Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lazy Days

Kyle and I spent the past few days at the beach visiting my grandparents.  We did little more than sit in the living room in our jammies, playing with toys and looking out the glass doors at the ocean.  We only ventured off the North Carolina island a couple times to visit a few thrift stores on the mainland where we found some really great deals!

Kyle journeyed out on the patio once or twice to get a better glimpse of the crashing sea, hear the birds and smell the salty air.

It was a bit chillier than we expected for this late April vacation, so we didn't get to spend much time outside at the pool or beach.  Occasionally, we walked down to the indoor pool.  I bought Kyle a floaty ring which made him much easier to manage in the water.  We enjoyed "vroom vroom"ing like a boat and chasing Uncle Caleb and Aunt Maggie around the pool!  Of course, I don't have a photo of that as it is very difficult to get take photos whilst in the pool so this is the best you get.....

.....Can you hear Kyle saying, "ball!" here?  Still his favorite and only intelligible word. 

Caleb forgot his blue goggles in the condo thus the pink ones he found on the side of the pool...

Buddha Baby
Even a lazy week at the beach beckons for at least one good photo shoot.

"Mom, what is this stuff?!"

"Oh, I'll throw it in my hair!"

"I think I'll try eating some, too."

"Bleh! This stuff is terrible!"

"Okay, I'll just smile for the camera."

I love this one with his little tongue sticking out!

His outfit is one I bought at the First Baptist consignment sale this spring.  Five bucks brand new with the tags still on! It is so soft and sweet - just like him.

Lest you think I made this boy play in the sand wearing church shoes.... We eventually ditched the footwear and let him dig his fat little toes in the sand.

Visiting my grandparents at the beach is something I look forward to for months beforehand.  We have been going to this beach condo for about as long as I can remember and I have many fond memories there.  I know it is a true blessing for Kyle to get to spend time with his great-grandparents.  Now I'll be looking forward to November.....


Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Enstallment

Meet my breakfast bowl.  It is bright and cheery and brings me much delight morning after morning!  The best part about it?  I only paid three bucks for it at TJMaxx a few months ago.  If I can figure a way to cushion it securely in my suitcase, it will likely make the trip across the pond with me next year.  Isn't it purdy?

They say, whoever they are, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I don't know how they figure that precisely but I will say that, for me, breakfast is consistently tasty.  That's because I have eaten the exact same thing with very few exceptions for at least a year now.  Probably I'm saying more about myself than I truly care to share..... I am without a doubt a creature of habit.  You can interpret that as boring.  I can branch out, if necessary, but my theory is why change a good thing?  It takes positively no brain power in the morning, it's delicious, and cheap.  

Thus Vanilla Almond Awake greets me every morning when I open my cabinet.   While I have tried the brand name and although I may get in a lot of trouble with my Kellogg friends (Sorry!), I still prefer the Wal-Mart version.  It has actually become a joke, because whenever I am in Wal-Mart, which I try to keep at a minimum, I pick up anywhere from two to five boxes of this stuff.  I have been known to hide keep a box at my parents' for when I eat breakfast over there.

Complemented perfectly by fresh strawberries, bananas, and peaches if they are in season, this slightly sweet and crunchy almond sprinkled cereal is my favorite.  If you can, try it with some fresh raw milk.  Interested?  Let me know and I can get you the contact information for our cow friend, Rose.

One of life's many simple pleasures: tasty breakfast eaten out of a cheerful bowl.  The wonderful way I start my day!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Four years ago tonight I received a message which would forever change my life.  I was completely unsuspecting as I wrote this....

I really feel called to missions. And God has seriously been working on my heart these last few months. But, ya know, gotta get a college degree before I get into anything too huge

Definitely a blessing that Klipa met you---Cause I have no clue who to ask around here. So, I have a couple questions for you. If ya don't mind. :O)

I've been doing World Changers for the last 2 years. I love it, but it's not terribly evangelistic, at least my crews haven't been. I really want to witness, like work with people, children, anyone. I'm willing to go far....Or stay close. I guess I should start close before I go far.

So, how'd you get involved? And when? Short term while in college? Week? Month? It's really overwhelming! Please, just give me any advice you may have. I'd appreciate anything. :O)

Oh and Happy Thursday!

.... I had absolutely no idea that he was writing this to me at the exact same time....

Hey Abby,

So I was just telling all of this to Miss Erika, and I wanted to tell you the same so I don't freak you out or anything ok? :o) I was telling her that I don't believe that God is leading me to pursue any relationships right now. So I didn't want you to be all worried about me stalking you or anything like that :o) Also, if I was going to pursue a relationship, I would talk to your parents about it first. But anyway, from what Miss Erika tells me about you, there aren't many girls like you around anymore. And it could never be a waste to have friendships with godly people like you. So I would love to be able to be friends as much as is possible without having ever met you.

So tell me about yourself. What has your life been like so far? What do you think God wants to do with your life in the future?

Here's my story in brief. I grew up traveling in a revival ministry with my family. I was saved when I was 5 years old and surrendered my life to the ministry when I was 12. I went to Bible college from 2001-2005 and majored in Youth Ministries with a minor in New Testament Greek. When I finished college, I went to be the youth pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Morton, Illinois. Then I resigned there last summer when our youth group came down here to Mexico and I began to believe that God wants me to move down here to serve Him. So now, I'm here for 3 months trying to learn the language and prayerfully decide if this is what God wants me to do next in my life. That's a really fast way to sum up 26 years, but that's me :o)

.... Which explains my next message....

Ok, that was funny. Really weird! You wrote me, I wrote you---at the same time. Too funny!

I'd love to chat---But, I gotta run help mom with dinner. SO, I'll clue ya in to who I am....After ballet.


.... And his response ....

Whoa! Weird. Did you just send this at the same time that I sent mine?

Anyway, I mentioned in my message that God called me to the ministry when I was 12. But I've never known anything specific way in advance. What I mean is that I've never felt specifically called to be a youth pastor or a missionary or Christian school teacher, etc. I've just known it's some type of full-time ministry. So when I finished college, God opened the door to be a youth pastor. Now it seems He's opening the door to be a missionary. So as long as that door is open, I'm gonna follow it.

How I got involved was that my youth group came down here last year and I began to sense that God wanted me here full-time. I wasn't positive, of course, but I got home and I talked to my parents, my pastor, and Brother Randy (our missionary here). And God has used all 3 of them to confirm that I should come here thus far. My pastor said, "If God calls you to this, we will support you and be your sending church." My Dad said, "If you believe God wants you there, then go and we're behind you." He also said, "You need to go down there for like an extended time, maybe a month to three months, to see how things go and discern if God wants you there." Brother Randy said, "Come whenever you can and stay for as long as you want."

I will tell you this, Abby. No matter where you want to go or what you think God wants you to do, He will make it unmistakably clear if it is really what He wants. If you want, I'll tell you sometime the whole story of how God led me to Cornerstone and all the details involved. Because really, I would have been an idiot to question if it was God's will for me. It was just so clear.

Anyway, have fun with ballet :o)

And thus began a long (very long) string of messages.  A month later we were head over heels and a year from then we were.....

Tonight I am remembering how I began to see God fitting the pieces of our lives together.  I'm remembering how for a split second when I saw his message in my inbox the moment I sent mine, I wondered if it was just a coincidence or.... I'm remembering how I fell in love with him with each word I read and I longed to meet the man behind it all.  I am thanking God for making His plan for our lives so unmistakably clear.

I am so thankful for my husband and the father he is to our son.  I am thankful for our story which reminds me of His perfect plan and involvement in the details of my life.  I am thankful that I was wrong; I didn't have to get a college degree before I could get into anything too huge.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Last night as I was beginning to unpack, I had the hair brained idea to take the opportunity to shift my clothes from cold to warm. Truthfully, I would've been better off if I had left my summer clothes out all winter as we hardly had any cold weather, but I digress..... Admittedly I was thinking to myself I wonder if I'll ever have a closet big enough to just leave all my clothes up year round.  Then I thought, Africa is always hot so I'll only have one season of clothes anyhow.  Another thought followed, I'll probably be doing well to even have a closet.  And that fixed that little problem.

Am I the only one who has this problem?  I start cleaning and I make a bigger mess.  The concept of it must get worse before it gets better seems to aptly apply to my cleaning habits.  Because of that, and a busy one year old, I put it off until I can't possibly take it any longer and then the house seems to explode. 

The Start of the Explosion
Containers of my clothes, which haven't seen the light of day in years, came off the closet shelves and Kyle's 3-6 month clothes, which were still in his drawers waiting to be put away, were dumped on the floor.  I was out of containers and too cheap frugal to go buy more so I knew I'd have to go through mine before I could pack up his.  When I get in this mode, a rarity I assure you, I begin purging.  I am resigning to the fact that I'll never again wear the clothes I wore when I was 17.  And I'm weeding through my winter clothes with a life in Africa on my mind.  I converse with myself inwardly about any questionable items and so it goes....

Will this dress fit me even if I starve myself for three weeks? Nope.  This is a sweater made for igloo dwellers and I'm moving to Africa, it's going.... Wait, I still need some heavy clothes for if we're home in the winter on furlough; but would I really want to wear THAT sweater during my only chance to wear warm clothes? Probably not, it's really going.  Gone.  These jeans are a little snug still.... Plus, they don't wear jeans in Africa - out.  Do I really need a tank top in every color of the rainbow? No.  They're all going.  I don't need any colors.

Ready for Spring!
And thus, I was able to condense three buckets of old clothes into one and free up space to pack away Kyle's baby clothes for any little brothers he may have someday.  I also cleaned out the linen closet, coat closet, organized my closet, straightened the gift wrapping supplies and pitched a ton of junk I knew I would have to get rid of sooner or later anyhow.  It feels great!  Now I'm ready to go purchase a few potted plants and the supplies to make a wreath for my front door.

How is your spring cleaning going?

Sunday, April 8, 2012


We are spending this Easter, likely our last in the States for quite some time, visiting dear friends in Michigan.  After a wonderful two weeks of catching up with our CBC family in Illinois, we took this opportunity to venture up a little further into northern America to my best friend's parents' house.  They moved away from the great state of SC not long after Jonathan and I were married and we haven't had a chance to visit them since.  I practically lived at their house when I was in high school; I kept a toothbrush in the bathroom, there were always bottles of my favorite soda in the fridge.... One day as Mama P was making the grocery list, she walked in and asked if there was a specific kind of shampoo I preferred.  Yep.  It was great!  I cherish those memories and am thankful for this opportunity to make new ones during my "new life" as a wife and mother.

Being on the giving end of Easter baskets is a new treat for me.  I had a blast picking out a few things for Kyle's first.  Sure, he was around last Easter, but at a little over a month old he was oblivious to what was going on.  Now, at a little over a year old, he is still oblivious but he has figured out how to eat candy.  So, I picked out a few of my his favorites like Reese's pieces, Peeps and Mini Robins Eggs along with a pack of bubbles and bath fizz dye (probably toxic but fun none-the-less).  Mama P got Kyle all the healthy fun stuff in this basket: shoes, ball, a fuzzy book and car.  Kyle racked up this year.  Lucky little bunny!

One might think I used to work at a basket making gift shop..... Oh wait, I did!
I smocked Kyle's Easter outfit with blue and gray bunnies.  After hunting around town for green seersucker fabric, I finally had to order some online to complete the picture I had in my mind for this outfit.  I wanted a button-on suit but, the pattern I we used for this one isn't nearly as straight forward as the other we have been using.  For his next smocked outfit, I'll be trying a more simple pattern.  Of course, he makes it look perfect and that's all I care about anyways.  Edible?  I'd say so.

Marley came over to see what all the commotion was about.

A carton of Mini Robin's eggs doubles as a rattle.
"Okay, um, Dad, enough with the pictures.... Can we tear into this candy already?!"
As fun as the baskets, outfits and candies are, the meaning of Easter is far more important;  He is risen!  We have hope.  We have joy.  We have life.  I am always amazed that in His death, I have life because He rose!  Blossoms on the trees and bright, warm sunshine remind me that He makes all things new.  I cherish my precious family, which God so gracious blessed me with, as well as my dear friends.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Day at the Farm

Yesterday for lunch we went out to our friends' farm for lunch.  Mrs. Shirley, our pastor's mother, invited us out so that Kyle could meet the pony and her new barn kittens.  We had a great time exploring and adoring these sweet little fur balls at the same time.

Mrs. Shirley loves her kitties and if purring is any indicator, the feeling is mutual.  

Pretty soon Mrs. Shirley started pulling tiny fuzzy kittens out of the corner of that old feeding trough.  They were so precious!  At about ten days old, their little meews were so quiet and shy and they felt like cotton in my palm.  They smelled sweetly of hay.  Kyle was very intrigued by them, naturally, but was mostly content to just sit and watch them.

Mama Kitty was pacing around, climbing in and out of the trough where she keeps her babies as we were holding and stroking her treasures; she didn't settle back down until we returned all her kittens to her.  All five of them, barely able to walk, scooted right up next to her and began nursing vigorously.  Mama Kitty was purring contentedly as her babies continued to meew and paw at her belly.  I know the feeling.  This is her first liter of kittens and she is highly protective of them.  Rightfully so, they still need their mama.

When they finished their mid-afternoon snack, Mama Kitty left her babies all cuddled up together in a ball and ventured out to spend more time with Daddy Kitty and her visitors.  What a gracious hostess.

Obviously these kitties are very much in love.  Something about your first child(ren) does that for you.  So sweet!  They didn't stop cuddling the whole time we were there.

Mama and Daddy Kitty share the barn with a horse and a pony who greeted us kindly when we arrived. Of course, Kyle loved riding the pony!  Come to think of it, he probably would've stayed on the farm if I would have let him.  

Riding the pony....

Our afternoon was completed by a swing from the tree.  Nothing quite says "country" like a tree swing. 

On our walk back to the house, the kitties followed us all the way.  Mr. Ed said that was the first time he'd ever seen them follow anyone the whole way from the barn to the house.  I suppose they didn't want us to leave as much as I didn't want to go!