Saturday, April 28

A Little Sentimental

Tomorrow morning the MOPS group that I have been part of since we've lived here is having a 'resale' event. I've shared about MOPS before on our family blog, it's been a great opportunity to get to know other mum's and when we first arrived a good way to get know the local area too with recommendations of what to do and where to go with little munchkins.

While I have happily 'shopped' at previous Resales, as the clock is officially ticking on our time here in America, this time round I signed up to be a seller too. While I've learnt from experience never to to say never to God, we definitely feel it is unlikely that our family will get any bigger for the time being. With another international move for our family within the next year, it makes no sense to hold on to all our baby bits and pieces but to sell them on where they can be of use to someone else.

Needless to say that I've been getting a little sentimental this week. By putting it all out to sell, it feels like we're closing a door on the baby season in our family. Sorting through all of the clothes that both our girls wore as newborns ... up to the age of one and all of the memories that are attached to them. Toys, towels, cot mobiles, baby baths and so much more, each with their own stories to tell. One large item we're selling is the beautiful moses basket that both Abigail and then Naomi slept in, in our bedroom for the first few months of their lives. 

In many ways it is really sad to say goodbye to it all and in others a relief to offload things that would just be sitting in storage and not being used at all and getting some cash instead. When I had laid it all out on the tables to sell today it was scary just how much stuff we've accumulated over the last few years and that has been with us trying to be 'careful' too. If we hadn't been living on a reduced missionary budget I dread to think how much more we would have in our house and we really wouldn't have needed it either!

Even though the resale doesn't start until tomorrow morning, I've already had a call this evening from someone interested in the moses basket ... it seems they are a much more expensive and rare commodity out here than they are in the UK. Even if I were to sell just that we will have made back the price of our spot at the resale twenty times over!! So it's looking like it will be a success before it's even started!

Wednesday, April 25


In April 1982, I was a flower girl for my cousin when she got married. I wasn't quite 5 years old and only have vague recollections of what happened that day and a few very dodgy looking photos ... how fashions change! Last weekend, almost exactly thirty years later, Abigail was a flower girl for some good friends of ours here in the States. I guess it's almost like an unofficial rite of passage for little girls!

Having been a little cranky in the week leading up to the wedding, understandable having just got back from almost a month away and settling back into 'normal' life again, I was a little apprehensive as to how the day would pan out. I needn't have been worried, Abigail was a total superstar. 

From the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner the night before, to getting ready with the female half of the wedding party, to the photos before the ceremony, walking down the aisle on her own sprinkling petals, handing out bubbles to the guests and enjoying the reception ... she just kept going and was on her best behaviour, doing everything that she needed to with a smile on her face. It was a lot for a 3 1/2 year old but she took it all in her stride and made me SO proud.

One part of the day which made me completely burst with pride (and almost had me in tears) was when she walked down the aisle just before the bride. She was due to walk with the ring bearer but he didn't 'play ball' for the rehearsal or photos. In the actual ceremony he was standing with her at the end of the aisle ready to go and then had a total meltdown. It didn't phase Abigail though, she just walked down as she'd practised and took her spot with the other bridesmaids at the front. If that's how I felt when she was a flowergirl, I can't imagine how I'm going to feel when she walks down the aisle as the bride!

It was a lovely day and we felt honoured that we know some people well enough now out here, that we feel like family and Abigail could be part their wedding party. Just think when we arrived here in September 2009, we didn't know anyone! It will be good to remember that next time we move (the joy of a missionary lifestyle), that while we won't know people to begin with and will be far from family ... it really won't be long before we find more good friends again.

Tuesday, April 24

First Birthday

Yesterday my youngest munchkin celebrated her first birthday. Such a big milestone and yet I'm sure none of us actually remember our own!

So many important things happen in that first year ... learning to drink, smile, eat, wave, sit, walk and in Naomi's case climb the four steps up onto our little slide!!! ... to name just a few. It's amazing, when you actually stop and think about it, how one little person can learn it all and just take it in their stride, as well as developing their own characters at the same time.

We didn't 'party hard' to celebrate but as this will probably be the only birthday of her whole life that Naomi will live in the same town as both her godmothers we had them and their families around to mark the occasion. Naomi was quite quiet and reserved for the few hours they were here and within minutes of them leaving turned into a complete goofball which is definitely much truer to character and was really amusing to watch.

Happy Birthday Little One ... can't wait to see all the things you will accomplish in the coming year!

Saturday, April 21

Whirlwind Week

On Monday evening we arrived safely home after a really good time away in Florida, with Mark working and the girls exploring a new part of the States. The next morning, we hit the ground running and haven't stopped.

After quite a relaxing few weeks, we've certainly made up for it now and have been racing around with a never ending list of things we have to do ... Florida was most definitely the calm before the storm. I'm definitely missing our time there already!

Life's just like that sometimes, however organised and prepared you can be, flexibility has to be the key in the moment. Everyone has days/weeks/months like that whether you're home or away and you just have to put your head down and plough on through. I'm just grateful that Mark has had this week off so we could get through it all together!

Here's just some of the craziness of the last four days, not all particularly exciting ... but that's real life!! 
  • Laundry - 7 loads
  • Preparing the veggie patch ... but not getting a chance to sow the seeds
  • Cleaning the winter dirt off the front porch
  • Making and decorating a 1st Birthday Cake
  • Finalising some bulk mailing
  • Food Shopping
  • Cleaning the house through
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Having our first water fight of the summer in the back garden
  • Wrapping a few hundred sets of cutlery in napkins for a friend's wedding
  • Soothing a teething 11 month old
  • School run & story time at the library
  • Unpacking from our trip - still 2 boxes left
  • Hoovered the car
  • Cooking yummy meals

It's 11pm and we only got back from the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner an hour ago ... Abigail's the Flowergirl and did a perfect job tonight!! Tomorrow is the wedding and Sunday is Naomi's first birthday for which we have a few people over. Then next weekend it's our churches missions weekend for which we're one of the two featured family's so a lot to prepare for that and on the Saturday morning is also our MOPS resale for which I have to go through ALL our baby stuff, clean/wash and price everything up for ... as well as quite a few other important things!!

Needless to say this week my emails have gone unanswered, my house looks like it's been hit by a tornado and I haven't caught up with friends on the phone since we got home ... I haven't even had a chance to update my Facebook status and it's looking to be more of the same for the coming week. Life is fun when it's full ... but I'm looking forward to it settling down just a little bit so I have time to 'smell the roses' too. Roll on next Sunday evening til I can take a breath ... only 9 more sleeps!! 

Thursday, April 19

Blog Party!

Since writing more than just the regular updates on our family blog, Beckwith's Big Adventure and starting this one last summer as my own, I really have had my mind opened to a whole different world! It seems that there are even blogging parties and so here I am joining my first, the 2012 Ultimate Blog Party from

I'm a Brit mummy and an MAF UK missionary, living in small-town America at the moment and heading to East Africa when our time is done here ... later on this year! My husband, Mark is training here at MMS Aviation to become an aircraft engineer so he can fix the small planes that do medivacs and fly in aid and volunteers to disaster zones in the developing world. I also have two little munchkins who take up the majority of my time at the moment, Abigail born in 2008 in the UK and Naomi born in 2011 in the USA.

I started 'The Missionary Mum' as there were lots of things I found that I didn't get to write about in our other blog and that might be of interest or helpful to other mum's or those on mission or thinking about it. I have really enjoyed it so far ... a little something for me! I write three times a week about all kinds of things from the mundane to the milestones of parenting, living life across cultures and with language differences (even from the UK to the USA!!), missionaries, family favourite recipes, great books I've read ... and lots more. 

I have really enjoyed getting to know and learning from other mum's all over the world who are also passionate about their families, faith and missions. I still have so much to learn ... but here is my blog party entry and I look forward to getting to know more like-minded mum's as a result! (Normal blogging will resume on Friday!!!)

Tuesday, April 17

Being Missional

One of the upsides of being 'on holiday' these last few weeks has been having a little extra reading time! I LOVE to read and since having munchkin No 2, have not had as much of a chance as I would like (as so many mummy friends can sympathise!) In Florida I managed a book and a half plus a few magazines and other bits and bobs ... definitely my best effort in a long time!

Although I would definitely advocate the real thing when it comes to books (flicking through the pages!) rather than an electronic version, I am slowly becoming a convert to the Kindle. After all, when you're travelling lots and moving all over the world and can take your whole library of books on one little handheld device, I would be stupid not to love it really. So this is what I took with me to Florida with a choice of reads!

I had wanted to read The Missional Mom by Helen Lee for a while. It was recommended in a few places, including by an ex-MMS apprentice wife in her blog, Missional Mama, who is serving in Bolivia with her husband and family. She was even able to interview the author in a blogpost. It was a captivating and really interesting read about how to live a missional life wherever you find that God has placed you. Although she writes it from a mum's perspective, any women or in fact anyone would be able to learn lots from what she has to say. (I'm definitely going to get the hubby to have a read at some point!)

I am privileged to have good friends of all different nationalities serving in missions all over the world. England, France, Spain, Albania, Morocco, Turkey, Kenya, Tanzania, Togo, India, Pakistan, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and Australia to name just a few. I also have good friends and family who are missional in their home settings, whether it be through their churches, Street Pastors, within their communities, raising support for missions overseas (like RUSH) or in many other ways.

In 'The Missional Mom', Helen Lee writes ...
'Missionaries are not just specially selected people who spread the gospel in distant lands. You are a missionary, in whatever context God has placed you, with whatever gifts He has given you. Your mission is to be His witness and disciple-maker wherever you live and move and have your being. This mission does not change when you become a mother.'
This book really inspired me ... even as a 'missionary' in the traditional sense of the word as I have felt a bit out of the loop since Naomi came along ... babies are a little bit time consuming! It has challenged me once again to find even more opportunities to live a missional life, one in which the whole family can be involved. I totally recommend this book and loved actually having the opportunity to read it at last!

Sunday, April 15

Home Away from Home

Yesterday, Friday, was Mark’s last day in the hangar at MFI, which meant packing up and now making the long drive back ‘home home’. In many ways the time has gone really quickly, yet it seems like a lifetime ago we drove down there and got settled into our 'home away from home'.

I'll have to admit I was a little apprehensive about the thought of living in a 'trailer' for three weeks with the girls but then almost 8% of all Americans do it every day, roughly 6.8 million families/indiviudals, including friends of ours ... so I knew it was going to be a lot better then I expected and it totally was! 

Living in a trailer doesn't have the same connotations here that it would in the UK and to be honest made it feel more like a holiday. It was a really well equipped and made it easy to settle in and enjoy. As much as it was a work trip for Mark, before we left Coshocton and while we were there, the Beckwith girlies were often found referring to their time in Florida as a holiday ... as with sunshine, beaches and new playgrounds to try out every day it really did feel like one! (Sorry Mark!)

While we only had to be there for a few weeks, it was a first taste of how we will be able to adjust to somewhere new as a family of 4, which we will have to do within the next 12 months. With no buddies of my own down there, it required a lot of effort on my part each day with the little ones, exploring new places  for fun and finding the shops etc for the more practical side of life but it was so worth it ... and we got to see Mark every day instead of when he took his trip to PNG!

While we've been driving back I've been thinking about what I will miss (or not) about our time in Florida ... some really obvious and some not so!

I will miss ...
  • the sunshine
  • the beaches & play parks
  • fresh Florida orange juice from Al's Red Barn
  • the air-conditioning (it was the real deal, not boxes in windows!)
  • being near to 'Real' shops and not having to drive 45 mins+ to go anywhere but Walmart!
  • the really delicious chinese take away just 5 mins away
  • having the washer and dryer easily accessible rather than in the basement
  • putting the girls to bed and not having to worry about squeaky floorboards as we creep in and out of their room!
  • Not having the big ongoing 'to do' list from home in the  back of my mind and just being able to have fun with the girls more
  • the multi-cultural population of Florida ... I love Coshocton but it's not very diverse and I felt a lot more at home with people of all different cultural backgrounds around!
  • setting the alarm 45 mins later every morning because of the MFI start time and living just around the corner from the hangar

I will not miss ...
  • having to write all blogs in a word document so Mark can upload them the following day in the hangar ... internet access was limited and frustrating at times (which is why this post is a little late!)
  • the army of ants that made the kitchen area their home
  • the very squeaky bathroom door right next to the girls bedroom!
  • the week and a half that it took for Naomi to settle into sleeping nights
  • lack of friends ... as we were only there for 3 weeks, I chose to enjoy the time with the family rather than forging new relationships which was fine for the short term but I'm looking forward to catching up with my friends when we get back!

There are good and bad things about everywhere we find ourselves living ... I just tried to make the most of all the opportunities we had to enjoy ourselves and the girls seemed to appreciate that. Now we're almost home I find myself thinking ahead to both packing up and settling the family again ... wherever it is we will find ourselves! One blog I enjoy reading is called My Perfect Mess. Mandi Miller and her family have just moved to St Kitts in the West Indies as missionaries and she writes really honestly both about the emotional transitions of saying goodbye and settling in somewhere new. All things that we will experience ourselves once again all too soon!

Wednesday, April 11

Easy Peasy

As you know, last summer I began my growing love affair with the Crock-Pot! Since moving to the States, it's versatility has amazed me. Not only does it make cooking the evening meal SO much easier but it frees up time with the kiddos at their potentially crankiest time of the day to keep them happy!

Our house becomes an oven in the summer months ... literally! If it gets below 78 degrees in the coolest hours of the night, we’re onto a winner. Cooking in the oven or on the stove isn’t really an option. One reason I’m falling in love with my slow cooker ... much less heat generated and it can even go in the basement!

While we’ve been here in Florida and enjoying the sunshine and early evening’s on the beach after Mark’s finished in the hangar, I’ve been making the most of the slow cooker here and trying out some new recipes in anticipation of the heat of the Ohio summer which will hit in a few months time. I’ve been delving into the ‘Crock Pot - Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes’ cookbook that I bought last year, searching for yumminess that I hope will fast become our family favourites too.

This week I also plan to email some of my American friends for their winning slow cooker recipes to further expand my repertoire. While cookbooks are great, I always think first hand recommendations are the best way to try new things. If you have a Crock Pot favourite please let me in on your secret. In the meantime here’s one that we tried last week, BBQ Pulled Pork, which was delicious. A real American meal ... I’d never heard of pulled pork before we moved here!

  • 1 pork shoulder roast (about 2 1/2 lbs)
  • 1 bottle (14oz) BBQ sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 hamburger buns or hard rolls

  1. Place roast in slow cooker. Cover and cook - Low 10-12 hrs or High 5-6 hrs
  2. Remove roast and discard cooking liquid. Shred pork with 2 forks
  3. Return pork to slow cooker, add BBQ sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, & onion
  4. Cover & cook - Low 2 hrs or High 1 hr
  5. Serve shredded pork on buns/rolls with salad/fries.

Monday, April 9

Baby Proof?

When you have a home with little people running around 24/7, you automatically have the small and breakable things high up, out of reach or at least out of the way of inquisitive fingers.

I remember when we were preparing for Abigail’s arrival, there were always baby-proofing sections in the books about parenthood. It’s not really something that we ever thought about too much until she was properly on the move and we just tweaked a few things here and there to make it work. Abigail was also pretty good with what she did and didn’t touch and has always been really gentle with things too.

With Naomi’s arrival there wasn’t really much extra we had to change, apart from moving some of Abigail’s smaller toys out of harms way ... for both the toys sake and Naomi’s! I wouldn’t say we were too safety conscious, just sensible. It came as a surprise to me then, since travelling down to Florida and living somewhere different for a few weeks, just how baby proof our ‘home home’ (as Abigail calls it!) actually is!

Whether it’s because Naomi is a lot more mobile several months earlier than Abigail was or that she’s just a lot more inquisitive but she’s in to EVERYTHING ... much more than her sister was! Naomi was opening all the drawers and cupboards in the hotels we stayed in on our journey down. They were all lovely easy slide ones! We found ourselves strategically wedging suitcases around the rooms to block access!

Once we got into our new ‘home away from home’, for these few weeks while Mark’s working at MFI, it only took a few days before Naomi discovered which cupboards and drawers she could access! She works out more and more ways to get around things as each day goes by. 

Every morning I strategically place chairs blocking her way to specific places. There is one particular cupboard however that she knows she has all access to and so visits it multiple times a day. Her favourite treasure, which she gets excited about every time, is the small saucepan ... always collected with the biggest grin! I’m letting her have all the ‘fun’ she wants for now ... she just has one more week of discoveries before we return home, to what I now know is a much ‘tighter ship’!

Friday, April 6

A Good Good Friday

Christmas and the Easter weekend are the most important dates in the Christian calendar. Celebrating first the birth and then the death and resurrection of Jesus.

It still blows my mind that God chose to send his son to earth at all ... and then out of his overwhelming and abundant love for us, sacrificed him for you and me. As a mum I can’t imagine giving up my girlies to that kind of agonizing death, even if I knew that they would come alive again a few days later. I’m just grateful that God has a much bigger heart than me!

While Easter is at a slightly different time each year, for me it is always a time to reflect on that ultimate sacrifice. Last year, Good Friday gave me a different memory which is also close to my heart and will now come to mind every Easter. The birth of my second daughter, Naomi. With a straight forward delivery and healthy mummy and baby, it was definitely a good, good Friday for us in 2011! (We get to celebrate her first birthday in a couple weeks time.)

We’re unlikely to be called to sacrifice our daughters to death but they may choose to follow paths for God that we find difficult to stomach. We need to be ready to let them go when the time is right. Just like our parents have had to say goodbye to us and their only grandchildren as we’ve followed our calling into mission, moving all over the world.

Right now I’m just going to make the most of every minute with my beautiful daughters and prepare them as much as I can for whatever excitement life brings them! Including sharing with them what Easter is really all about ... before all the chocolate eggs and fluffy bunnies came along! 

(Sorry this is a few days late in posting ... the way we’re using Internet while we’re away from home is adequate but not ideal!)

Wednesday, April 4

Sweet Dreams

It seems that once we’re on the brink of perfection when it comes to our girlies sleep routines, something happens to upset the applecart!

Abigail was the perfect child. At three months old she found her thumb and then slept for twelve hours a night every night and had a couple of two hour naps during the day. I had friends asking me what my secret was and if I could bottle it ... and others avoiding me at mothers and toddlers groups because they were jealous! Apart from a four month blip last year when Abigail had night terrors, we have been plain sailing and it rocks.

Consider then, the shock when it seems that second time round my secret is safely locked away somewhere that not even I can access it! Naomi is not all that fussed about sleeping solidly either during the day or night.

We had just about cracked it last year ... getting about five nights out of seven without having to share our bed with her. Then we had to fly back to the UK to renew our visas and update our supporters and it all went to pot! Ironically with a US birth certificate Naomi didn’t even have a visa to renew like the rest of us. When we returned to the States we were all sick, so it wasn’t til the New Year that she settled back into having a good nights sleep. 

Then there was teething and Mark’s month away in Papua New Guinea and some more teething. Sound familiar?! There’s always something. This last month has been pretty uneventful. Thankfully the night sleeps got better and Naomi’s even been happy to sleep in her bed during the day for the first time in a long time (I was working on cracking the night’s before I tackled the days!)

Then ... Florida happened! We’re having a great time down here but it seems like we’re back to square one with Naomi’s sleep. We’ve been playing musical beds most nights and even once with Abigail when she fell out of bed twice in one night!! In the almost two weeks that we’ve been away, we’ve only had two uninterrupted nights and most of the others Naomi has spent the majority of the night anywhere but her bed! (The bed is so small that when she moves in, Mark has to move out!)

Day time naps since we got here are completely non-existent unless we’re driving somewhere, she’s tucked into her sling or she’s curled up on me ... the minute I even go to lay her in her cot even if she’s soundly asleep, she instantly wakes up and freaks out! It does make some things a little bit more difficult to negotiate but I’m holding it all together somehow!

It appears that Naomi needs more time to adjust to change than the rest of us. At least we know in advance and so can be prepared. Everything in life is about being flexible ... this is just another one of those learning experiences that comes with parenthood. We’re waiting for this ‘season’ to end and for sleep to reign in our house once again. I know it’s out there somewhere!

Monday, April 2

Disney Princesses

I have to admit I have always been a bit cynical about Disney Princesses. After all they seem to have taken over everything. Pyjamas, backpacks, umbrellas, dolls, sunglasses, cups, plates ... the list goes on. If you can buy it, there is probably a Disney Princess version of it, which also costs more! Until you have little girls you may not notice they really are slowly taking over the world!

Abigail loves all kinds of things, including Disney Princesses. Jessie is her favourite Toy Story character but there is a very limited amount of girlie Toy Story things out there ... it’s always the Buzz Lightyear or Woody ‘boy’ alternative to the girlie Disney Princess option. Last year when she started wearing pull-ups, she was actually disappointed when she had to have the Princess ones and not the Toy Story ones! So the Princesses have started their takeover of our house too! Oh Disney, what are you thinking?

This weekend I officially scored a hat-trick when it comes to Disney. I am not sure whether I am proud or embarrassed by the fact that I have now been to three of the Worlds Disney Parks. Paris, Los Angeles and now Florida! (There are still a few more out there for me to conquer!) Not only that but I visited all three as an adult. This weekend was actually the first time I’ve gone with children. Yes, I am a big kid and it was a totally different experience. Whereas my previous trips had been all about the rides or Mickey Mouse or even the Winnie the Pooh characters ... this time it was definitely all about the Princesses!

From the minute we told Abigail where we were going on Saturday morning, she was all about Cinderella and Rapunzel, her favourites. They were definitely our priority. The excitement in her face and the bounce in her feet was adorable when she saw them and to be honest, brought a tear to my eye on more than one occasion during the day. Yes, I am soppy but her face was so full of emotion that it was difficult not to react as her mummy!

Seeing the princesses through a three year olds eyes has changed my opinion of them ... even if they are totally over-marketed! Amongst other things during our time in the Magic Kingdom, Abigail got to meet, hug and chat to, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella and Rapunzel and later on in the day she got to dance with and high-five Jessie ... so it seems that some dreams really do come true!