December 31, 2010

Here it Comes, Ready or Not!

I am not sure I am ready for 2011. It brings with it so many unknowns. Where will we live, what will daily life look like for our family, how will the boys change, which relationships will stay intact despite miles, what passions will remain in my heart for those I left behind in Africa, what ministry will I be involved in, how will my relationship with the Father change. But then again it brings with it great promise and hope because God promises that He knows the plans He has for me.....once again, I just have to trust.

Here are some of my favorite memories of 2010.

Family vacation to New Brunswick, Canada. My Dad's home and my birthplace.

Watching my sister reconnect with my boys.

Being able to take my sister to Amish country in Pennsylvania like she has always wanted to do.

Seeing Fall colors again.

Getting to be a part of this little one's life and watching her grow and be welcomed into a forever family.

Developing new friendships in Africa.

Having the pleasure of seeing my oldest turn 13.

Knowing God worked through us to make a difference to some in Mozambique.

My boys having the gift of growing up and experiencing life in Africa.

Seeing proof positive of Nate being healed by God.

Being with family again and making special memories.

Spending Christmas in the U.S.

The joy of seeing the boys delight in the first snow of the season.

Spending time with such special friends.

December 26, 2010

Christmas at "Our" House

Our celebration began Christmas Eve by attending our church. Marc had to work so he was unable to join us or so we thought. We were delighted when he arrived right before the service to be with us. After church we enjoyed fantastic Chinese food for dinner and phone calls with grandparents. The evening was wrapped up by watching, "The Nativity."

Christmas morning started out not too much later, at 3:30 am. We can't blame the kids since it was my sister and I that woke everyone up. Our family shared presents together in our "home", also known as, "The Garage Workshop." Then we joined my sister and her family in the house to swap gifts. Next, we had a yummy breakfast of homemade waffles, ham, and quiche topped off with homemade Coconut Cake. Then it was time to play and discover all that had been given.

Yep, it's early....

Enjoying their new air soft guns....

Later in the day, our little family celebrated true Pavkov-Brazilian-Mozambican style with Rice and Beans for dinner while my sister and her family went to her in-laws home. Then it was time for more games, movies and general holiday cheer.

I hope your Christmas was as Merry and Relaxing as ours.

Family Tree of Jesus

Have you ever thought about the family tree of JESUS?
It has confronted me several times this Christmas season.
It came again today through the sermon at church.
What a POWERFUL message.
Isn't it like God to use the lowly family tree of Jesus so we could identify our brotherhood with him in our weak family links.
Jacob, deception and lying.
Rahab, prostitution.
David, adultery, murder, incest and rape.
Rehoboam, abuse of power as a merciless ruler.
Just to name a few.

I am awed by His magnificent plan.
How deep is His love that He prepared a plan to include our depravity.
In that way we can fully know the complete love and acceptance only He can offer because of ours and our families sin. All because we can relate.
Hope comes in remembering that we are now joint heirs with Jesus. We have a different heritage. We are of his redeemed family line. Our identity, our names are in the Lamb's book. We are new creations.
As the pastor so aptly put it, "Yesterday does not define me."
Pure freedom that has been bought by the blood of the lamb.
Who are we to forsake it?
If you would like to enjoy today's message Click Here

December 19, 2010

Our Ways of Celebrating

This is our Jesse Tree. This Advent season I have been doing a daily devotional with the boys that is wonderful. It follows the "story" and lineage of Jesus from the beginning, the tree of Jesse. We read scripture from the Old Testament that shows how it was always God's plan that Jesus would be sent to redeem us. Each day the boys draw an ornament to hang on their tree representing that days testimony to God's plan. It has been a special time as I have seen the boys come to a better understanding of Christmas and the importance of Christs birth. The present you see under the tree was from today's exercise. The boys were to think and decide on a sin they were needing to repent of and give it to Jesus as a gift to Him, allowing Him to redeem that area and change their hearts regarding it.
It is powerful to watch your children commune with God. It is humbling to lay myself bare before them admitting my own sin and need for redemption. It is wonderful that we can celebrate God's glorious gift of redemption in Jesus together.

December 15, 2010

Love Came Down at Christmas

We are full of hope.
Our lives are changing.
Everything is new.
Like Mary, mother of Jesus, we press on with anticipation.
We wonder at the promise it holds.
It is exciting yet scary.
It is amazing yet overwhelming.
It is cause for moments of awe.
Our knees crumble, bowed down before the King.
We pour out our hearts.
We love, yet we need.
He is near.
We feel Him.
He comforts and reassures.
We trust.
We believe.
We are grateful.
We treasure this LOVE that came down.
You have held us up.
You have encouraged. You have loved.
Thank you. Thank you!
May you and yours have a blessed Christmas
celebrating the One that came as LOVE
to seek and save all those in need!

December 12, 2010

My Boy's Heart

Nathaniel, our youngest, is independant, strong-willed and has no hesitation about what he wants. Life in Africa was hard on him. First was the accident that left him with two broken legs and a dislocated arm and a long recovery. Of course, we praise God because he was healed but it was still tough for a little boy to go through. But besides the physical challenges I would say he struggled the most emotionally. He was home sick for America. He was intimidated by the harsh, loud culture of Mozambique. He was afraid of having to deal with the crime surrounding us. He was overwhelmed with the constant needs around us.

Honestly, when we decided to stay in the US he was relieved and quite content. I was sad to see him feeling unattached, almost bitter about Mozambique and our life we had left there.
I wondered if I had been blind to it while we were there.

As part of MY re-adjustment back to life in the US I have been reading a book about reverse culture shock and identifying so many of my feelings and struggles from it's pages. It has been healing and reassuring that I am not crazy and that I am somewhat normal for all I am thinking and feeling. As I was reading this past week I prayed for Nate and that his heart would not be bitter towards God from our time in Mozambique but that his heart would be softened and he would get to a place that he appreciated his experiences.
I was praying that God would touch his heart because I was concerned and knew I couldn't change it.

Yesterday, while driving in the car with the boys we began talking about our adjustment to life here in the US and how they thought they were doing and how they were feeling about it all. Nate spoke up and shared these words, "Mom, I feel like my mind is here in America but my heart is back in Africa." When I asked what he meant by that he went on to tell me that he is happy to be here in America but he feels like his life was in Africa with his friends and things he was used to and he misses it.

God had touched him and changed his bitterness into appreciation.
I was brought to tears and so thankful for my boy's soft heart.

December 7, 2010

My Man

 Marriage to my man is such an honor.
 To share life in Mozambique together was an adventure.
To celebrate God's grace to us as the years go by means so much.


December 6, 2010

The Mattress People....UGH! Am I Still in Africa?

So, we (mostly Marc until I got involved today) have been enduring a very long, frustrating, irritating drama with a local mattress company. The only real purchase we have made since we arrived back in the US has been a mattress for us. Well let's say, we have made the purchase, as in have paid cash for the item but have yet to actually receive the mattress we ordered. We were intitially told it would take two weeks but since we were going to be away traveling we told them that we would gladly pick it up upon our return an extra two weeks later. Well, when Marc returned from his portion of our traveling low and behold the mattress was not at the store. It had mistakenly not been ordered. So he waited, patiently I might add. They continued with the excuses and delays and eventually because he was adamant that he must have a mattress for his wife to sleep on after her being on the road traveling for 6 weeks they gave him a mattress to have on loan  from thier floor stock while our original NEW mattress was still on order. Of course, it was due any moment of any day....this is the part where I feel just like we are in Africa except Africans are generally up front about not knowing when you will ever get the item. They do not generally tell you that on Monday or Friday it will definitely be here and then it is not anywhere in sight. So we continued to wait. Marc continued to visit. Marc continued to call and STILL NO BED. Today, Marc finally told me to go ahead and try to get through to them and see what can be resolved. After hearing about how the shipment did not come in AGAIN, I informed the nice man that we will be having our money refunded and that it will need to be present in my account before they snag the mattress out from underneath me that we are currently "borrowing." He agreed that he could do that but not in cash but redeposited into my account. I halted the conversation at that point to call my bank and find out how long this process may take. It seems it will take 2-3 days from the time they enter the transaction but I again I have not been able to reach my mattress man after several phone calls this afternoon. I am thinking my number is looking a little too familar on his caller ID but we will see how this ongoing saga ends. So far it has been going on for 2 months and 5 days......Let's just say I NEVER, EVER thought I would long for my thin, cheap, foam mattress in Africa but that day has come.

December 5, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes...

This was us yesterday, here in New Hampshire "celebrating" Christmas. We were watching the local Christmas parade trying to stay warm. We had on double layers of pants, hats, gloves, winter coats. We were also wrapped up in blankets and yet we were still chilly.

On the other hand this was us last year, in Chimoio, Mozambique, "celebrating" Christmas. We were doing our best to stay cool and enjoy the swealtering day. The cold cokes and cool water helped.
What a difference a year makes!

December 3, 2010

Happy Birthday to a Special Little Girl

Happy 2nd Birthday

We love you and are so glad your mommy and daddy found you!