Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh, the gifts

Bear with me, this is just a bit of a reflective post. It seems like a good time of year to reflect a bit...

We opened lots of gifts on Christmas. It was wonderful. I am not one to skimp on gifts, and neither are our moms and friends, so we had this really fun Christmas!! And we had a couple of somewhat frenzied weeks that goes along with Christmas (moreso than we normally experience here)--trying to get presents finished and delivered to our friends around town. {We are actually still getting pumpkin bread baked and cds burned with Christmas music to deliver this week. It's easier to do that here because nobody really knows much about Christmas or really even care too much...}

But even with all the frenzy and fatigue that happened the couple of weeks before Christmas, I found myself just reflecting on the gifts that we've received the past year or so. About 4 days before we went back to the states, we had a Thanksgiving party. And we had all sorts of friends come that have been friends since we first got here. And some that we'd met within the last year. And about two days before that party, I had gotten the phone number of a friend that I met our first summer. So we got to invite her and her two friends to the party.

And we got to hear all about how the Father had touched her life and opened her eyes through the earthquake (and post earthquake) to receive His life. And her two best friends had their eyes opened. The first believers in one area of this state that is still one of our favorite places we've ever been to. What a gift.

And another friend: our friend Jake. He believed the summer before when a volunteer came through. We were working at the hostel for two months and had friends visit. And in the week that they were here, they met Jake (his English was already good AND he wanted more English practice). And they talked to Jake about eternity. But the amazing, totally God-sized thing about Jake is that when our volunteer friend talked to Jake and his mom, they were totally ready. Jake's grandmother believed. And her whole family ridiculed her and treated her with disdain for believing. But sometime before she died, she told her family, "someday a foreign believer is going to come through here and you will believe when you hear his story". And our friend got to be that person. And we get to be friends with Jake. What a gift.

While we were in the states, we got an email about our friend Laura. She was one of the first people we met when we moved here. And she has this tender heart that is drawn to the elderly and to children, and her elderly friends introduced her to us and Luke, and she started to spend lots of time at our house. And she was MOVED by the stories that we tell that go from creation all the way through Jesus. She was just wrapped up in every story we ever told. And we were told that she believed. So we spent time with her and talked about important things with her. However, she was the only one of her friends who was on the path to believing, and she pulled back. Because she was told, you are part of OUR people. You must believe the TBdhsm that everyone we love so much believes...

But, while we were in the states, we got an email from a friend over here that lives in another city. And our friend Laura had believed while she spent a year in Thailand (with the elderly couple that initially introduced Laura to us), and she was so excited to invest her life into the people that we love so much. What a gift.

And there's so many more. We need relationships here. So when we returned from the states and so many of our friends had moved away (people don't live here too long--plus, our friends are very nomadic in their culture...), we were discouraged. So we asked for new friends. And I felt a tug in my spirit that I needed to go dancing once a week with our friends. And that first week, I met several ladies from our area that are still becoming friends. What a gift.

And we feel so thankful for the gifts, but we also need help and wisdom and strength in moving forward. In being faithful with the gifts and blessings we have already received...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our little Charlie Brown Christmas tree

Our little Christmas tree is definitely not perfect, and when we first pulled it out of the box this year, for whatever reason, looking at the gaps between the branches evoked some thoughts: should I buy a new Christmas tree? Should it be from IKEA or the wholesale market (where we bought this one)? Could I fill in the gaps with our tinsel? How can we make this silly looking tree look better?...

And the more I decorated, the more I felt this swelling in my heart about the tree. I mean the tree is really insignificant in the bigger scheme of things. And Luke was putting up lots of ornaments and having me put string through lots of the ones that don't have hooks. And he started making snowflakes that he was hanging on the tree. And I started thinking, 'I LIKE that the tree isn't perfect.' I don't want another one. And as the ornaments got put on the tree (mostly on the bottom--just like I did when I was a kid) and the tree looked even more and more imperfect, the more I liked it.

I think I was making some unconscious parallels between the tree and my own life. I think there's a pressure (maybe more over here?) to believe in Jesus and then be perfect. Or at least seem to be. And I struggle with that. Johnny struggles with it. And yet we have been shown over the past 5 years how IMperfect we are. Still. We know the Lord more and have moved down the road, but we still NEED him more than ever. And as we've been shown how imperfect we are (it's been humiliating at times, folks), the Lord has also been quick to touch us and love us. And maybe it's my rebellious nature to a degree, but I kind of want to revel in imperfection this Christmas season. Our imperfect tree and our imperfect house (we have highlighter yellow kitchen cabinets, for example) and sometimes the imperfect way that we interact with each other and with our friends. But for whatever reason, my heart is so warmed by the idea that it's a beautiful thing--this imperfection and the way the Lord just jumped right down in the middle of it all 2010 years ago--approximately...

We have been busy--I try to dance with our local friends once a week. We try to have friends for dinner to connect with others who hang with us on Sunday. We have game nights for our friends to meet our team, and we've been having a blast planning parties for birthdays and showers and such. And it's amazing--we have some of the beginnings of deeper relationships than we have had the entire time we have been here. All in the middle of all that activity (and me staying home most nights to work on projects and cooking and such)...

It's this wonderful thing. Luke 1-2 tell of all these awesome ways that people who had been waiting for years and years got to see and hear about the fulfillment of the promise. And they were all filled with wonder. It's really amazing. We feel like we've been waiting for the fulfillment of the promise that's given in Revelation about our closest friends believing. Because they are a people that don't believe. And it is so inspiring and hope-giving to read again the story where the God of the Universe whispered and shouted all at once: I haven't forgotten my promises. And I am with you. And I will be with you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are so thankful. We have kept a "Give Thanks" jar since the middle of November (I wasn't together enough to have it before then), and ever since it's been on our dinner table, we write something we are each thankful for and put them in the jar. And the things we are thankful for range from elephants to juice to just the way our sweet children love and trust the Father. We really are thankful for so much! I was just thinking that I'm thankful for our whisk that truly makes my life just that much easier...And we have been so very very thankful for our family and friends. We have such amazing families back in the states, but we also have a surrogate family here that we are so thankful for as well.

So, Happy Thanksgiving! Hope your hearts and spirits are as full as we have felt as we've thought about thankfulness!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rock Sea...

We keep finding cool places in the province where we live. The latest adventure took us to the Rock Sea really near our closest local friend's home. It was truly so fun--acres of rocks to climb on, a cave to explore, and there's so much that we didn't even do or see. There are places to actually rock climb (like the kind Johnny is really good at) and places to go caving. A bit too extreme for even a 5 year old, but someday...

And we didn't even have time to explore the bamboo forest that's right next door. So we're definitely going to have to go back!!

So here are pictures of our friend and his home and some contraption that cleans rice:
They may have had the most simple home we've ever visited. But they are surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery...

Our little munchkin wouldn't leave Jordan's side...I think he said Jordan's name about 300 times a day

And here are some pictures of the rock sea.....I took close-ups because it was getting dark and we thought we could go back the next day (but it was raining). But I think the rocks in the background still make a fun backdrop...

And that was our trip. We have pictures in this enormous cave we explored, but they aren't very good. It was really dark...Imagine that...
Here is my favorite picture we've taken in ages!!

Love from all of us!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Come one, come all to the greatest show on earth!

Note: I kept waiting for some other pictures our friend took, but we still don't have them so I'm going to go ahead and post this post...

This weekend (Oct. 30) celebrated the bringing of year number 5 for Mr. L! And we did it up big and had so much fun!! REally, since we can't just buy anything like what we wanted to do for his birthday--a circus/carnival theme, we had to spend our nights making stuff. So we did, and we invited 9 families to join us (all with boys Luke's age--we wanted to invite the girls too, but just couldn't...) in all the chaos of the circus!

We had cupcakes and a unicycling juggler and caramel apples, cotton candy, popcorn, peanuts--everything you'd find at the carnival! And lots and lots of games--Johnny even made a Plinko! (Besides the ring toss, can toss, bobbing for apples, etc). Some of the kids were even dressed up as clowns when they arrived!! We rented out a room and played for hours in the room! It was really fun and hopefully an especially memorable birthday party for our party animal...Mr. L.

PS Here's a picture of our cupcakes. I don't have any other pictures of the food tables/decor, but here is the one picture I took!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the most wonderful time of the year...

The most wonderful time of the year IS Christmas, if you ask me, but now that it's cold and almost Luke's birthday and Thanksgiving and everything, I keep thinking that we have entered my favorite two months of the whole year!!! Johnny has stayed up a couple of nights to watch a football game, I have transitioned into warm drink heaven, and it's just generally a wonderful time of year. If we could travel to the mountains and see pretty changing leaves, it would be PERFECT!!

And in case you think we have to miss out on ALL of the fun fall festivities that happen in the states (well, we do miss a lot), there is one thing we have not missed---crafts and Halloween dress up!! Yesterday Luke got to miss school because of a craft day--he got to make 3 paper crafts (that turned out so very cute, in my opinion), got to decorate cookies, AND trick or treat for candy!! He was in heaven, since he loves to make stuff so much (and eat candy so much)!!

Here is our little dinosaur (after decorating cookies, I might add, in case you can see the white icing on his belly)...
And I have been up to my eyeballs in homemade circus party stuff. Here's a picture of the invitation (inspired by invitations from Hobby Lobby--we can't get stuff like that here, too much) :
And the practice caramel apples. We can't buy caramels here, but I found a recipe for homemade caramel apples on one of Luke's Mickey Mouse DVDs. Really easy--I can't believe we haven't made them before!!
Love from us, Shannon

Friday, October 22, 2010

what we've been doing lately

It's been a while since we posted anything, but we have been busy in the meantime.

Johnny finished some bunk beds for the boys. And as of today, we may have to move Jace into the bottom bunk--he climbed out of his crib and bumped his head on the floor. So it's pretty good he has a little home to move into.
the tent is finished now (we don't have a recent photo) and there is a leaf banner hanging up between bunks, just to accent that it's supposed to be a fun tree house bunk bed...
We have been about town in our bikes and bike trailers. So fun, and it makes it easy for me to get around a really big city. I went downtown one day and bought an 11 pound block of cheese (it is so much cheaper that way), and then felt pretty good about myself riding 15-20 miles on the bike with the boys. We call it the "swagger wagon--Asia style". Another such outing: the track at the university where Jace got to play soccer for a while. He was so happy. And there's Luke up in the tree!
We, as always, have also been eating lots of hot pot/stick pot. Some pictures of the boiling pot of spice as well as the sticks that have fish and lotus root. Just some fun things that we don't see in the west too much...
hot pot from our favorite restaurant. It's still in the solid state before it's boiled...yummy!
fish on a stick--anyone? Luke LOVES this!!!
lotus root

We have all been planning and working on projects for Luke's birthday party next Saturday. He wanted a circus party, so that's what he's getting--a circus/carnival. The party IS his birthday present for the most part!! Tonight, actually, Johnny is working on a PLINKO board for the party. Pretty awesome. I kinda want to play carnival games every day right now...
And, in case you're wondering, we're going to have the party in the morning, and then we'll have our bi-monthly game night and use the carnival games as the games for game night. So we'll have young and old, locals and whiteys all playing carnival games in one room. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!!

Also today, Luke's preschool had a program for moms and dads to go crazy taking pictures of their kids at. It was a bit of a cultural experience, since there was no order to the parents and their picture taking. Johnny got a few snippets of video, but I feel that there is no way to capture the experience if you're not feeling the pushes firsthand. But here's a couple of pictures that try to capture the experience. Sorry for the grainy-ness of the pictures--it's been really hazy here the past two days.
This is only one of four sides of parents literally crowding around to see/photograph their child

Can you find Luke? He's the one with yellow hair...
Doing their morning exercises (dances)

So, coming up, we plan to travel south (actually not one of our official areas, but...) to visit one of Johnny's best friends--we really hope to just connect with him there so that we can know his mom and family and friends and the place where he lives. It's not like we're going to be toughing it too much, though, it seems. There is rock climbing and caving and bamboo forests and lots of other stuff to explore down there. The weekend may go really fast!!

And, of course, there will be pictures from next week's circus shindig coming!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

one day in tower town

Last week was a huge holiday here in this country--National Day. So we thought since Johnny is out of school, it would be a good time to travel. Plus, our friend was here in town and he wanted to travel to tower town to visit some of his classmates from college, so we tagged along with him.However, on our way we got a call from adoctor who was concerned about Luke. Luke (on Thursday night--3 days before) had fallen from bunk beds, bumped the top of his head, and then woke up the next morning with a black eye. So the dr. was concerned about the black eye appearing without him hitting his eye. We were about 9 hours away from home and had to really think about what to do. So we didn't turn right back around, but we did cut the trip short.

We got one full day in our land of towers that we've talked about before. And we got to meet some new folks that we fell in love with: Jordan's classmate and her mom. They took good care of us, feeding us lots of yummy meat and serving lots and lots of butter tea. And when we weren't eating with them, we were playing. We went
up to this farm that has a place to stay and let the boys play in the cornfield for a couple of hours, and then we went to the actual place that has all the really old, really tall towers. Who knew playing in a corn field could be so much fun? That was definitely the highlight of the boys' day!

So here are some pictures:
At their store in the mountains. We bought a leather wallet and two embroidered headpieces that I want to cut, sew together, and frame. They are like what the Mama is wearing on her head except white and hand-sewn.
L and Daddy were making a video in the cornstalks
Just the fam
Playing in the cornfield in the mud. Hours of entertainment!!
New and old friends are awesome!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the mundane

Sometimes it's hard to write blogs because we do so much of the same things every day. Class, take the boys outside, try to go to the market or grocery store while Johnny's home with the boys, cook, clean (sometimes--although our house helper really does most of that)...

And that's really where we are right now. Johnny just started class at the university with a new teacher--we hope it's a good relationship. Luke is in preschool, and while he doesn't love going every day, he comes home saying something new in Chinese every day. Today it is, "I love you" (wo ai ni)...It's all good stuff!!

So today's post is all about three of our favorite places:
For Johnny it's the construction market that we found a week and a half ago. See, where we live the philosophy for business is a bit different--instead of spreading out and putting a store that sells, say, wood, the locals like to put ALL the stores that sell wood all in a row. Same for lights and other things. There's a section of town that is known as the construction market. And there are rows and rows of little shops that sell wood, and wood cut outs and door handles/bathroom fixtures, paint, etc. We've heard about this market for years now and never known where it is--so we looked for it Saturday before last and FOUND it! We drove in and it was like angels were singing soprano notes behind us--it is Johnny's new candy shop (figuratively speaking)!! We bought wood cut outs for behind our couch (it has been sorely in need of SOMEthing for a while!) and wood for Johnny to build bunk beds for the boys. So he's had this really fun project to do in his spare time (which has become less now that classes have started).

The second place is in the same section of town, nowhere near where we live (which is good because if I lived near there I would go every SINGLE day, I think). It's called the wholesale market. And it's not like a market like we're used to in the states. I think it covers almost a half of a square mile or something like that. I can buy fabric, crafty stuff, stuff for the house, jewelry, clothes, toys, school supplies, and if I wanted to buy 10 pairs of the same shoes, I could buy them wholesale there...It's MY wonderland. And everything is CHEAP. Like I bought LOTS of material for a tent I want to make for Luke's circus birthday party he wants to have 6 weeks from now. I needed about 15 meters and got it for 6 bucks. I love it. I even try to think of what I need from there next. Right now my list includes cheap toys for prizes for the birthday party and some bead necklaces...I wish we could take everyone to shop at the wholesale market...

And, last but not least, the other favorite part of town is the IKEA section of town. Where there's an IKEA, and import store, and a sports store that sells everything sports related except, alas, American footballs. We go there sometimes just to get coffee (it's so cheap from IKEA) and cheap candles--it's mostly an excuse to sort of escape and be somewhere clean with a whole separate room for changing babies (it's a little taste of comfort sometimes).

So, those are three of our favorite places in town, not to mention the massage place and the Indian restaurant and the place that does awesome pedicures for a little over 2 dollars. I guess they would have to be the honorable mentions. Simple pleasures go a long way! I'll add pictures next time I post--I don't have any as of now.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

new adventures in the ol' city

Luke is in preschool. And he loves it and hates it, all at the same time. He woke up really early this morning to go to school, but then he kept saying, 'I want to hang with Mommy and Daddy...' It'll be interesting to see how it went today!

We had a new experience, in that we looked for the pres
chool with a former house helper. She had scouted the preschools that weren't completely full for the year (apparently we were a month late in the hunt--surprise surprise), and we went to look for schools and then ate us some hot pot. Now
, to some people hot pot is a boiling pot of spice and yuck. But we love hot pot. And we enjoyed eating the meal, but then when it got time to pay, it got ugly a little bit. It's often a bit of a fight to pay when we are out with our local friends. But this time, there was pushing (Johnny got pushed pretty hard at some points) and arms were flying. We got to pay, but Johnny said that next time, we'll just let our da jie pay!!!

But, nonetheless, we found an awesome preschool that has puppet shows and lots of art projects, and the kids learn to dance, and they play with
blocks and all sorts of fun stuff. So, we feel like it's a successful venture! We are excited (and a little
sad) that Luke has the opportunity to learn the language here. He wants to so badly!
We'll leave it at that and just post some recent pictures of the boys!
The boys were watching t.v. together and we caught a rare picture where both are smiling!
Luke is riding his bike in the mountains. Just in front of our hotel. (We had an awesome view)

Jace gets to cruise in the Jeep while Luke is riding his bike. Someday soon he'll be riding, too!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tower town

One of our favorite places to go right now is this place called Danba. It's really so pretty, and the leaves turn in the fall and it's been sunny every day except one that we've been there, so it's pretty much charmed its way into our hearts. The best thing about DB is that the houses there have these really cool towers that come out of the houses--it's kinda medieval looking, and we think it would be so cool to have kids in a house like that. Can you imagine being a girl growing up in the tower room? Anyway, welike it there.

So, when the road collapsed and they made u
s close the guesthouse, we took an overnight trip to DB. We drove our friend there as a favor to him, and we also stayed in a hotel and took a much needed shower, and just enjoyed being in the sunshine. When we were getting out of our car (we had been there less than a minute), we met some really cool folks who were in their early 20s, and they saw us getting out of the car, saw the white boys, and then took about a bazillion pictures of the boys (totally common). We were chitchatting with them and found out they are dancers, and that they dance sometimes in the hotel where we stay. So, me being a big lover of dance performances, we asked if we could see them dance sometime. Coincidentally, they WERE dancing that night, so we made plans to see the
m. We were excited to have a contact in this place that we really like!

Next we walked around and talked to pretty much everyone in town, it seemed like, as we looked for a place to eat a late lunch/early dinner. We were invited to sit down with some older ladies all dressed in their really cool garb, so we sat and talked and ate popsicles.

After we ate, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the big dance show (we were thinking something kinda like a nightclub performance or the like). Then, both boys bathed, full, and ready to go, we traipsed down to
meet our dancer friends. They took us upstairs to a theater/stage that looked really professional and told us to wait a few minutes. So, we're having to totally adjust our thoughts of what this performance will be like.

About an hour and a half later, the dancing starts...and it's this really awesome show (see the picture to the left). We were so excited about it, we pulled out our video camera to try to record the show for everyone to see. And here's where our cultural experience starts. See, we weren't the only ones invited to the show--there were also some guys who are probably really important who were sitting in the first row. And they came in late and really drunk, and as soon as the show started, they wanted to stand up and start talking and taking video right in front of Johnny as he was videoing. After a few songs, they decided to join the dancers right on stage and dance with them and laugh and have a great time. We were really uncomfortable with the whole experience and left early, but we do hope to see our new friends soon!!

We get to experience new experiences every day, almost, but this was something that we'd never experienced before, and may never experience again. It was a really fun, beautiful trip, and we hope to get to go back in early October during the big national holiday here...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

the road collapsed...

We were driving out to the mountains last Monday (we are still here), and I was thinking while we were driving how normal everything seems here now. Things that used to feel so weird are so ordinary. I think we thought we would never get used to them! Such as the delays that happen every time we travel (lots of landslides and road construction), and the odd "semi" trucks that look more like huge blue dump trucks, and the crazy way people pass each other--even if they are on a crazy sharp mountain curve, etc. Anyway, the point is, it's all become somewhat normal--we don't really think twice anymore about the stares and the dirt and everything here.

So, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that we were going to get to have an adventure two days after arriving at the guesthouse. We got everything set up--it's nice because we have room to spread out and put out the crib and mat on the floor for the boys in sorta separate rooms from Johnny and I. And we were in for the week and a half/two weeks that we were supposed to help out here. Our second full day in the guesthouse, the boys and I walked down the mountain--we do that every day for supplies (if I get too many in one run, I can't carry them back up by myself). But our little neighbor saw us leaving and pointed out this area of the road that had a huge crack in it and said, basically, 'be really careful--walk fast and get back in a hurry!' So we did. We just got our daily drinks, fruit, and yogurt and got back up the mountain. Next thing, the power went out because the village officials were concerned about the power line that was in the middle of this cracked road. Not to0 unusual, and the boys and I like playing outside anyway, so we went for a while to play with the dog that's downstairs, and suddenly, a crowd had gathered at the road--also not too unusual here. BUT then the crack got bigger as the road fell down the mountain...

So we had all sorts of folks coming into the guesthouse telling us to evacuate--it wasn't safe. Too many landslides. We had to get everyone out, including ourselves . Picture a really well dressed woman standing in front of our bar and saying over and over again, "you have to get out. It isn't safe. You can't stay. It isn't safe." So we stayed two nights with our friends. It's defini
tely something different than we have ever experienced before!

And they absolutely won't let the guesthouse open, since there's too much danger of foreigners being caught in a landslide.
Notice the electric pole--it used to be in the middle of the road, and even though it's hard to see, it has completely fallen over!

The picture below was taken the day after the collapse (the guesthouse is the cute house on the left). All the dirt showing under the houses used to be road--I wish we had a before picture but we don't. They aren't letting anyone open the guesthouse for a while. We took the opportunity to take our friend
up north 4 hours and spent the night in one of our areas--that was really fun, but it will be fodder for another post.
Since all the excitement happened, we have been shuffling around from friends' apartments to hotels. And while we have been enjoying our time here, it is about time for us to get home and get showers and clean clothes and into different rooms to sleep.

Classes should start next Monday or the one after, and it sounds nice to be in a routine--our poor boys are really tired and we think they're ready for a bit of normalcy again...
It really is always an adventure around here--even just when I think everything seems normal...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

on to the hostel

We have a bit spotty internet here where we live, but we made a purchase yesterday that helps our internet work--we can now do facebook AND blogger. I wish we could promise to keep up better with our blogging, but...

We leave tomorrow to go for a week and a half to the mountains. We delayed the trip a day #1 because the roads are bad between our city and the one we're traveling to, and #2 because Jace had some sort of virus yesterday that gave him a fever and really upset stomach. So, we get to travel all together (if the roads had been open, Johnny would have traveled today), which is a huge plus since that means we can all ride in a car together--and we can pack Luke's bike and Jace's pack 'n play. Simple and yet so significant for 1-2 weeks in the mountains!! We may even stop at Starbucks on the way out for a little treat to kick off the potentially 8 hour road trip! We have done really well this past month and a half eating at home and saving our treat money :).

So, we will be helping our friends who run a hostel--I think the business itself is running really smoothly at this point, but it's just nice to have more than one person out there managing (and/or go-fering in our case).

Life in the mountains is simple. No coffee (except what we bring from the big city, which has already been packed), no butter as we know it in the west, definitely no cheese, and it's kinda hit or miss on what meat is available. So, we're taking some simple things like this for me to cook while we're there. We will be living on the side of a mountain, and it's a good hike for me--much less for Little men, so the fewer the trips down the mountain, the better (for them, of course). I try to look at the whole experience as training for our dream of living out in the mountains someday :)!

Something really special about the mountains is that when we're there, we don't live in a high rise apartment building. We live in a place where the boys can open the door and be right outside--hence the want for Luke's bike to go with us. That is such a treat for me as a mom--simple pleasures!

We often say how much we wish everyone could see where we travel. We feel like we get to see some really beautiful places that have yet to be touched by many humans, much less westerners. We want to make it our goal to try to give snapshots into our life out there...

We'll write from the mountains!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Johnny just finished school at Southwestern. Yay!!

Well, Luke's dinosaur blanket is finished, and I have started another blanket (I really am obsessed with my sewing machine). But really, the reason I just have to make it is for our little girl that we hope and pray the Lord will bring into our lives. We have been praying so long about adopting a child for our family, and we really feel like we are getting the green light to pursue adopting in Thailand, which is probably CRAZY since it is supposed to be so HARD to adopt from Thailand. And I am still guarding my heart like mad because I know it is quite possible that it won't work out for Thailand. But it's always been our heart to be connected to a country where trafficking is just outrageous. Now we are just asking the Lord to show us the next step...(and if we never get a girl, I will use either use the blanket for myself or give it to the next girl born in our city in Asia...).

I think our next option, if Thailand doesn't work out, is Ethiopia. So we are totally not opposed to Africa...

We are just over 6 weeks away from leaving to go back "home," and we are so hoping that over the next couple of years, we might be able to actually be with our people, living with them and serving them and loving them up close rather than from afar...

Shannon for all of us!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

just found out...

...my (Shannon's) best local friend back in CD believed while she was studying in Thailand. Hallelujah. But in the same email, I found out she has moved across the land and she won't be living in CD. she has a burden for the people that were affected by the earthquake, and wants to be in that area (she actually had a burden for them before she believed and went to that area before the EQ, so it's just all that much better that she's there. But I'm sad to think I won't get to hang out with her anymore. Selfish, I know, but true.

Anyway, we got to go up to Hannibal MO to talk at Hannibal LaGrange college and had such a good time visiting two of John's brothers and their wife and girlfriend! And then we got an extra treat, in that we got to stop by OBU and talk to one of Johnny's professors who may bring a group from OBU to backpack (they actually have a class that's a backpacking class...)! We hope that happens!!!

So we had a great weekend and got to spend some time together as a family, which we haven't been able to do much this semester :).

Signing off...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


We have been in America for 4 months now, and we are loving it!! Our lives pretty much consist of Johnny going to school and Shannon (me) staying at home with the boys. We are starting to get excited about going home, but we're going to enjoy every second of our time here before we go back!! We LOVE playing in the yard in our house here, and we enjoy every minute of the blue skies and sunshine!! What blessings!

We had a couple of visitors last weekend and had such a blast with them that we didn't want the weekend to be over!! John's family drove down from Tulsa and played with us at the park and hung out with us at our house, too. I think they probably each had to look for eggs at least a dozen times. And, of course, the Easter bunny visited as well--leaving tons of gifts and candy in his wake. Luke has officially christened Easter his "favorite," even more than Christmas. Although we feel like he will prefer Christmas in about 2 months...

I have been a bit obsessed with my sewing machine. I started by making a blanket for my brother and sister-in-law's new baby, and then kept going with one for Jace, and then I have been working for months now on Luke's blanket (he requested one since Jace got one). He wanted a dinosaur blanket, and I maybe bit off a bit more than I can chew, but it's been fun! I am getting to the end stages of the blanket and will save the hand sewing for when we get back overseas (sans sewing machine). I already have an idea for another couple of blankets for the children we dream of adopting...

John is working hard, and will have 15 more hours for his masters' degree at the end of the semester. His classes definitely bring up some interesting discussion, even at the dinner table!

Jace is getting more and more personality every day. He is more of a Mama's boy than Jace ever was, but he is so friendly, too!! He blows kisses when I say "bye" and loves to play ball and put little things in boxes (and take them out). He is strong!

I dream of writing a bit of a book for the boys, but I'm not sure when or how that will ever get done. The only time I have to do anything like that is after the boys are in bed, but that only consists of a couple of hours before I have to crash after an exhausting day!

We hope to get to spend time with friends in Tulsa in May, Texas in June and then return to Asia with a business visa. We are hearing all sorts of exciting projects and such happening while we're gone which makes it even more exciting to think about going back. The Father has been so good to us, and we are excited to see what He has next for our family!