Unexpected Pets

It was very hard to leave Simba and Samson, our two Great Danes, back in Malawi. Ever since then, we have been talking as a family about whether or not we will get another pet, and if so what kind? Bird? Fish?

And then one day I got a call from Matt while he was working at the church. The gardener at church had caught a mother and baby sparrow, and would we like to take them home and release them later? I confirmed that the baby could fly, and agreed to our first temporary pets. We only had them for about an hour, and then let them fly off. The baby was very docile, and a little confused when it ran into a glass door, so Abi held it for a little while.

Soon it was doing fine, and joined its mother in a nearby tree.

A few days later, Matt came home with another box, another temporary pet: a tiny, scared bunny, that was quickly named Charcoal and given a temporary home in a tall planter. Very temporary: in less than an hour Charcoal had escaped and hidden either under the low decking or under the wooden storage building in the yard. “Temporary” quickly became “we can’t catch her!”

And so: we now have a pet rabbit living in our back yard. We didn’t choose her, but I guess she chose us!

She eats leaves (like in this picture), but prefers red hibiscus flowers. She has been with us more than a week, and if we ever do catch her, I’m not sure if we would take her back to the church property or if we would keep her. I’m guessing she would stay! So much for temporary!

Birthday Girl!

Abigail turned 9 this weekend! To celebrate, we planned a couple adventures for her – one with our family and one with new friends.

girls with lion cub

Our family went to visit a lion park nearby. We got to drive through the park to see lion, cheetah, and wild dogs, and the girls got to pet lion cubs too! This one was a 5 month old white lion.

abi feeding giraffe

We also got to feed a giraffe, which was a lot more fun and a lot less messy than we thought it would be!

matt with map

For fun time with her new friends, we made a treasure hunt, complete with map, hidden messages, and a treasure at the end of the hunt!

girls hunting

It took a bit of work and a lot of cooperation, but they worked hard for over an hour to figure out the clues, follow the map, and find all the message bottles.

treasure.JPG

At the end: buried treasure! All things sparkly and fun for little girls, including gold wrapped chocolate Kugerrands!

abi with balloons

We love this little one, who is growing up so quickly these days! She is a joy to us, and we thank the Lord for her life every day of the year!

Well that didn’t last long…

First day of school Wednesday, Thursday still going strong… then Friday. Abi had the aches: headache, throat ache, body aches, earache… she stayed in bed all day. It was a rough one, but we got our first sick day out of the way and are feeling better and back to school today!

Starting School

The girls and I needed a little more routine in our lives, what with all the changes and transitions of the last few months. So we started school today!

It’s been 3 and a half months since we rushed to finish the last school year before we packed up our house in Malawi, so we were super-excited to crack out the books and get the brains going again.

Most of our books are still on the container, sitting in Malawi, waiting to be called to Joburg as soon as our landlord gives us the go-ahead to move into our new house. However, we bought some of our new school books in the States in June, and some of our school work is digital, so we started with what we have. We are a little heavy on science and language arts right now (no objections from anyone in the Floreen house!) but we will make up for that when we get the rest of our books in a couple weeks.

Tears of a TCK

“Mom, moving is too hard for me!” she says through sobs and tears, late into a night of jet lag. I know, my girl, it’s hard for me too.

“Mom, we can go ICE SKATING any time we want to!” I know, my girl, isn’t that great?

“I don’t think I can be fancy like the people here.” I know, my girl, me neither.

“This place is so beautiful!” I know, my girl, it’s amazing!

“I just want to go home, but we don’t have a home.” I know, my girl, I want a home too.

Raising a third-culture kid (TCK) is wonderfully difficult. And yet, aren’t we all to some degree TCKs? We live here, somewhere in this world, but it is not our home – not truly the home of anyone who has had their heart captured by heaven and the sweet Savior who is preparing such a true home for us. I pray for my girls as they experience all these transitions early in life that it will be one of the things that draws their hearts in faith to the Savior and his heavenly home.

For more thoughts on TCKs, I highly recommend a blog post by my dear friend Lisa La George. And yes, I’m pretty sure some of her examples are taken right out of the experiences of our last couple months!

Winter

We are having a cold spell here in the Southern Hemisphere. I’m from Kansas originally, so I know cold, but the last 10 years in the tropics have really thinned my blood. It’s cold, and I’m looking forward to Tuesday!

We had to do a little shopping to stop the shivering… jeans, socks, sweatshirts, and leopard pajamas.

Yes, leopard pajamas. We have a couple of cool cats now!

America 2018 :: Week 2

Week #2 started with a trip to the optometrist. We were all (over)due to get our eyes checked. Results: Abigail gets glasses! It’s a very slight prescription, but with as much reading as she does we thought it might help prevent some eye strain.

Abi also got a referral to an ophthalmologist! There were a few little spots on one of her retina, so we found a pediatric retinal specialist in North Hollywood.

The Dr was fantastic, and this was such an interesting visit!

We got to see her optic nerve, the center of her vision, and the 3 little spots on her retina. They are little “chirpies,” basically little freckles or scars on the retina. The Dr asked if she had been poked in the eye lately, and we remembered that someone had thrown a stick in her eye about 6 months ago. “Yep, that would do it!” he said. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s protection of Abigail’s eye. Chirpies are generally harmless, but we’ll see the Dr again next time we come to the States just to make sure there has been no change.

The rest of the week was busy with meetings and dinners with friends and supporters. Every once in a while we had an hour or so as a family, whether at home or on the road between meetings, so we tried to maximize those times. A kite tossed in the back of the car can be lots of last minute fun for our family!

Another family event of the week was Abigail’s lost tooth! She woke up one morning and came out with a tooth in her hand, “Look what came out in the night, Mom!” Biting has gotten more difficult, and she has two more loose teeth, so she may be on a smoothie diet before long!

A highlight of Week 2 was the Malawi Market! We decorated a room at church with chitinji fabric, put up lots of pictures about life in Malawi, and opened a little “market” as a way to share Malawi with many friends who have not been able to visit us in Malawi. Matt got to share about the ministry in Malawi…

We got to see and catch up with lots of friends!…

And everyone got to do a little bartering for some Malawian nicknacks.

We had a fantastic time catching up with lots of friends on Week 2! We are so thankful for these special days with friends!

3 Months Stateside

Today we fly out of Lilongwe with tickets to return in early December. We will be furloughing in the States for these 3 months, and are looking forward to seeing many friends and all our family. We will be sharing about the work in Malawi in lots of churches, from Missouri to California to Washington state. If you’d like to how it’s going in Malawi, our schedule for speaking at churches is in our latest newsletter.

But first, we have to get there! America here we come!

Construction

While Shelbi was teaching at the conference, the 6 men of the GCC team went to work. On Monday Shelbi, Abigail, Naomi, and I went to check out the progress on the church property.

The guys had been hard at work with surveying equipment, so there were lines all over the ground representing future buildings.

To get a look at the rest of it, Shelbi’s husband, Sean, took us on a tour.

They’ve been charting out and digging septic lines.

Digging the septic pit and leach field, as well as a cistern to collect and store run-off from our heavy Malawi rains.

They’re also making an awning for our current storeroom, which I believe will eventually be the maintenance area. Sean, Edgar, and Christopher are busy, but not too busy to strike a pose for a picture or two!

And they’re just about ready to lay pipes for the septic system. Abi and Omi were giving it a go to see if they were any good at construction. They are significantly better at wearing pink tutus and posing for cute shots than they are at construction, but they had a great time pretending!

It was fun to see progress on the land! I’m sure we have many, many months of construction ahead, but I’m looking forward to the day when both the church and CAPA can move onto this property!

Pink Day!

Today was our last day before Matt comes home, so we girls were very girlie today.

We fell in love with 8 little puppies at our friend Alicia’s house. 💕

It was difficult to pull ourselves away from such cuteness! I appreciated that Alicia enjoyed the puppies – her puppies – as much as Abigail and Naomi did!

Alicia joined us for lunch out, and since it is winter here in Malawi, the girls had hot chocolate – with white and pink marshmallows!

Since the girlie thing was working out so well for us, we had pink pancakes for dinner. A little bit of beetroot goes a long way… healthy and girlie!

The Pancake Princess highly recommends vanilla yogurt and sliced bananas.

Matt comes home tomorrow! We have enjoyed these days of fun girl time, but we will be so glad to have him home!