Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Update on Alethia’s Health

Alethia has been not feeling well on-and-off for about a week. I suspected an ear infection, so we have been giving her this homeopathic medicine that her German doctor had given me. However, last night when I was putting her to bed, she started getting upset and said that her ear was wet. When I looked at it I realized that it was seeping. Having not experienced this before, I wasn’t sure what it meant. Hopefully, I thought, it meant that her ear infection was healing, but I was doubtful. So I went looking for a couple of nurses that we have in Cadence. They encouraged me to get her to the doctor the next day. Anthony took her to the local walk-in clinic, and, sure enough, she has an inner and middle ear infection in one ear. So, now she is doped-up on antibiotics and ear drops and already feeling better.

Masami, however, is also struggling a bit. He has had a slight fever on-and-off and seems a bit off his game. I'm hoping that he can sleep it off.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Where in the States are the Amors?
Malachi Conference

We had 4 days with just our Malachi (soon-to-be “Cadence Student Ministries”) staff before the all-Cadence conference began. It was such a joy to have all of our staff together from Japan, Germany, and the States (about 30 of us). I really enjoyed catching-up with everyone and seeing everyone fall easily into our familiar bantering and playfulness even though we rarely get to all be together. I do have to mention, though that there were a couple of holes that were noticed by all. Two of our Malachi families stayed behind in Germany due to the impending birth of their babies. They were missed!

The topic for this part of our conference was “Enduring to Win.” We talked a lot about our vision and mission in Malachi to be “a disciple-making movement of God that transforms the world by reaching and equipping military students.” We considered staggering statistics of vocational Christian workers who drop-out of ministry under less than ideal circumstances and how we can prevent this from happening to us. We also reflected on what it would look like to live in covenant with each other, committing to encourage and lift each other up, to be real and to celebrate one another.

I really love our Malachi team and so enjoy hearing their stories of God’s faithfulness in their journeys. I love being able to contemplate God’s word with them and worship the Lord with them. I love our leadership and deeply respect who they are and how God is using them.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Becoming a Dog-lover

Before we left Germany a month ago, Masami was literally terrified of dogs. If a dog even looked in his direction he would come running and shaking and crying, wanting to be held until the dog was out of sight. Honestly, I was a little worried about it, knowing that we would be coming in contact with more than a few dogs during our travels this summer. However, he has made a complete turnaround. Not only is he not so afraid, he is LOVING the dogs that we are seeing. We have already stayed in 5 different homes with dogs this summer. And with each new dog, Masami gets braver. Now he is chasing them, grinning and giggling. He wants to pet them and touch them, share his toys and feed them. He’ll stick his hand in their mouths and give them hugs and kisses. It is so fun to hear him squeal with delight when they give him kisses back. The only animal sound that Masami will make is a “bark.” He does it real low and from the back of his throat which actually makes him sound more like Tim-the-tool-man than anything. I’ll have to try to post a recording of it. Now the challenge is teaching him how to be gentle and kind to the dogs and that not all dogs are nice.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where in the States are the Amors?
Chicago Area

Andrea is one of those friends that immediately put you at ease and make you want to get coffee and talk for hours. Someone who you know knows you and loves you anyways. I first met her at candidacy for Malachi in 2003. We had both just graduated from college less than a week before and were both anxious to get on the field and start ministry to military students. In 2005, Anthony and I got placed in Dexheim, Germany (a short year-long assignment that allowed us to work directly with Andrea). Our memories of doing ministry together laid a strong and solid foundation for the friendship we now share.

Through the past 5 years we have seen each other through some difficult times and some of life’s best times including her wedding and the birth of both of my children. We have traveled the globe, making memories in Germany, Paris, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Colorado, and now Illinois and Wisconsin. She now lives in Okinawa, running a Malachi youth group with her husband (David) there which means that we don’t get to see each other all too often.

And that is why we made a point of getting time with each other before our conference begins this week. We stayed with her aunt and uncle (and cousin and his wife) in the suburbs of Chicago. They were such sweet people, opening their home (when really it was already full) and even thinking of our kids (being prepared with toys and dress-up clothes and other baby equipment). And it was lovely to get to just enjoy time with our friends. David and Andrea took us to a climbing wall where they all climbed while the kids and I tumbled around on the mats. The boys graciously took the kids and gave Andrea and me the chance to take a much-longed-for coffee date. Our time together was so refreshing.

Today we are driving up to Green Lake, Wisconsin for a 3 day Malachi (soon to be Cadence Student Ministries) conference followed by a 6 day all Cadence conference (which only happens every 10 years). We are so looking forward to seeing all our Cadence friends and to being settled for 9 whole days!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another Movie Fanatic in the Making

When we started out this road trip a month ago, we found that it was much easier to entertain Alethia in the car than Masami. Alethia can play on her leapster or look at a book or color or watch a movie. Masami, to this point, can’t really do those things yet and has not been all that interested in just sitting still to watch a movie. However, all this time in the car is creating a little movie fanatic out of him after all.

It started about a week ago when every time we got into the car Masami would point at the movie screen and repeat over and over, “yeah, yeah, yeah…” Then, on our way to the movie theater, Masami said for the first time “moo-vee” and some other syllables that we realized later could be translated into “DVD”.

Yesterday, in the car on our drive up to Illinois, the kids were napping. When Masami woke-up and was starting to get bored with the toy we had given him, Anthony suggested that I put on a movie. As I started to push the DVD into the player, Masami raised his arms and shouted “Yay!” with a huge smile on his face. Anthony and I both started laughing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

When Alethia Loses it

Last night Alethia was crying out in her sleep. Her body seemed hot but it was hard to tell if she was feverish or if it was just the Kentucky heat. She did not sleep very soundly, meaning that WE did not sleep soundly. Around 7 I heard the pitter-patter of Griffin feet and moments later Alethia whispered, “I think the kids want me to play.” Code for “Can I get up now?” Usually she would be off and running for the morning, playing her little heart out and barely slowing down long enough to get dressed and eat breakfast. But this morning she was back at our bedside within minutes whining and crying about one thing after another. So I asked her if she wanted to come back to bed and lay down with me. And she did! That is when I knew she really isn’t feeling well and it wasn’t just a bad night. We were laying there together for a bit and I looked over at her and she looked back at me, our faces just inches away from each other and smiling together. And she gave me a big hug and kiss and said, “We love ourselves!” Meaning, “We love each other!” I’m glad that Alethia is confident in my love for her even when I don’t use words to express it.

After we got up, I took her temperature which was slightly elevated and she continued to be clingy and whiny. So, my diagnosis is an ear infection. Luckily, I packed some homeopathic medication that the doctor gave her for an ear infection in April. I’m hoping this won’t require a visit to the doctor’s office, but we will have to take it one day at a time.

In the meantime, we set off today for the Chicago area to spend time with our close Malachi friends from Okinawa. I’m really looking forward to time with them. Then, we will be at Malachi Conference towards the end of the week.

Where in the States are the Amors?

It has been so fun being here with my sister and her family! I hadn’t seen them in two years, so my nephew and niece have grown a ton and it was so great to get to know them again. Griffin is 6 and such a good kid. He is thoughtful and friendly and fun. He and Alethia had a great time together playing house…first they were running the household together and later he was the puppy and she was his master.
Lucy is 2 and such a cutie pie. I know she has struggled with warming-up to people in some major ways, but I found her to be friendly in her own shy little way. She has a gentler spirit, but certainly knows what she likes (momma and papa being at the top of that list). She and Masami were great playing independently next to one another. And of course, she and Alethia did the girl thing and had fun playing with dolls and dress-up clothes while having matching yellow painted toe-nails (thanks to my sister).
It is so hot and humid here that it is hard to get outside much! The kids did spend an afternoon running through the sprinkler in the yard and my sister and I took her puppy for a walk each morning before the heat of the day suffocated us, but other than that we took cover indoors. My dad and step-mom came for a day to celebrate Father’s Day together. That was really nice. And we took all four kids to see the new Toy Story movie. Although it was difficult for the little ones to sit through the whole thing, we really enjoyed it. We spent the evenings, after the kids went to bed, playing eucre and eating yummy homemade desserts.
The time went too fast, but we get to see them again later this summer. I think our kids are going to go through withdrawals after playing non-stop with their cousins for 3 days. I’m just glad they get the memories together.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where in the States are the Amors?

We picked-up three new supporters this week! They kind of came out of nowhere. We are still in process about how to approach this whole “support-raising” thing. We never want to just be about the money. We really want to be about relationships and pouring into people…whoever is around us. So, we struggle with when to ask and when not to. We even struggle with how to pray about it. All we know is that we both feel led by the Lord to ask for and expect the full amount of what we need and not just the minimum. And we want to freely invest in people and trust God to provide for our needs through whatever means He wants. In the meantime, we are celebrating His faithfulness to us through these new ministry partners!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hitting a Wall

I have to be honest here…I have hit a wall. We are about three weeks in on this crazy summer of travel, and I am already starting to get worn. I realized this fact about a half an hour into an ongoing argument with Anthony when I couldn’t figure out what I was mad about in the first place that started this whole fight. Well, of course, I couldn’t stop now. I must have had a valid point even if I had lost sight of it. So, the useless argument continued and at some point when I took a moment to smolder some more I realized that I was just exhausted, feeling like all my friendly and gracious energy had been used up on everyone else and Anthony was the outlet for all my aggravation of not having my regular schedule and routine and personal space in place.

About this time, I started feeling nauseous. I haven’t been able to shake it for several days now. I know what you’re thinking and NO…I’m not pregnant! I think my emotional stress just often gets taken out on my tummy. Either that or I have a little bug. Either way it stinks. It is all the more difficult to be friendly and gracious and “on” (so to speak) when I just plain don’t feel good. So, pray for me and my tummy. I need to find a moment for myself each day to get centered on Christ and to be still. It is really hard to find that time with no real regular schedule and so much pulling me in every direction. All the more reason that I need it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Where in the States are the Amors?
Tennessee (part 2)

We have managed to build quite a few friendships here in Knoxville over the past 5 years. We really try to invest and dive-in relationally with people at my dad’s church when we are in town (which is not too often). It is a pretty big church and much changes between our visits; however, we have been able to maintain some relationships that have come to mean a lot to us. This makes it extra fun when we come to visit my dad and step-mom because we have friends to catch-up with as well. However, this also makes our visits very hectic.

This time we got to meet four new babies (born to four different families) and catch-up over meals, coffee, and appetizers and darts. It was awesome to see what the Lord is doing in these peoples’ lives and how He is growing them. We love hearing their stories and getting a glimpse of their hearts. And while our schedule was packed full, I know there were others that we missed. So, let me take a moment here to apologize to you if you were one that we missed! I’m sorry. We do really want the opportunity to connect with everyone, but our time is often so limited.

Baby Theo

The Thornton Family

The Hightower Family

Alethia with Caedman & Chloe