28 August 2008

got drama?

I owe you all an end of the week report about our Neighborhood Kids' Club, but I've been frantically playing catch up all week on all the things I didn't take care of last week. On top of that, I'm really burned out. However, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share that in addition to last week's hit and run accident, difficult news from my family, green card chaos, and visiting bat, last night we were watching TV when we heard a funny noise and the lights went out in the 2nd floor hallway. Peter checked out the light fixture and decided that it had shorted out, tripping the circuit when it did. While he was getting some tools after removing the fixture from the ceiling, I noticed a strange glow that looked like fire. It turns out that the very old electrical wires in our house had caught on fire and were smoldering in the ceiling. We used a spray bottle of water to put it out while thanking God for the ugly flame retardant ceiling tiles that had probably kept us from having a bigger crisis on our hands. Around lunchtime today it still smelled like we had burned a bonfire around here. Peter spent the better part of 12 hours today rewiring a good part of the 2nd floor. He just finished and will be heading to bed shortly to get 4.5 hours of sleep before his breakfast meeting tomorrow. So if you're looking for some excitement, please come visit us while we're on a roll. Maybe we can shake things up a bit for you.

20 August 2008

the bat

Forget the previous post with all the cute pictures of our neighborhood kids. I know you really just want to see pictures of our bat.

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mid week report

Our club is going really well. (It's just the rest of life that's been full of drama.) Tuesday night we had 3 new kids for a total of 13 neighborhood kids that have attended. It's discouraging for me to realize that there are 50 that could be here, but several people have reminded me that we've got a good base to start with. Tonight we were unfortunately competing with a summer camp talent show and some other activities, so our numbers were way down. It was encouraging though to hear our neighbor Isaiah (entering 5th grade) telling his mom that he wanted to skip the talent show so he could come to kids' club. It was also cool to find out after club that Jeremiah, who showed up late, was talking during my story because he was trying to learn the Bible verse from the night before that he had forgotten. Several kids have told me at the end of club that it is really fun, and there have been requests to extend it to next week. (Yeah, right!) With Kelly taking charge of my kids this morning and Mom, Bob, and Rachel helping out the past 2 nights, we're just cruising along. Please continue to pray that things go smoothly and that the kids will all be back tomorrow and Friday.

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19 August 2008

I can't believe it

If you can't keep up with the rapid pace of my blog posts over the past 24 hours, read the post below this one first so you know what's going on. If you're already aware of our green card crisis, I'm posting to report that Peter just got a call from the distribution center... (drumroll please)... and they found them! The supervisor said it was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but my description of the envelope really helped. Of course, she forgot to mention God. I'm pretty sure he helped, too. She said about a million pieces of mail go through their center every day, and hundreds of them get rejected. And in the middle of yesterday's hundreds was an unsealed envelope with 3 green cards. I'm totally in shock. Even when we pray for a miracle I seldom expect one. What a wonderful surprise. Peter is on his way to Panera to buy a big box of yummy bagels for the incredibly kind postal service employees. With this morning's crisis out of the way, I'm off to try to study my stories for club tonight. It helps a lot that our friend Kim picked up my kids for the day so I have a completely quiet house.

maybe we don't need sleep

Saturday night around 1am I witnessed someone fleeing his truck after hitting 2 motorcycles on the corner outside our house. I woke Peter, and we were outside with the police, fire trucks, ambulances, and most of the neighborhood until 2am. Sunday night was the bat incident that had us up until 2am (see previous post for details). Last night when I asked Peter around midnight where the kids' green cards were that he was supposed to copy at the office, we discovered that he had forgotten about the green cards and thrown the blank envelope containing them in the mail at work. That means we mailed our green cards to nowhere with no return address inside or outside the envelope. The short story is that this is very bad. By the time we did everything we could for the moment and got to bed... it was 2am. Normally 2am works well for me but not for Peter. With everything else going on this week, 2am isn't working for me. We'd appreciate your prayers for some rest very soon. We'd also appreciate your prayers for the green card situation. After several tries this morning, Peter got through to the supervisor at the distribution center where Worldlink's mail goes. I believe that accomplishment in itself is a little miracle. She was kind and agreed to hunt for it, but it's still a long shot and will take a big miracle. Our lives have been full of miracles over the past few years though, so we're praying and holding out hope.

18 August 2008

day 1 report

Kids' Club this evening went very smoothly. I was disappointed to have only 10 kids (not including our 3) from 6 different families, but it's pretty typical with these clubs for the first day to be small. Tomorrow they get prizes for each friend they bring, so I expect the numbers to rise. Even the kids who often cause trouble around here listened attentively to the stories and were cooperative. Several of the kids said it was really fun. Mary Kay and Rosemarie were amazing. They entertained our kids all afternoon, brought dinner, and kept club running smoothly. No pictures tonight because I'm not up for dealing with our computer issues, but they'll be coming soon. Thanks to all who prayed. Don't quit!

After club was over Patience came down from the bathroom and calmly said, "Mommy, the bat is flying around the hallway." This bat had been hiding out somewhere in our house since about 1am last night when Toffee (our cat) pounced on it about 10 feet in front of me. Unfortunately, Toffee let go, and both cats lost track of it after tearing around the house for a few minutes. By the time I woke Peter up and he found 2 racquets, we couldn't locate the bat. We hunted everywhere we could think of until 2am and finally decided we'd have to share our house. I covered our fruit basket so we wouldn't be feeding it and went to bed. When Patience discovered him tonight, Peter was quick to find the racquets and knocked the poor creature down the stairs faster than I could believe. He cleaned him up with a plastic Ziploc bag and then proceeded to give the kids a detailed biology lesson about bats. Patience and Garty were really into it, touching the wings and checking out the teeth (through the bag of course). Joshua was less amused and had a lot of questions before bed about whether more bats would get in our house. Rosemarie didn't seem too thrilled either. Never a dull moment at our house. Stay tuned for pictures of the kids posing with the bat later in the week.

and so it begins

Today is the first day of our Neighborhood Kids' Club. From 6:30-8pm each evening this week we'll be opening our yard to kids for games, Bible stories, snacks, and lots of fun. I only have a minute right now, but I wanted to offer some specific ways you can pray if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Please pray that God will bring the kids who need to be here.
  • Please pray that the kids will cooperate while they're here and that we'll be able to truly love them. At times having certain neighborhood kids here can be quite frustrating.
  • Please pray for family unity as we have a much more stressful week than normal. We all know how much easier it is to wound those we love when we're feeling pressured.
  • Please pray for me as I study my lessons. Wonderful friends and supporters are making my week easier by coming to help with club, amusing the kids, and providing meals. Now I just need the brain capacity to focus.
  • In regard to focusing, please pray for peace as I just received some news that weighs heavy on my heart this morning and could easily distract me from what I need to do this week. Most of all, please pray for the family and friends affected by the news. (How's that for an extremely vague request?!)

I'm going to do my very best to provide frequent updates this week on how our club is going. If you don't hear from me tonight, it's safe to assume that I'm lying on the couch staring at the Olympics and pondering whether I can make it up the stairs to bed.

14 August 2008

you can take them out of Africa...

...but they are still African no matter how much pizza they eat. Saturday morning we had a long drive home from an overnight at Gram's house. As often happens, Joshua started making up a song that included a bunch of nonsense and lots of repetition. A few minutes later Patience started making up a song of her own. A few minutes later, without ever stopping to discuss their plans, they had a little call and response going that went like this:

  • P: Do you know Liberia?
  • J: Yes, I know Liberia.
  • P: Do you know Liberia?
  • J: Yes, I know Liberia.

The song continued for quite a while. Eventually Patience stopped singing while Joshua continued. When I was sure he couldn't sing any longer, he sang: All done for now. All done for now. I'm coming stop now.

We had a minute max of silence before Patience started singing again. The new song started with much repetition of the phrase Liberian children. Joshua evidently couldn't allow her to sing alone, so he started up again singing: I'm coming start again... I'm coming sing it again... [insert lots of senseless sounds that Joshua often uses in his songs] and on and on.

I wrote all of this down on the back of an envelope while they were singing so I could get it word for word. I was afraid that you would think I exaggerated otherwise. But seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up.

06 August 2008

feeling artistic

Peter took a long distance photo of Patience the other night at Valley Forge that turned out blurry, but it would have been a really cute shot otherwise. In an effort to rescue it, I used Picasa to crop it and make it sepia with a soft focus. I love the result. In an effort to not neglect the boys, I played with their pictures, too. I'm pretty proud of my burst of creativity, so I thought I'd share our photos with all of you. The best part is that none of these pictures were posed. I might have to try to get a better one of Joshua though since the other two were actually looking in the direction of the camera.

05 August 2008

welcome to the neighborhood

A few weeks ago the telephone poles around our neighborhood were graced with this sign:

We were quite amused, but maybe we should be frightened.

03 August 2008

mid summer update

I finally finished uploading some of our pictures tonight and sent Peter to bed without me so I could post here. As mentioned last week, we're having a fun summer with lots of firsts for our kids. The day school ended we kicked things off with a strawberry picking excursion. We celebrated birthdays galore in June, so we had lots of fun family time. Peter's Mom and Bob spoiled us with a day at Dutch Wonderland. We all spent a week's worth of evenings at our church's VBS where I taught the preschool Bible lesson. My parents and sister entertained our kids while Peter and I had our first overnight getaway since becoming parents in honor of our 9th anniversary. The kids saw their first 2 movies on the big screen (Clifford and Veggie Tales) thanks to the Regal's free summer movie series. We've played in creeks. We went on a wonderful 3 day vacation to the National Zoo in DC, Arlan and Marcy's house in VA, and the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. We've been improving our swimming skills and confidence thanks to friends and family members with pools and pool memberships. We had our first outing to the beach (not including our quick visit in Liberia) thanks to a speaking invitation from the CCO's Ocean City Beach Project. We've spent lots of time at our local zoo and the library. On July 26th we celebrated Liberian Independence Day with real West African food. (The Liberian restaurant ran out of food, so we had to track down a similar option nearby.) We just spent the evening at Valley Forge having a picnic, riding bikes, and watching deer. Wow! Just reading about everything we've done this summer has made me tired. I'm off to bed, but first I'll link some of our adventures mentioned above to our web albums for those of you who need your fix of our kids or just have nothing better to do.

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