’s timing is always perfect” and that we need to be patient for Him. God will always be there for us and though we may not see His actions when we want, He will respond, which is why we need to be steadfast in prayer and not grow weary (aka: we need to be patient). This part of the sermon was so impactful for me because I know that God was speaking to me through our pastor. He obviously knows that I am needing a constant reminder of this and that is what He is doing. I think I have seen “God’s timing is always perfect” at least 5 times in the last couple of days. God knows me better than I do because I am definitely needing this constant reminder to wait for God to reveal His plan for after our time in Kenya is finished. I know this in my heart, but it is so difficult for me to wrap my head around it. I want the answers and the path now so I can plan and know what is in store for us, but this is not the right time. I guess I need to follow Paul’s instruction and lift these things to God and ask Him for more patience.

As for the day today, I was able to find some daily affirmations to do with the kids and as we left church we recited them together. I don’t think they enjoy or appreciate these as much as I do, but I really don’t care. These affirmations are also a prayer to God. Here is the affirmation we read today:

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If I can get my kids to see the benefits to saying this every day it would eventually be a wonderful start to their day. I think these are all the things that God wants us to accomplish each and every day, and when we actively remind ourselves it will eventually become second-nature and we won’t even need to think about it. I found this verse to be a wonderful reminder:

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Saturday February 23, 2019

Numbers 14:19-21 Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now.” Then the Lord said, “I do forgive, just as you have asked; nevertheless—as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord

We enjoyed leisurely getting out of bed and down to breakfast this morning followed by a drive to Mirissa, a bordering beach town where the whale watching is superb. We hired a driver who was more than willing to make a quick pit stop in Galle to check out the old Dutch Fort that overlooked the Indian Ocean. We enjoyed walking around this quaint tourist town, checking out local shops and indulging in some waffles (the kids were in heaven).

We arrived at our hotel in Mirissa and headed straight out to dinner in the sand at a local restaurant. The food here was great and so were the margaritas! This was a wonderful evening watching the kids play in the surf and sand, just like they did last night. I think they are really enjoying the beach lifestyle. I am so thankful to be sitting here surrounded by God’s beautiful creations.

We have to be up very early for our whale watching excursion, so we put the kids to bed and then we headed outside to have some beers by the pool at the hotel. But we ended up sitting down at a table with 2 of the guys that worked at the hotel to drink our beers. We enjoyed some great conversation and laughter. It was a wonderful hour or so getting to know these nice young men. I love that Jeff enjoys this just as much as I do…putting ourselves out there to meet new people and that we are both able to have a conversation and loads of laughter with people we just met. It was a nice ending to our day.

Friday February 22, 2019

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Fridays are interesting around these parts.  They are typically the days that the local schools have their field trips so we were inundated with running, giggling kids ranging in ages from 6 – 16.  Surprisingly enough the younger kids did a much better job at being turtle conservancy visitors usually abiding the rules which most especially includes no touching the turtles.  Older kids would be told not to touch and then surreptitiously reaching another finger into the tank in hopes of copping a turtle feel.  Both Sara and Fanny had to raise their voices on more than one occasion and by the end of our morning shift I think everyone was more exhausted from playing the role of chaperone than when we had cleaned tanks.

Fortunately, Friday afternoons we have off to get a head start on the weekend to explore the island or just simply relax.  Lorna’s time with the project was coming to a close so we opted to eat a quick bite for lunch and then head over to the sand bar just up the beach to have a few beers and enjoy an hour or two catching up with our new friend.  The fishermen who also operate the bar were very happy to see us and were quick to pour the drinks and bring us some appetizers.  Sara and I taught Lorna and Joeri the intricacies of playing Hearts which they both caught on to quickly.  Meanwhile the kids got to play in the surf and sand.

We headed back in around 3 and said our goodbyes to Lorna (and Fanny who was going with her for the weekend) and then made plans for dinner.  The kids did some playing in the pool and then after a quick clean up we made our way to the neighboring town.  Sara had found a restaurant that was well rated and right on the beach.  The only problem as it turns out was that our Tuk Tuk drivers did not exactly know where it was located.  We had agreed upon a price for the ride and they drove us into the next town.  However, a quick check of Google Maps revealed that they had gone too far.  A u-turn later and a quick stop for the driver to ask some directions and we were off again.  We found the location and sat down for a nice and relaxing meal.

Nothing quite like enjoying some good food and conversation with a sea breeze gently caressing you.  We definitely found the fruits of our labor this evening.   After a long week of getting dirty, sweaty, and tired we enjoyed basking in the beauty of God’s Earth.

Saturday February 16, 2019

Ecclesiastes 8:15 So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.

This scripture reading is perfect for today! I swear these readings are random and are in no way planned. Jeff had selected these scripture verses last Mother’s Day and we still had none of our travel plans arranged at that time. I love God’s sense of humor. It is like He is giving us permission to relax in the sun by the pool today–and that is exactly what we did.

We woke up just in time for breakfast (it ended at 11 am!) and it was a fantastic buffet. The kids (and Jeff and I) were exhausted so we just stayed at the hotel for some down time. We swam, exercised, and just settled in. We were staying two nights and the kids were content to just hang and skip sightseeing. The service at the hotel was incredible, people were extremely friendly and attentive. We very much enjoyed our stay.

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The fruit bats here are gigantic!

Jeff and I basically hung by the pool with the kids for the day while they swam and it was very relaxing. I think it is so funny that, for the kids, if they have a pool they are happy. They really don’t share the same desire to explore like Jeff and I and that has been a bit of an adjustment. But I think we are starting to figure out what the kids want/need as far as sightseeing and exploring goes. Our time in Colombo will not include any sightseeing this go ’round, but that is okay. I think we are all really excited to see the turtles. We will be picked up from the hotel at 3 pm on Sunday.

Thursday February 14, 2019

Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

Happy Valentines Day (for those who celebrate–I am not one of them)! Today we spent the day getting organized and packed up to leave. The kids did a bit of school work and then helped me pack up. We ended up going to the beach one last time this afternoon, but only for about an hour. I am so glad we purchased that boogie board, it has given us many hours of fun at the beach. Today, while David was using it he caught a really big wave (the waves today were HUGE) and took the boogie board to his face. Thankfully it was nothing too serious, just a sore nose and a fat lip. He did a great job just shrugging it off, but it did end his desire to use the board any longer.

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After packing everything up we had dinner and a couple games of Mastermind before we sent the kids of to bed. Tomorrow will be a very long day and we start really early. We have a 6:50 am flight, which means that we have to be at the airport by 3:50 at the latest and leaving the house by 3:00 so we have time to return our rental car and still get checked in for our flight. I debated not going to bed at all because by the time I was ready to go to bed it was already midnight. Part of me wanted to just stay up, but I also knew that we had a long day ahead of us and any sleep would be better than none.

Wednesday February 13, 2019

Matthew 26:6-13 Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

Happy early birthday to Lucia! We had another easy start to the day. We had lunch and then headed to the beach for some boogie boarding and playing in the sand. We had so much fun until the kids got a little too excited (I asked them at least 4 times to not throw sand at each other, but they kept on doing it), so we left. Both Jeff and I were pretty frustrated and the kids were angry that we left, but we all came around and enjoyed Lucia’s birthday party. We had hot dogs and chicken with Kraft Mac and Cheese for dinner. We ordered an ice cream cake to celebrate and David and I found a couple small gifts for her to open. Our decision to celebrate early was because we didn’t know what to expect in Sri Lanka. We all had a lot of fun at the party and we all played a fun game called Mastermind before the kids went to bed without much fuss; I think they are all pretty tired.

 

Jeff and I stayed up quite a while and enjoyed some adult time with wine and great conversation. We have been talking a lot about what we want to do when we are done with this year. I feel quite lost, not knowing what I want and it felt good to hear that Jeff was feeling the same way. We prayed and put this in God’s hands. He will continue to be our guide and we will put our faith and trust in Him. He has never failed us and I know that He won’t start now. This is not the first time having this conversation, nor will it be the last. While we still have another 6 months to go, we only have 6 months to go and there are occasional moments when I start to feel overwhelmed at the thought of what to do next. I love these conversations with Jeff because we end up discussing that we need to continue to be in the moment. Looking for jobs right now isn’t a viable option anyway because we can’t start working for another 6 months, so looking now doesn’t make any sense. Furthermore, I want to make sure I listen attentively to His word and be open to going wherever it is I am called.

Tuesday February 12, 2019

Isaiah 28:29 This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.

Everyone was pretty tired today. We all woke up pretty late and enjoyed the slow pace of the day. We did decide to go into Perth for a bit. Jeff decided that he wanted to get some new sandals and when we were in Fremantle there were some that were 50% off. After the quick stop in Fremantle we decided to go for a walk through the botanical gardens. What a beautiful afternoon. I really enjoyed just taking in God’s creation. Though it made it a bit challenging at times because Anjali was in a bit of a mood today, most likely due to exhaustion.

We found a restaurant with a nice view of the ocean very close to home, so we left the city which had many options to choose and headed that way. We felt confident that we were going to have a nice dinner near the beach, but when we arrived 40 minutes later we found the restaurant to be closed for a staff party. After listening to the kids complain and argue in the car, poor Jeff curled up on the sidewalk feeling completely defeated. There was no way we were going to drive back into the city, but we had no idea where to go. Thankfully there was a liquor store adjacent to the restaurant and popped in there for some beer and more wine. The two guys that worked there sent us over to Hillary’s Harbor with the hope of finding a nice dinner. We were not disappointed, honestly I think the place we ended up enjoying was better than the first place. God took care of us, we just needed to be patient and trust in His ways.

 

Our dinner was absolutely fantastic. We sat outside and had a beautiful view of the harbor. This ended up being a 3 course meal with a couple drinks and a bottle of wine. The kids did a really good job and seemed to enjoy their fancy meal. This was just what Jeff wanted and I am so happy that we found this place. Lucia didn’t make it through dinner and passed out on me towards the end–thankfully all I had left was my wine to drink.

 

The unfortunate thing was that when we got home I realized that I didn’t have my phone. I swore I put it in my purse as we were getting ready to leave. Jeff and I headed back to the restaurant and thankfully found my phone on the floor directly under my seat, which means that I tried to put drop it into my purse, but missed.

Monday February 11, 2019

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast

It was an early day today. We had to be at the ferry in Fremantle for a 7:30 am departure, so everyone was up an moving by 5:45 so we could leave by 6:45. The kids did great and I suspect it was because this was something they really wanted to do. The hour ferry ride was very peaceful as we had a beautiful view of Fremantle harbor and the Indian Ocean.

I could feel the excitement building within the kids as we approached a Rottnest Island and as we got off the ferry I thought Anjali was going to explode. She was ready to just take off running, but first we had to get our bikes and snorkeling gear. Once we got the bikes Lucia was finding it difficult to remember how to get started. It took a few minutes of Jeff’s patient teaching before she took off. We decided that we would enjoy a bike ride first, so we headed towards was looked like a good ride on our map. However, about 10 minutes into it, Lucia really started to struggle and a frustrated Jeff decided that he would take her back to the settlement and the beach and wait for us. I was upset by this at first, but as we continued on our ride, I quickly realized that this was not for her–she would have never made it! As it was, David was really struggling towards the end. This was a long and hilly ride, I even had to get off my bike to walk it up some of the hills. But we did finish and meet up with Jeff and Lucia for an early lunch.

 

We met up at the settlement, which is like the main street of the islands with shops, restaurants, and a store. And since we came her to see quokkas we were blessed with seeing many of these cute marsupials while we were here. The kids were in heaven following these little guys around trying to get a photo with them or just of them.

We finally managed to pull the kids away and get them back on their bikes to head for lunch. We ended up getting more of a brunch because it was still too early for lunch, but the food was amazing and we all enjoyed the food, but the kids were especially thrilled that there were several quokkas who made our lunch even more special. Plus we got to FaceTime Grandma Wood, which was really fun.

After lunch we headed to the beach for some snorkeling, we were told this was some of the best snorkeling we will find in Perth and it did not disappoint. We saw so many fish of varying sizes and colors. The kids didn’t last long, but when they were finished the played on the beach. I was happy to let them play while we snorkeled because we were basically on a reef and the water only came up to their knees until they started o where we were. It was perfect. They were safe and we all got to do what we wanted.

After snorkeling and some playing on the beach, we hopped back on our bikes and headed for the settlement. We were going to grab some more food and hopefully some wine for me and Jeff. We found a nice little restaurant that had Seagull Cannons (aka: water bottles to spray them when they got too close) and the kids thought this was great (I found it very effective). Jeff and I enjoyed a bottle of wine while the kids took more pictures of the quokkas and finally ate some pizza. I think we sat here for almost 2 hours, just hanging out with the quokkas. We were all content to just hang out with the quokkas, drink some wine, and eat some pizza.

Today was a beautiful day. This was Anjali’s only activity she requested during our stay in Perth and she seemed very happy with today’s experience. She has been in such a good mood leading up to today and all day today. I think she really felt fulfilled with the activities today. She just had a permanent grin plastered on her face the whole ferry ride home.