The differences are all starting to become normal, routine, and usual. And that has been my prayer all along. That we would not fight against the things that seem odd, unusual or frustrating. But rather we’d look for the joys and benefits of each little nuisance and be thankful we get to live life experiencing the newness of a different culture. I’m sure there will be more processing in the days/weeks to come, but for now I leave you with a few glimpses into our daily life at home where we’ve spent the majority of our time settling in and adjusting to our new normal!
You might live in Romania if you are thankful for…
windows/doors that open in two different ways… swing wide or just vent at the top! And yes I love my kitchen and dining room! So, so thankful!!
sunny days to help the clothes dry faster… if its super sunny, I put the clothes outside, but if it’s super windy they fall on the ground!
toilet flushers that are out of reach of toddlers and a washer in the bathroom makes it convenient to switch the laundry
gates to keep the stray animals out (and we get some extra exercise having to open it each time we leave the house!)
an awesome pile of wood that makes a great background for pictures (thank you Brett for chopping and stacking the majority of that pile! thankful we will be warm this winter)
spices turning into language lessons… just fyi this is caraway and it does not taste as good as cumin when making Mexican food
rose bushes in our front yard (and almost everyone else’s… the girls have already learned not to touch them!)
a deer as a neighbor’s pet that we visit regularly (and have you ever seen a lab and deer play together peacefully? The girls love to say hi to them on our neighborhood walks)
outlet covers to protect your kids from high voltage outlets! (also thankful for a bunch of outlet adapters Brett bought and already had shipped previously)
fruit trees in your backyard (anyone have tips on how to care for apple, pear, and peach trees?)
one family sized hall closet for all of our clothes (makes putting clothes away super easy!)
safety locks for our AWESOME balconies (Anna may have already tried climbing over the rail on the one in their room!)
and last but not least… a room that was already PINK (so thankful the girls had something to look forward to) and it’s still their favorite part of the house!
This may be my last time (at least for awhile) to get away and write at my special place, the coffee shop! The last minute errands are almost finished, the gift cards are all used up and the days are slipping by. So I break to ponder, to breathe in the coolness of the fall air that brings the changing season. Tears welling up as I anticipate the next week and beyond. For us, life is about to change.
I think of you often as I envision the next phase of my life. You are my people… who I love and need! Thank you for being you! This is a letter to my friends and family. To those I know well and those I’m still getting to know.
To My Friends :: A couple of you are newer friends, and others of you I’ve known for years! Some of you are my “it’s been awhile, but feels like we haven’t skipped a beat friends.” Others of you have changed my kids diapers, wiped their snotty noses, and even fed them on several occasions. Then there’s my “hey can I borrow some butter” friends along with “my kids are playing outside if you want to send your kids down”… you know who you are 😉! I’ve done vacations with a couple of you. And bible studies and playdates with many of you. Several of you are my “more experienced and wiser” friends who have counseled me throughout the years! There’s several of you I just keep in touch with via social media, yet I love seeing your life unfold through all your pictures. And then dear to my heart, are those of you who call me out on my sin, ask me what I’m learning in the Word, and share wisdom with me time and time again.
Each you play a role in my life that I need… that I love! We are created in the image of a triune God who innately values community. We find the highest example of this in God himself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He created husband and wife to live in unity together… he covenants together a man and woman to exemplify Christ’s love to the world. He created the church to be a picture of humility, service and love to all those around. The world will know his love as the church loves each other. And he gifts us with beautiful friends to sharpen us, encourage us, mourn with us and rejoice with us. Many of you have seen me shed tears and made me laugh! And I’ve had the privilege of being in that space with you as well. Whether we keep up via phone, social media, in person or just an occasional email or so… I am blessed by you! What a delight and treasure you are to me! You have taken time to invest in me, in various forms for sure, and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you for being you!
To My Family :: Near and far; those of you who have known me since I was born and those of you who welcomed me in when Brett and I got married… you all mean so much to me (to us). You’ve extended patience and grace in different seasons of my life. You genuinely care about our well being and love our children like you’re own. Some of you have driven great distances to visit us and others of you always make a place for us when we come your way! There’s no pretense with any of you. We are just that… family! Always loving each other despite any differences. And that’s what I love, God has uniquely bonded us together knowing our differences when he did. Thank you for caring for us, feeding us, welcoming us, and loving us. From playing cards to doing puzzles, from family weddings to lake time fun, from hours of sharing stories to short & sweet text messages… we are forever grateful for each of you and all the memories we share.
Thank you for encouraging us, guiding us as we’ve joined together to create our family. You’ve showed us what it means to love unconditionally, forgive graciously, and enjoy each other through it all! The older we get, the more we understand the history that makes our families who they are. We appreciate the commitment to make time for each other, to get to know each other, and share life together. Thank you for giving us the space to grow into who we are as a family in the midst of our larger families. From siblings to cousins, uncles to aunts, of course our parents and also some “I’m just not sure how we’re related” relatives, we treasure the time we get with each of you and are so grateful for how you have shaped our lives! Thank you, thank you for investing in us!
To My People :: Whether we’re just getting to know each other or we’ve known each other for years on end, I’m thankful for you! Whether we’ve worked/studied together or loved each other through the trenches of motherhood (and all the other relationships in between), I’ve learned so much from you and appreciate how you have shaped my understanding. Whether you’re a distant cousin, close friend, or brief coworker (you get the idea… “no matter who you are”)… I’m so grateful God has allowed us to share life. And I just want to write a few words of encouragement…
:: Keep LOVING people the way you do! God has uniquely gifted you with passion, joy and interests that will bring certain people into your life. Love them well. You’ll also run into the random person at the park or Target that’s different than you. Love them well. Or maybe it’s a family member that needs an extra heap of patience these days. Love them well. We have the perfect example in Christ and the Spirit empowers all those who trust in Christ to love the world so that the world might know him!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
:: PRAY for the gospel of God to go forth throughout the world. God desires for the nations to bow down and worship him. Pray earnestly for his word to be spoken among the people of Romania and among your circles as well. Pray their hearts would be receptive. Pray for the Spirit to convict and draw them to salvation through Christ alone. Pray for us to effectively learn the language so that we can communicate the gospel to those we meet. Pray for God to bring people to your life to share the gospel with. Pray for boldness for us and yourself as we seek to share the love of God with the world.
“Pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
:: REMEMBER us as we will be remembering you also. We treasure each of you and we are so grateful for the partnership we have experienced already. We already miss you and although I’d like to pretend the distance won’t change anything, I know the reality is our relationships might change. I’ve got mixed feelings about that… I’m so sad for things to change, but I’m so grateful for God to reveal himself in new ways in this new season (for you and for me)! Thank you in advance for your notes, letters, packages, emails, phone calls, etc. Consider this a request that you keep in touch as much as possible. Know that we need your support and love. We will need your prayer and encouragements as you will need ours. But also know grace will be extended as our relationships change over the years!
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:3-5
:: Thank you for SENDING us. Thank you for loving us, praying for us, remembering us and sending us! We are so honored to be sent by each of you to share the love of God and the great hope of the gospel with those in Romania. We pray for you all regularly and we are grateful to be sent out by you… our people! Thank you!
“For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not hear? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10: 13-15
We are so grateful we had the opportunity to visit so many friends and family over the last month! Watch the video above to catch a glimpse of our travels. I wish we would have remembered to get a picture with everyone! Thank you to all of you showed us love along the way! We are driving back to KC now and will pretty much be there for the next 2 months before we move to Romania!!
Speaking of Romania… our boxes arrived to our new house! Thanks to Nicki and the team over there for getting them to our place! Things are getting real!
-they are Jesus lovers, cheerful givers, humble helpers, faithful prayer warriors, consistent friends, loving family, encouraging supporters, ministry partners.
-they are learning about Romania, anticipating God’s work in the life of all those involved with this mission, hearing about the life of the gypsies, sharing their hearts for the gospel to go forth, exploring how God wants them to be involved in this ministry, loving people all around them, and asking about the life and culture in Romania.