Wednesday, May 30

Do you Pinterest?

Pinterest is something that I have avoided for months and months ... in spite of many friends who have suggested that I might enjoy 'pinning'! Believe it or not I was the same with Facebook, until I succumbed and now love being able to keep in touch with my family and friends who are literally dispersed across the whole world. When phone calls aren't always as straight forward over the different time zones etc and being a mum of little ones can often mean fitting in your catch up time with everyone else's news in little chunks when you have free hands, Facebook is perfect.

A few months ago, I found myself having a quick look at exactly what Pinterest was ... and trying to understand this strange world of 'boards', 'pinning' and 'repinning'. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out and then dismiss it, moving on to something new. Of course there was always the possibility that I would get well and truly sucked in as well. Guess what? ... SUCKED IN!

It did seem all a bit weird to begin with but didn't take that long at all to get totally carried away. Basically if you see something great on a website/blog you can 'pin' an image (which is linked to the original site) and then always have it there to refer back to, you can categorize them as well if you want on different 'boards'. There are millions of other people doing the same thing and you can see what other great finds everyone else has pinned and 'repin' them if they take your fancy. I guess it's the internet version of seeing something in a magazine and taking a clipping, so you can remember it at a later date ... without having to have a pile of clippings stuffed in a drawer somewhere.

I now have boards of recipes I want to try, craft ideas for me and the girls, cake decorating ideas for birthdays, my bucket list (things I would love to do before I 'kick the bucket') amongst other things. And one day, when we get our Forever House, I now have loads of ideas of how I may or may not decorate it, on a board of it's own! As a missionary moving all over the world, I am very grateful that storage of ideas for all these things and much more is now in a central place and doesn't involve me having to tote it all over the world with us! I can just log on have a look at all these great images that I have found over time (love the visual part of it!) to find a new recipe to try or ideas for parties and inspiration for so much more.

Recently I found a photo of a cute old pine cabinet that had been restored, in a magazine a friend gave me, Country Living. I went to their website and found that image (see below) and pinned it on my Forever House board as an idea for twenty years time when we finally have our own house and furniture. It seems that I struck Pinterest gold, within 12 hours it had been repinned 100+ times by people all over the world and has been pinned hundreds more times since. I guess everyone has their own taste but you really can find anything on there.

I try and only spend a little bit of time on Pinterest, sometimes when Naomi is having her milk before bed on one arm and my other hand can quickly scan anything new. I can see how it could become totally addictive and become a total time waster. So I warn you, if it's something you haven't tried and are considering ... beware! If you're already there, you can follow me by clicking on the 'Follow me on Pinterest' button I have included on the left side of my blog page.

We have found some fun ideas of things to try over the summer so I'll report back on those ... and for those of you already sucked in ... Happy Pinning!

Tuesday, May 29

Cheese-Less Lemon Cheesecake

The missionary lifestyle involves lots of comings and goings. For your own family and for those around you. I remember when I was in Tanzania, there were some people who had been serving with various organisations for 10+ years, some almost 20. There were also those who were just there for as little as 6 months. Or those that you just overlapped with for only a month or two.

Friendships you make can last a lifetime. Although I was only there for two years, I am still in touch with people I worked with, 13 years ago. In the last year or so the few remaining ex-pats I knew have moved on and are now dotted all over the place but my local friends are mostly still there. As a result of that and studying at All Nations, I now have really good friends literally all over the world. 

Friendships in that environment can seem like an effort though and sometimes not even worth it. Imagine, you constantly get close to someone or a family, only for them to move on a short while later, leaving a gap. Then you get to know someone else and it happens all over again. That is part of living in a missionary community and can be perceived as a downside especially when you have little ones who don't understand when their buddies are moving, not to come back again.

But when I consider the friends I am still in touch with from my time back in Tanzania, many of them are ones I only overlapped with for just a short time and I wouldn't trade those friendships for anything. In most cases we've travelled across the world to catch up or travel a bit together during the years that followed or to be guests at each other's weddings. So even though the short term investment didn't necessarily make sense ... the pay off has definitely been worth it!

Today we spent the afternoon and evening with a family that are staying in Coshocton for just a short while. It is a Bank Holiday and so they came over, the kids played well together in the garden and we enjoyed a meal this evening. They will only be here for a few more months and we will only be here til the end of the year but just for this short time we overlap and had a chance to build new friendships and learn a little from one another.

One piece of deliciousness that we shared today was a cheesecake recipe that one of our All Nations buddies, who is now living in North Africa, introduced us to. It's really easy, so yummy and contains absolutely no cheese whatsoever! The recipe is below.

  • 6oz crushed ginger snaps
  • 3oz butter melted
  • small can condensed milk
  • 1/4 pint double/whipping cream
  • 2 lemons - finely grate rind, then squeeze
  1. Mix ginger snaps and butter
  2. Press into pie dish and chill
  3. Beat condensed milk & cream in bowl
  4. Add half lemon juice - mix some more
  5. Add remaining lemon juice - mix
  6. Pour over base & sprinkle with rind
  7. Chill (& final set) in refrigerator
A word of warning ... one slice might not be enough!!

Saturday, May 26

Nuns in the Turret

14 years ago, once I'd finished university (WOW, that makes me feel really old!), I worked as a lay assistant for a year at St Aldates Church in Oxford, England. They used to have just a couple of lay assistants each year but when we started, for the first time they took on 8 of us and since then it has always been a bigger 'team'. Nowadays they are referred to as Interns and the programme is a lot more refined, although I've no doubt it's just as beneficial for the individuals involved.

With such a big team, the accommodation provided required some of us to share bedrooms ... something I've never had to do in my whole life (apart from now I'm married!). It was the one part of my year that I was dreading the most and yet I made such a great lifelong friend in Jo, that I wouldn't have traded the experience for the world! It was often a stressful time but we had a lot of fun ... laughing and crying together depending on the situation. In the years that followed we visited each other all over the world and believe me we've both lived all over the place. In fact we've only lived in the same country for one year since we left Oxford in 1999.

Our room was at the top of a four story town house and we often referred to ourselves as the 'nun's in the turret'! On one particular occasion I can remember us jumping up and down chanting 'we hate boys' ... yes, very grown up of us! We are now both happily married (being bridesmaids for each other) with children but that day 'boy's weren't our main priority! 

In the years that followed and as a result of our little nickname for each other, it wasn't unusual for both of us to write cards to the other with photo's or cartoon's of nun's on them. For one of the first Christmases I was married to Mark, he gave me two racing nuns as a stocking stuffer ... in honour of my friendship with Jo!

Years later, I still have my racing nuns. They even followed us across the pond when we moved to the States. Yesterday, I was watching two more little munchkins for a friend. Four children aged 3 and under, could have been hard work but they all behaved like a dream. It made me chuckle that for a good proportion of the time, the five of us were laying on the kitchen floor cheering on these racing nuns. It seems that they were a big hit ... forget the standard kids toys, they just didn't compare. While the kids were all giggling away yesterday, I was remembering my year with Jo and all the giggling (& chanting) we used to do in our little turret all those years ago!

Thursday, May 24

Food Shopping

Shopping for food can be be a chore or an adventure. 

When we first arrived in America back in September 2009, it was a very long drawn out process. Why? The supermarket (Walmart!) was bigger than those we were used to back in England (even the big ones) and there was a lot more to look at. Including total randomness, to us anyway, tires (tyres if you need the translation!), guns, quilting fabrics, decorating paint to name just a few things that we weren't used to finding at home during a 'trip to the store'! 

Also, when we were actually in the food section, many of the products weren't in the aisles we expected and we didn't recognise most of the brands. So for each item on our list, we would first have to find them and then compare the different options. As you can imagine it took a while! One advantage though, was that we were happy to start with the 'great value' version of most things before trying the more expensive alternatives ... and to be honest a lot of them are absolutely fine and have probably saved us a lot of money too. (We have definitely upgraded with some products though!)

Nowadays, the whole process is a lot more straight forward in many respects. Three years on, it's all a lot more familiar. Of course having two daughters now to negotiate during a shopping trip can make it a more taxing experience for other reasons. 

Like all parents we've found different ways around doing a shop. All going together, Mark doing it on his way home from work, me going out after the girls have gone to bed or while Abigail is at pre-school so I only have to negotiate one munchkin ... to name just a few combinations! At the moment, more often than not (and now school's out) it's been all three Beckwith girlies. Some trips are easier than others but generally there are no meltdowns for which I am very grateful. Abigail loves to help with the list, picking things off the shelf, unloading the trolley at the cash desk and everything else in between. 

Today she was a superstar from the beginning. Naomi was fast asleep when we arrived and so she helped me put our sleeping baby into the sling so I could carry her. Abigail's comment was 'Daddy's not here to help you, so I will' ... how cute was that?! The whole trip carried on like that, a mummy's dream! She asked for a few things as we went round but wasn't too bothered when I said no. Right at the end, in the veggie section, she picked up an ear of corn and said 'I like corn, please can I have some?'. Yes, of course I let her have some and she was super excited, like it was some expensive toy and couldn't wait to get home to have it for lunch. 

Corn at the moment is 33c an ear, roughly 20p back home. Last year for a while, it got as low as 15c, that's less than 10p. Ridiculous prices and way more fresh and delicious than anything we we're used to in the UK. Abigail can have as many corn 'treats' as she likes over the coming months as a reward for being a good helper at the store. One day I'll explain to her the craziness of the situation, that I was able to bribe her into good behaviour with cheap veggies! Who knows how long it will last ... but for now it will do!

Tuesday, May 22

Proper Tea

When we first moved to the States almost three years ago, I realised that 'tea' translated from English to American becomes a very different drink. 

According to Wikipedia, tea is perceived as one of Britain's cultural beverages. Typically Brits drink several cups of tea a day, give or take ... and by tea I mean, black tea with milk (with or without sugar!). There are then the other 'airy fairy' alternatives ... flowery, herby stuff. In America, when you're offered tea, it really could be one of a myriad of flavours and not necessarily having black tea as an option at all.

As a Brit, classing all the other flavours as 'tea', still seems like a joke to me but over the last few years I've got used to it. Some of my American friends ask me how to make 'real tea' because stereotypically the English are known for afternoon tea and tea party's. I joke with some of them that I drink 'proper tea' and the rest of them just don't know what they're talking about! Another Brit friend of mine travels with her own tea bags in her handbag and often a small bottle of milk too, as coffee drinking American's often only have creamer available.

One item we were missing in our kitchen until last year was a teapot. Even though we don't really use one (it's only me who drinks tea in the house and it seems silly to brew a whole pot just for me), I had been thinking for a while that we should have one to use and also as a visual aid when sharing about British things! I found this beautiful one at the Polish Pottery shop in Amish country near where we live and my mum bought it for me for my birthday.

Some of my American friends have gorgeous teapots and I find it really amusing when they are placed on a table with either just water (so you can use a tea bag of your choice!) which seems to defeat the object of the teapot at all, some kind of fruit tea concoction inside or even more sacrilegious to the definitive British tea drinker, I have been offered a teapot full of coffee more than once before!!!!

Tea can be a really culturally specific thing as I've found since living here ... from the famous Japanese tea parties to Indian Masala Chai and all the variations in between. As with everything I'm open to all new tastes and experiences and have even found a few favourite herbal tea flavours, although I'm reluctant to actually class them as 'tea'! 

I think you can take the girl out of Britain but you can't take Britain out of the girl. Proper tea for me will always be what I expect to get back in the UK. As we're not going to live there anytime in the foreseeable future, I will continue to bring the 'real' stuff with me or get visitors to stock me up instead!

Friday, May 18

School's out for Summer!

Believe it or not this week mark's the end of the school year here in the States!! I hear a collective gasp from my Brit friends who are teachers and know that there are still two more months of the school year to endure back in the UK!

While I had always known that there were a myriad of summer camps and things in the States, it wasn't until we moved here and I appreciated just how long the Summer break is that I realised they are a really good option when you have three months to fill with activities and just part of American culture!

Although she only started her pre-school a couple of months ago (First Day at School), Abigail loves it so much and is struggling to get her head around the fact that she won't be able to go back until September! Yesterday was her last morning and her class of ten children and three teachers (Mrs Lenzo, Mrs Jones and Mrs Matthews) had a party to celebrate the end of term. Abigail is pictured below with her teachers and one of her favourite friends from school Annamae, who we plan to hang out with over the summer.

While school has been a relatively new thing, I have enjoyed those 2 hours (well once you've dropped off and picked up, hour and a half!) with just one little munchkin. A new and very welcomed experience for me! Whether we've run some errands, done the shopping, got a few things done round the house or just hung out together and been goofy ...  I was surprised at how much easier and straight forward it has been to do with just Naomi in tow, rather than both of them! First time round with one child I thought everything was more difficult to do. Now that I have two I can't believe how easy just managing the one seems. Experience and practice is a wonderful thing. Ironically you just can't get it without going through the motions of working it out with your first born!

To mark our last morning together, instead of doing 'have to' things, myself and Naomi enjoyed some time in the sun doing 'want to' things instead! We parked up in the morning sunshine and took a walk in the park, through the trees, across the wooden bridge over the river and around the lake at Lake Park; enjoying the clear blue skies, sunshine and the relative quietness of the morning. Naomi found it so peaceful that she fell asleep and never did get time on the swings ... but that can wait for another day when we can enjoy them with her big sister too!

Thursday, May 17

Shocking Behaviour

Living in a different culture (and yes small town America is definitely different to living in the UK!) can be both really amusing and shocking when you come to realise what is and isn't culturally acceptable. It requires wisdom when you first arrive not to overreact to something that maybe perfectly normal in your new 'home' ... or when you're talking about something from your home culture that could be totally shocking to new friends.

Depending on how long you live somewhere, the cultural norm slowly becomes less of an adjustment in perspective and in many cases can just become the 'norm'! Some of my Stateside friends would be totally shocked that a 95 year old friend of mine in England goes to the pub for lunch once a week. She's a tee-total prayer warrior but when there is a seniors lunch including her favourite fish and chips for only a few pounds each week, she makes sure she doesn't miss it. Going to the pub in the UK is just a cultural thing, a nice place to meet friends, enjoy a meal and have a drink ... which doesn't have to contain any alcohol if that's not your thing!

Here in Coshocton the best coffee is sold at a place that has the comfiest leather sofas ... but because there is also alcohol sold on the premises a few of my local friends don't see it as a suitable place to frequent. (Resisting the urge to have a mini preach here ... as when I enter a culture I need to respect and adjust accordingly instead of trying to impose ... whatever the subject matter!)

So, if that's what's shocking this side of the pond. Guns would definitely hit a sore spot with friends and family back home. Guns are part of every day life here in Ohio and many friends have gun cabinets in their homes containing multiple guns. It wouldn't be unusual for the guys to arrange to go shooting together after work and Mark even went to a church fundraiser for our youth work which was shooting at a local gun club!

A couple of months ago I realised that if I ever wanted the experience of shooting a gun, it would most likely be while we're living here in small town America. So, not wanting to pass up the opportunity, I asked Mark if he could arrange something for me for my birthday. Although a little early ... but so that I could 'celebrate' while Rachel was visiting, last week there was a girlie shoot with two other really good friends and we had a lot of fun together. It was really funny to be given boxes of bullets decorated with ribbon as early birthday presents this year!!

A couple of guys from the hangar gave up an evening, brought a few guns each and we drove to the farm of a friend of a friend (!) and each had a chance to shoot six different guns before enjoying a girlie meal together afterwards. For those of you interested we shot a .22 revolver, 2x .22 rifles, .40 beretta pistol, 20 gauge shotgun, .223 semi-automatic rifle ... we got more powerful as the afternoon went on and we all definitely had our favourites!

Having now tried it, we all agree ... they make it look really easy in the movies ... and it isn't quite as straight forward as they make it seem. With practice though I'm sure it would feel a lot easier!! It was certainly a different way to celebrate my birthday ... can you tell I'm not a girlie girl?!!

You may be totally offended by this post, with talk of alcohol and guns, for which I apologise ... but it's interesting, as I know some who will be affected more by one topic and some the other!

Tuesday, May 15

Thirty Years of Friendship

Today I've enjoyed a girlie day with Rachel, my longest standing friend of all time. We've been best buddies since we were about 4 years old and next month I turn 35!! She knows me, warts and all and whether we're in touch once a week, once a month or even less often ... we always pick up where we left off, as if it was only yesterday that we last saw each other. Friendships that last a lifetime like that are few and far between and super special!

Over the years we've lived everywhere from the next road to each other, to completely different continents. We're both married with children now but when we get together it's as if we're still the two little girls that used to hang out all the time and just have fun!

This last week, Rachel left her hubby and kids for the second time since we've lived in Ohio and came out to visit me (and my family). We fitted in lots of fun and lots of catching up. I even got time off from 'mummy duties', an evening off last week and the day off today, thanks to my hubby, so I could have some real girlie time with Rach. I can't believe I dropped her off at the airport this afternoon and she's already on a plane home again as I write this.

'Mummy time' away from the kiddos is so important. Time to rejuvenate and refresh and most likely become a better mum as a result. Lots of mum's feel guilty about needing or wanting a bit of time to themselves and find it hard to work out ways to make it work too. It's a real treat for me as it's not something I get to do very often. To get that time with one of my best buddies this week has been even more of a treat for me!

Saturday, May 12

My Last MOPS Meeting

This morning was my last session at our local MOPS group. As the school year finishes in May here, it was the last one before the summer break. While our family should still be here in Coshocton until December, Abigail will be in school on Friday morning's for the Autumn term and the timing won't work out for me to attend the monthly MOPS meetings.

I have learned lots from the ladies at MOPS I have met over the last three years. Whether it be parenting tips, where to get my hair cut, new recipes, places to take the kids, American cultural differences and so much more. As well as finding Abigail new playmates, I have also made some really good friends of my own who I'm sure I will stay in touch with for years to come, long after we've moved away to another continent.

One play-date we had this year, the mum had prepared some dough in advance and after playing for a while, the kids had fun making pizza rolls ... and even more fun eating them for lunch. They were delicious and it was definitely one recipe I wasn't going to leave the States without getting. We've had them a few times since at home, including when we had friends round for Naomi's birthday. Abigail's loves both making and eating them! The recipe is below.

Makes 15-20 dough balls ...
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Pepperoni
  • Grated Mozzarella
  • Butter
  • Garlic salt
  1. Put the first 5 ingredients into a bread maker and use dough setting (mine takes 1hr 50mins)
  2. Roll out small handfulls of dough into a circle shape
  3. Put 3-4 slices of pepperoni and a small handful of mozzarella into the centre, fold up the edges and place folded side down on a baking tray.
  4. Bake for about 20 mins (or if the cheese starts coming out a bit less) at 350 degrees
  5. While hot brush each top with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic salt
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Realistically you can put any filling in them ... pepperoni and mozzarella is a very American pizza choice. Also, you can put some kind of tomato sauce in with them or have it on the side as dipping sauce ... or not have it at all! We serve them with salad and I have been known to eat 5 in one sitting!! (Oops!!) 

Wednesday, May 9

When it all goes quiet

I've shared before that we're a family of bookworms. At the time that was true of the three eldest members of the family but we weren't sure if Naomi would follow suit, even though she's surrounded by books in our home with regular trips to the library.

Since returning from Florida, Naomi has added climbing up things to her repertoire of achievements, requiring eyes in the back of my head and the temporary removal of several pieces of furniture, including our coffee table. Abigail has a toddler bed, which Naomi now climbs up and onto in a matter of seconds. 

In the last couple of weeks, when the girls are happily playing and I'm getting on with a few bits and bobs in the house, often the giggles become fewer and far between and things go very quiet in the house. I have often heard mum's say that when everything goes quiet that's when children get up to the most mischief ... so to begin with, it was with great trepidation that I stuck my head around the door to the girls bedroom, not sure what I would find.

Thankfully I had no cause for alarm whatsoever (so far!). 9 times out of 10, the photo below shows you what my two little munchkins were up to ...

... sitting side by side on Abigail's bed, quite happily reading together and sharing their books really nicely. Adorable!

I love how they get on so well right now and I'm also really pleased that it seems we have another little bookworm in our midst too. It seems that on some occasions everything ticks along quite perfectly in our house!

Monday, May 7

Saturday Breakfast

After a totally crazy couple of weeks, we set aside this weekend as family time ... over and above anything else. It did mean I missed out on a ladies conference but as much as I would loved to have been there, I was exactly where I was meant to be, with my three favourite people.

Although our 'to do' list is never-ending. Do you find that? As soon as one thing gets crossed off, there is a momentary sense of achievement before another two get added! We picked out just a handful of things that needed doing and resolved to have fun while doing those, as well as making sure to enjoy 'silly time' together too.

Soon after Naomi was born, most weeks, Saturday breakfasts became a little treat for us. Mark and Abigail would jump into the car and go down to our local Tim Hortons to get croissants for us all to enjoy (buy them anywhere else within a 40 mile radius and they taste pretty rubbish!).

After a couple of months, it became a regular addition to the calendar in the Beckwith household, unless we were going out for the day. The staff at the store recognised Mark each week and noticed there weren't always as many croissants as we wanted ready to go. As he and Abigail were getting back into the car one time, Matt, one of the baking staff came running out with a business card and told Mark to call up about half an hour before coming down and they would put new croissants in the oven for us so that we could have them hot and freshly baked each time! 

Talk about service ... one of the upside's of living in small town America and yet something that continues to surprise me! Now Mark just phone's after we get up on a Saturday morning and the conversation we hear from this end is ... 'Hi Matt, it's Mark here ... Can I get our usual order? ... See you in about half an hour. Cheers!' Simple as that!

Having been away in Florida and then had two really busy weekends, it's been a couple of months since we've had our Saturday morning treat. Abigail's been asking for them most mornings this week ... so she was really excited when I told her it was Saturday and yes, we could have them for breakfast today!! It was a great way to start our family weekend, which was a lot more chilled out for the first time in a long while! Thank you Tim Hortons, Coshocton, we love you!

Friday, May 4

Fingers and Thumbs

Since living in America, we've had a chance to get our fingers dirty in the garden ... or should I say 'yard'. In fact, we've been relatively successful too (but more about that in a later blog post!). 

We know people who are very handy in the realm of gardening and until we moved to the States we'd always known them as being 'green fingered'. It seems that when you skip across the Atlantic that translates into having 'green thumbs' instead, which amused me!! (The opposites for both being 'black fingers/thumbs'!)

As soon as Abigail was able get involved, she has been a very enthusiastic gardener and loves to do everything from playing in the dirt with the worms, to planting seeds and watering flowers and veggies! This week we did a gardening project together and she was involved from start to finish and loved every minute of it.

We have two hanging baskets that go up on our front porch in the spring and summer months. A couple of days ago we went to the store where Abigail picked the flowers she wanted. Then she helped clean out last years dead flowers (and the birds nest!!) and added the potting soil. Finally, as in her own words 'it's taking a long time', when it was all prepared we added the flowers, more soil and watered them!

It was a really fun morning and a great learning experience. From judging how many flowers we needed to buy ... which she was rubbish at!!! To learning how to prepare and plant carefully. Using a pattern to place the flowers ... pink, purple, pink, purple ... with a yellow one in the middle. As well as understanding that flowers need food, water and sun to grow. I've already been reminded to check them and water them!

Now our front porch is looking a lot more pretty ... and I've marked off another thing from my to do list while having lots of fun with my biggest munchkin. Definitely a good mornings work!

Wednesday, May 2

Where in the world?

We are officially one step closer to the next step on our adventure as a family. MAF have formally offered us a placement now for our time after Ohio but realistically there are four very different possibilities of where our next home will be. It is a really exciting time for us but also one with very important things to consider!

When I first got involved in mission that was longer than a month or two, 13 years ago, I was single and not long out of university. With no husband or children to consider, a very wise advisor said to me, 'It's only for a year or two, so if it's the wrong thing, it won't last forever ... God can use you wherever you are, just be willing'. That decision was relatively easy. This time round there seems a lot more to take into account.

When considering which mission organisation we would apply to as a family a few years ago, MAF was the obvious option but we felt it was important to look at other possibilities too. It seems that God had it all figured out and that we were trying to over complicate things. The 'easy' option can be the right one!! So here we are at another big crossroads in our mission story. Will we take the 'easy' straight forward option? Or will God make somewhere different obvious to us?

All four places have their own enticements ... and their not so nice bits. From small populations to big cities. We know people who have lived and are living in each location too. Here they all are below, including a Wikipedia link to each with a bit more information. Join with us in working out this next step and watch this space over the coming weeks!

Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea                     Gove, Australia

Kampala, Uganda                         Dodoma, Tanzania

Tuesday, May 1

In the Right Place

Today is Monday, the beginning of a new day and a new week, sometimes I need that chance to 'start-over'!! While the week after we got back from Florida was a total chaotic whirlwind, this past week was more of an emotional one. I am just so glad we've reached the start of another new one again!!

Some may say it's coincidental that all these things just happened one after another, after another last week. Not to get all heavy and spiritual about it but I totally believe we came under attack as a result of being in the right place at the right time, exactly where God wanted us to be.

Going to bed last Sunday night, already feeling exhausted after the crazy week before, we knew we had a lot to prepare before this weekend (just gone) which seemed overwhelming at the time. Catching up with ourselves from our return from Florida and then with both the MOPS resale, sorting through all our baby stuff til late every night, setting up Friday and selling Saturday and our churches Mission Conference, Saturday evening and Sunday morning, lunch and evening for which we were one of the main speaking families with more preparation necessary, seemed quite enough to cope with.

Last Monday morning started as any other ... but then the bath stopped draining .. and then none of the sinks would drain anywhere but into the bath. It was gross and the plumber couldn't come til Wednesday! We only washed up our dishes once a day and it wasn't pleasant to see all the water revisit us in the bathroom! Monday evening Naomi started getting a temperature and over the following 48 hours was feverish, not eating properly, not sleeping well and not detaching herself from me, day or night. So imagine ... no shower, no sleep and no space! Not a good combination when I had SO much to get done. Each day got a little bit more difficult and a little bit more emotional. 

On Thursday morning Naomi started screaming unconsolably which when exhausted already (the night before I'd had the least sleep so far that week, 2 hours on the sofa and 2 in bed) was really tough. It seems she had reacted badly to her MMR vaccination the week before ... so for the rest of that day we just had to sit-out her discomfort and draw on strength that was definitely not our own.

Already in tears because of this and exhaustion, we then received an email offering us a placement after Ohio for our family with MAF. While it should have been joyous news, as we're really excited to see what God has next for us, it was to one of the few places we have always thought we wouldn't be comfortable going to ... the final straw on the toughest day of the week, knowing that we still had 3 full-on days ahead of us.

Add to all that, our usual perfect sleeping daughter woke up a few times and came in with us once (even less sleep!!) and tooth ache agony for me having cracked a tooth and lost a filling recently but not having had the chance to get it sorted out yet. You can see it was quite the week and these were just the big things that affected us along with the ordinary day-to-day stuff and a few other things!!!

Already this Monday, so many of the major issues have been resolved or made more manageable for which I'm sure I'll write about in the weeks to come. But even in the midst of it, we knew in our hearts that the reason it was all being thrown at us was because we were right in the centre of God's will for our lives. While that didn't make it any easier to experience, it was comforting to know  ... and to know that God was walking step-by-step through it with us.

Over the weekend, in spite of how we were feeling, we were really privileged to be able to share with our 'home church' here, all about our calling into mission, what we've done before, are doing now and are going to be doing, as well as challenging them about being willing to go into mission themselves. It seemed to be well received and we have gained new supporters as a result which was an unexpected surprise. We suspect that the conference and our chance to speak openly about God and all he has been doing in our lives was the root cause of everything else, however seemingly unrelated, that happened in the lead up to it.

Sunday night came and we both breathed a sigh of relief ... and as we expected life has totally calmed down. Following God's lead isn't always comfortable but it's certainly exciting. I'm grateful that I have the perfect partner in my husband, that we could stand firm and work together as equals to get through it with God at the centre. 

OK ... my little preach is over! ;o)