6 Months Later…

I remembered today that I have a blog…which I haven’t written anything on for almost  months now! I didn’t think it had been that long. Honestly it’s been a very full six months – full of family, travel, new friends, work, more travel, some heartache and lots of laughs.

Our time in Canada was full :). But we’re grateful that our schedule was full and we were able to meet so many great people and to share our hearts about the work that God has called us to. We’re also grateful for God’s provision and protection during our time in Canada. He is so good to us.

We left Canada exactly 3 weeks ago today and we arrived back in Mwanza on August, 20th. I’m not going to lie the jet lag struggle was SO real this time! It took a good week to feel human again, and poor Hubby was off again after one week as he traveled to Zambia for VOH Africa Meetings. It also probably didn’t help that I had two wisdom teeth pulled two days before we left Canada–but we all survived and Julius is coming back home to Tanzania today, so I am one happy wifey. 🙂

Five days before we left Canada my Grandpa had a major brain bleed and subsequent stroke. We were told the bleed in his brain was massive and inoperable and he wouldn’t recover. It was quite a blow and very unexpected as he was very healthy. The Doctors said there is no way to predict these things; they are totally random. Grandpa always used to joke that he was ready and that he wasn’t long for this world – which we all hated, but it’s like he somehow knew. He was only 71 when he passed away a week later while we were in the air somewhere between Turkey and Tanzania.

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I really miss him. It’s been hard for me to process. I am very glad that I was able to see him in the hospital and to say “see you later” and to be with my family for those few days before we left. But everything still seems very surreal to me. I can’t believe he’s in Heaven already. This is the hard part about living overseas (one of them). I feel as though it won’t really seem real to me until the next time we’re back in Canada and he’s not there, which won’t be for a couple years and I feel like it might hit me all over again. It’s also hard to be away from family during the time of a family death. But in all of this I thank God for His grace and strength and peace – to continue to do what He has called me to do. I know my Grandpa would be proud of that. He was one of our biggest supporters in every way, financially, praying for us and even visiting  – he came to visit us twice in Tanzania. I will cherish those memories and many more forever.

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I am grateful that the boys saw Grandpa this past summer and were able to have some time with him. Ezra went fishing with Grandpa at Family Camp and had a great time. I know he won’t remember much about Grandpa when he’s older, but we will tell him the stories. It was challenging for me to try to explain to Ezra what had happened. It’s really the first time we have had to talk to him about death. He is five so we just tried to keep it simple and explain about Heaven best we could. Since then Ezra has questions almost every night about Heaven. He has really been thinking about it a lot. Some questions are funny and others are so insightful I am taken aback. And he also prays for Grandpa nearly every night – that he is with Jesus in Heaven and that he is healed. It’s all I can do not to cry every time. At first Ezra told me he didn’t want to go to Heaven because he would miss everyone here. But then one night, he told me, “but if my friends are like me and know Jesus they will be in Heaven with me too, right?” “You’re absolutely right, Ezra.” I told him, my heart full. My kids teach me so much about having a relationship with God. And about how God sees me as His Child, now that I’m a parent. It’s such a special thing to be able to see the world through a child’s eyes and also to catch a glimpse of how much God loves me, knowing how much I love my boys.

Heartache comes. We can’t ignore it or run from it or avoid it. There is a season for everything and it’s trusting God through each and every season that gets you through it all. Is my heart aching a little? Yes, some days more than others, but at the same time my heart is so very full and grateful for this wonderfully amazing life God has allowed me to live – and for the amazing people who are a part of it.

I hope I will write again before another six months goes by but sometimes there’s just a lot of life to live and that’s OK too.

JK

Moments Matter

I decided to change things up this week and walk with Ezra to school in the mornings, then come back home and get ready and go to work. If I’ve arranged for our gardener to walk down and get him in the afternoon when he finishes it means I don’t really need to be at the office at 8am which is what happens when I drive him and go straight into work like I normally do. I thought, this way I get 30 min of extra walking in total and also some special time with Ezra, just me and him which doesn’t happen too much. Let me tell you – it was a great way to start my Monday morning. The fresh air was refreshing and chatting with my little man was so much fun. He has endless questions – to which I don’t always have the answers, but I try. Everything is a competition with Ezra, so it’s – how big he is, how far he can jump, how fast he can walk, etc. It’s so fun watching him grow into this sweet, sensitive, funny little boy. He’s caring and is easily concerned about others. He’s still a little bit shy and reserved while at the same time fiercely competitive, like his Daddy. He’s my beautiful first-born who is not-so-little anymore.

It dawned on me again; time is so precious. He’s growing so fast. Moments mean everything. It hardly takes any effort on my part to decide to take an extra 30 minutes and walk with him to school each day, but I’m sure it’s something he will remember. Time alone with Mommy. I don’t want to overlook the seemingly small moments. Life is a sum of all these small moments – but when added together over time they are what make life beautiful and memorable. I want to take the time. I don’t want to get so caught up in the disease of being busy that I miss these moments. Moments, I’m realising more and more – are everything. Taking some extra one-on-one time with my boy each morning might not seem like anything amazing – but to him it is. It almost makes me cry when I think about how excited he was when I told him I was walking with him to school this morning.  I thought, I need to do more of this. This is the stuff that matters.  He won’t be small for long. In a few years he might not want to walk anywhere with me! 😉 So I better store up as many moments together as I can.

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It’s the start of another new week – a fresh slate – a blank canvas. I know there is a lot to do; there always is.  Believe me, my to do list is never ending, but taking time out for a few moments is worth it. Taking time for relationships – to be with people – whether it be family or friends – is important. All the other stuff you “have” to do will still be there; it’s not going anywhere…but the people in your life are – time is always moving; people are moving and growing and changing.  Taking the time and creating memories is always worth it. I challenge you to take some time this week. Don’t let moments pass. Linger a little longer, laugh a little harder, enjoy just ‘being’ together with those you love. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and even more than that – I’m sure some of those small moments will be the highlights of your week. Moments matter.

Happy memory making!

My Long Lost Blog

I have been MIA for the past 3 months. Well at least in the Blogosphere. I have been present in A LOT of other areas of my life. 🙂 To say it’s been a “busy” few months would be a huge understatement. I’m really not sure what you call the past few months…other than maybe, CRAZY. Yes, crazy seems fitting.

The end of the year is always a busy time; wrapping things up and beginning to plan for a new year ahead. I had my fourth warm Christmas and celebrated another New Year in Tanzania.

Parts of the last few months have been very challenging but I am so thankful for God’s continued grace and strength. Even though it’s been crazy, we’re all healthy, we’re all happy and we’re all HERE. That’s enough of a blessing for me.

I don’t know how much I will blog in 2016, I haven’t set any goals or anything when it comes to blogging, mostly because this is just something I do for me, for my sanity and because I enjoy it. I hope I will take the opportunities to write as often as I can because there is so much to write about! Sometimes it’s a shame that life seems to go by so quickly you don’t even have time to sit down and reflect and in my case, write your experiences down. All I can honestly say is I will do my best to make time to blog because it’s something I truly do enjoy and it helps me to slow down amidst the craziness that is life sometimes. (Ok. Most of the time.)

As far as catch up goes…hmm…what are the major events from the last few months? Here’s my short list:

* My grandparents came for a visit in November and it was GREAT! It was so nice to have them here and we really enjoyed two weeks with them.

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* Both November and December were full of reports and stats and wrapping up the year. (We survived and managed somehow to get it all finished).
* We took a week before Christmas and got away! We went to Seychelles and it was absolutely AMAZING! I have never seen a place so beautiful! We had a wonderful time with the boys, swimming and relaxing. It was exactly what we needed and for our first real Family Vacation it was a success!

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*Christmas! We had a lovely Christmas here in Mwanza. While we were far from our families, we had some friends from Kenya come, and together with friends here we enjoyed ourselves. Lots of food, fun and laughter, just the way it’s supposed to be. We also had a really great Christmas Celebration at Village of Hope. Some of our children out on a skit and it was VERY impressive; I’m sure it will be remembered for years to come.

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*Early in January (the 3rd) Julius and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. ❤ We can hardly believe it’s been that long. We are so blessed and we love doing this life together. We look forward to all the years ahead and all that God has planned for us together.

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*A couple weeks ago our youngest (our wild child) fell and face planted onto our very hard tile floors. He chipped a big chunk out of his front tooth and now has also gotten a gum infection because of it. Thankfully he’s on antibiotics and will be fine. Never a dull moment!
*Other than that the first couple weeks of January have been full of planning for the new year, hiring new staff, getting ready and opening our school onsite at VOH and reports and many many other little tasks. But we thank God we are headed in the right direction and He is helping us every single day.

It’s a new year and a new start. I know we will see amazing things in 2016. Hoping you had a wonderful start to the year. We truly have so much to be grateful for, even if it means not getting much time to blog about it all. 🙂

Until next time 🙂

Monday Morning

It’s Monday morning and it went a little something like this:

Alarm goes off at 6:30am (Already pushing it) – I snooze it till 6:45am.

6:45am Drag myself out of bed and into the shower.

6:50am Four year old wakes up and comes into the bathroom, lots of questions follow, I try to tell him to be quiet as his brother is still sleeping. (Completely futile of course).

6:55am In the shower trying to rush and get the shampoo out of my hair, all the while being serenaded by my four year old singing his own rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at the top of his lungs. Just as I step out of the shower I can hear my one year old talking away in his crib. At least he’s not screaming. It’s the small things.

7:00am I answer more questions, I don’t remember what they were about. Find something to wear, put it on while asking my four year old for the tenth time to start getting dressed for school.

7:05am Slap some make up on my face so I don’t look too hideous and decide that the four year old dressing himself this morning will take too long and I get him dressed amid more questions – again I don’t remember the questions, just that there were very, very many.

7:10am Head to the other room and get my one year old from his crib, head downstairs with everyone.

7:15am Rush around the kitchen: Get one year old’s bottle and get him settled, pack four year old’s lunch, while also desperately trying to get some coffee into myself. Finish the lunch, pack the backpack, made sure four year old is eating something – banana bread and an apple (it’ll do), get him milk as well.

7:25am Decide to take the coffee to go – no time to drink it now. More questions in between all of this. “No you cannot watch cartoons – we have to leave in like one minute – EAT!” – came out of my mouth about ten times.  Manage to get a protein shake ready to take for my lunch, pack up my stuff for work and hope I’m not forgetting anything. Beg my four year old to put on his shoes about ten times. He doesn’t want to go to school today. Deal with that, finally get his shoes on, pick up all the bags, have the hubby peel the screaming one year old from my leg and – we’re off! (7:35am)

7:45am We are miraculously not late to school! Get in and get four year old settled; give out four high fives, one kiss and two hugs and sneak out as soon as he’s in the classroom and has turned his back.

7:50am Back to the car and on the way to work.

Made it through another Monday morning. Until next week —  I won’t miss you.

Now with coffee downed and power at the office – it’s time to get to it!

Happy Monday morning folks! Keep that coffee close 😉

A Note To My Son On His First Day of Kindergarden

Dear Son,

The day is finally here! I never thought it would come so fast. You are starting school today. It’s your very first day of Kindergarden. Or as they call it where we are, Reception. So today, on your first day there are a few things I want you to know.

You are ready for this! 

You have been preparing for this day for the last 4.5 years. You have been playing and learning and growing and it’s all gotten you here – to your first day of school. You love to learn and to ask questions and to play and so I know you will have a blast. You may feel a little nervous and that’s OK – it’s a big step; a big change, but trust me, you are ready and you will love it!

You are unique and so is everyone else you will meet.

There is no one – absolutely no one who is exactly like you! You’re on of a kind and that is really special. Everybody is different and that is a good thing because it keeps life exciting. You will have kids in your class who look different than you, who come from different places than you and who see the world around them differently. But the great thing is – none of that matters when it comes to making friends. You can be friends with anyone. You can play together and learn together even if they’re different from you.

You will make some amazing friends!

You’re about to meet some wonderful people who will become your friends. You will just click with them and love to play with them and want to do all the activities in class together. This is an amazing part about starting school – friends!

You will have bad days.

Some days might not be so great. Everyone has bad days. Maybe someone will hurt you or say something mean. Or maybe you will feel tried and grumpy and not feel like participating as normal. It’s ok. Tomorrow will be better. Always remember tomorrow.

You will have amazingly awesome days!

The good news is – you will have way more GREAT days than bad days. School is a fun and exciting place. You will get to learn about so many things and get to play with your friends. You will get to draw pictures and make crafts and paint. You will get to play sports and play outside and explore.  You will have so much fun!

You will learn so much.

I can’t wait for you to come home each day and tell me everything you’ve learned. Colours, numbers, letters, words, shapes – there’s so much to learn. So many questions to answer and I’m so excited for you as you begin this journey of discovery.

I will miss you. 

It’s true. I will definitely miss my little boy. I already miss you when I go to the office, but I will miss you in a different kind of way when I know you’re at school and not at home all day. I will worry a little because that’s just what moms do, but mostly I will be happy for you and excited to see you at the end of each day.

I am so proud of you. Every day. 

Please remember this if nothing else – I am always, always proud of you. You are my blessing and you make me happy every day. I am proud of you no matter what. Good days and bad, happy moments and sad; I am so so proud of the little boy you are.

P.S. I love you, so so much! 

First day of School pic with the parents!

First day of School pic with the parents!

Our big boy! Ready to go!

Our big boy! Ready to go!

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