Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dani's visit



This week, the boys' cousin Danielle LaBrie came to stay with us. It's been so fun having her around, we're thinking of "accidentally" forgetting to take her to the airport tomorrow. Dani will start her senior year at Arcadia High School down in Arcadia, California (near Pasadena) when she gets back.
She is so great with the boys, they have loved every second of her stay with us. We tried our best to find some possible long-term love interests from Oregon to lay the groundwork for our long-range plan of getting the LaBrie's to move to Oregon. So far, Dani's sister Erinne married Travis, a Klamath Falls guy, and we've heard that her oldest sister Traci is now "talking with" one of Travis' good friends from Klamath Falls.
For her 17th birthday (July 11th), Dani chose as her birthday gift from her parents to fly up to visit us - and we felt honored. We told her that we look forward to the tradition continuing next year in Kampala!

"Spotlight"

After a 98-degree day, the thunderclouds started moving in later in the day. When we drove up to our house after Brodie's soccer practice, we saw this in the sky beyond our house. By the time I got the camera, the clouds had formed this spotlight. I'm a lousy photographer who dislikes taking pictures, but this looked really cool. I think God's a pretty good artist.
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

- 1 tooth, + 1 cat!



Brodie lost his 2nd tooth last night, so another payday from the tooth fairy this morning! Also, we've added another cat! ...sort of. We rescued a cat from our neighborhood who is obviously not being fed. 3 weeks ago, I walked across the street to pet her since she looked so much like Lucy, our dear cat who died last summer. Once I started petting her, I realized she was BONE skinny (her furry coat hid it well). So I went inside to get food, but when I returned, one of the boys came tearing out of the house yelling "WAIT for me dad!". Well, that was enough to scare me, let alone a little skittish cat, so she was gone. Despite repeated trips around the neighborhood over the last 3 weeks, no trace of the cat.Then Thursday after work, I glanced out the window and saw her in the same spot. So I got some food and 20 minutes later, we had her 'in custody'. So we gave her food and a litter box, put her in a dog kennel (thanks to the Carroways), gave her a flea bath and put some Frontline on her in case there were fleas.She is such a sweetheart - we're calling her 'Goosey' because she's white like a goose (Jonah's choice). So, I can see the questions/comments swirling around in your collective heads - what are we going to do with another cat? Isn't this negative progress towards Africa? Are those people crazy?!Well settle down, we only intend to keep her for a little bit to fatten her up, and then we'll adopt her out. She is barely a year old, beautiful and sweet so it should be no problem to find her a home.We think she may belong to one of the elderly people who live in the adult foster care house across the street from us, but there is no way we could let this cat go back to a place where it is obviously not being fed.You can't tell from the picture, but she is borderline needing hospitalization she is so bone thin. You can feel every single bone in her body. It's not right and the poor cat is going starve to death. But she is happily eating here and seems very content. And no, Kitty is none too pleased. But 'Goosey' steers clear of her, and we're keeping them separated anyways.So are we prepared to see the mass poverty, starving people and animals and other sad facts of life in Africa? No - but how can you be prepared for that, and does that mean we should 'toughen up' so we are calloused to such sad things in life? My opinion is, if you're helping an animal in Medford or giving a child a piece of fruit in Uganda, God is pleased. Obviously, starving people are the bigger concern, but I think God wants us to care for animals too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Camping at Burney Falls


We just returned from a week of camping with Alisha's folks at MacArthur-Burney Falls State Park (head to Mt. Shasta on I-5, then go 60 miles southeast). It was a great week and very fun - hiking, biking, swimming, boating (Alisha's dad has a motored canoe), reading, eating, napping, and having a great time. We even drove to a nearby cave that the boys loved.
We were totally out of cell phone range, and had no computer, so we truly got away. We returned to 8 cell phone messages, 18 home phone messages, 65 emails (not including spam) and a stack of mail. It's nice to be missed. :)
We're both working our way through the list of books eMi is having us read and thoroughly enjoying them. It is fun to learn more about what we're getting into. I can see that living there is going to be challenging in ways that I hadn't thought of. I had been expecting the typical 'doing without' kinds of things, but the more I learn, I think the cultural differences will be far more challenging. Things like how Africans view money and how it is spent or borrowed or given away - their whole attitude towards money management is worlds apart from Western principles (yes, I know, 'worlds apart' both philosophically and geographically). Not bad, just totally different. Their system works well for them (private system of money management, not necessarily governmental systems!), and ours works here. But to quote Alisha's dad, "never the 'tween shall they meet". Anyway, I'm realizing that we will need to be ready to give lots of grace in encountering many frustrating situations - incidentally, I am generally most excellent at this nearly 100% of the time, so we've got that going for us. (...um, I don't think so! :) )


Anyway, as for our support-raising, we feel so blessed and in awe of how God is working through our friends and family to make this become a reality. After just a few weeks, we are already at over 30% in our monthly commitments and over 50% in our start-up costs (including the 3-month budget reserve)! It's happening so fast that we were taken a little off-guard, so we've been scrambling to get our thank you's out. We hope to start sending them out this week - so we apologize that you haven't received one already. (So you know, we generally find out from eMi about 2 weeks after you submit your commitment sheet).
So thank you so much. We feel so blessed by the generosity of our family and friends. It is teaching us a lot in that department.
We go before the pastors at our church this coming Monday morning to share more about what we're doing. Our senior pastor is fully supportive, and wants to schedule us to come up front in the main service sometime in September. What a blessing - we just love our church (Tablerock Fellowship).

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Brodie's Piano Recital





(I know, 3 posts in 1 day - but I was behind. Also, you may notice that I posted these 3 in reverse order - oops.)

Brodie had his first piano recital on July 30th. He played Old Macdonald and Ode to joy, and his piano teacher Mrs. Cloward accompanied him. Brodie loves practicing the piano and is picking it up really quickly. They say music is very similar to math, logically, so it seems to be right up his alley. We'll definitely have to find a way to keep him in piano in Africa. We know his school has one (Heritage International School in Kampala).

Graysen's Bday #3





Graysen turned 3 on August 9th, but his birthday lasted over a week! Last weekend we celebrated with the Berry family and Grandma & Grandpa, then on his birthday we had a little family party and our neighbors Kathy & "Mr. Charles" stopped by, since "Mr. Charles" is on par with Santa Claus in Graysen's mind. Then on Friday, our friends the Sampsons came over for another little party.
The pictures are of Graysen and his family party, Alisha and Emilie Sampson, and Matt Sampson and the 6 boys - our 3 with their 3 (Andrew, Brennan & Parker).

Smith River/Crescent City







We took a trip to Crescent City on Saturday to hang out at the River, beach and for my soccer game. We had a great day - except for the soccer game, which we lost 5-2 because we only had 10 players, and then 9 after a red card. ARRG!
We spent the morning at Jedadiah Smith State Park in the redwoods along the Smith River. I always thought it was a great place, but had only really driven by on the way to the coast. But I think it's one of the most beautiful places I've been. The weather is often cloudy and cool, but the river water isn't so cold since just a few miles up river, it flows through 80 and 90 degree weather. I love the redwoods, and I love the river, which winds through a rocky canyon before yielding to some calmer pools in the park that are great for swimming. It's about 15 minutes Northeast of Crescent City, 5 miles up Hwy 199 from Hwy 101.
Anyway, we had great day and someday we'd love to camp there.
After the game, we drove to the South end of town to let the boys play at Endert's Beach just South of Crescent City. While we were there, we ran into an old friend, Brian Thompson who heads up an extreme sports ministry in Cave Junction called "Cross Quest Expeditions". Alisha and I had competed in an adventure race 5 years ago that Brian put on, and we hadn't seen him since. He was at the beach running a surf camp for a group of kids. I told him a Cross Quest Nile River raft trip would be a great idea for his ministry!
These are some of the pictures from the day. I love the action photo of me trying to teach Brodie how to skip rocks. My favorite part is Jonah "helping" behind us!

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Monday, August 6, 2007

Brodie looses his first tooth!


After a two-week battle, Brodie (with his Mom's help) finally yanked out his first tooth tonight! He was not so happy about the small amount of blood to follow, but he was very excited about the pending visit from the tooth-fairy. We asked him how much he thought she would bring, he thought about it briefly and said, "Well, I don't have a $50 dollar bill." Ever the opportunist.
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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wkend at Grammy & Papa's


Last weekend, we made it over to Klamath Falls to visit with Grammy & Papa, and also Papa's Cousin Glenn & Deanna Crawford visiting from Arkansas. Since it was the only weekend in all of July & August where Grammy & Papa would be home , we decided we'd better make it over to swim in the pool at least once.
We had a great time and spent a lot of it in the pool. The boys loved Grammy's slide and we all ate like Kings (& Queen). 3 days later, Grammy & Papa were back on the road RV'ing to Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado until mid-September.
It was a fun treat to spend time with Glenn and Deanna. He really reminded me a lot of my Grandpa Crawford who died over a decade ago.
On the Africa front, we have begun to hear back from a few people who have received our letter and DVD, and we are already blown away by the generosity of our friends and family. It's very sobering to realize that people will be funding everything we do over there - I hadn't given it much thought until we started hearing back from people who are making financial committments. But I'm coming to realize that there will be a certain gravity to every financial decision we make as we will be constantly aware of the responsibility of good stewardship of the money people are contributing to God's work in Africa, through us. It's seems like every little step of the way in this process God is tweaking and adjusting my thoughts and mindset. With all I've learned and have yet to learn still, I sometimes feel like it's a wonder that God even bothered to use such a fixer-upper. But then again, I suppose he's the master at remodels.


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