"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Charles Everett is here!!

Here is a link the the hospital's baby nursery page with a few first photos of Charles!
More to come once we make it home later today, and then I am sure I will write up his "baby story" for you to enjoy :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yesterday I had a few errands to do in town, despite the nasty heat and humidity. First on the list was a quick pickup at the post office. Well, it should have been a quick pickup. I saw a small package from a gal in Minnesota that I knew had just been in Zambia. I thought maybe she had taken a few pictures to send us. Instead I opened the package to letters from our sweet students in Zambia! What a blessing and thrill. I turned the car off (no A/C anyway) and sat in the heat and let the sweat and tears mingle as I read their letters of thanks, encouragement and blessings to our family. It was soooo wonderful. One of them sent a snap of himself, a few sent a greeting card that they had painted themselves. It was all so sweet.
We have occasionally sent them a family photo, some of the kids art work, some updates through friends going over for a visit. Last summer the kids used "work money" to buy each of the first 12 students a bible cover. They didn't make it that summer and so they were suppose to get them while in the States last fall. We never knew if they actually got them, so it was nice to hear that they did receive them and that they were using them to keep their Bibles looking "sharp".
I always get a kick out of their writing. For one, it is generally very beautiful-some of those guys have the most beautiful cursive writing I have ever seen. Everything is also very formal and proper-Queen's English you know. And everything is spelled very phonetically, even if pronounced wrong. Most of them have troubles with their "L"s, so instead of Kelly Jo, I was often Kerry Jo, and so they wrote it that way. But it's funny that they also got their "R"s then mixed up with the "L"s as Myron became Milon or something similar. Hayree was another great one, but now of them mixed up the "great king Henry." :) Such simple things, such sweet memories.
Such sincerity in their words. These weren't written just to be written. There were specific memories, words of thanksgiving, notes of encouragement, blessings on our family. I really miss these guys, and considering how little time I actually spent with them compared to the kids, I can't imagine how their hearts break too.
I know there were some people who couldn't figure out why in the world we would go down to Iowa to see the students last year, a year after we left, with the heartbreak we went through. It's simple-relationships. Relationship is very highly valued in the African cultures; friends and family are a premium. And those relationships continue on. These guys will graduate from the bible school in a year and a half and from there we will probably not have contact ever again. So until then, we keep the little embers of relationship with them-for us, for the kids, for the students. I wish we could be there when they graduate to help send them off, to see them one more time; it's sweet to know that some of them have prayed that too.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

35 weeks, 3 days

Here's a new profile pic of baby boy. We're coming up on the end of the course, but it is still just a wee-bit too early, so I am suppose to "stay off my feet" aka bed rest until 37 weeks. I have already started dilating and when I am up and about for a while, I do feel contractions. It's not too big of a deal, I've got plenty of helpers...but it is of course fairly boring and I know the girls want to go to the library, and there are a few things I want to do...so I am only doing so-so on staying off my feet :-) My labor history is that once it starts, things go quickly, so we really are going to try to do what we can to hold off for another week. We'll see what happens. We made it through the big wedding weekend (although traveling there probably played a small part!) so there is really nothing left on the calendar for the month of July. 37-38 weeks is usually when I deliver anyway, so by the end of July this little guy will be here!

That of course means we need to get going on a name. We are thinking, trying to stay in the same "genre" of the other boys' names, without picking one with a nick name we don't want, or is not from a movie or show that makes us think of funny stuff... We've basically used a part of each grandpas name, so it's a little harder to chose this time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Just a few random, in no-order-whatsoever photos from the big weekend...

The five flower girls

The three Jr. bridesmaids

the beginning of the trip began with a nap

Opening presents-our 7, brother's 4, and another half a dozen other kids. Can you say suffocation? And yes, this is pretty much what every Christmas is like too!

Joe and Myron kinda resting during the rehearsal

Myron was having fun dancing...and Kate was just trying to hang on!

After making it down the aisle in his own sweet time (didn't think he'd do it!), Henry decided to take a nap during the ceremony

Our shot at a family photo-most smiling, all looking at the camera-AMAZING!

Henry and Hailey were practicing their dancing