Friday, January 29, 2016

Final Goodbyes

Wednesday night, the youth group threw our teenagers a sweet going away party and sweetened it with some Blue Bell ice cream.  I'm so glad Blue Bell returned to our area before we left the country!
The youth minister shared from Acts 1:8 and challenged the group to be willing to consider going to the "uttermost parts".  He also focused on the image of the beautiful feet that bring God's good news to people.  I wondered what he would have thought if he had ever seen our feet in the village.
I'm so grateful for the friends our kids have made while we've been back in our passport country.

Some of the those friendships span generations.  Sweet Abby is the daughter of a dear friend of mine who grew up in church and choir and orchestra alongside my sister and me.

 And Macy is the daughter of another friend from long ago.  (Both girls look so much like their beautiful mamas that sometimes I have trouble calling them by their own names!)
In between packing and cleaning and all those last minute things like returning books to the library, we've been saying goodbye to places like Stoby's.
We also dropped by to visit with my Gran and to hug her neck one more time.
And today before we pulled out of the driveway, I walked around our yard and said goodbye to the broccoli that I think might actually make it.  My daffodils are swelling and getting ready to bloom a wee bit early, so I said goodbye to them as well.  We'll have hundreds of bulbs blooming in the next few months.

One last stop to say goodbye to Nahna and Papa, and then we were on the road to return the vehicle to the precious Conard family.  God has been so gracious to give us the strength and energy and mental stamina and encouragement we needed to pack up and return to the Solomon Islands!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

More helping hands and more goodbyes

 I'm continually amazed at the people God is placing across our paths.  Moving is hard.  Moving overseas is even harder.  I feel so fragile every minute of the day.

Then God plops friends and family into our midst to help share the burden.  Friends who were supposed to just drop by to pick up the gerbil but end up staying for several hours and helping pack bags.

Family members who enter into the chaos and don't judge, they just get to work.  And they bring donuts.

We've also entered into the season of goodbyes.  I don't do goodbyes well.
 My thoughtful aunt and uncle drove a couple of hours just to take us out to lunch

 and to inject our lives with a little bit more laughter to fuel us through the rest of the day.

They even invited my grandmother to come along.  I love that all four of my grandparents knew each other long before their children ever married and that both sides of my family have their lives intertwined.
Hanging out with this side of my family brings us great joy!
And we weren't finished with the Schalchlin joy!  Some of my cousins couldn't come for lunch, but after classes were over they drove up to lend some muscle.
We spent the afternoon weighing bags and deciding what couldn't go with us, but having extended family around cushioned those hard decisions.

And we laughed a lot, too!

So you know it's really time to move when the piano leaves the house.  My brother offered his skills this morning to help load the piano into the trailer.
And I cried as I had to say yet another goodbye.  This friend is my lifeline.  When nothing in me wants to do the hard parts of moving and heading back overseas, she reminds me of God's truth:
"Even when it's not your will, you're surrendering your will.  That's not selfish.  That's just acknowledging where your heart is instead of lying and saying it's all good."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Moving Weekend Wonders

"We risk because God does not risk.  We walk into the future in God-glorifying confidence, not because the future is know to us but because it's known to God.  And that's all we need to know.  Worry about the future is not simply a character tic, it is the sin of unbelief, an indication that our hearts are not resting in the promises of God."  ~Kevin DeYoung

Even though we immensely enjoyed playing in the snow Friday morning,

 by Friday afternoon we were hard at work again getting piles sorted and packed away.  My mom loaded us up with Starbucks Vias to take to our colleagues for breaks during SITAG's upcoming Conference.

My dad played plumber and helped us take care of some drips that had developed.
When Friday evening rolled around,

we were SO grateful for this sweet family's invitation to come join them for a meal.

   It was exactly what we needed - a chance to pull out of the chaos to share some good food and sweet fellowship.

This precious family made a banner that said "Safe Travels", put together a little bucket of goodies for us to take on the trip, and created this lovely centerpiece that celebrates Bible translation.

Saturday morning, more good help showed up in the form of our good friends the Hibbards.
Our kids played together outside.  While they worked to build a super tall and skinny snowman,

the grownups worked together inside.

I kept finding snowmen around the yard. 

I think the kids were having a lot more fun than the grownups.

After we worked hard all day, we were so grateful to be able to enjoy an evening meal with some of our neighbors.
God has given us the BEST neighbors!  We haven't laughed this hard in so long.  Once again, this time together was exactly what we needed.
Our sweet neighbors took us exactly as we were - grimy from packing and weary from making decisions - and they loved on us anyway.  I think it might have helped that Sarah made a Tres Leches Cake and flan to accompany the taco bar our neighbors provided.
After a sweet Sunday morning at church, where the church family prayed for us, we headed over to Nahna and Papa's house to enjoy a restful day of family and football.
God is so gracious to give us exactly what we need.  This weekend, the wonder of it was that He kept alternating the work and the rest that He knew would be the best combination for our family.

Friday, January 22, 2016


At 4:00 this morning, I woke up and noticed a glow outside.  When I peeked through the shutters, I found a winter wonderland outside.  Aaron wouldn't let me wake up the kids to go play outside.

To some people, a few inches of snow that will melt away in a few hours wouldn't be a big deal.  But to walk into the kitchen and find this lovely view made me want to jump up and down and run outside!

Aaron has been praying for weeks that the Lord will fill us up as we transition once again, and this snow was just what I needed to refill and worship our Creator.

My poor daffodils.  They didn't know it was too early to form buds and get ready for blooming.

And my lone broccoli looked pitiful under its blanket of snow.  It's a good thing my family doesn't have to rely on my gardening skills or else we would all starve!

More than a few snowballs flew through the air.  And more than a few snow angels swiped the snow.

Before all of the playing began, though, some clean snow had to be collected for snow ice cream.

The kids also practiced their target practice on the tree closest to the back door.

The goal was to hit higher on the tree than your sibling could hit.

After the snowball throwing had slowed down a little bit, the real work began:  snow man building.

Big Ben began to take shape as a surprise for their daddy.

And when the snow man was finished, Sarah switched to making maple syrup candy in the snow.

My sister called us "Little House Geeks".  But it was yummy.

Before too long, the sun started peeking through the clouds and we were well on our way to the 43 degree high for the day.

But for a few hours, the packing can wait, and we will get our fill of building snowmen (the neighbors got some in their yards too!) and eating ice cream and feeling cold.  What a gift.