Birthdays

And we’re back! The WordPress app wasn’t working for several weeks, so I lost my easy way to post! But most of it’s fixed and we’re back now!

In the intervening weeks both Matt and I celebrated our birthdays! I had a big birthday last year (that may have had to do with the #4…), so didn’t want to make a fuss about it this year. But when it came to Matt’s birthday, I realized we’d never done anything big for his birthday before. And growing up, his birthday was always in the same week with his mom’s, his brother’s, and Valentine’s Day, so it was never made too much of then either. But I wanted to do something a little special, a little different for him this year.

I can’t even begin to express how much I love and enjoy this guy! He is a faithful friend, a faithful husband, and a faithful follower of Christ. He loves deeply and enjoys whole-heartedly. He is adventurous, curious, and courageous. When he sees his sin, he is quick to deal with it diligently. When he sees my sin, he is slow to react and careful to lovingly point it out. He loves and trains our girls with patience and clear thinking. He is artistic and witty and makes me laugh every day! He has blessed me and our family in so many ways. As I said the day I first knew I loved him: I would rather go through the worst things in life with him than the best things in life with anyone else.

💕

Well, now that you know how much I love this guy, let’s get to his birthday party!

We invited lots of Matt’s friends over from 4-5pm, and made a valiant effort to ruin everyone’s dinner with…

Cheesecake! Matt requested cookies and cream cheesecakes, so I made 2 of them, with ridiculously expensive cream cheese. 😳 Oye! But it’s his birthday, and he is worth it!

These guys made the party special. It’s not every day you’re surrounded by so many friends.

I’m so glad we were able to celebrate Matt on this day, and so thankful that the girls and I get to enjoy life with him! We are so blessed by this man every day!

Termites and Rain Frogs

It’s finally raining! We’ve had days of grey and stormy skies, and finally last night it started to rain a nice, slow, sweet rain. 14 hours later, it’s still lightly raining. Ahhhh!

It has rained enough to bring out the second wave of termites – the little ones. So of course they must be caught:

Rain frog and termites - 2

The big termites are better for eating, so these we were just catching for fun. Until… we found something that did want to eat them!

Rain frog and termites - 3

Sorry it’s blurry, this little rain frog was really going places!

The girls watched him catch a few termites himself, then they decided to “help” him.

Rain frog and termites - 1

Here froggy! Have a termite!

You Know You Live in Africa When…

You know you live in Africa when in your 3-5 year old Sunday School class there are more kids who HAVE eaten grasshoppers than have not. Sorry John the Baptist, your food choices are no big deal with this crowd!

No More Surf

Today we said good-bye to a good friend. See him in the picture with us?

We sold our faithful Toyota Hilux Surf. We’ve had some great adventures with him over the last 5 years! From working our way through some rough and muddy roads exploring the back corners of Malawi, to the dirt roads and pot holes in our own neighborhood, he’s been reliable and tough. We can’t imagine a better car for our family, but he’s 21 years old now and starting to show his age. Unfortunately they don’t make Surfs anymore, so he was our last. (Yep, we had another Surf before him!)

The Surf has gone to a great new owner who knows his value, so we are happy. And I’m sure we’ll figure out how to still have adventures without him!

MacGyver

Every once in a while, I get to MacGyver something. The latest, my flip-flops:

I love Haviana flip-flops, and I wear them about 80% of the time. I know, they have no support and are killing my feet, but they are so easy, they breathe great in the heat, and they dry quickly in the rains. So when my only pair of Haviana flip-flops broke, I needed to fix them.

The causality was the little button on the bottom of the shoe that holds the toe straps to the sole. Glueing it back together does not work – tried that before. So this time I used a large safety pin, as seen in the picture above. It works great! It’s been there since the beginning of December (6 weeks now), and the only drawback has been that it gets caught in thick carpet. But really, we live in the tropics and thick carpets aren’t very common in our hot wet weather, so it’s really not a problem!

Yes, I will buy myself a new pair of Havianas when we are next on furlough, but for now: problem solved!

Back to Everything

The holidays are over and we are back to “normal life” around here. But we had a great time…

Decorating cookies with friends

Making little gingerbread houses with more friends (yes, even the dads!)

Decorating the house for Christmas

Hosting and enjoying 3 nights of IBF Christmas parties in our home!

(We love the Christmas parties!)

We also got to enjoy giving gifts

And receiving them!

Playing with baby lizards in the early rains

And getting to be a little fancy!

It was a nice break, but we are eager to get back in the regular routine of things around here. Like blogging! 😁

Hedgehog!

Our friends the Hirotos have the cutest little hedgehog. Hedgehogs are wild here in Malawi, and usually pretty easy to find during the rainy season, as they get washed away from their homes in the ditches and culverts. I might have to go find one…

Rest

When we were new to Malawi, we weren’t sure if missionaries were supposed to go on vacation. We worked hard every day, trying to keep up with our perceptions of the great missions heroes of the last 200 years. We were not good at resting, and the months and years of working under these perceptions of what a missionary “should be like” began to take its toll. Slowly, over the years, we have started to learn more about rest and the role it should have in our lives. We should rest! We have come to realize that God likes rest so much that he dedicated one day of the week completely to it. In fact it was so important to him that he showed us how to do it by resting himself!

Unfortunately, as any pastor and their family will know, it’s really hard for anyone in ministry to follow the pattern of 6 work days followed by 1 day of rest. We are ON on Sundays, from 8:45am until 4pm. So do we pick another day of the week as our day off? We tried, but here in Malawi people stop by, the generator breaks, someone needs money, this urgent thing came up that can’t wait… suddenly the “day off” looks just about like all the other days. So new plan: if we need to rest, we go somewhere else. And that’s what we did last week.

We inadvertently picked a great place for resting. Kawandama Hills is about a 3 hour drive north of us, but it’s kind of the middle of no where. No power lines, no cell phone service. And really not much to do. We had expected it to be more adventurous, but once we got there we appreciated the simplicity. We were perfectly fine going on a few hikes…

flying a kite…

reading a good book with a cup of hot chocolate…

snuggling with Dad…

watching a movie…

watching the storms roll in…

and going for another hike.

After 3 nights at Kawandama Hills, we moved on for the last 2 nights in Nkhata Bay, a family favorite.

But we were loving the restful days, so we even toned down our expectations for this adventurous city, and enjoyed the view…

caught some tadpoles…

spent hours reading a great new-to-us book (Swallows and Amazons!)…

swam a little…

went for another hike…

ate some yummy banana pancakes on a rainy morning…

and really enjoyed family time!

It was a much-needed, and very much appreciated vacation. We are still learning what rest is and how to do it in a way that honors the Lord. We will keep learning in the years to come, but for this week, we came home feeling rested and ready to get back into the thick of things!

Must be Rainy Season!

We are looking forward to a great week of rain here in Lilongwe! Thunderstorms, cooler temperatures… aaaahhhh!

Oleander Hawk Moth

Not all our bugs are scary. Some are just beautiful! This morning as Matt and Aaron left to teach at CAPA, Aaron found this beautiful oleander hawk moth (Daphnis nerii).