Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our 5 year jubilee

In our country every 5 years celebrating birthdays and anniversaries marks a jubilee. Matt and I just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary jubilee. It sometimes feels surreal that we have been married for 5 years, are expecting our second child, and now live in another country. Wow, life has happened these past 5 years. As I reflect back on our marriage, I am reminded of how God has grown us, shaped us, changed us, and challenged us. I am also reminded of how imperfect we still are and how far we still have to go, but how much more we love each other today than we did 5 years ago. We are still on a journey to santification and God knew that we needed each other in this process. It has been especially intresting to see how God has used our experience of moving overseas and living in a culture and context that is not our own to santify us, challenge us, and force us to communicate even more. He's not done yet and for that we are thankful. We will never arrive on this earth, but await the day we will be face to face with our Savior. Our actual anniversary is June 23rd, which was this past Saturday. Our celebration wasn't extravagent, but we loved our time together on a date getting to talk about our marriage while some friends watched Harper for us. We went to an Italian restaurant in Istanbul and ordered steak. haha. Oh the things you do when you live in another country. But, the steak turned out to be quite delicious. On the topic of marriage, I am serious when I say that God is using this time in our lives to bring things to our attention that may be easily overlooked in America. It seems that when you move or even visit another country your sin definitely comes out. It is in front of you and magnified to the 10th degree. This has forced us to communicate, and even on some days, barely communicate, but we have recently started discussing again our God given roles in marriage, expectations, our life stage, how to serve one another, how to show one another love and how to meet each other's needs. It has been refreshing and I think very beneficial. I believe every couple should address these questions every few months and especially in new life situations. Family Life has some great resources to read, think through and discuss with your spouse. I can't wait to see where God is going to take us in the next 5 years!

Summer Time & Squatty Potties

Do you know what a squatty potty is? If you have never seen one or experienced one you are in for quite the experience. It's basically a hole in the ground that you stand on top of and do your business. You better have some good aim too! Some are very humble while others have porcelain. It all depends on where you are at the time. Wikipedia calls it a squat toliet. Nationals prefer these squatty potties to our western toilets. You may even catch the nationals standing on top of our western toilets because they believe that squatty potties are more hygienic. Squatty potty stools are actually being marketed now. You can look them up at This is what you will encounter pretty much on a daily basis when you visit a non-western country. This is their typical public toliets. So as you can imagine, if you have children, you would need to train them in using the squatty. I can recall a friend who was training her son on how to use the squatty. Her son was so excited about this new adventure he created his own squatty in his bedroom with a Quaker Oats can. Talk about working on aim! I must admit, you gotta give the boy some credit with his imagintion and creativity. Never and I mean NEVER did I think I would live to tell a similar story. ;) As most of you know, we are getting some new wallpaper in our apartment. It is not in a livable condition at the moment. Therefore, we moved into our friend's house for a week. We found out the day before we moved in that their sewer pipe had broken and that we would need to use their outhouse squatty potty for the next 10 days. This family is western, and so their outhouse had not been used in years and was filled with bugs. Oh, you can imagine how that did not excite this 7 month pregnant woman! I had Matt google, yes google, "what to do if your sewer pipe breaks?" He came up with some pretty intresting and creative solutions to our problem. Our favorite of which was finding a big bucket, lining it with trash bags, and filling it with kitty litter. Now, I am not going to admit who actually used this method, especially in the middle of the night, but I personally found this to be a genius idea, amusing, and embarrasing all at the same time. Ok let's just admit it, my husband had just created for me my very own personal squatty bucket with kitty litter that let out a fresh scent when I peed on it! hahahahahaha!!!!! I can see you all laughing now. This is life overseas friends. This is the stuff books are written about. Also, the same week, summer defiitely hit our city. You would never imagine our country getting hot. If you know where we live, you might think that it is always cold or that it is only mildly warm in the summer, but you are wrong. We have two extremes, cold and hot. The high was 97 one day. Because we live in a country that has winter 7-9 months of the year, air conditioning is a luxury. So my experience living in 97 degree weather with only one fan, no air conditiong and peeing on kitty litter has got to be the highlight of our 6 months living overseas. Hope you feel blessed where you are today! ;) I know that I will be better because of this one day, and now I have a story for the grandkids! On a side note: We did buy a swimming pool that Harper could play in and that I could also sit in with her to keep cool during the afternoons.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Family & Maternity Photos

Well friends, I am at 31 weeks now and definitely feeling large and in charge.  Thankfully, we had one of our amazing friends take some pictures of our family and to document us waiting on baby brother.  Everything is happening so fast these days.  We leave on Sunday for "The Big City" again.  We will be there for 3 weeks then I will fly straight to our country's capital to wait on baby brother.  Thankfully, Matt and Harper will be joining me about a week later.  I think I will get a lot of shopping done for baby brother while I wait on Matt and Harper to meet me. ;)  Please remember us as our family transitions from a family of three to a family of four.

Many special thanks to my friend Carolyn McLaughlin for these pictures!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Experience a New Culture #3

Here are the promised videos.  I had to upload them to You Tube because they were too big to upload straight on the blog.  Here are the links.  Two of the videos are of some awesome drum skills and the longest video is of their amazing, fast, and upbeat dancing.  Notice their feet and how they dance on their knees.  Enjoy and come visit us so you can experience this culture for yourself! ;)

'A' people dancing

Drum Line #1

Drum Line #2

Friday, June 8, 2012

Experience a New Culture #2

In their dancing they are not supposed to ever touch.  Both the men and women dance on their toes at times.  It is a very upbeat and hard dance.  They are considered to be one of the oldest nations in the world.  They are an indigenous people and as you can see, warriors.  Harper correctly identified them as "princes and princesses."   She said she can't wait to go see the princesses dance again.  She loved the concert as much as we did!

Experience a New Culture #1

Living in another country provides you with the rich opportunity of exploring and learning from new cultures.  It is a unique opportunity and will give you a new worldview.  I would love to share just a taste of the culture where we live with you.  I will post pictures from an amazing dance concert that we attended a little over a month ago.  You will see our new culture dressed in traditional clothing, and I will also upload a video of their dancing for your enjoyment.  Their dancing will blow you away.  I loved getting a glimpse of their culture and even wish I saw more of it on the streets.  Enjoy!