Friday, September 27, 2013

Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola

I love granola. But there's a tiny problem. Granola has a not-so-well kept secret. It tastes awesome, looks healthy, and makes a great breakfast or snack...

But granola has got calories. LOTS of 'em. and often, they're not always the unsaturated fat variety. 1 cup often has about 600 calories and close to 30 grams of fat.

This granola, on the other hand, still has high calories, but none of the butter or added oil that you see in that boughten stuff.

To make it even better for you, when I eat it I usually split it half-n-half with uncooked old-fashioned oats, and add fruit and unsweetened homemade yogurt. Sort of my own brand of muesli. Tastes great, and it's actually good for you too.

Thanks go to my awesome wife for making this for me...I was just the taste tester. Hmm...I think I better go check and see if my first and second and third impressions are still correct...

Try it for yourself and see if you agree!

Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola
1/2 cup peanut butter(I use Crunchy)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups of old fashioned oats
Heat peanut butter and honey.  Stir the cinnamon & vanilla into the PB & honey mixture.  Pour this over the oats and make sure it is all coated well.  Spread out on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and bake it @ 350 degrees until it is lightly browned...stirring frequently.

Enjoy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homeschool Naming Contest Results!

So...

After much deliberation, ballot-box stuffing, vote-recounting and  hand-wringing, we have settled on the winners of our Name-Our-Homeschool Contest, and we have also decided on a name.

First of all, a big thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas---Just having all of those different possibilities helped to get the creative juices flowing.

So, our Top Three Choices in no particular order are: (drum roll)

Fantastic Four Academy (Joy Manda)  We love this one because it makes us think of our little Superhero kiddos!

Phronesis  (Michelle Smith) This is a really cool idea because it means "practical wisdom" in Greek.

East-West  Academy (Melody Tiegs)   This is a good one just because it's our life--- we are from the West, but we fly west to go to the Far East, then fly east to go back to the West...kind of confusing, but it makes sense too!  Oh, and then (and I assume this was the original intent) the Bible tells us that as far as the east is from the west, that's how God has separated us from our sins--- and that's even better!

Congratulations to our Winners! You'll be receiving a cool prize in the mail sometime soon.

And, after sifting through all of the collected wisdom in school naming, looking at school names around the world, and throwing darts at a board with our top 147 choices (just kidding)...we have decided on:

Phronesis Academy  Thanks for the idea Michelle! Your name will now go on to our letterhead, customized pencils, sweatshirts, and athletic team jerseys.

For those of you who haven't studied Greek, it's a really cool word--and, (I'm quoting directly from dictionary.sensagent.com here, so you know it's true....)

According to Aristotle' theory on rhetoric phronesis is one of the three types of appeal to character (ethos). The other two are respectively appeals to arete (virtue) and eunoia (goodwill).
Gaining phronesis requires maturation, in Aristotle's thought:
Whereas young people become accomplished in geometry and mathematics, and wise within these limits, prudent young people do not seem to be found. The reason is that prudence is concerned with particulars as well as universals, and particulars become known from experience, but a young person lacks experience, since some length of time is needed to produce it (Nicomachean Ethics 1142 a).
Phronesis is concerned with particulars, because it is concerned with how to act in particular situations. One can learn the principles of action, but applying them in the real world, in situations one could not have foreseen, requires experience of the world. For example, if one knows that one should be honest, one might act in certain situations in ways that cause pain and offense; knowing how to apply honesty in balance with other considerations and in specific contexts requires experience.
Aristotle holds that having phronesis is both necessary and sufficient for being virtuous; because phronesis is practical, it is impossible to be both phronetic and akratic; i.e., prudent persons cannot act against their "better judgement."

And that's pretty cool.  Practical Wisdom that works in the real world! Not a bad idea.

And, they say that as you name your school, think about how it sounds when you have to write it down on a University Application someday. So, we tried to keep that in mind...In about 12 years I guess we'll see if it worked or not.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Our Budding Bookworm

At 8 PM last night, our 6-year old daughter bounded into our bedroom and exclaimed, "I finished my book!" That was her second chapter book of the day.

It's official. Our daughter is definitely ours.

Already, she is showing the telltale signs of bookworminess. When I call her, if she is reading a book, it can take three times to get a response, and it's not because she's trying to ignore me. She's so engrossed in her book that she's, well....she's acting like her father does when he reads a book. (that would be me.)
When she started her first chapter book, We made a "Bookworm" for her. For each chapter book she reads, she gets a new worm segment. And, after she read her first five books, she got a pizza party.

It took a quite a while to get to the pizza party.

And then, after the first five, she suddenly started devouring books daily. She has turned into a flashlight-on-to-read-in-bed-after-litttle-sister-is-asleep kind of person already. When I tucked her in a few minutes ago, she was getting her flashlight ready so she could keep on reading "Misty of Chincoteague" after the lights went out.

At first, the goal of the pizza party was very important to her-- and when she had it she was really excited. Thankfully we specified that the first pizza party was for five books, and the next one was for after she read another 10 books--- and then another 15 after that...it's a good thing, because she is now going through one or two books a day.

Having the bookworm was a great initial incentive, and is also a great way for us to keep track of what books she has read.

Now, she rarely mentions the pizza party or any other kind of reward, because she is figuring out that reading is definitely its own reward!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

20 Pounds

Yeah...So, this is me in September of last year!

My back and neck always hurt...  My knee that I've had my ACL reconstructed twice...ALWAYS hurt...  I was tired ALL the time...and I didn't feel well much of the time!

I tried to exercise...but didn't do it super regularly...  I had been doing Muay Thai for a few months...but only once a week...and only running occasionally.

After having 4 kids and being over 30...losing weight was/is sooo hard.  Not only that...but in my 20's and before I started having kids...my weight stayed virtually the same...and I could eat whatever I wanted and not have to worry about exercising that often...because I had always been very active.  But after 30...all of a sudden...I'd gain 5 pounds without even realizing it!  And then, it wouldn't come off!

I knew I wanted to lose weight and exercise more...but I didn't want to diet!  I wanted something that was sustainable FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.  I don't want to have to diet for a week or month or whatever to get back to the weight that I should be.  I didn't want to have to drink a shake 2 meals a day...etc. Or cut sugar or whole food groups from my diet.

Basically, I needed what I like to call a Lifestyle Change...it couldn't be about dieting!!!

It has been a difficult learning process...  I started by making small achievable goals...and when I met those goals...I made new ones!  There have been several things I've tried that have really helped along the way...

Like setting a goal to exercise 3 times a week...I started writing down my workouts on the calendar to see if I was keeping it up. When I was doing that regularly...I upped it to 5 times a week.  Now, I exercise 4 to 6 times a week.

And then, I tried writing down everything that I ate in a day...That was super eye opening!  And I found out that my BMR...or basal metabolic rate is only 1250.  Meaning that if I am doing nothing...my body only needs approximately 1250 calories...which means if I'm not exercising...I don't need to eat much...cuz it doesn't take much to add up to 1250 calories.

When it comes to food...I haven't cut any particular foods from my diet...It has been about portions.  Before, I would eat 4 pancakes...now, I eat 2.  I would eat 3 cookies...now, I eat 1.  You get the idea.  I would never be able to maintain if I cut a particular food or food group from my diet!  Seriously, Brian makes fun of me because I have 2 small squares of dark chocolate every day after lunch.  I don't think I could live without dark chocolate!!!  haha  And seriously, if I'm honest...I have a major addiction to coke...it comes in glass bottles here and is oh sooo delicious!  
This is me...1 year later and 20 pounds lighter!!!

And after 16 years...I'm back at my high school weight.  Actually, around a pound less than my goal weight.

It's been a LOT of work, but there are a lot of payoffs...My back and neck never bother me anymore.  My knee never hurts!  I generally feel great.  Of course, I'm still tired...I'm a mom to 4 young crazy kiddos...but seriously...My energy level is way better!!! And that makes taking care of them so much easier.  

On top of that...I feel stronger...and not sooo afraid of having pictures taken of me and posted on Facebook!  haha

If you know me at all...you know that I am NOT a morning person.  As in...please give me at least an hour after waking before you talk to me.  Getting up early to exercise is seriously a chore for me every single time. It just about kills me...serious torture!

Something else that is hard for me...is always having to cook for my family...hahaha  I know that sounds terrible...  But my husband and 4 kiddos want dessert, cinnamon rolls, waffles, pancakes, french toast, bread, pasta, cookies, etc....  Which means, I need to cook/bake for them...and then, those kinds of foods are in the house!  It's super hard...constant temptation to eat more than I should!
 
Seriously...This feels like it has been a long, long battle...  And the fact is...I feel like it is something I'll always deal with for the rest of my life.  It will never get easier.  My metabolism will continue to slow down.  I'll have to work harder and harder to achieve the same thing.

I'm still trying to get my waist to hip ratio down...as I'm still in the moderate risk category...
I tend to keep fat in my midsection and on my hips. My shape puts me at increased risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke. (Taken from HealthStatus.com)

Thinking about going on furlough scares me...because it's common for missionaries to gain 20 to 30 pounds while on furlough.  Trying to exercise while traveling around and eating out all the time...takes a toll.  Not to mention access to foods that we haven't had in years and we know that when we return to the field we won't have again = serious temptation to over indulge.
But I'm doing this for my husband and kids!  I want to be healthy for them and to be a good example for my kids.  I want them to know that eating healthy and exercising regularly are part of a healthy lifestyle.  Of course, I don't want them to be obsessed with their weight...I want them to grow up exercising and eating healthy...so, that it's just part of life for them...and not something that they have to learn later.

My husband and my kids have been huge motivators for me!  When I'm going out for a run...the kiddos ask me if I'm going to get a medal.  And they love seeing me do muay thai.  And of course they try to copy my kicks and punches.

My muay thai group has also been huge motivators for running, etc...we often sign up to run races together. Before meeting any of them...I had never run a race longer than 5k.  But they are like...why run a 5k when you can run a 10k...why run a 10k when you can run a 21k?!?  haha  When I'm tired and not punching and kicking hard enough...my coach mocks me!  haha  If I gain a pound or two...they notice and will definitely point it out...which is completely culturally acceptable here.

Making all of these lifestyle changes have been FAR from easy. Getting jolted awake by my alarm at 5:15 AM to go exercise, saying no to that second cookie, and having sore muscles isn't exactly fun.

But when I look at how much better I feel, so much less pain from my old injuries, and so much more energy to take care of my family, I know it is soo worth it! And when my kids come to the door when I get back from a morning run, they almost always ask, "Did you get a gold medal mom?!?"

Well, I may not have a gold medal in my future, but feeling healthy and having the energy to be a good wife and mother feels like a victory to me!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Package

Every once in a while, our day gets a little slice of heaven added to the insanity of our lives.

It's called: A Package.

Over the years here, the kids have learned that wonderful and exciting treasures come in little (and sometimes not-so-little) boxes from abroad. Both sets of grandparents back in the US have been especially good with the packages over the last four years--and it makes us feel just a little closer to America and our families.

This last week, we got one of those tiny packages that just seriously makes your day, and the day of all four little munchkins who currently reside at our house.

It had something for everyone:

Brooke got new America's Test Kitchen magazines---and one of them just happened to focus on a certain aspect of cuisine that she was wanting to try more often. (Have I ever mentioned that it's good to live with a chef for a wife?)
Skye got a Lalaloopsy horse--named Teabiscuit :) She was ecstatic, and the name made mommy and daddy laugh.
The boys got little GI Joe type figures, and they have spent the last few days alternately saving and destroying the world together with a little help from their trusty plastic pirate ship.
Asia, our budding reader, got three books that made her almost jump through the ceiling with joy. She is a very exuberant type when it comes to new books. And especially finishing new books. She exploded into our room at 8 PM last night, yelling, "I finished my chapter book!!" Yeah, she reads about a chapter book a day now, yesterday she read two, and she was quite excited to let us know.
And, daddy was not forgotten. I got sweet new Runner's World magazines. Just what I wanted. The hilarious part when I looked at them was...I got the September issue and it's still September! I think that's the first time in four years that I remember reading an American magazine in the same month that it was supposed to be read in. Ahhh...it's the little things...

That was The Package.

 Reading material, little toys and love--- Priceless.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Art Class with Michelangelo

This year, we are introducing the great artists to our young group of students-- They started with Michelangelo.
Since Mike was a sculptor--we had to have a go at sculpting ourselves. Wow. if it is this hard to sculpt white soap, carving David out of marble must have been quite the job.
Slater LOVES the story of David and Goliath. And he regularly reminds us that Michelangelo's sculpture of David "is AWESOME!" So he was quite excited to draw pictures of David. Sculpting is kinda tough though...Maybe we'll start with just David's head first...
Oh well, David's head was a bust. 

Maybe we'll just chop up the soap into little bits and call it a Jackson Pollock sculpture.
Of course, Michelangelo's most famous work was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. We decided against putting up scaffolding and painting frescos on the ceiling of our house...
But we did paint pictures underneath the table, just to see how it felt to paint overhead. 
Wow. It's not as easy as it looks. But it's pretty fun!
Other than the occasional paint drips...we're geting the hang of this overhead painting thing.
Time to apply some wet plaster and make a REAL Fresco, dad...
I think she's cuter than a Michelangelo sculpture...
Well, that was painting and sculpting with Michelangelo. Stay tuned for Monet, Pollock and many more awesome artists!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A "Real" Mom

So, this past year has been the first time since we moved to the Philippines that I have felt like a normal, "real" Mom...and I have been loving it.  For the previous 3+ years Brian & I were doing full time language study...that didn't really provide us with a lot of time to do much more than the basic requirements of caring for the kiddos. We raised them and loved them and changed their diapers, but it seemed like half the time we were listening to a foreign language recording with one ear and trying to listen to our kids with the other.

We're still really busy, but compared to before, our life almost seems sane. The kids and I have been taking advantage of some good weather and have been able to do some fun things lately.

We live really close to the Capitol buildings for our province...There is a large field that the kids love to play on and a nice walking path.
On the walking path we met a man selling fresh honey out of a bucket...It must have been pretty fresh, since the bees & beehive were on top of his bucket.
We get to meet all sorts of people...
The kids love going to this overlook of the Tree Park...On this day we were able to see a bunch of seeds from fire trees floating through the air...which was pretty cool since we had been studying seeds in school.
We had a special outing to my friends tea shop...it's actually fun to bring the kiddos out now as they have really learned to behave quite well...most of the time...
There has been a spell of beautiful weather...which is very unusual for this time of year, since we are in Rainy Season. So we took advantage of it...and have spent loads of time outside.
All 4 can still fit in one plangana...
On rainy days...the kids enjoy some music time...and putting on shows for me...  Though I have to admit the percussion and flute/whistle section makes me a bit twitchy...hahaha  The kids love it sooo much!
We've had a lot of brown outs(power outages) lately...but we still find ways of amusing ourselves.  :)
I even enjoyed taking my kiddos to the store all by myself...I know that sounds ridiculous...but it was the first time I have ever done that...You see---for the first three years here we didn't have a vehicle, so we rarely took the kids out while shopping. Now, we finally have a vehicle, but  the kids are only now old enough for one of us to take them places. Before, we really needed one of us to hold them as we drove somewhere. (We do not live in a land where car seats for kids are common...they're almost unknown.) So now that they're a bit older...going grocery shopping with the kiddos is not only possible, it's actually fun!
The kiddos were sooo well behaved that I got them each a donut pop for a treat...all 4 cost me less than 50 cents.  :)

If the sun is shining...we spend as much time as possible outdoors...if it's too hot to play...they sit in the shade and draw pictures.
All 4 kiddos have been helping me with some cooking/baking...it's a little chaotic...but I wouldn't trade it for the world. And it's amazing how much more interested they are in trying different foods when they had a hand in the preparation.
I am loving this new stage in my life...of being a "real" mom...where I have a lot more time for my crazy kiddos.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

4 Years

Yup...that was us 4 years ago. Fresh-faced, naive and ready to take our 2-year old and 2 10-month old kiddos around the world. 

Since that September day in 2009, we have lived on two Philippine islands, studied two languages, and re-opened the Visayan language program on the island where we now live.
Yup...and that is us now. One more kid--- and 4 years of God's faithfulness while living in the Philippines. To all of you who have prayed for us, supported us and encouraged us during these last 4 years, 
THANK YOU!!

We truly feel blessed to get to live and minister where we do-- Here's to the next four years!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Just Have Fun Run

So, to be honest, running has been a bit of a downer this year.

I love running. It's been a huge help for staying in shape and getting to know people in our town, but let's just say this year did not go how I envisioned.

It started out at the beginning of 2013. Knee pain.

I would rehab, slow down, try to strengthen my legs, and go again and....knee pain again.

The whole year so far has felt like a physical see-saw of exercise/injury/rehab/reboot.

Then I finally got to where I was feeling pretty good, and I was getting ready for a local race, and....I got sick. No running for over a week and a half.

By the time I was training again, I knew that I wouldn't have time to really prepare well for my next race.

So, I decided to have fun. Crazy concept I know.

I got up on the morning of the race, got ready and headed out. It was a trail run, which I was excited for, cuz there aren't many trail races here.

Normally, when I run, I have an annoying mantra to remind myself to get going, like F.O.D. (Short for: Fat Old Dad) the idea being that I don't want to be one of those so I should run faster...or something equally inspiring.
Today, as I started the race, my feel-good phrase was..."just have fun!" And for the first few kilometers, that was what I kept telling myself. Shortly after starting, I was feeling good, and then I felt awesome. The love of my life and my four kids were next to the race course, cheering me on before I headed into the forest. Yup. I was having fun.
After running down a stream bed (slippery rocks and water included), slowly pulling myself up a muddy hill by hanging on to roots and branches, making many hairy descents, and basically putting my heart rate somewhere between really good exercise and Stop-now-before-I-keel-over, my phrase switched to: "Just. Keep. Running."

Which I did... depending on your definition of running. Sometimes it was more like a muddy waddle.

But I had to admit, I was having the time of my life. Outside, soaking up God's creation, early morning, beautiful weather, in the middle of a Philippine forest...It was awesome.

I stopped thinking so much about the race time I was getting, and more about the time I was having.

Towards the end, I kept trading places with another runner, he would lead, then I would lead. Finally, on the last, ridiculously steep hill, I decided it was now or never. I poured on all the coal that my approaching-four-decades-old body could give, and "sprinted" the rest of the way up the hill and the last few hundred meters to the finish line. I sprinted straight through the finish, not even doing my customary hand-on-my-wristwatch-to-stop-the-stop-watch-so-I-get-my-exact-time ritual. I finished, stopped, then stopped my time.

 And there, at the finish line, were my kiddos and my beautiful wife of 10 years. And that, without question, was the best part of an awesome race.

After a year of exercise ups and downs, this race was a great reminder of why we exercise. For me, it's fun. But more than that, it's a habit I'm trying to model for my kids. It's a chance to enjoy nature. It's a way to show respect for the life and the body that God has given me. It's good discipline. And all my kids want to run a race now.

And...besides. I got a third-place age group medal.

 And... Hey, that's not why I run. But, umm...it sure don't hurt.

Just have fun. Just go run!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Furloughphobia

I know this is going to sound strange...but going on furlough(home assignment or whatever you want to call it) scares me.

It's weird I know...

Don't get me wrong...  I can't wait to see our family. 1 Grandpa, 3 uncles, 1 aunt and many other relatives have still never met Skye in person (thank God for Skype).  I can't wait to see friends and spend time with our churches and supporters.  And of course, we miss some American food.  I am seriously dying for a big fat juicy steak. I haven't had one in 4 years. haha

But the reason it scares me is...it is full of unknowns. We have to pack up our whole life, and as of now we don't know if we can keep the house we're living in here, or if we have to store everything.  We don't have the money to buy our tickets to go home on furlough...  We don't have a vehicle or 4 carseats to use on furlough.  We still aren't sure about housing.  We don't know how we are going to live on the support we receive while we are on furlough. We don't have any idea what our time in the USA is going to look like...as in...we need to travel and visit lot of people and churches...but how will we do this with 4 young children...who also need stability?  Will we fit in?  Or will we be "those" weird missionaries that don't know anything about American culture, style, etc? Will our kids feel comfortable, or will all the change be overwhelming for their young minds? How much has America changed in 4+ years? Can you ever go home again?

It's funny because we get asked all the time(even by Filipinos) if we are scared to live here.  And I can honestly say...NOT at ALL.  Yes.  Life here tends to be completely unpredictable...  As in...are we going to have water, electricity, or internet today?  Is someone going to text and need me to help them with their helpers, housing, or need some other advice?  The political climate has been a little less than stable on our island lately. Brian's schedule changes frequently.  And the last couple of months...everything in our house seems to be breaking...  But in all honestly, all of those things are kind of expected...they are the predictable unpredictables...if that even makes sense.  I store extra water and batteries.  The kids are getting used to being flexible, when school or other planned activities get changed or rearranged because Brian & I need to drop what we are doing to help someone else.  We are learning to live without all of our once-assumed necessary American conveniences...  We stay closer to home and are extra vigilant to our surroundings.

I am a serious planner.  I like knowing what my week is going to look like and making a daily/weekly/monthly plan of what I'm going to accomplish.  Basically, our life here tends to be unpredictable...but I can sort of plan for things to NOT GO AS PLANNED.  It's like the known unknowns...I'm not sure what to expect but when it happens it wasn't that unexpected. It was still predictable.

But 4.5 months away from stepping onto an airplane flying to America, I don't feel like we have anything planned for furlough.  I have no idea how we are going to be able to afford tickets, a vehicle, carseats, winter clothing, setting up a house, etc.  It totally freaks me out.

As I think through all of this...  It actually makes me laugh.  I know the truth.  I know that God WILL provide for all our needs. Combined, our families have spent DECADES in overseas ministry and full-time ministry in the US...and Brian and I have been missionaries our entire married life and every single moment...God has proved himself faithful.

He says in Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

But just like an Israelite, waking up a little extra early to peek out of the tent to see if there really will be manna on the menu again this morning...we have an excruciating time really taking God at HIS WORD. Because... yesterday turned out ok, but tomorrow is another day. I mean...the pillar of fire is still over there above the tabernacle and all, but maybe, just maybe there's a manna and quail shortage in Heaven...

Wow. Sounds ridiculous if I say it like that...but it's so easy to default to doubting God's ability(or maybe His willingness?) to care for me and my family every day.

But just like the Israelites experienced while gathering manna six days a week for for forty years...when it comes to God, His past and present performance won't change in the future, and they are our guarantee of eternal results. He NEVER EVER changes.  He is the same yesterday, today & forever.

He cares about a stinking little sparrow...He DEFINITELY cares about little old Brooke and company.  The Lord has known about all of this from the beginning of time...And He's not worried.

I was just thinking about these things and reading in Matthew this morning--chapter 7 verses 31 to 33--- "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already KNOWS ALL YOUR NEEDS. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and HE WILL GIVE YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED."

Period. Full stop. End of discussion.

God will protect. God will provide. For our little family.

And if you're reading this...and occasionally wonder the same things we do...you can know. He's holding you in his hand too.

And when we look back, tomorrow, a year from now, and from the viewpoint of eternity, we will see...GOD DID IT!  He took care of us in ways we never thought of, and never imagined could be. And we will see---no one but God could have done this.  He has been, currently is, and always will be faithful.

He wants us to turn to Him and rely on Him every moment of every day--To come to Him in the sun and in the storm. It's so easy to vacillate ---when life is hard, run to God. When life seems good, sort of forget about Him.

Kind of..."When all else fails, pray." But that's not the attitude He's looking for. Before anything fails and life seems great, PRAY. Draw near to God.  He'll draw near to you. And when everything seems to be falling apart and you don't know which way to go, keep drawing nearer. Circumstances change. He's exactly the same.

It is almost always cloudy here in our mountain home. Sometimes it seems like the sun isn't even showing up. But I know it's just as bright up above the cloud bank. Our pilot knows that too---because he takes off when the clouds obscure the sun. But within minutes, he can be in brilliant sunshine. The surrounding weather didn't change. He just moved closer to the sun.

And when our circumstances seem to obscure the Son---well, same idea. We need to keep moving closer. The weather might not change, but our perspective sure can.

When situations seem ridiculous with no way out, it's time to stand back and get excited.  Because His specialty is the situations that seem impossible. Whose outcome shows us....this was soo not us. This was soo God. And He is soo good. All the time.

tag-team written by Brooke & Brian

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sucked into the Abyss

So, you know how sometimes your day doesn't go as planned...well, let's just say my month didn't go as planned.  haha  I had all sorts of plans for August...and apparently, God had different plans for me.  :)  I kind of feel like I fell off the face of the Earth or got sucked into the Great Abyss that is my house the past month.

The month began quite normally...We started back to school on July 29th.
We're studying Ancient History...and all 4 of the kids are really enjoying it...  Everyone keeps asking which Pharaoh or king is next. But the calm of studying Ancient History this last month soon became ancient history...


Yup, at this point, everything still looked pretty normal. Keeping these three occupied while we "school" was my greatest challenge.  :)
Yup...normalcy. But don't let the idyllic reading scene fool you...it is the calm before the storm. During the calm, we started our unit on botany... And Asia has become quite the reader!!
Actually, School (overall) is going awesome!!!  Praise the Lord!
Skye started ballet.  It's really amazing how flexible she is.  I wasn't sure about starting her sooo young...but she is doing quite well.
Skye turned 3.

Everything was going well...At least, as much like clockwork as is possible with four kids between 3 and 6 around.

And then, it struck. The stomach flu hit our house...  Brian got it first.  Then, a few days later Leif got it...then, a few days later the other 3 came down with it...  I was the only one that escaped.  :) We had a house full of unhappy campers.  Needless to say...my plans kind of went out the window when I had to take care of all the stuff that Brian normally does, all my stuff and take care of all the sickies.  It was a long stomach flu that just seemed to keep hanging on...and I got seriously behind. Hence...blogging went out the window.  Now, two weeks later...I feel like I'm still trying to catch up on life.
A little stomach flu didn't stop Asia from reading...just kept a bowl handy...and a cup to keep up the fluid intake. ha
They ate lots of yogurt and drank lots of Yakult in an attempt to right their stomachs. All tummies seem to be on the mend...yay for probiotics.
Through it all Brian kept working hard on curriculum development, etc...   Trying to have everything ready to go before we go on home-assignment.  His concentration amazes me...
Finally, the sickies got better . End of the Abyss? Nope. Soon after everyone else recovered...I hurt my knee doing a little muay thai sparring.  I know...I know...what is a woman my age doing trying to spar.  haha IT WAS SOOOO WORTH IT.  I really love muay thai...seriously...my favorite sport that I have ever, ever tried!  Unfortunately, a few years after 30 and 4 kiddos...my knees can't really keep up.  ha.  So, I've been hobbling around for about 1 1/2 weeks, and making the husband do anything that involves heavy lifting, stairs, or standing a lot. I'm not sure if I tore something...tried to go to the Doctor....but there was only an Internal Specialist available...and she wasn't really going to help my knee. ha.  Now, Brian is busy for the next 2 weeks...and I won't be able to go to the Doctor until after that.  

Anyway...there you have it folks...all my excuses to why I haven't been blogging.  ha!  
I know you guys are all dying to hear the results of the name the school contest...  And I think we're close to a decision...  Brian & I haven't had too many conversations lately that haven't been about our work with the new missionaries or the fantastic 4.  ha.  Anyway...hoping to make the final decision on that soon.  Sorry for the delay.