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!!!