Friday, December 12, 2008

Family Nights:

We've had a lot of fun recently on Sunday evenings! Steve's been very intentional in thinking of fun 'family night' activities for us to do. Two weeks ago I made 5 'courses' for our evening meal and Steve hid vouchers all over the house that the kids had to find with clues he gave them to eat each part of the meal. The last course was roasting marshmellows on the grill outside. That evening was a big hit with all of the kids'!

Last Sunday night we had a 'green' meal. We decorated the table with everything green, served green food and had everyone wear green shirts as well. Steve and I had fun walking around the grocery store finding green things to eat and anything that wasn't naturally green we turned green with food coloring. The older 3 saw the fun in it immediately. Adam, however, wasn't quite sure if he should eat his meal or not!
P.S. Our garage sale went exceptionally well! We now have a very sparsely furnished house. Everyone's gone into the 'camping out' mode and seem to be enjoying it. The boys in particular think it's a blast to be able to wrestle in the nearly empty living room and Adam's been practicing his amazing back flip on his mattress on the floor of their bedroom! And Steve and I think it's wonderful to have that huge hurdle already behind us in preparing to go! And the date that we're leaving the States is Feb. 2nd.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tomorrow is G-day here (garage sale!). We've pulled the house apart and are hoping to sell almost everything that we don't absolutely need for the next 7 weeks until we leave, barring some pans, dishes, mattresses, and the kitchen table (we use the table for homeschooling and LIVE around it a lot!). Even in mild Phoenix January isn't a good garage sale month and the closer we get to Christmas could be less than advantageous, so we decided to go ahead and get this done now. It will make getting ready to go less stressful too.

Except for being an awful lot of work, it really hasn't been too bad overall! It's been making us more excited and mentally ready to face the experiences ahead.

There have been moments now and then that weren't too comfortable; the boys deciding what toys to keep, the girls getting rid of some things that made their bedroom feel like a haven to them. I remember hearing quiet grief in Steve's voice after he sold his quad (4-wheeler) in New Zealand before our wedding. Even though it wasn't a car, I think it felt like further severing the link to the past in motor sports that he loved. And he hasn't had to sell the Harley he's rebuilding here yet!

For me it was deciding to sell my guitar. It took me about 24 hours to get the uncomfortable feeling out of my chest after that! I was going to take it with us but when everything we own has to go into suitcases and a guitar counts as a whole suitcase......... On the way to New Zealand we'll get 2 bags at 50 lbs. (100 lbs. total) each. But for flights originating in NZ or Australia the weight allowance is usually 50 lbs. TOTAL. So we may each only get ONE bag on the way to S.E. Asia.

I guess my guitar was a mental link to many wonderful memories of fellowshiping and worshiping through music. And I'm not sure how much involvement I'll get to have in that in S.E. Asia.

But each of these things is a reminder that 'things' are only temporal. It's the experiences and memories associated with the things that make it painful to let go, not the things themselves. We look forward as a family to many rich experiences that will become memories ahead!

And the other thing I'm reminded of is that living for Him is about taking up our cross. And to take up that cross we often have to lay something else down first. But the gain always outweighs the cost!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Travels, Work, & Harley

Hello! Steve's in Fiji right now. The team he's currently leading is a group of about 20 photographers who are in Fiji being taught by a professional photographer how use their skills to promote 'M". Steve's enjoying the change of pace with this team. He gets home tomorrow night.

The kids and I had a busy weekend here. Our neighbor across the street is a single mom in a wheelchair with a spinal injury. I've longed to find a way to help her substantially since we met. I haven't had the resources beyond the occasional helping hand and listening ear, however.

Steve and I were asked a while back to organize service opportunities for people living in our part of town on behalf of our local body, so this Saturday we finally got to do something for our neighbor! It was a great day of getting members in the area to join together and show the our Father's love to her. We had a good group show up who did all kinds of yard work, deep cleaning on the inside, organizing her garage, etc. There's even a mechanic who's offered to do some badly needed work on her car for free if we raise funds for the parts. It was a great time of fellowship as well! I was pleased to see potential new friendships start for her. It will be nice to know that there are others in the area ready to help her after we go.

I also think that it's about time to show the progress on Steve's 1942 military Harley. Some have teased that it's the 'other woman' but Steve's good about not letting himself get TOO obsessed with the project! Plus, there have been two little boys out there trying to 'help' most of the time. Cute for me to watch and great for the boys! Probably not always easy for Steve (!), but he's been very patient to embrace it as bonding experience with them.

The bike's been totally stripped down into many parts, missing parts found on Ebay, sanded, repainted, etc. The main body is now mostly finished and Steve's moved on to the engine. And I'm sure he could explain this all WAY better than I can. He's having a ball!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Adam and Dad carving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our fun weekend:

We were blessed this week to have our dear friends Sammy and Tammie from Midland, TX, come through for a visit! It was great catching up with them, showing them around town, and introducing them to some Fijian and S.E. Asian foods. Tammie's such a great chef that we knew that anything we could cook that was 'American', wouldn't be better than what she could fix for herself!

Steve, Heather, Aaron, and Adam spent Sunday afternoon at the racetrack attending a NASCAR competition that included all of the top drivers in the sport. Steve commented that he was glad that that wasn't the kind of racing that he had done (just going around and around the track 312 times seemed a bit boring to him!) but we had a great time together, enjoyed the amazing skill of the drivers, and had several interesting crashes happen right in front of where we were seated much to the boys' delight especially since all of the drivers walked away from the crashes! It was a very special blessing because Steve had quietly looked online a while back at tickets and decided that they were far too pricey for our tight budget. Last week at our cell group, however, a friend who had no idea of our interest handed us 4 tickets to the finals that he had received from his office. Our Father is good at blessing his kids!

Friday, November 7, 2008

More Visitors from NZ:

We had a wonderful surprise last week as long-term friends of Steve's, Andrew and Melissa, detoured down our way for the night after seeing the Grand Canyon on their way back to Los Angeles. Andrew had been working in the States for a month and Melissa came and joined him for a bit of a holiday before he went home. They came by the house in Fiji with Steve shortly before Terry died, so I knew them a bit already as well.

We had a great time visiting together and showed them around Phoenix some the next day before the continued on their journey. They were even nice enough to watch the kids play their homeschool sports soccer matches before they left!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cutting his cakes

Steve with Peter and Jill
(nice to see since I haven't seen him in a while!)

We had a good road trip recently! The kids did great in the car for most of the 3300 miles. We got to see lots of people dear to me, some of whom I hadn't seen in over 20 years. We enjoyed the time with Terry's family and also with my home fellowship in Midland, TX.

On our way back to AZ we stopped at Carlsbad Caverns. One thing we did that I had never experienced there before was to watch the nightly 'Bat Flight' as hundreds of thousands of bats leave the caves to hunt at dusk. Before the bats came out a park ranger was giving a talk with information on the bats. One thing he mentioned was that as soon as a bat is born it automatically clings to the roof of the cave because clinging to the rock is how the bat is most at rest. I've been enjoying that mental image lately in relation to how secure and at peace we are clinging to our Father!

Steve left for Fiji right after our return. He's been doing well there although we're all missing each other heaps. It was very sweet at the airport to see how much the kids didn't want to see him go as well! 'Dad' has been very good to us so far in our 'bonding time' and we've made much progress.

The other night the teams in Fiji as well as all of Steve's friends around Suva gave him a surprise party since this will be his last trip with his former organization in New Zealand (pictures above). The end of an era! Peter and Jill Schultz who are dear friends of mine as well sent a couple of pictures of the event. Jill said that they knew Steve was a great guy but it reminded them just how fantastic he is to hear all of the nice things said about him by people who have known him for years. :-)

Steve will be gone for a couple more weeks. He's staying a bit of extra time to do some repairs on the house in Suva since nothing has been done to it since I moved out over two years ago! It's still not a good time to sell in Fiji so we're blessed to have two 'M' ladies from New Zealand living there currently.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Current Events:

It's been a while since I've done a general update on us, so I've decided to do something about that! Steve and the girls have been back from Fiji for a couple of weeks now. They had a really great time there. The girls very much enjoyed catching up with old friends the first week and working alongside the team that Steve led the two weeks following.

One of the highlights of the trip for them was being part of the first group with women in it to be allowed in the Maximum Security Prison. Steve had organized for a group from New Zealand to donate solar powered radios preset to Chri*tian radio stations in Fiji and the team went along for them to be presented at the prison. They were surprised to find that the Commissioner of Prisons had organized for a ceremony where the prisoners performed Fijian dances, etc, there was a formal 'handing over' ceremony, and a meal.

The experience at the prison meant a lot to the girls for a couple of reasons. One was that they got to meet George Speight, the 2000 Coup leader, who already knew about them from Steve. They said it was very strange to see his face, remember all of the emotions tied to the coup, and then realize how he has changed since then. Another reason is the people who kept coming up to them telling them that they loved Terry and had appreciated work in the prison as well.

The girls also joined the team in min*istry in squatter settlements, schools, etc, and spent time in the interior of the island of Viti Levu in a village situation.

They came back obviously having had some good bonding time with Steve. They are both joyful and excited about the future of our family together in min*istry. And they are both obviously closer to our Father, whom they would tell you themselves they haven't always been on speaking terms with over the last couple of years!

We will have a few weeks of just being a family here before we make a trip to Oklahoma and Texas to catch up with friends, partially in preparation to head overseas. Then, Steve has to make a final 4 week trip to Fiji in mid-September to finish out his role with the organization he worked for in New Zealand.

We still tentatively plan to head to New Zealand near the beginning of '09 where we will spend some time getting to know Steve's family and culture and have more needed time bonding as a family ourselves.

We will be taking a road trip of over 2000 miles (to Tulsa, Dallas, and Midland) at the end of the month to see many of you as we prepare to leave the country.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Meeting Steve's Family!

We've had a great week of enjoying time with Steve's sister Jenni and her husband Keith. They were in the States attending a conference for Keith's work and then got to come our way for a bit. They were the first members of Steve's family that we met in person (and they did a good job of representing the clan!).

We took a small trip during part of the visit. On the first day we went up to Sedona, AZ, and saw an ancient American Indian cliff dwelling and a 1000 year-old irrigation system. Very interesting! We spent that evening in the quaint town of Williams along Route 66. In the morning we finished the drive up to the Grand Canyon and enjoyed seeing Keith and Jenni's reaction to the spectacular site that pictures just can't capture.
The whole visit has been a great time of fellowship. I've learned a lot more about New Zealand, the Pound family, and what Steve was like as a baby since Jenni was a teen when he was born. We also enjoyed Keith's real life 'Cold Case' stories of catching killers through DNA, at least the ones he deemed gore-free enough for little ears!

Keith, Jenni and Steve

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Girls in Fiji

The girls are having a fantastic time in Fiji! Last night they had a dinner with members of our old youth group in Suva and I've already received a couple of photos from Kula (pictured below with Rachel) who was one of our original youth in 1993.

It was great for me to see these much loved faces, and while I'm sure people in Fiji can't believe how the girls have grown, I can't believe how much these kids have grown and changed!

I've mentioned Jope (bottom right of the group photo) many times in the past. He is still leading the group along with another guy, but Jope is a married man now! His wife Brownyn from Australia is also in the picture.

I spoke to Steve last night and he's doing very well and told me about many of our mutual friends that he's seen and the work that the team is doing there. He's very much looking forward to having the girls back with him tomorrow night.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Wedding Photos!

We have the 'official' wedding photos (thanks, Jeremy!) and are thrilled to be able to share them with you! The groom hasn't seen them himself so hopefully he can find a fast internet connection in Fiji soon.

Steve and the girls are doing very well in Fiji, by the way!

Just click on "Our Wedding Photos!" above to view the pictures and the easiest way to see them is to choose the 'slideshow' option......

Friday, June 27, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Earlier this week Steve had our family play a game of Monopoly together. Half-way through the game he paused and had the kids think through financial planning by using examples from the game and we talked about ways that we could improve on our family budget together. The older three kids listened well and actively participated in the conversation, but Adam got the wiggles and spent more time playing with game pieces than he appeared to be listening.

When we resumed the game after the discussion, however, Adam dramatically passed his hands over the property cards that he had collected and solemnly said, "THIS is my future!"

Guess he was listening after all!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Off to Fiji!

Steve, Hannah, and Rachel left this evening for Fiji. Steve will be leading a couple of teams there from New Zealand for the organization that he worked for until our wedding since they have not been able to replace him yet. The girls will be visiting old friends for the first week and then will join the 2nd team for the two weeks following. They will all return home on July 20th.

Aaron, Adam and myself will be home trying not to miss them too much! It seems a bit soon to break up our new family (there have been a number of tears shed tonight!) but we knew that this is something that Steve needed to do beforehand and we are very grateful for the time that we have had together already. The organization will also send him to Fiji in September for a few weeks.

We think that this is a really important trip for Hannah and Rachel to reconnect with and 'get closure' to their former lives there as well. Plus they will get the experience of an outreach since they were too young when we lived there. They will join in with Steve on outreaches to schools, prisons, etc, in Suva as well as travel to villages in the interior where they will continue to minister. They will even get to spend a couple of nights in our house in Suva with the 'M' ladies currently living there.

Please remember their time there!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Steve's American Project!

We've had an exciting day around here as Steve finally brought home the 1942 Harley Davidson that he's been thinking about and researching for quite some time now. He first saw it when he was here in January.

Since he can't work while he's in the States he's been aware that he needs something to occupy his time. He will be doing volunteer work but he's been feeling the need to do something productive otherwise around the house. Well, his MAIN goal is to bond with the family during this time, but being the active guy that he is, he needs something to DO, too!

Before the market fell, he was thinking of totally restoring the Harley since he saw them selling online for a pretty sum. But since then the serious collectors seem to be watching their pocketbooks, so he's decided to just get it up and running instead of doing a full restoration process to save on parts and ensure the likelihood of selling it later.

Aaron and Adam are extremely excited about the whole thing, too! This afternoon Steve had them in the garage as well as their friend from across the street carefully taking nuts and screws off to begin the 'disassembling before reconstruction' process. Right now they're in the next room with him talking non-stop with questions about it. Cute.

I've also learned a few things about engines that I never understood before today as well!

Here are a couple of 'before' photos for you:

Notice the 'period' helmet that Aaron's got on! For some reason Steve doesn't think he'll use it when he gets to eventually take it out for a drive!

Palm Springs, CA

Our family drove to Palm Springs, CA, recently for a meeting. The next day we had a blast riding the tram there (goes from 2500 ft. to 8000 in 11 minutes!) and hiking at the top for the day. Here is a picture of the family at the top as well as the tram which is the 2nd tallest one in the world.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photos from our past

Here are a few pictures from before we became a family:

S.E. Asia Jan. 2008

Grand Canyon Oct. 2007

Fiji Aug. 2007