Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another good-bye

We met the Lindner Family when we got to Estonia in June of 2009. What a joy it was to get to know them. They lived here for about 14 months before being transfered back to the United States. Being a military family has allowed them to live in several different countries. Their love for the Lord was a challenge to me. Even though they were not here as missionaries (officially), they were alway finding a way to serve and be a blessing to others. March 14th we said good bye to their family. They will be missed!

Sarah, Melanie, Andrew, Caleb, Daniel, Mark

Family Fun Nights

Our family tries to take one night a week and do something special. We are looking forward to warmer weather to do some things outside. For now, we play a lot of games. Mille Bornes is our FAVORITE!!!! It is hard to play just one game. As soon as a game ends, the kids say "let's play again". It's hard to tell them no because I want to play again too.
Another favorite thing to do is play the Wii. That is very adicting too. I guess about anything can be fun when you are doing it with loved ones.

Andrew and Sarah cycling on the wii.

Making popcorn - a great family fun night snack! (We have to make it on the stove since we don't have a microwave)

Mommy's Helper

My Sarah is such a big helper in the kitchen. We make a great team! Sarah makes my job in the kitchen easier. In fact, I feel I am quite spoiled. For Christmas Sarah received a children's cook book and an apron. So, one day I let her do the cooking and I was the helper. This is what she made: Sunny Scrambled Eggs

She did a great job!

Returning to Estonia

With just a couple of days left in the states, I was dealing with many mixed emotions. It is always difficult to say good bye to family, BUT at the same time I was so excited to be reunited with my boys and hubby. My in-laws drove up from Lancaster on March 2 to pick up the kids and I (and our luggage). So, we said our good-byes to aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandma, grandpa, and great-grandma. Then we found a little room that was left for us between all the luggage and headed back down to Lancaster. (We probably looked like a modern version of the Beaverly Hill Billies.)
March 3 we left the house by 4:30a.m. to have plenty of time at the airport. We were in line for quite some time and almost to the front, when there was a commotion at the counter. Since I wasn't paying much attention, I'm not exactly sure what happened. Whatever it was it caused the employee at the ticket counter to call the police. Finally, it was my turn. Then I had to go through a long security line, but my flight was due to leave in 30 minutes. Thankfully they moved me to the front of the line and we made our flight (to Chicago).

Chicago is a BIG airport! The frustrating part about that airport is that I had to go out of the airport, ride an airport train to get to the international flights, and go back through security...UGGG! We had time to do all that and the kids even got to play for a few minutes before we left for Sweden.

I don't think the play area was meant for kids like Sarah.

At least they had a chance to get some wiggles out!

Our flight to Sweden could have been better....but then, it could have been worse too. Lots of kids were on this flight. One baby cried, actually SCREAMED, for a large portion of the trip (you know, that part when the lights in the cabin are all off and everyone is trying to sleep). Then, something triggered one of my migraine head aches :((( I looked all through my bag for my Tylenol and could not find it. The family behind us was very friendly AND they had Ibiprophen!! By the time we landed I was starting to feel better. When we got in the airport in Sweden and I looked on the board to see what gate we needed to go to, I noticed our next flight was cancelled. BUMMER!!! All we needed was one more flight - less than an hour. We were so close, but now it seemed so far away. After searching for awhile, I found the information center. The lady was so kind and helpful to me. She put us on the next flight (3 hours later than the original one) and also let me use the phone to call Ron and let him know we would not be there at the scheduled time. We were all tired and hungry and I didn't feel like spending another minute, much less 3 more hours in the airport. I'm sure my attitude made God think He was dealing with the Children of Israel once again. Thankfully God does not always give us what we deserve, but shows us His love for us and provides our every need. That is what He did for us in the next moment after I hung up with Ron. The lady at the counter printed out our tickets and handed them to me. She also handed me three other pieces of paper, but I didn't know what they were. When I asked her she said, "those are vouchers to go get something to eat while you wait". Isn't God good? So, we had soda, pizza, hot dogs, an apple, and some candy - and I didn't spend a penny! Then we walked to our gate and relaxed until our flight left.
Before we knew it, we were on our last flight and almost HOME!
Oh, I forgot to mention that while flying from Chicago to Sweden I was told that some of our luggage was left in Chicago. Well, that all worked out for good too. Our van was full with our family of six and the luggage that made it. Since two bags were delayed, the airline had them delivered to us the next day.
This was a long trip, but when we arrived in Tallinn none of that seemed to matter that much because WE WERE HOME!!!

Ladies Night Out

The Monday night before I left the states to return home to Estonia was a Ladies Night Out at my home church. On the mission field, we do not have an established church to have events like this, so I was excited to attend. Earlier in February, shortly after I arrived in the states, my mom asked me if I would give the challenge that evening. I was humbled and honored to be asked and began praying that very day that God would use me.
The theme that night was MISSIONS. The goal was to get the ladies of Sequoia Baptist Church more personally involved with missionary ladies that are supported by our church. What a joy to be a part of (and sent out of) a missions-minded church.
My challenge that night was on TEAMWORK and being a team-player. We looked into the book of Esther and focused on chapter 4. (If you are not familiar with this story, I challenge you to take some time and read the entire book of won't be sorry) In this chapter we see that Mordecai and Esther worked together to get a very important job done. Esther had to go before the King (univited) to plead for the lives of her people. Meanwhile Mordecai and all the Jews in Shushan were to fast and pray. Do you think one job was more important than the other?? I don't! Both were important and both needed to be done. Missions is much the same way - the church and the missionary are on the same team to get an important job done. Missionaries need finances from churches to live on a foreign field. We also need the prayers of God's people to stay in the battle, be strong, remain faithful, be encouraged, minister to others, etc. The local church and the missionary - both are important!!! If we are not faithful, we are letting our team down. What kind of team player are you???

Dinner ~ a variety of delicious food!


Even the games matched the MISSIONS theme. Each team was given the names of all the missionaries our church supports, then they had to find the piece of paper with the field where they serve.

Next, place the paper with the missionary's name on the map.
A great way to get more familiar with the missionaries and their field.
Thanks for the great game, Becky (my sister).

What a great night of encouragement I had just visiting with the sweet ladies of our sending church. Ladies, you were a blessing to me! It is awesome to know that I have a great team of ladies praying for me and other missionary wives.

Ps. I want to say a special THANK YOU to my dad for watching my grandma, Sarah, and Caleb for me so that I could attend the Ladies Night Out. Thanks, Dad. I love you!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Proud of my boys!!!

I just wanted to take a minute to share with you how proud I am of my boys. When they were told that they would not get to go to the states with me, they handled it VERY well. Of course, they were disappointed - understandably so. However, they made Ron and I proud with their mature attitudes even when they would have prefered to make the trip too.

Here are a couple of pictures of them talking with their cousins on Skype!

Make Me A Blessing Part 2

My trip to the states was to be a blessing, mainly helping with my grandma, but, I wanted to be a blessing in any way possible. There were many opportunities for me to watch my nieces and nephews while their mommies were involved in church related activities. We had lots of fun together and made many memories. However, having a house full of kids and watching my grandma proved to be a big task at times. When you have this many cute kids in a house, you are sure to get lots of great pictures. Sure wish I could post all the pictures, but I won't do that to you. Here are some of my favorites that captured our activities.

the group my mom and I watched ALL day during a Youth Rally (plus grandma - not pictured)

making jewlery

playing memory

playing "little people" and firetrucks

making lunch with lots of helpers

reading books

game time with grandma

QUIET time.....nice!!!

sorry this is on here twice...can't get it to delete

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sarah's Special Memories....

Sarah was able to make lots of fun memories while we were in the states. One great blessing she had was attending Sunday School and church with her Grandpa and Grandma Benefield.

We made sure we had a "girl day" too. A friend of mine made a special trip to Visalia to visit me (wasn't that nice?). She brought along her daughter, who is Sarah's age, and we went to Applebees for lunch. YUMMY!!!

Then we took our daughters (and one of my nieces) to get their nails painted pretty. Meanwhile the mommies got a pedicure and manicure. It was a relaxing time.

Uncle Tim, Aunt April, and cousin Timothy picked up Sarah one Friday night and took her to dinner. Then they went to a play of "Charlottes' Web". What a joy to have family to make special memories with.

Of course, Sarah landed several trips to the McDonald's playland too. Now here is something funny...we DO have McDonald's here in Estonia. However, the only playplace I've seen here is OUTDOORS!!! Go figure that one out. So, I think she enjoyed playing there more than eating.

Since we were in the states in the middle of a school year, Sarah attended our church's Christian School. Sarah is a fantastic student and does great with homeschooling. Attending school with other kids for a month was a special treat though. One of her last school days there was an honor roll trip. This is what they did...

DONUTS AND MILK (or juice if you are Sarah)!!! What a tasty way to start the day. Then they went to the Clay Cafe. This is not another place to eat, but a place to use, experiment, and develop your creativity. The students all decorated a plate! This is the beginning of her project.

It worked out for me to meet up with Sarah so I could work with her as she deveoped her skills in painting. First, Sarah had to decide what to paint. Then she needed to pick the colors of paint.

Sarah did most of her project by herself with just a little help here and there from mom.

This is the finished product. We are going to hang it in her room. Didn't she do a nice job?

Sarah was thrilled and thankful for all the fun experiences she had during her visit to the states. Before our month was over though, she was anxious and excited to return HOME to her daddy and brothers.

I know this post had lots of pictures. Hope you enjoyed them. Also, I hope you will bear with me as the next several posts will also be filled with pictures.

Good bye for now!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Our plane landed in L.A. around 6p.m. A sweet lady from the church watched my grandma so my parents could come pick us up. Our first stop after the airport was....Taco Bell. My kids never eat well on the airplane and so we were hungry. The trip to Visalia was a very enjoyable time of fellowship with my parents.
Since my trip was a last minute thing, I decided not to tell anyone (especially my sister) that I was coming. I was so excited to suprise my sister! By the time we arrived at my parent's house it was too late to do anything but go to bed. How frustrating....we were a few blocks from my sister's house, yet she had no idea I was even in the states. The next day the kids and I walked to her house and rang the door bell. The look on her face when she saw us was priceless. I even had my camera out and took a picture (which I have been forbidden to show to anyone). Later that day I was able to suprise a few more family members. It was fun!

First things first, right??? A present from Grandpa and Grandma!

Caleb was so excited to see Josh!

Seeing the cousins that were not in school.

Meeting Nathaniel.

Roses from my AWESOME husband. He's the best!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Make Me A Blessing

The month of February was filled with a lot of different emotions for me personally and also our entire family. You see, my grandma has Parkinson's Disease and lives with my parents since she needs 24 hour care. However, providing 24 hour care and juggling church ministries and responsibilities has proven to be difficult (as I'm sure you can imagine). To make a long story short, the Lord spoke to my heart about what I could do to help. I shared with Ron my desire to return to the states to help care for grandma (which would also help my parents). Ron was very supportive and I love him for it. That night we called my parents and made the offer for me to come help. Needless to say, they accepted my offer gratefully. Preparations began immediately! Tickets were purchased, bags packes and about a week later Sarah, Caleb, and I were on our way to California.
Here is where all the emotions come in to play. Of course, I was excited to be going to the states, visit family, stock up on some things, etc. BUT I would be leaving behind the love of my life and my two wonderful sons. Wow, I would miss them like crazy. It's times like these that I'm so thankful for modern technology like email and Skype.
Well, my reason for leaving half my family on the other side of the world was to be a blessing by helping care for my grandma. So that is what I did (most of the time) during my trip to the states.

at the airport in Tallinn, Estonia

Caleb and his "grape" (as he called her) grandma got along wonderfully. Many times he would play right beside her...or on top of her. She enjoyed watching and listening to him play.

I think Caleb got his sweet tooth from "grape" grandma. Here they are eating sweet rolls.

Visiting with "grape" grandma. She has a baby monitor in her room so that when she's in her room she can let us know if she needs something. Many times when she would ask for someone, Caleb would go running back to her saying "me coming". For a three year old, he was a pretty good helper.

What special memories were made during our visit. Grandma told me many times, "he loves me and I love him".

I did have the opportunity to do some other things while we were in the states. I'll be sharing those stories in my next post.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Same Blog....New Look

Although there is a new look and a name's still the same blog. When I started "blogging" about 8 months ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I still don't have it all figured out (I'm sure I never will), but I have learned a lot - both on my own and with the help of friends. So, now that my "remodeling" project is behind me (except for a few little changes here and there), stay tuned for updates as I reflect on the past couple months in the lives of the Winklers

P.S. I've also tried to make it very easy for you to contact me and/or leave a comment.
1. " notes" at the bottom of each blog post
2. "email me" on the right side
3. "cbox" also on the right side (you don't even have to sign in)

It is always a joy to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Redecorating My Blog

Well, it's been awhile since I have done anything to my blog. As many of you know, I was just in the states for a month to help take care of my grandma (I'll post more on that adventure soon). For now I just want to let you know that there is some "remodeling" and "redecorating" taking place on my blog. It may change a little here and there until I get it the way I like it. Who knows, by then I'll probably have another way I'd like to change it to. Blogging is a fun hobby for me. It is a great memory book and also a fun way to share with each of you - my family, friends, and prayer supporters - what is going on in our lives and ministry. I look forward to sharing details of the past few weeks soon. Until then I'll be serving the King in my castle!


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