Monday, May 23, 2011

13 years ago....

I got married

and became
Mrs. Rachel Winkler

Although I never stopped smiling on my wedding day,
I must say that I am even more happy today than I was then.
My love for him grows daily.
God has blessed me with a wonderful husband.
He is my best friend.
He is my leader.
He encourages me.
He listens.
We laugh together.
He loves me!
....the list could go on. 

beautiful flowers from my hubby graced our table for our Sunday afternoon dinner
Ron and I love strawberry short cake,

so that was our special anniversary treat!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

My four precious children call me Mommy.
God has blessed me abundantly.
No other "job" could make me happier.

May 8, 2011

 At breakfast I was given beautiful flowers and a Yankee Candle.

 After church Ron fixed hamburgers on the grill.  They were SO delicious!

Since it was a gorgeous day,
we went for a walk

It was a little windy and chilly down by the sea side.
Thankfully the sun was out and its warmth felt wonderful.

(the white on the water is ice that has not yet melted from the winter)

That is how I spent my Mother's Day.
I am blessed!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Day in Finland!

At the end of April we received a phone call from a friend offering us tickets to go to Finland {on a boat}.  The tickets had to be used by the end of the month.  We got the call on Tuesday evening, April 26.  This meant that we only had four days to use them.  Since we had never been to Finland, we decided to use this {free} oportunity to visit.  The only day we had that we could make the trip was Friday.  So we began making some plans.
The boat left at 8a.m. from Tallinn.  We were told to be there at 7a.m.  So, when some friends who live just outside of Tallinn offered to let us spend the night with them, we took them up on the offer.
Our morning started {very} early Friday morning.  We drove into Tallinn and easliy found the port and {FREE} parking.   

While waiting in line to board, we looked out the window and saw the {huge} boat that we would be making the 2 1/2 hour trip on.  Cars and trucks were being loaded on the boat.  Not sure how many it can hold, but it must be a lot!

Finally, it was time for all the people to board.  We were at the front of the line!  Once we got on the boat, we had no idea where to go, so we just started looking around and investigating.  Here are some of the things we saw....elevators (there were 9 levels), restaurants, a level of sleeping cabins, a store, shopping carts, slot machines, etc.  We decided to go outside on the top level.  It was chilly, but the sun was shinning and it was beautiful.  Thankfully the picnic tables were right in the sun and this is were we enjoyed our breakfast that we brought with us.  

Daniel and Caleb enjoying the view from the top deck

leaving Tallinn
Once the boat started moving it became a little too chilly for us and so we found a spot inside by a window.  There we enjoyed lots of warmth and sunshine and a great view to watch our progress to Finland.  The kids had brought books to read, coloring books, crayons, and little things to keep them busy.  It was a quiet, relaxing ride.

Helsinki, Finland

 Once we arrived in Finland, we really didn't know where to go or what to do.  We had found a map on the boat and saw that Helsinki had {several} Pizza Hut and Ikea. 
We all agreed that we wanted Pizza Hut for lunch.  We went in and saw the menu.....33euros {$47} for ONE large pizza.  "REALLY???" Ron asked.  So, we turned around and walked out.  Our family would have needed more than one pizza to fill up, but even one at that price was too much.  Well, no one promised that life wouldn't have disappointments.  We ended up eating at Southern Fried Chicken.  Nothing to write home about, but we all had something to eat and a drink for about the cost of the one pizza at Pizza Hut.  The kids all enjoyed a pizza/soup/salad buffet....Daniel ate 9 pieces of pizza and Andrew had pizza and four bowls of tomato soup.  

Next we headed to the bus stop to ride the {FREE} bus to Ikea.  We spent a couple of hours looking all around in that huge place.  Sure wish we had one in Estonia.  
Before we left Ikea we enjoyed some delicious sweet rolls with tea and coffee {with FREE refills}. 

Sarah found a "stroller" that she could get a ride in

Caleb getting in a quick nap on the bus
 By 7p.m. we had looked, shopped, and explored until we were ready to drop.  The boat didn't leave to head back to Tallinn until 9:30.  Although we had gorgeous weather all day, the evening brought with it some cool weather.  We decided to go wait in the warm building at the boat port.  First we took a few pictures....I love pictures!

Helsinki, Tallinn ~ April 29, 2011

♥Ron and I♥

there were people everywhere selling big mylar balloons
The boat ride home was a bit more lively than the ride there.  I'm guessing that it was because it was a Friday night, but it was hard to find a seat since the boat was much more crowded and it was too cold to be outside.  Thankfully, we were able to get room for our whole family in a semi-quiet area. 
Once we arrived back at Tallinn, we headed out for our 2 hour trip to Toila.  Our final destination - HOME SWEET HOME - was reached about 3a.m.
It was a fun, but very long, tiring day

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Resurrection Sunday 2011

I'm so thankful that we serve a risen Saviour!  I can only image what it would have been like to be there that Sunday morning.  To hear the angel say, "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.  Come, see the place where the Lord lay."  Then to have seen the empty tomb.  Wow!  God has given Christians the responsibility to share this good news with every creature in the world.  
This year we wanted to make our Resurrection Service special for our people.  It has been about 7 months since we have been holding weekly services in Johvi.  We have 5 people that attend reguarly and another lady that just started coming 3 weeks ago.  With such a small group we were having a hard time thinking of things to add to our service to make the day extra special.  After kicking around several ideas, we ended up planning to join services with a fellow missionary in Tallinn.  It worked out great and I think our people enjoyed did the people in Tallinn.  Actually, we joined three mission works together for the day- our ministry to Russians in Johvi, another ministry to Russians in Tallinn (The Smith Family), and a new work that has started in Tallinn reaching the Estonians (The Willoughby Family).  The Lord blessed with 40 people in attendance.      

I made apple muffins and banana muffins for our people to eat on our 2 hour trip to Tallinn.

Sarah was a big help in the kitchen as we prepared food to take with us.

preparing a Greek salad

this is what I looked like most of the day

people fellowshiping before the service started

people arriving at church

we even had our own small orchastra

the preachers pausing for prayer before the service began

singing "He Lives, He Lives"

Ron preaching

What a joy it was to get to teach to this good looking group of kids.

this picture is here just because they are so cute!

a delicious meal was served after church

dessert table

our group from Johvi - we had 5 people in the service

Sunday, May 1, 2011

In April we hosted a "Girl's Day". Sarah and I invited our {missionary} friends over for a day of celebrating friends....and chocolate. The theme was "Sweet Friendships". Since everyone had to travel a ways to come to our house, we made it last the entire afternoon. Of course, we kicked all the boys out (Sarah liked that).
Sarah was such a great help to me as we cleaned the house, decorated, made food and other goodies, and prepared games.

My friend, Penny Smith (missionary wife in Tallinn, Estonia) gave a challenging devotional on friendship. Each of us also had a few minutes to share about a special frienship in our personal life. Friendships sure are a special treasure!

The day was sure a lot of fun. All the food was delicious, but I think the chocolate desserts made the biggest hit. With a houseful of girls, are you suprised?

Since we had an activity celebrating friends, I decided that my theme for April would be "Friendship". I have thought a lot recently of all the many, special friends that I have been blessed with. I literaly have friends all over the world. When I was younger, I did not have many friends. One day my dad had a much needed talk with me about how to be a friend. Ever since then, I have tried to be friendly {as the Bible teaches in Prov. 18:24}. Now, my life is full of friends - both old (as in a long time) and new. Many of these friends are available if I need to ask a favor, share a burden, have a prayer request, or just need to talk. I am blessed!

I have also been reminded once agian of the dearest Friend of all....Jesus! When I need to talk with Him, I don't need to check the time difference to make sure that I won't wake Him up. I never "call" at a bad time. He is not too busy for me. There is no greater friend in this world.

♫ What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry, Everything to God in Prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

♫Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.

♫Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Saviour, still our refuge, Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer;

In His arms He'll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.
Take a minute to thank the Lord for the friends in your life and also for the friend you have in Him.


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