They Held Hands

Easter weekend was a delight.

You can thank our friend Jennifer for BOTH of those swimmers!

There was some swimming in the pool … first time for a certain girl in the family, some cookie baking, an Easter Egg hunt at a friends house, Easter Egg dying and nachos eating with good friends, and lots of adventures and drop-bys by some of our favourites.

We enjoyed seeing Easter in the eyes of a two year old. The endless singing of “Hallelujah” which never seemed to get old, despite the constant drumming with loud objects as he “worshipped.” (His words, not ours!) And just yesterday he told us that he was pretending to ride on a donkey like Jesus. I guess those resurrection eggs and story reading actually sunk in somewhere in there.

After Jared and Max’s hike (El and my drive) up Castle Hill for the combined churches sunrise service, we prepared a gigantic brunch feast. I don’t want to be silly by calling our own feast gigantic, but seriously – I panic about two things – the thought of not enough food for our guests, and people not having a family to celebrate holidays with. Despite our last minute additions, I did overcompensate.

As we all sat around the living room, something caught my eye – two of my guests, two men, one of which I had just met, holding hands.

And my heart melted.

One of our guests was a man from PNG, visiting our centre on his way back from some training he’d been doing. He’s pioneering a work in PNG and doing an amazing job. We loved hearing his stories… and that he’s planting banana trees for all the teams of young people we bring through. (I played the role of a good mom and asked him to plant some sweet potatoes, another of their staple diet, so that they don’t just live on sugar their entire time!)

But back to the hand-holding…

In PNG culture, the men often hold hands. In fact, in many places it would be totally inappropriate for Jared and I to touch in public, but the men?! They’re all walking down the street holding hands, or sitting next to each other chatting with a hand on their mate’s inner thigh.

And I loved that it was happening in my living room. What a beautiful picture of culture, what wonderful friends, all brought together by the common understanding and love of this man Jesus… these two men, black and white, holding hands in my living room as we shared and delighted and celebrated the gift of life that comes from Jesus.

Friends, He’s good. Really, really good.




Keeping the ANZAC Spirit Alive In Our Hearts

The ANZAC spirit is something special.

Its similar to the way Americans feel when they see a bald eagle flying across a blue sky. Or the reason Canadians seem to plater their flag on everything from their backpacks to their underwear.

But its more than a symbol.

ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.

But its more than a history story or a battle.

Its about a spirit.

The ANZACS were known for their ability to keep their sense of humour, even in difficult times, to be resourceful when they had nothing, to give their life for their mates, to be courageous, even when others weren’t, and to respect all.

We celebrated that spirit this week.

We waved our Aussie flags at the town parade.

We cheered for our veterans and our soldiers.

We teared up as we saw the “wounded in the line of fire” soldiers driven by.

And we bowed our heads and hearts (and closed our toddler eyes) as Bishop Putney led thousands of our community in prayers of gratefulness to our God.

But we also celebrated our friends and the ANZAC spirit that lives between us.

Not because we’re soldiers fighting in some far off land, but because we would give our lives for each other.

Because the best birthday parties are the ones made of flowers clipped from your friend’s garden.

Because someone took the time to op-shop for a teaspoon for every single one of her friends. (Even though she was the birthday girl.)

Because laughing together is a lifeline, no matter whose grandparent passed away last week (for the record, there were three.)

Because it takes courage to wear a black hat with a pink and white dress, even if it is the only one you’ve got. (Too much? Definitely! As if I’m that fashion conscious, I’m sorry to say!)

Happy Birthday to the loveliest pregnant birthday girl and ANZAC friend!

Following Our Little Leader to Aussie-dom

January 26 is the July 4 of Australia.

Our Aussie Boy Leads the Way

Australia Day. A day to celebrate a nation.

And for us, it was a day to become Australian.

New Aussies

For those who didn’t know, Max was Australian before he became American. Strange, we know. His first passport was Australian. And we even had to take a special trip to the US Embassy to prove that yes, his mommy and daddy are totally American and its okay for him to be one too.

Funny thing how hard it can be to prove you lived in a country for 20+ years.

So our little world travelling dual citizen inspired us.  (Yes, at only a few months old.)

We filled out the papers. Actually, I filled out the papers. (Hey, its a lot of work, I’ll take some credit!!)

We took a test. (Both got 100%!)

And this Australia Day, we became… Australians.

Our Aussie Friends on our Aussie Day

So what does this mean?

  1. We can come and go as we please (No more visas and paperwork)
  2. We can vote (We LOVE politics! Bring on that civic duty!!)
  3. We can travel on an Australian passport (Make that, we MUST travel on an Australian passport! We can’t even leave the country until it arrives… hopefully next week!)
  4. We continue to benefit from Australia’s amazing national health care system.

We are also still fully American. We have our passports. We still vote (albeit by absentee!). And even though there’s no health care coming our way from America, there are a bazillion other things we love about the country.

But its Australia Day… so we’re celebrating this nation!

Aussie Aussie Aussie ... Oi Oi Oi

A nation where the spirit of “mateship” guides relationships between friends and strangers.

A nation with a tenacious, pioneering drive.

A nation where you’ll never survive without a sense of humour and the ability to laugh at yourself.

A nation where you can walk to the store barefoot.

A nation where if you don’t know who Don Bradman is, you might as well turn around and go home.

We are so grateful that this culture has taught us how to be better friends, to never give up, to laugh, to not take ourselves to seriously, and to enjoy sports just that little bit more.

Happy Australia Day… to all our mates around the world.

Our littlest Aussie mate

Adventures of the Stroller Brigade

I’d been waiting 10 long months for this:

Love Snuggling With Papa

And this:

Wrestling With Uncle Luke

Oh how I love those Brittan men. They didn’t disappoint. Watching my boy snuggle and play with his Papa and Uncle Luke made my heart soar.

Washington, we have arrived.

And how about those Brittan girls? Yes, there was dancing. There was singing. And there was copious amounts of candy. There were memories and laughing and a few tears here and there (mostly from laughing.)

There were two hour sessions at the gym. (And 45 minute ones, thank you very much.)

And there were cousins.

Loving the drama

Oh those cousins. Max learned how to colour, ate all kinds of new foods, got sick from eating said foods, and learned that sometimes if you want to keep a toy you gotta squeal or push a little bit. I know, I know… he’ll learn sharing. But until then, surivival of the fittest kid under 2 is pretty hilarious.

And so are 6 kids in strollers being pushed through crowded holiday sale aisles at Nordstrom rack by 3 skinny model looking girls and their big sister.

The “stroller brigade” we were dubbed. We got smirks and smiles but mostly smiles. I mean, the kids are pretty much the cutest ever… as long as they were fed rapid-fire doses of Cheezits and Kix. With double packed pockets in every mommy’s coat, there were plenty of smiles to make up for the fact that the stroller brigade was not armed with a reverse beep and crashed into a rack or two.

Thank God for the play area at the mall.

And for snow. And sledding… behind the ATV.

Auntie Bek's Got the Giggles

For Christmas parties and Christmas plays and Christmas lights…

I love me a gaudy Christmas Light Show

And date nights.

And mostly for family. And unconditional love. And making memories and cuddling nieces and nephews. And long talks with mom and dad. And pretending like we lived there and never left.

It hurt to leave. But we are cherishing the memories we made and looking forward to the future. Good things are in store. Stay tuned.

My Little Snowman

Until then, stay out of the way of the Stroller Brigade. 😉

Superman = Superdad (Celebrating Jared’s First Father’s Day)

I know lots of kids think of their dads as Superman… but Max’s dad really IS super man! Check it out…

Funny videos aside, Jared is an amazing daddy and it is a joy to be able to celebrate him today, on his first official Father’s Day.

Max and I are enjoying all Jared’s favourite activities and treats and telling him just how great we think he is!!

Daddy is MY Superhero