Saturday, December 22, 2007

Feliz Navidad

From our house to yours....we wish you a grace-filled and beautiful time with family and friends this holiday season - remembering the things that really matter in this life! We love you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

All I Want...

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth - or some kind of teeth - I am not picky! I am nine months old and have nothin' but a toothless - but beautiful - smile. (so they say!)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cruisin' Along!

Here are a few recent pictures of our motoring little boys!

Chase received the tricycle for his birthday from a friend. He has been having a lot of fun zipping around and carrying things in his little basket in front.

Out of the blue Reece decided on his own to take off his training wheels (which he was too impatient to wait on me to help and so just figured out how to do it by himself). He went to work practicing and has mastered the bike really well and really fast - without any help from anybody! He is so proud of himself and I loved watching the face of sheer exhiliration and suprise the first time he went far without falling!

And little Pierce - well, he isn't moving too much yet but he sure does like to be outside, cheering on his big brothers!

For some live action, copy and paste this link into your browser (I chose not to add the video onto the blog directly for my dear family who use dial up internet!)

Chase Is 3!!!

On December 2nd, our little Chaser turned 3 years old. We celebrated on Saturday - with a really fun afternoon with friends and neighbors. He had been saying for months that he wanted a party with cars...lots of cars, so we went with a racetrack and cars as the theme. Chase had a great time and it was really good for us as parents to just enjoy him - watching him interact with others, jump and play on the inflatable toy we rented. He was excited to eat cake and hit the pinata and of candy! Chase is a special little guy and has added much to our family. It is hard to believe he is already three and such a big boy. We love you Chase and hope this year of life is full of learning, adventure, fun, few scrapes and falls, and good times!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Celebrating 9 Years Together

Yesterday, November 28, marked nine years of marriage for us! We had a special day together - especially enjoying an evening at the movies and a quiet dinner with good conversation.

In honor of our 9 years, I thought it would be fun to list 9 things I love about our marriage or my husband - in no particular order....

1)I love that we are feel really comfortable with one another - we have no inhibitions in the "weird" department and we have shared a whole lot of laughter and fun. He, especially, makes me laugh a lot. Benjy is a funny guy. Even though I have heard, and heard, and heard most of his stories or is always good to see the fun he brings to a room. Our 9 years have been very fun!

2)I love that Benjy is the type of man that is who he is. He is strong and direct and honest. He teaches me a lot about saying what needs to be said. He is very perceptive and sees things before many people do. I have really grown to trust and depend on his perception of situations and people.

3)Benjy is very giving. His natural tendency is to give. I have seen him the most content and happy when he has given to someone else - friends and especially family. I have been on the receiving end of many of his givings! But it is more than just material things - Benjy has a deep desire to make a difference in people's lives and gives a lot to his relationships. He is a good mentor. A loyal friend. A faithful husband. A good, good father. I have been humbled by the care he has shown to his immediate family - especially his parents.

4)Our marriage has had a good share of adventure. We like to experience new things together and have loved our travels. We have seen a lot but dream about doing so much more and travelling many more places together.

5)We have been blessed with three beautiful sons. Benjy is a family man - I clearly remember him expressing his desire to be a good father when we were dating. Benjy is intentional in his parenting. He is patient. He is helpful. He often brings a presence of reflection to our home - leading conversations between us about what we can be doing better for our boys in regards to leading, disciplining, teaching. And he is a fun Dad! The boys love to wrestle and play with him. From a mom's perspective - I couldn't feel more honored and blessed to be raising three boys with him at my side.

6)Benjy seeks growth. I believe he has had this quality all along but I have come to notice it and appreciate it probably most in this past year or two. He wants to become better as a man and wants to know himself better so that he can do just that. I love that about him - he pushes himself to become more of what Jesus wants him to be. His faith journey inspires me to know and walk with God.

7)Benjy is a good story-teller. We like to tell stories to our kids and I love to listen in on him - he is pretty creative for a guy who thinks he has no creativity. And if you know Benjy, he has told you a story or two! It is hilarious to me to watch him interact with others. His humour is...shall we say...unique - and so many just don't "get him". He has pulled his fair share of pranks in his life - lots of fun!!!

8)I think we have a pretty well rounded marriage and I like that. By well rounded I mean - we enjoy a lot of different things. We love sports, we love theater, we love travel. It makes things interesting and adds some variety.

9)Benjy is a protector and a provider. He is a lot more grounded and realistic in the things that I am naive about (like financial security, safety, future). He thinks about taking care of me and the kids and makes me feel very taken care of.

I feel very blessed in my marriage. We aren't perfect and we have our struggles - but I do believe we are perfect for each other! When I look back on the past nine years with fondness I trust that we have a strong and bright future together. I am glad that Benjy is the one I will grow old with.

I love you Benjy. Thank you for all we have shared!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Playin' Outside

It is becoming a rare thing to see my boys playing inside these days. They LOVE being outside and we are thankful for the space, the chance to ride bikes, the playground and the friends they have made! It is a good place for little boys!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Happy Halloween

We had a fun halloween. We invited our neighbors to carve pumpkins with us. They had never done it before and we sure had a lot of Mexican kids pass by trying to figure it all out! How funny - they decorate everything with pumpkin figures but thought it very odd that we carved the real thing. Reece and Chase loved getting their hands in there! Typical boys!

For school and for trick-or-treating here in our neighborhood - the boys went as pirates. We didn't want to buy costumes so we threw together what we had at home.....I think they look pretty cute - I mean, tough - if I do say so myself! The funniest was hearing them say "arrrgggggggg".

And, keeping with tradition, we did a family theme this year of "three blind mice"! The boys - especially Pierce were really cute. I doubt you can tell from the pic but Benjy was the "big cheese" and I, of course, was the farmers wife. I forgot to carry my carving knife but do have their tails in hand! I don't think I have laughed so hard in a long, long time. Chaser hung out with me all day as we finalized the costume. He began singing the "tree blind mice" song as he ran around the house. When we arrived at the party we had a long parking lot to walk down so we used it as his practice for being blind. His sunglasses were too big so he held them up with his finger and then used his white cane to feel his way all the way to the front door as he sang, "fwee bwind mice, fweee bwind mice" It was precious. We had a blast.

Uncle Burke!

Uncle Burke, the pilot, flew in for a quick visit. We had so much fun with him - especially the kids. He is a great uncle - although you would be very hard pressed to hear him say he likes kids. I think its his game. He hides it but really loves hanging with them. My favorite moment was when Chaser planted a big wet and gooey goodbye kiss on his cheek!

He got to participate in all of the halloween fun - carving pumpkins, trick-or-treatin' and our annual team costume party.

We also went to visit a few sites of the City - a castle at Chapultepec park. Thanks for coming Burke. Please come back soon - we love you!

Another Year in A Great Man's Life

My good husband celebrated another year of life on the 28th! We had big plans to leave the City for the weekend and celebrate with some friends....but an untimely bug or something hit Benj and so we laid low and recovered at home instead. By Sunday he was feeling better and we enjoyed his birthday. Benjy spent the day in a way very typical of who he is - playing and spending quality time with his boys. He is a family man at heart, a great Daddy and so the boys had a "sports day" with him - playing basketball, baseball, soccer - getting coached on better technique! We went out for lunch (and although the kids screamed McDonalds I vetoed that one and let the birthday boy choose!). I sat back and smiled as the majority of birthday conversation centered around tic-tac-toe. Reece and Benjy played a countless number of games on the place mat - and Reece started learning his strategy and how to block him. Lots of smiles today. I love you Benjy - expecting more great things in your life this 34th year!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Random Thoughts...

Tonight I am fighting the temptation to wait to post on here until I download my pictures. My mind is full of many random things. It is cold here. Yes - I know, I am from Canada and now live in Mexico - won't believe it until you experience the truth that I feel colder here than I remember ever feeling in the snowy, Saskatchewan winters. Just imagine - cement, tile, no heating system. Yup. I am cold. My three boys are asleep. My husband is resting and fighting against the flu. I am tired. But I sense the goodness of God all around me. I am well taken care of in so many ways. I am thankful for our home. No, I am not completely settled as far as organizing and hanging pictures, etc.. - but it feels like home anyway. My kids love it here. I smile when I think of how many hours they have logged out there on the playground, on the bike, with the dogs, with so many new friends. Yesterday I was so happy to look out the front door to see a pile of my boys' toys dumped on the sidewalk and a bunch of kids playing together with them. Several women conversing on the bench in front of our door. It is good to be around people. We are making new friends and that always makes life special. At the same time, it is difficult to ignore the cultural differences that exist for us. Us missionaries have shared several significant conversations and prayers recently about truly understanding Mexican people - how to motivate, how to read social cues, how to understand, how to be aware if we are offending in some way, how to be friends irregardless of their interest in Jesus or not. People are people - but cross-culturally there are deeper things that exist that I am noticing and experiencing more now than ever. And yet, through all those language and cultural barriers - God is working. It is humbling. I see simple examples of His work. I feel Him stirring my personal faith. I need to be stirred and I pray for a receptive heart to the ways He desires to grow me. I think when you mix missionwork and motherhood you are asking for a pretty wide open door to always be stretched. My kids are precious and although there are days when it is pretty crazy with three so young, tears come to my eyes when I think of blessed I am to have them in my life. They are full of life, wonder, energy, and goodness (most of the time - ha!). The same little creatures that can make me want to pull my hair out can melt my heart just like that. We had a "parenting class" through Reece's school and it has brought to light lots of reflection on how we are doing with this all important job of raising children. God is gracious. It is good to reflect on our responsibility and to re-focus on how intentional we have to be. I am also learning so much from Benjy as of late. He is a good, good man. I am proud of who he is and can see God teaching, growing and using him. He is a good husband. I am lucky. He is a good Daddy - my boys are lucky. His birthday is Sunday so we will celebrate him! I should sign off and get some rest. Like I said - this is a random post but good for my heart to communicate how thankful I am.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chase Meets Mud Puddle

Mud puddle. Older brother. Rock.
Chase loses.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thankfulness & New Discoveries

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and I have spent time this morning reflecting and meditating on the goodness in my life. I am thankful. Really. I try to be thankful every day but when you know that it is labelled as an official day, you can't help but emphasis it a little more. I missed being together with all of my family today - eating good food and sharing time together.

It was also an important day for another reason. Reece's school celebrated Christopher Columbus and his discoveries today with a little program put on my his classroom. Reece was asked to play the role of "the" man himself. We were more than a little unsure as to how it would all turn out as he is defining the idea of timid these days. As parents we spent the weekend trying to find the ever delicate balance of not putting too much focus yet motivating him about dressing up and performing his role. I personally think it all came together when I explained to him that I'd give him an exra "prop" in his uniform - his own telescope he could carry and if he'd like to could peer through it into the audience to find his little brothers watching him. Well, in the end he didn't do any "peering" but he was a brave little Columbus who made his own discovery today - he did well and played his role perfectly - stepping forward at the right time and everything. We are very proud of him! I think he looked pretty handsome too!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


This is not an image I see very often anymore during the day. At first, when Chase began to fight his afternoon naps, I wanted to fight back....and I did fight back. I just wasn't ready! Look at how sweet he looks and how nice it was for me to have that little break in the day. But experience is a great teacher and we soon learned that when Chaser naps in the afternoon - he does NOT fall asleep easily at bedtime. He is just a kid who doesn't seem to need much sleep. So adding an hour or two nap was not helping anyone in the long run - his little feet would make their way down the stairs numerous times (for more water, another kiss or hug, a chance to say "I love you" just once more)... and it became late into the evening before he would finally fall asleep. So, now we are in that "transtioning out of naps" stage. Where has the time gone that my little Chase isn't napping - he is growing up quickly! Most days he falls asleep a lot easier at bedtime. Yay! And I am learning that it is actually better for me too - normally all three boys are sound asleep by 8:30 or 8:45 and there is a little bit of evening left in the day.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sitting Solo!

Little Pierce can sit! The boys think it is pretty neat that their little brother can sit - now the trick is getting them to leave him alone long enough to stay balanced! He is a little wobbly still but he is coming along. I think it might allow for easier picture taking for me!

Read, read, read!

Our kids love books and we love that they love books. We have A LOT of them (most recently realized in our move). Several weeks ago, Reece came home from school with an order form for nothing less than....Scholastic Books! Remember Scholastic Book Orders from when you were a kid? I was so excited because I used to LOVE those order forms when I was a little girl. I was actually more excited than Reece was and so without hesitation we allowed Reece to select a few books (it also serves as a good way to get some english childrens books). The books arrived and as you can see we are all enjoying them...

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I guess the blog world plays tag?!?! I just got tagged so in the spirit of fun, I better play :) And... you might just be included in on this on!

Here are the rules. 1)Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My Randomness...(in no particular order or importance! really!)
1) I have this "thing" about germs. When I enter a public bathroom I have a routine I go through to ensure the little things are as far removed from me as possible. I never use the first few squares of toilet paper - those are discarded for fear of others having had touched them. I do my business, then always flush the toilet with my foot. I exit the stall and then lower some paper towel - then wash my hands thoroughly - use the towel to dry (unless of course someone has already stolen it...or if there is air dryers I never start it with my now-clean hands - I use my elbow or something) - I open the door with the paper towel or if need be the inside of my shirt so as not to touch the door where everyone else who doesn't wash their hands have just touched - toss my towel into the trash can and if I don't score the 2 points I only retrieve it off the floor if time permits and if I don't have to revisit the whole door execution again. Now - I am quite successful at this - the challenge has come in having 2 young boys now potty trained learn the rules. They have heard on many more than one occassion - "ahhh - don't touch that....keep your hands together.....hold on let me open that door, etc.. etc.." I know it has sunk in because I have seen Reece as natural as can be, flush the toilet with his own foot - atta boy!!! Now - Chase is another story!

2)I cannot seem to finish reading a book. I currently have about 4 or 5 half done. This is not because I am not enjoying them - I do - I just face so many interuptions in my life that often time passes and my attention is turned to something new before I finish the first. I do intend to finish them all! Currently in progress: Grace Based Parenting; A New Kind of Christian; Here and Now; Third Culture Kids; etc..

3)I really like to fall asleep on the couch. Not sure why - I remember this from when I was in high school and I haven't outgrown it. There is just something so comfortable about dozing off when you are cozy in your own house, around your family - and I just like to stay in that place. My husband has now given up on even trying to wake me up because I rarely get up and go when this happens...until I have a few hours under my belt and then I head up to bed....but all on my own time ;)

4)I think this is kinda neat - all 3 of our children's names came from our first ever "name list" when we were pregnant the first time. Reece, Chase, Pierce - I like our names (and although I never understood this as a kid when my Mom would mix all 4 of us up - I do it now too - often.) Recently I was telling Chase that I loved him and that he was a special little boy but I began the statement with Reece. He looked at me so strangely and said, "me not Reece, me Chase"

5)Although I love the idea of journaling, I am not very good at it. I have this weird way of wanting to categorize and organize my journaling to the point that I never do it because I don't have the right journal with me at the moment. In the end, this wacky concept has paralyzed me from expressing a lot of my prayers, thoughts,and memories. It kinda bugs me about myself actually. Any suggestions on how to overcome this :)

6)I prefer blogging to other forms of internet pages because I use it as a form of journaling. But - I do have a facebook and have been amazed at how many people I have re-connected with in the past month. Even friends from my AIM field time in Slovakia - very cool!

7)One of my favorite sounds in the world is hearing my kids laugh. Especially the all-out-full-gutted laugh!!! Little Pierce is extremely ticklish so I get a good daily dose of his laugh - very fun. And it never ceases to amaze me how three different people can sound so much the same when they laugh....or even cry for that matter. Amazing.

8)I am running out of interesting things to say here. Hmmm. I have always loved piano music and some day think that I will bite the bullet and take lessons. I have zero ability to play any kind of musical instrument but I think I could learn piano, right?! Maybe don't answer that!

I am choosing to tag the following friends: Toni, Tara, Betsy, Char, Erna, Leah, Charla, Tanya

Invisible Moms

I am posting this to encourage you, as a Mom, that the little things you do each day are making a difference. It made me think - and inspired me - and stirred that "creative" part of me. Read it and then realize, today, the great work you are doing! (I cut and past so I apologize for the way it lines up - but, hey, I have more important things to do with my time than edit the spacing of this text!)


I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way
One of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be
Taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"
Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping
The floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see
Me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you
Tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not
Even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite
Guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order,
"Right around 5:30 , please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes
That studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now
They had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's
Going...she's going...she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
Friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and
She was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,
Looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to
Compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress;
It was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was
Pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut
Butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully
Wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great
Cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until
I read her inscription: "To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of
What you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover
What would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could
Pattern my work:

1. No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of
their names.

2. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see

3. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

4. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of
God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
Cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny
Bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you
Spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by
The roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost
As if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the
Sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of
Kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is
Too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great
Cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease
That is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own
Self-centeredness.. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep
The right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the
People who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on
Something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever
Be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to
Sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's
Bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the
morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three
hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a
shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And
then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna
love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel,
not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to
the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Live Simply.
Love Generously.
Care Deeply.
Speak Kindly.
Leave the rest to God

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Does Parenting Age You?

Reece is more or less out of the throwing fits stage (thank goodness) but is entering the "talking back" stage to replace it (yikes!). He can say the funniest things when he is frustrated or angry - we often have to cover our smirks and laughter in the moment and wait till he is away to let it out! Yesterday I got onto him for something and asked him to take a break and go to his room for a moment. On the way up the stairs he responded with much agitation, "Mom, you are like 67 - you aren't even 32 years old!"


Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Girl!

We are excited to learn that Jared and Betsy (Benjy's sister) are having a baby girl! This little one will be the first girl on both sides of their families. She will be loved and spoiled and have a lot of big boy cousins to protect and teach her not to fear snakes and bugs and rough play (there are 5 grandsons on the Brednich side and 2 on the Gowens side). So...needless to say I think everyone is thrilled to be able to buy some pink this time. We are so very thankful to God for this little niece of ours - she will be the first to enter our world since having our own kids. Kate Elizabeth - please know how special you are to us already. Keep growing! We are looking forward to knowing you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Good Change

I just want to say that Benjy and I really feel blessed. The past few weeks have held a lot of change for our family - new school, new home, beginning a new group to share Jesus with friends. Change can be hard but these changes have all proven to be refreshing and encouraging. We both feel like we have had more conversations with new people in these past weeks than we have had in a long time. Ironically, we have even had more conversations with our neighbors from the old house since our move than we had during the three years we lived there! Many of these new conversations have begun because of our children. A new school experience and a new neighborhood for your kids to run around has opened doors for us! It is exciting to think about what God might have in mind for new friendships from these places. To be honest, things had been feeling a little stagnant but not anymore.... The changes have been needed and we believe God is working on us to be more bold and intentional in being ourselves with people. Sometimes on the mission field it seems like even teeny tiny baby steps can bring so much encouragement. So... imagine how encouraged we have felt when a couple approaches us at Reece's school program and asks us about our purpose here and tell us they are interested in seeing what house church looks like. Or when we hear news that one of our Christian brothers who moved away last year has been talking to his family and they want Benjy to study the Bible with them. We sense good things around the corner - new opportunities, new friendships, good things. Thank you for your prayers. They are important to us! Our Sunday night group is just forming but it is exciting for us to try a new way to create Christian community with friends who have been studying the Bible with someone on our mission team. This group provides another step for them to have more conversations about Jesus. Continue praying that God would use this group to plant another house church.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Funny Chase

Chase NEVER ceases to amaze us. He is a funny little boy....and sometimes in these 2 year old days...a bit mischievious. Although I don't know why, he seems to respond quite well to "reason" - which can be entertaining and time consuming at the same time (but almost always worth the time it takes to draw him to an appropriate decision). Here is the most recent humorous conversation....

Scene: Chase is in the bathtub - I hear break outs of laughter - I approach the bathroom and see puddles of water down the hall. He decided it would be fun to pour cup fulls of water out of the tub and onto the floor. I pull him out and set him on his bed as I clean up the mess and collect my thoughts ;) In an attempt to use his preferred means of concluding life - we begin to reason.... "why did you do that?" "do you know it makes Mommy sad when you do things you shouldn't" "look at the big mess I had to clean up and all the water you wasted" and then this...

Me: "Chase, do you know that God wants you to think and make good decisions. What did God put in your head?"

Chase: long pause......"nothing"


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our New Home

Well, we are moved - not completely unpacked but we are moved and settling in. We feel very, very blessed and enjoy our home already. We were waiting for our internet to be connected and have been really busy so I have not been on the computer much as of late. But anyway....our new place... There are about 35 homes in behind a 24 hour guarded gate and so we feel very safe. Not too far from where we lived before and only about a 7 or 8 minute drive to Reece's school. It is quiet and pretty - lots of nice landscaping and a common area with a playground for the boys. We have been welcomed by so many friendly people. And perhaps the thing that warms my heart the most is that there are a lot of kids running and playing outside. Earlier this week the doorbell rang and there were a handful of kids outside, inviting our boys to come and play with them. Reece and Chase were thrilled and it has been difficult to keep them inside ever since. Their favorite friends so far live in house 12 and yesterday Reece asked me if he could go ask them to come outside to play. I said it was fine but he had to be brave and go speak to him himself. Reece returned a few moments later, explaining that they first had to eat but then they would come out (I asked Reece if he spoke in english or spanish and he said, "well, first I spoke english but they didn't understand me - so then I spoke in spanish") We know it will be so good for the kids to make Mexican friends here at home - outside of school or church friends. Seems like all of these kids are learning english in school so they are loving the chance to try to speak to Reece and Chase in english too. As parents, we really feel blessed to be in this home for lots of reasons - but especially for the boys.

Thank You God for the way You continually provide and care for our needs. We appreciate Your hand in leading us to this neighborhood, this home. Please use this place to offer hospitality and real friendship to people. And most importantly, may these walls surround our family and create a place where we love each other, grow together and learn and live for You. Thank You for the children who have already blessed my boys with friendship and fun times. Amen.

I will try to post some pictures soon....and I have a lot of stuff to share about so I hope to post more often!

Monday, August 20, 2007

And He Is Off......To School

We sent our little boy to kindergarten today....yes he is only 4. It is one of those strange parent moments where your heart couldn't feel prouder...and yet so full and almost sad at the same time. I can't help but wonder why I am supposed to feel "ready" to pass him on to be given influence, care and direction by someone else for over 25 hours a week. That is a lot of time. And yet I also know it is an important step for him - that he will learn and grow and mature in ways that he wouldn't if he didn't head off to school. Good and sometimes difficult life lessons await him. I am excited for the way his mind and heart will stretch and grow from experiencing life in a classroom, making new friends, being creative and learning about our world. And it makes me feel all the more determined to heighten our influence on him with God, building character and values into his mind and heart.

Our day was good. Reece was excited this morning and got ready for his first real encounter with his new school. He thoughtfully said good-bye to his little brothers, reminding them he would be back to play with them, and wished us all a good day. He had a little bit of a difficult time being left, but we knew he would be okay once we left the scene. And that is what happened. When we arrived to pick him up he had a big smile on his face and shared with us the good things and the fun stuff he got to do. He especially loved recess as he got to play with Kate and Caleb. I am proud of him....and thankful that this first day is over.

I know that all parents believe this about their children but I will say it anyway - Reece is a special kid. I really think he "gets it". Although he did shed a few tears when I left him this morning I asked him what enabled him to stop crying and enjoy his day. His response tonight was: "God just helped me". He is memorizing Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and courageous and do not be afraid. The Lord your God goes with you wherever you go". I thank God tonight that His Word is taking root in his young heart. Mold him, Father, into a boy and a man after your heart.

Fun Family Time Before School Begins!

We decided to enjoy some family fun time at a park in the north of the city before Reece heads off to school. We were very excited to find this very modern and fun playground (I say that because it is the only one I have seen in all of the city - most are very old and basic playground equipment - and with a family of active little boys we consider it a very worthwhile drive, even though it is almost an hour away, depending on traffic! one tends to do things out of the "norm" when you live in a foreign country) The kids had soooooo much fun and climbed, ran, hung and slid their little hearts out! Lots of laughs and smiles to mark this day!

Friday, August 17, 2007

New Opportunities

We have a lot of change going on around here. As "summer" draws to a close we are excited to have our entire mission team back together. We have all taken furlough and vacation at different times over the past months so it seems like it has been awhile since we have all been together. It will be really good to set new goals together for the work and to take action on reaching more people in the upcoming months. As always, we solicit your support through prayer - we know God desires to see His Kingdom grow and we know He is already at work in people's lives - we ask Him to open our eyes and lead us to new opportunities!

We are about to send our little 4 year old boy to Kindergarten. As you might remember, Reece began school last year - attending 2 days a week. This year he will enter Kinder2 at a new school called Redlands. He will go Monday through Friday 8:30 - 2:00 - a big jump in our minds...and especially hearts. Yes, we are excited for him but I also feel a little teary to see him spend such a large chunk of his day under someone elses care and influence. I believe he is going to do great - he loves to learn and we are really happy with his school. Last night we had a teacher/parent meeting to introduce us to the new school year. We met his teacher - Miss Yuri - and I will be honest, my heart sank when we spoke with her because she didn't seem very warm and friendly - like you would want in a Kindergarten teacher(yes, I will admit I have pretty high standards and expectations for the teacher who is going to have my son). However, first impressions are not always right, thankfully. We went to the school today to show Reece his classroom, etc.. and she was really nice and I think Reece is going to love her. I breathed a sigh of relief! Benjy and I believe this school and its approach to education, children, process, learning, and partnering with the important education already happening at home will be a really good fit for our life and family philosophy. The other really neat thing is that we found out that the school Reece attended last year, called ALFA, has closed down. As a result several of the families from ALFA will be attending Redlands with Reece this year. His favorite little friend from last year will be in his class again - her name is Marifer. Zeidi (pronounced Sadie) is the daughter of our house church leaders - and she also will be in Reece's class. And our teammates James, and Erin are sending their kids, Kate and Caleb to this school as well. So...I thank God today for little blessings like that - I think it will be really good for Reece to have some friends in his school right off the bat, even though I know he will also make many more. Pray for his first day on Monday - that we can all be brave and enjoy this new stage of life. Also pray that God might create some new family friendships through this school experience.

The other big change happening around here is that we are moving! We have found a different home that is a lot of what we have been looking for. It has been our desire for several months now to move out of this house for a number of reasons. Now that our contract expired we have that opportunity. I guess being on the move is kind of part of rental life in a foreign country. We are thankful for this home - we have been in it for 3 years - and it has been the place of so much of our families growth - arrivals of both Chase and Pierce - lots of new ages and stages of our children - lots of growth and changes in us as people and missionaries. The walls of this home have witnessed a lot and the sappy side of me is a little sad to say good-bye. A house is more than just a house and even though we are just is the place where the most significant part of our lives occurs - the growing of our marriage, the raising of our boys to know and love Jesus, hospitality to friends, our personal walks with our God, and on and on. I pray that we can accomplish great things in these areas in the our new home as well. It should be a good place for us. It is a lot safer as it has a 24 hour guard at the gate, and it will provide a lot of opportunities for the kids to play and ride their bikes with other kids right there in the gated community. We believe and pray that we will build new realtionships with other families and look forward to that. Please pray for new opportunities in this neighborhood. And please know you are more than welcome - we would absolutely love to have you!

I should sign off for now. Would love a hand with if you just happen to be in the area...drop me a line and I will gladly put ya to work!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Recent Milestones!!!

We are proud of our boys and the big steps they have accomplished this past week or so!

Reece can tie his own shoes!!! I was suprised at how quickly he picked up on it - I showed him a few times and he took off with it. It seems that with every new thing these little guys learn, the more help it is for me in trying to get three kids out of the house!

And Chaser is completely potty trained! Yay! He fought it the first day or two but then grabbed a hold of it and there was no turning back. So - no more diapers for him! He is officially a "big boy".

And Pierce - well, nothing too new with him...but he is 5 months today and that in itself is hard to believe!