This week has been wonderful!! (Though I'm exhausted!...) It's been snowing now for almost a week straight -- which gives me guilt-free reason to stay in my warm, cozy house and not feel compelled to go anywhere! I feel connected with my children. We're having fun learning and studying together. Monday we focused on math and then I wanted to teach them about ministering grace to others. When I wasn't exactly sure how to go about that, I decided it was easier to demonstrate it. So, one by one I washed their feet with aromatherapy foot scrub and then gave them a calf and foot massage with peppermint foot lotion while a candle burned nearby and soothing Italian music played in the background. I was blessed to notice which of my children responded to this nurture and care and how they responded. I think Isaiah's primary love language is physical touch and Ezekiel's is quality time. The experience gave Israel a chance to chatter on and on to a captive audience while I listened and invoked more chatter, "Really? So why do you think that happened?" and, "What if she said something else?" So cute! And, Eli played games on his Zune while commenting every several minutes on the song he was listening to or telling me a story that came to mind about something he recently read in a book or telling me more things he thought of for his Christmas wish list... (it's the age, right? ...or is his primary love language 'receiving gifts?' hmmmm...)
We finished reading "It" by Craig Groeschel (we are praying that God will "stretch us," "ruin us," and "heal us"), and have started reading "Just Walk Across the Room" by Bill Hybels. I can see God working in our family. I can see Him pursuing our hearts. We feel challenged and inspired. But most of all, we are ever-aware that we are loved, lavishly and passionately, by the Creator God, the King of Kings. We're also listening to the audio book "Walking With God" by John Eldredge, (usually while folding mountains of laundry together... smile). (Thank you for the recommendation, Carol! We're enjoying it and the meaningful conversations that are brought up!) So many wonderful moments!
Today Isaiah made peanut butter cookies and then we put the book we're reading into practice. We "walked across the street" to communicate love in a way that bridges the language barrier: we took a plate of cookies to the neighbor we've been praying for.
I trust you had a joyfully memorable Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful day as we applied ourselves to some home school in the morning and then when Israel got home from German School we had dinner with "family" at Trinity Baptist Church. I hung out with a large group of crazy people who kept us laughing the entire time with their ridiculous and hilarious humor. LeRoy and Eli played football outside with a large group of teenage boys and their dads -- I haven't seen my husband that muddy in a long time! So awesome! And the younger children ran and ran and ran in the gymnasium until their cheeks were bright red and sweat matted their hair to their foreheads! As we drove home I thanked the Lord for my children's comments in the back seat, "This was definitely one of the best Thanksgivings ever!"
Having said all this, please be praying for our family -- especially the children. Though we are grateful beyond words for this opportunity, we are experiencing a 'bout of, well, nostalgia, or homesickness. I don't think it helps that both LeRoy and I got to visit family and friends in the States in the last several months while the children did not. (LeRoy detoured through Spokane for the weekend while en route to California on his TDY.) One thing that has been especially challenging and difficult for the children is the lack of playmates outside our family. For any of you who know Eli, my extreme extrovert, this has been the nearest thing to torture for him. Thankfully, he is involved in the youth group at Trinity Baptist Church and is pretty connected with the handful of teens there. But Isaiah really, really misses his friends from school as the APPLE program was like a big, extended family to us. He says he worries that he's going to lose his connections with his friends, (you know Isaiah, a small handful of friends who he's loyal to the end to). Zeke and Israel haven't noticed as much, though they, too, having been making comments lately that they miss people "back home in the States."
There's a little update... Thank you, thank you for all your e-mails filled with encouragement and updates on your lives!! We LOVE hearing from you and hearing about all that is happening as it helps us stay connected. Please know that we're thinking of you, praying for you... and missing you.
May your day be blessed,