Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Southwest

Here are a few picture pieces of the last travels. We’re so blessed.

Driving from CA to AZ, we stopped along the way to meet dear relatives who treated us to brunch.

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Loren and Carol gave the girls a gift and The Littles wanted to change into their new shirts immediately.

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Breaking the ice with cousins and friends we haven’t seen in awhile was sped up by baby dolls and an epic dress up closet. 

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Thanks to all our Arizona family and friends for welcoming us so warmly.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our tribes are downright delightful. California was a noteworthy time of hanging with family, meeting cousins and friends and savoring each moment. 

We went from the airport for an evening at Manhattan Beach.

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Jon loves the ocean and holds it as one of his favorite memories from living in California.

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Chasing fat seagulls

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After the ice was broken with cousins, the girls hung together in the ocean, all holding on to a piece of kelp and yelling things like, “We’ve got to stick together!”

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And I didn’t pull out my camera again the rest of the weekend (bummer) before we drove onto Arizona. Thank you, dear Tom and Jody for hosting! 

 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

California Here We Come

 (Written on Friday morning) Sitting in a quiet, small airport, before the rush of the day flights, we’re reminded why we love small airports, quick lines and free wifi.

This is our big hurrah out west, California, Arizona and Mexico.

Some days, we imagine what it would look like to bring our two lives together and it has our whole family laughing. Looking at pictures has been a very grounding thing for us as we remember both worlds and we realize just like we miss our USA tribe, we miss people and places in Ethiopia.

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Early morning on the mountain overlooking our house.

(Photo credit Darren

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Neighbors in a nearby town

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English classes during 5 F’s coffee time.

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More during English 

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Hanging out with the “pasture kids” 
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Missing our teammates, Mark and Debbie
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Talk to you again from the Southwest. :)
 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Stories

 After 1.5 days at home base, we have our bags packed (almost) and are ready (not quite) to hit the air and road to visit people we love in Arizona, California and Mexico. 

I feel so behind on sharing memories because summertime in the midwest is incredible, especially when surrounded with the family and friends that we have. 

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Getting pulled around the yard with Aunt Pat

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Hanging with cousins while playing with Uncle Dan and Aunt Debbie’s puppies.

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There aren’t too many things cuter than a room full of kids and puppies!

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A played it cool hanging out in the Gator

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Pie making

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And then the pony rides with Grandpa and Grandma. My memories of the farm with my grandparents and family delighted The Littles.

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Pony cart 

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Never mind our wind blown hair. :) 

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 Each family has its own culture and this side of my family is a storying culture, where life, discipleship, love and lots of laughter are gifted through stories.

Before I was born, my dad died. This could have been the end of the story with this amazing family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Because of God’s grace and love in the hearts of all involved, including my adoptive father, that event is part of my story that makes us so much richer.  

When life happens, the good and the bad, I think about as an addition to our individual stories. The plot twist, joy and the ache make it real and messy but God, the author, delights in making things beautiful.  We love and are loved by beautiful, broken and redeemed people.

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"I'm Going To Remember This Day For the Rest of My Life"

After spending time chatting with grandpa, in which he informed The Littles and Cousin P about the wonders of a fair, 

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as we drove to the magical county fair, Little A proclaimed, “I am going to remember this day for the rest of my life.”

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I don’t think her high expectations were disappointed

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It’s how I feel about this whole summer, so much magic for our family. Like everything is coated in glitter and rainbow covered.

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J and A are showing how they have morphed into TCKs (Third Culture Kids) as they bravely take on a world of new.

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Though they can’t keep track of where we are going next, they’re enjoying the ride.

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We’ve been blessed with precious time with family.

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C teaching his cousins about cotton candy. 

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Summer 2015 has been epic for our family. 

 

Not one any of us will quickly forget. :) More to come soon, I’m finally on a roll. 

 

 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When McDonalds Went Down

McDonalds drive-thru line wrapped around the building. Because we were rushing to get somewhere, we made a decision that I should run in so we didn’t have to wait. Upon entering, the tables were empty but the order area was packed. The computers had gone down and all orders were being handwritten, added with a calculator and paid for in cash. Phones weren’t in peoples’ hands because when we entered, there was no expectation that we would be waiting. 

A fast food line is usually the last place were good conversation springs up, but in that moment, with everyone surprised and marveling about this handwritten system, people started talking. Striking up conversation, soon, a small group of comrades was born, chatting about life experiences, even getting to religion. When my order was filled, I knew our order was for take-out, but feel I could have sat down and eaten a meal with any of the people with whom I had waited. Maybe that’s a sign of oversharing and forging relationships too quickly and assuming friendship weirdly fast. Or maybe, that is just what happens when humans come together, without devices, without a rushed schedule and decide to enjoy who God has put in front of them. 

I miss the greetings of the Awi and the smiles and conversation in a highly relational culture, even to strangers. We’ve repeatedly heard friends this summer vocalize their frustration of the busyness of family schedule and American life. There are so many wonderful things to be involved with here, we can rush from one event to the next and have zero margin for the unexpected.

When I came back to the van 20 minutes later, Jon smiled and said, “Wow, that took awhile.” I laughed and responded, “It is the most amazing McDonalds ever. Everyone just had time.” 

 

A few unrelated shots…

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HURRAY! Grandpa is done with chemo!

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Right before we got a trim. Umm, two very unhappy girls this morning. If you see them, please make no comments on how “puffy” it is. 

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So much fun to be with cousins!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Side-by-Side

Into August, summer is flying and we are squeezing out the moments.

Comparing our worlds isn’t something that I often think about as they are so far apart, different in almost everyday, but sometimes a photo pops up on my computer, one beside the other and I smile. 

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Seedling party in Injibara

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 Pool party in the Midwest. 

My heart squeezes with love for both places.