Joyeux Anniversaire

How is it possible that he’s 14!

Below are some fun facts about this incredible boy/young man.

  1. He’s lived on three continents.
  2. He can understand fluently in two languages, but will only speak in one.
  3. He’s shy and can stay very quiet, but then can burst out of his quiet bubble and be quite talkative.
  4. He has a photographic memory, especially with maps.
  5. He loves maps and geography and can’t understand why others don’t know where countries are all around the world and their capitals.
  6. At the age of six, he memorized the RER and Metro lines map while we lived just outside of Paris.
  7. He can share something profound one minute and the next minute call his brother a poop face.
  8. He loves to work and sees school as work, he gets upset when he doesn’t get a 100%.
  9. He’s now taller than his Mom and has bigger feet than his Dad.
  10. Condiments are his kryptonite.
  11. He could care less if his clothes match or his hair is combed.
  12. If it isn’t an elastic waistband, he’s not wearing it.
  13. He doesn’t understand why he needs to clip is fingernails and toenails.
  14. He’s a sweet, gentle young man with a soft heart who we love to the Moon and Back!

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Four Decades

Well, I’m officially 40 years old!  To some of you it’s a surprise that I’m only 40, with my skunk hair and all.

I had this big idea that I would come up with 40 tidbits (words of wisdom) for this blog, but that fizzled out.

I had a great day turning 40 in the Rocky Mountains, the only other setting that I could think of that would be equally beautiful would be the beach.  I feel like the mountains were a great place since I’m at the top of the mountain “hill”, maybe I’ll go to the beach for my 50th when I’m “over the hill”.

David and I don’t exchange gifts on birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc….  We give one another a card, but that’s it.  I was surprised that he ordered cupcakes in advance from a local grocery store in Estes Park.  He purchased decorations, spoke to those in charge of the family camp, etc… to make it a special day for me.  He even purchased me a sash to wear that he insisted I wear all around the camp.  Thank you honey for making it special!

We were on vacation with our church for family camp at the YMCA in Estes Park, CO next to Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Polish

Yesterday at church there was a woman visiting who was from Poland.  She doesn’t speak much English, yet she came to our suburban church to worship.  After the singing and announcements, Pastor Roger took his place to begin the message.  David slipped out of our row and went to sit next to the Polish woman.  He used the YouVersion Bible App to find Polish and looked up the Scripture reference so she could read the Bible in her heart language.  He also translated the bulletin into Polish the best he could.

I sat in our row next to Joshua reflecting on the times when we sat in church services not understanding what was being said and what was going on.  I praise the Lord for Bible translation and for the YouVersion Bible App that makes God’s Word accessible in thousands of languages at our fingertips.

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Renewed Fervor

Lately I’ve felt a renewed fervor in my role.  Sometimes when you work with many details and personnel issues, one can get a bit bogged down, however, lately I’m thankful that I’ve been seeing how privileged I am.

I get the privilege to get to know the individuals and families I work with.  I get to know the many things going on in their lives personally and professionally.  The ones I work with are called to their various ministries.  How incredible that those I serve go out of their comfort zones and go to the ends of the Earth to reach others.  Myself and those I serve are all operating under the same passion – getting God’s Word to those who don’t have it in their own language.

Those I work with are scattered throughout 13 countries.  Eight are translating the Bible into the language of those they serve.  One is helping with literacy so when there is a written Bible, those that speak that language can read it.  Four are working to educate children who are in the various countries with their families.  Two are working in administrative roles.  Two are working in IT roles and one is working in a health care role.  The impact is incredible and I get a front row seat – how awesome!

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Early Birthday

Two or so years ago in Cameroon, while having my hair cut under a mango tree by a friend, my friend and I started discussing our birthdays.  Her birthday is four days after mine and we were born in the same year.  What makes it significant is that this year means we are both turning 40!  We said on that day that we would like to be able to celebrate turning 40 together, if possible.

She ended up being in Canada with her family and we realized we were on the same continent around our birthdays, so there may be a way to celebrate together.  Another friend who lives near the US border on the Canadian side, who is a friend, who also served in Cameroon with her family and who we visited in 2012 in Canada, also could get together.  It was a plan!

Since the one friend returns to Cameroon in July, July is pretty much out, we have vacation in June and swim team, so June was looking like a no go, however, the last weekend in May was looking promising.  So, the date was set.  After discussions, the place was set.  I flew into Detriot and my friends picked me up and we had a great weekend talking into the wee hours of the morning, eating lots of yummy food, shopping and just being together.  It was great to be with others who knew me in Cameroon and who know me out of Cameroon.  Thanks ladies for a great time together!

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Two and Five

Today marks the two and five year anniversaries of pivotal moments in our lives – two years ago on this day we boarded a plane and said goodbye to Cameroon.  Five years ago on this day, Jonah had a serious accident and needed emergency surgery in Cameroon with follow-up surgeries in the USA.

While learning French, one of our duties at the school was to participate in some capacity at daily chapel.  There was a lesson that spoke to David from a passage in Matthew, Mark & John about two fish and five loaves.  We were blessed to have our French vocabulary multiple beyond five verbs and two adjectives.

It was two years ago today that we said goodbye and boarded a plane to leave Cameroon.  In some ways it feels forever ago and in other ways it feels like yesterday.  We have to admit we don’t miss the harder daily life aspects or the traffic, but we greatly miss people!  We miss friends, people we consider family members, the drop-in visitor’s, the borrowing of DVD’s from one another and the priority of people interaction.

*****WARNING*******GRAPHIC PICTURES******

Five years ago today, Jonah had a freak accident that almost completely severed his left ring finger and shattered the left middle finger.  If the emergency surgery wasn’t traumatic enough, he had to endure horrific twice a week bandage changes.  The graphic picture below is from one of his bandage changes that shows what his hand looked like one week after the accident.

Our six years overseas is a pivotal point in our lives, we talk in the BC (Before Cameroon) and AC (After Cameroon) terms.

In 2012 when we returned to the USA for four months, I was numb and it all seems and feels like a blur.  We went from surgery to surgery and therapy to therapy.  I remember seeing the x-rays that showed finger bones were pretty much shoved back in and the skin somewhat sewn around them.  I also remember a few months later on a follow-up x-ray seeing how the bones had pretty much disappeared due to bone infection.  I’ll always remember every detail of Jonah’s amputation surgery.

Here we are two and five years later.  Jonah was born with a left hand with five full digits, however, due to an accident, two of those digits were severely injured.  The Lord has helped him and us these past five years to process the grief, trauma and struggles that accompanied his accident.  Even though we are still adjusting trying to figure out how to “fit into”our old/new environment, the Lord has helped us these last two years to process the grief, struggles, transitions and new roles.

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Graduations

The last day of our school year was May 18th.  Joshua finished his eighth grade year – so he’ll be heading to High School in August.  Jonah finished his sixth grade year – so he’ll be heading to Middle School in August.  It’s hard to believe!  There are times when I look at them and still see the little boys who once wanted to cuddle tight, grip my hand and look at me admirably.

Joshua “graduated” from sixth grade in Cameroon.  He had a great celebration gathering with his classmates, parents and teacher.  It was a great closure for him too, since we were preparing to leave Cameroon.

Jonah’s school doesn’t have a graduation, but our new Children’s Pastor at church and the Youth Pastor, started a sixth grade “graduation” with Jonah’s class being the first class to have this celebration.  The celebration was held in the evening of May 18th – the same day as his last day of school – how cool is that!?!  It was great to be able to celebrate this milestone with Jonah.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures, so I can’t share a picture, but I’ll paint a word picture.  The majority of the sixth graders who were at the celebration have been at the church since their birth.  I remember these kiddos from my days serving in the church nursery.  The parents presented their child with encouragement of how they see their kiddo and dreams they have for their child.  It was a blessed time!

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