Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seasons

Spring has finally arrived!  Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?  I sure do.  Well, except for winter changing to spring.  This is my very least favorite time of year in Estonia.  After a cold winter with lots of snow,  I long for sunshine, warmth, green grass, leaves on the trees, and birds singing.  But the in-between stage is just not a beautiful season.  The snow that once so beautifully covered the city gets dirty and melts away.  As the snow melts it leaves the ground slushy and soggy.  Once the snow is gone it reveals dead brown grass, ugly dry weeds, and trash. YUCK!
 
 
 
However, as I was talking with my kids the other day, I shared with them an important lesson that I have thought about a lot lately. The truth is that whether I like it or not, every step in the changing of the seasons is necessary.  We will never enjoy the colors, smells, sounds, and warmth of summer if we do not first have spring.  Although I wish I could skip the season I do not enjoy, it's just not possible.  The same is true in our lives.  Every stage in life has a purpose.  I find myself wanting to skip the lessons and circumstances that I do not enjoy.  Sometimes God uses our least favorite season to prepare us for the next season of our life.  It is at that point that we must look for the beauty in the season in which we find ourselves.
 


So while I am currently in my least favorite season, I do absolutely LOVE getting more and more daylight.  It just "brightens my day" (pun intended {smile}) 


Daylight at 8:30 p.m.  is so enjoyable when just a few months earlier a blanket of darkness covered the city by 4:00 p.m.
 

The exciting part is that we continue to gain daylight each day.  So as I wait for all the joys of summer to arrive, I'll be thankful for the extra light that brightens my day.

What can you be thankful for even during an unpleasant season of life?

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tracking

Our plane recently visited the Consfords in Ghana, West Africa.  The Consfords have a blog where you can read about their daily life as missionaries.  Also, Laura writes posts on the  Baptist Missionary Women blog that always make you smile. 
 
While we are anxiously waiting for our snow to melt and warmer temperatures, the Consfords are dealing with 100 + degrees and about 100% humidity. They live just outside of Takoradi, which has a population of over 1,000,000 people. Pray for their family as they learn the tribal language of Fante.
 



Thanks to the Consford family for participating. Our plane is in Kenya, Africa right now and will soon be on its way to Australia. In two months our plane has made three stops - international travel sure is slow. We anticipate each new stop. Slowly but surely it will make it to all 42 destinations.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Frugal Friday ~ E-books


our airplane left Ghana, West Africa and is on its way to Kenya, Africa 
 
I love to read!  Not only do I like to read, but my kids are avid readers.  Sometimes I have a hard time keeping them supplied with books.  Last summer while we were on furlough, I took Sarah and some of her cousins to the Library. 
 

Sarah was so excited with all the books available to read.  We got her a library card and she checked out as many books as I allowed (you can only keep up with so many books at a time)


However, we do not have the option of a Library here.  Plus shipping books over here can add up quickly.  So, we found a frugal solution.....KINDLES!  We were given some Christmas money one year and bought the kids the basic Kindle.  Such a neat little thing that has worked perfectly for us.  The kids took their kindles with us on furlough too.  They can keep it in their backpack and always have their books with them - on the plane, in the car, hotels, etc. 
That same Christmas Ron surprised mewith a Kindle Fire.  I am still enjoying it as much today as when he got it for me.  You would not believe all the free books that I have downloaded.  Probably more than I will ever read. 
I find my free and discounted e-books here:
The Frugal Girls
Inspired Reads
I follow both of them on Facebook and so I see all the deals right on my page.  There are many that I do not download - I just pick the ones that interest me. 
As time goes on, e-books are easier to find.  One of the biggest advantages of e-books for us is that we do not have to pay to ship the book internationally.  Plus, we get it instantly - no waiting for weeks for it to arrive. So, even when we buy an e-book, it's still a great deal for us.
Now, there are a couple of other things that I have heard you can do with Kindles, but I still haven't figured them out. 
1.  Borrowing books from the Library
2.  Sharing books from Kindle to Kindle
If anyone has any information on how to do either of these things, I'd love to hear from you. 

Do you have a specific site where you find deals on good e-books? 

What e-books can you recommend for me or the kids?

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Friday, April 5, 2013

A special day with special people

Monday, April 1, I celebrated my birthday.  My kids were determined to make my day special.  They had been asking what meals I wanted, what kind of cake, and writing down my birthday suggestions. 
 
My kids' goal for my birthday was to do whatever they could to make my day special because they love me. The thought and planning that went into Monday's activities meant more to me than the actual day.  Four precious kids that call me "Mom" .  These same kids see the real me and know I am far from perfect, yet.....they love me with all their hearts.  You just can't get better than that!
 
So...back to my birthday celebration:
 
Breakfast:  French toast
with strawberries and powdered sugar.....yummy!
(made by Ron and Daniel)
 

After breakfast the kids sent me to my room while they decorated around the house. 
 
Each of the kids gave me some of my favorite snacks:
spicy peanuts, salted peanuts, candied almonds, sweet mint gum,
peach tea, carrot juice, and pop corn
 

With just a little bit of supervision from me, the kids made me a delicious dinner of taco rice.  Then Sarah and Daniel made a scrumptious apple crisp that we ate while it was still hot with vanilla ice cream.  We all liked it so much that we are going to have to have it again real soon.


Later in the evening I got a few phone calls from some special people which was an extra treat!

Guess what?  I still think birthdays are fun - especially when they are spent with my favorite people!

Just for fun,
I thought I'd add a photo of the weather conditions on April 1, 2013
snow flurries and 27 degrees
 
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Resurrection Sunday - 2013

Reading about Jesus' resurrection just never gets old.  It is thrilling to know that Jesus defeated sin and death.  I serve a risen Savior!!!
 
Celebrating the resurrection is exciting and I planned a couple of extra special things for the kids.  After everyone was tucked in bed Saturday night, I hid plastic eggs in the house.  I left a "you've been egged" note for each of the kids in their room.  They also had a bag of jelly beans along with "An Easter Promise" card. 
 


The kids were excited Sunday morning.  Even though our weather was cold and gloomy with some snow, nothing could dampen our spirits as we prepared for church .




 
 
A blogging friend of mine from Be Thou Exalted made an empty tomb cake.  Since I loved her idea, I made one too.  Not only did my kids like it, but the people at church enjoyed it.  An empty tomb cake makes much better conversation than bunnies and eggs :).




It was a great joy to have a first time visitor Sunday.  We also had a couple ladies come that has not been in awhile.  Please continue to pray as we tell of Jesus and His love.

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