Saturday, June 22, 2013

beaches and big girl beds

After one morning of trying to use my phone to take pictures at the beach, I got a waterproof disposable one. It was so windy, the lens was quickly covered in salt and sand, so the pictures look a little blurry. But, thats better than having my phone destroyed from salt spray! 

hanging out on the porch swing underneath the house. There is also a hammock, and a dock onto the canal, from which Patrick went crabbing. He caught some that we had for supper :-). 

the condo is one block from the beach, so we just carried the chairs and toys out there, it is very convenient, and not too many people. 

Caroline was not afraid of the waves at all. I would prefer her to be a little more scared, because she didnt want to hold anybody's hand! When whichever adult who happened to be trying to wrangle her at the time lost their grip on her arm, she would just go right under, then pop back up and sputter a little. But it didnt seem to bother her. 

Charlie, our cautious one, really enjoyed splashing in the shallow water, jumping in waves with me, and collecting snails. 

Yes, here it is: the requisite potty picture. But i promise, this is the last of this kind of thing from the Crisp family. We have no more babies. She is definitely not potty trained, but she constantly takes her diaper off and runs around half naked, so i thought we should start soon. As I am tired of cleaning up her messes!

My baby also just learned how to climb out of her crib, and had so much fun doing it, it took 3 hours to get her to bed. Seeing as how she will be 2 in a few weeks, I had to acknowledge it was time for her to get out of the crib. We had a fruitful morning garage saleing , and got this bed for her. I dont really want any more babies, but it does make me kind of sad! 

Since the day that crib came in the mail 6 years ago, Patrick has put it together and taken it apart countless times! I remember having it all set to go, in Hannah's nursery in Longview TX, before she was born. The anticipation. The crib hasn't hardly gone empty one night in 6 years, when one grew out of it, the next one went in. I dont know whether to grieve the loss of that season of my life, or be glad I am getting more sleep these days. Both? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

new friends, food, and fellowship

The other night at supper, Ben (the neighbor kid in some of our pictures) showed up at the table. That isnt news, but he brought a tag-along we had never seen before. Once Patrick and i noticed there were two little African boys at our table, instead of one, we tried to figure out what to do. I tried to communicate his mom might worry about him if she didnt know where he was, but he didnt seem to care. So everybody else went ahead with dinner, and he walked me back to his house so i could ask if it was ok that he stayed. 

Hadush lives in the duplex next to us along with his mother and grandmother. (The neighbors in between are also Ethiopian, but of a different people group. More on that later!) He is an only child, and his grandmother is more protective than what we've been used to in the neighborhood. (Everyone else seems to lose track of their children from dawn to dark. But isnt that how it used to be, I guess?) So she has been walking over to check on him when he's playing at our house. It took a few tries, but she eventually accepted my invitation to come in and visit. She speaks no English, except for a few vocabulary words and basic greetings. So I understand why she felt awkward about a complete stranger inviting her over. I showed her some pictures so she could understand a little of where i was coming from. As soon as she saw a picture of me eating (and yes, there were alot of those. I ate alot in Senegal!) on the floor, from a common bowl, she got very excited, and disappeared. Twenty minutes later, she comes back. 

Lunch! Often, people ask what kind of ministry I will be doing while Patrick is busy flying church leaders to seminary and doing medical evacuations for missionaries. I tell them, just living normal life, being available to people, and being part of the community. Sometimes I get funny looks, and I understand that that idea isnt normal for most of us here. Because our lives are so separated. We have to schedule our interactions, and we generally put our agendas ahead of people. So, sometimes we dont make that much time for relationships. And, we are particular about the relationships we have: ones with people like us. Because how could we have a relationship with someone whom we had nothing in common with? We wouldnt know where to start. Never mind people who don't even share the same language, right!? 

But this is how. Because some African grandma that cant communicate with me at all was so kind and generous and warm to bring me a huge platter of food, for lunch for my family. And this is not some boxed cupcake mix. This food takes a long time to prepare. Her family is what one might call economically disadvantaged, but she was so glad to share all this food with me. We "visited" a little more, learning a few new words from each other. She tried to describe to me what each dish was, using animal noises. Chicken, ground beef, and lamb. Also some fresh homemade cheese. Two different kinds of bread, one yeast and one flat bread. And some greens, similar to collards, i believe. The food is meant to be eaten by pulling off pieces of the flatbread (rolled up on the right, under the ground beef dish), and using that to scoop up a sauce of some kind. She didnt want to stay to eat with us, but gave me a big hug, kiss on the cheek, and said she loved me. And called me her friend. That, my friends, is relationship. 

(And if there are any Amharic speakers in the house, feel free to pass along some tips. That is a hard language!) 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

prayer requests

Thank you for praying for our family. 
1. We just returned from our big trip back east, where we saw some of Jana's family, Patrick's family, and spoke at the church where Patrick grew up. So many things to thank God for: our van holding up well, safety on the road, good health and weather, more people expressing a commitment to partner with us, and just an encouraging time with family and friends. We highly value any time we get to be with our loved ones, as we understand it is limited! Please pray for more opportunities to share with churches and individuals
2. While in North Carolina, we had a quick stop at JAARS, a branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators. JAARS handles the support side of the Bible translation projects, and sets the standard in the missionary aviation industry. AIM Air lets JAARS handle all of its technical evaluations and orientations, so this is where we will be spending a significant period of time. It was great to be able to show the kids the unique campus, where many current and retired missionaries live, along with many fulltime support staff and part time volunteers. We saw the plane Patrick would be flying, and had dinner with the AIM Air representative at JAARS.  We are pursuing working at JAARS as volunteers, in between our tecnical evaluation (Nov 2013) and technical orientation (Sept 2014). Please pray for patience and peace as we see this (somewhat lengthy!) process through. 
3. We are halfway through our time in Minnesota, and have alot of travelling planned for the next six months. We currently have two speaking opportunities in the works, in Haviland, Kansas this summer, then Longview, Texas in the fall. In between, we will be going up to Canada to visit Jana's mom, and Patrick and Jana are going to get away for some much needed couple time, in September. Patrick will be doing a few weeks of concentrated flying in October, to prepare for the TE. Then there is Thanksgiving in Kansas, and Christmas up in Canada. Please pray for the necessary financial resources, and for us to use each trip in the best way possible.
4. Most of our, or Patrick's, training right now is technical. However, we are also preparing ourselves spiritually. We are working with a couple from our church  who is helping us walk through something AIM calls Outbound Training. Outbound covers a wide range of topics, all crucial to the wellbeing and success of someone working and living in a cross cultural environment. We started off talking about spiritual disciplines such as focused prayer, meditation, fasting, Bible memory, and others. Our second focus is spiritual warfare. I know we could get all the necessary vaccinations, and pass all the technical evaluations in the world, but it wouldnt get us very far or protect us very well. The most important thing, absolutely, is a rock solid foundation on the powerful Word of God and connection to the Holy Spirit. Please pray we are faithful to pursue God daily as though our life and future depends on it. Because it does. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Our tireless driver. It is a testimony to God's redeeming work of grace in mine and Patrick's life, that this trip went so well! (A few years ago, it might have been a little more difficult ;-) Despite all the potential for miscommunications and disagreements, we had a really good time. I trust his leadership and driving skills, and he puts up with my piles of crap in the front seat, and the smell of my hummus as I eat my packed lunch. Its a workable relationship ;-). 
The crew (and they are troopers!) They had their moments, for sure, but all in all, I am proud of them. We only had one throw up, and no potty accidents. They are going to be seasoned travelers, obviously. You should just hear our schedule for the next year! (Of course, this morning when I tried to buckle Caroline in for the half mile drive to the gym, she flipped out, and i had to pin her down. cant imagine why. . . ;-)
And an awful lot of open road.  This was Friday afternoon, as we were heading into severe thunderstorms. At the exact same time, a few states south of us, fellow travelers on an interstate in Oklahoma were encountering an entirely different level of severe weather. As we were watching the radar, using Patrick's flying apps on the ipad, I couldn't stop thinking about those people trapped on the highway. As i read the news the next morning as soon as I woke up, safe in a hotel in Louisville Kentucky, I was so incredibly grateful our route took us where it did, and not somewhere else. 

Patrick and I both really like the east coast, and enjoy any time we get to go back to North Carolina and Virginia. There are benefits and disadvantages to not having a "home", not being from anywhere in particular. But I have did spend 7 of my 30 years living in North Carolina, (in two separate cities at two separate times), and since then, half of my family has still lived there, so while it isnt home, it is still comfortable and familiar. (just for fun, apparently this is the spitting image of me at this age.) 

The kids dont get to see their cousins, on either side, nearly enough :-(. We are really glad they live close to each other (relatively speaking!), so we got to see both sides of the family on this trip! 

I did not get the good pictures I wanted, so this is the best I could find of the kids and my dad! We spent a few days at my Dad and his girlfriend Kim's house, in Charlotte. A great time, but no group picture :-(

On Sunday we played in the pool, then Monday he took us and my sister's family to an amusement park in Charlotte. My kids had never seen anything like it, and had a blast. Charlie consulted the map for us. 

Caroline and Reese are only 10 days apart. 

Kennedy is the oldest of the 7 kids, and Hannah loves spending time with her. 

Caroline and I spent alot of time together, because she was about 1 inch short of being able to qualify for the rides. (We still snuck her on a few. This is not child who enjoys being left behind while all 6 other kids have fun!) And I'm not much of a roller coaster person myself, so the kiddie park worked quite well for me! 

She has started to talk, and zoom is one of her favorite words. Whenever she sees an airplane, and often just when she hears patrick's name, she says zoom zoom, and flies her hands around. 

Next stop: 3.5 hrs southeast to North Myrtle Beach. Patrick's brother Brett's wife Jes's grandparents (did you get all that :-) have a condo there, and they graciously allowed our whole family to stay there! It has 4 bedrooms, and worked out perfectly for our family, David and Des, and Brett, Jessica, and their baby Isaac. 

We had a bit of a tropical storm blow through, so we didnt spend as much time actually at the beach as we thought, but I am really grateful for the time we did have! I love the ocean, and have spent alot of time on/near the water, so it was fun to share that with my kids. The waves and the saltwater take some getting used to, I think, but all in all they did well. 

Pop Pop reading a bedtime story to all the grandkids. 

Isaac celebrated his first birthday while we were there! This is my kids, eating his birthday cake. Why is he not in this picture? It was nearly nap time, as is often the case with first birthdays, it is hard to fit a celebration into the daily schedule. So instead of pushing for more pictures, I let him be :-). But he looked super cute with his little piece of cake. 

the mellow boy cousins, just hanging out. 

We went out for dinner one night at a place called Barefoot Landing, which is a really neat collection of shops and restaurants attached by wooden boardwalks. They had alot of neat things for the kids. 

Like this beautiful old carousel. Instead of just horses, there were all different animals, like this rooster, and an ostrich. 

Isaac, "reading" his birthday card. 

Our next stop was 6 hrs north to Mechanicsville VA, a suburb of Richmond. We had been looking forward to this for a long time, as it has been 4.5 years since we'd been there last.  The highlight of the trip for Caroline was Buddy, our host's dog. She was crazy about that dog. The poor thing, if he was anywhere in the house, Caroline was literally hanging on him the entire time. 

the only group picture i managed to take, on any of our stops! Standing next to Patrick is Linda Cumby, an old family friend and the most considerate, gracious, relaxed, attentive hostess I have ever had the pleasure of staying with! All 7 of us descended on her and her husband Bill's house for the weekend, and had a great time. I managed to relax, even though my kids were running around her house as if it were their own. (Which is to say, not very carefully!)

Our purpose in this leg of the trip was to visit and share at Hanover Friends Evangelical Church, where Patrick's dad pastored for 18 (I think) years, and Patrick lived during his older childhood. Since the very first time I visited that church, in April of 2003, I have felt loved and welcomed, just because I came with Patrick.   During my time in Senegal, i knew they were praying for me, and even sent letters and a package, although they barely knew me. There are many people serving in many different ways there, and it was really encouraging to see and be a part of. Everybody enjoyed meeting Patrick's kids, and hearing him preach an awesome message on the ministry of reconciliation. (listen to it here) Many thanks to Pastor Ed for having us, and the whole church for embracing our whole family. It was a really special time, and we look forward to visiting again next year.