Monday, July 18, 2011

2nd of July Celebrations!

This was the first year in several years that we did not have the privilege of celebrating the 4th of July with my mom.  It was a bit sad not to get to be with family, but we really enjoyed the festivities on base. 

This year the fest was on the 2nd of July, so our celebration was a couple days early.  We headed over to the fest in the afternoon and made a bee-line for our favorite food tent...the Filipino booth.  They make such yummy pansat and adobo.  Once we had full tummies, we headed over to the kid area.  It was a field full of bounce houses, face painting stations, various carnival games and rides, and sumo wrestlers.  Our kids played happily for hours while we visited with the many students and friends that we ran in to.

Eventually we meandered out to the softball field and found a place to lay out to watch the fireworks with our friends, Jennessa and Heather.  The fireworks were great.  I was so proud to be surrounded by the many individuals and families that sacrifice so much to serve and protect our country as we celebrated the freedom they help to protect. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Southern Germany Vacation

We were thinking we would have to skip any kind of vacation this year due to moving expenses.  However, God blessed us with the opportunity to spend 3 days in Garmisch with lodging and meals provided and then the following 4 days in the Black Forest at an apartment provided by Cadence Missionary care. 

It was not an especially exciting or exotic vacation, but it was just what we needed.  A full week away to rest and get family time!  It was rainy for the majority of our trip, so we did not get out as much as we would have liked, but we also enjoyed just being laid back.

We did get a few walks in, exploring our surroundings and doing our new favorite family activity...geocaching! 

We got to swim at the hotel the first few days which the kids loved.  And we got to jump on the giant trampoline the last few days. 

Of course, we also enjoyed a couple trips to the eis cafe.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Infamous Haircut!

So many people have asked about this over the past month that I feel I need to officially record the incident while I still remember the details...(Please keep in mind that you are hearing my side of the story and that Anthony's is a bit different) :)

Masami's hair was starting to get a bit know, falling into his eyes and over his ears, but the worst is the natural little "rat's tail" that he gets in the back when his hair is longer.  We have cut his hair several times now.  Anthony puts his clippers on their longest setting and gives him a buzz.

Before "the incident"

On this occasion I had said, "It's time to give Masami a hair cut.  Can you give it a buzz?"  I did not think further clarification was needed since we have done this before.  Anthony said, "Sure.  Like mine?"  Thinking he meant the current length of his hair, I agreed. 

So, I was cleaning-up the dinner dishes while Anthony took Masami into the bathroom to get the job done.  Eventually I wandered into the bathroom to see how it was going and if Anthony needed anything.  I was shocked to see that Anthony had not "buzzed" his hair, but "shaved" it.  He looked like a labor-camp child or chemo patient with no hair.  His gorgeous red locks were laying in the bottom of the bathtub, and I was grief-stricken.

With horror in my voice, I moaned "No!...No!...NOOOO!"  After that I was speechless for a moment while I processed the sight before me.  Then, "Why did you do this?!"  What followed was an intense discussion over what was said and not said in our previous conversations.  When Anthony said, "Like mine?"  he apparently meant "like when I do my own hair and shave it off."  Masami had been quite agreeable to the shave because Anthony kept psyching him up that he would "look like Dadda."  And he does...

Mine and Anthony's discussion ended with me saying, "Just to be clear, when I say buzz, I do not mean shave.  I will never, ever, ever, EVER, never, ever, ever, ever want you to shave his head.  Not ever!  Never, ever, ever..."  That is about when Anthony interrupted me and said "OK!  I get it" in an annoyed tone.  To which I responded, "I just wanted to be clear since obviously I wasn't before."  Then, choking down sobs, I fled the scene and went to finish cleaning the kitchen.

Thankfully, Alethia had been outside playing in the yard during the ordeal and did not hear it.  So when she came back in from playing and saw Masami's new haircut for the first time, she innocently exclaimed "Look at you!  You're a cool dude!"  with a big smile on her face.

The days that followed were difficult.  I would talk myself down from my anger and bitterness (it will grow is really not that big a deal...he's a boy...) and then Masami's bald head would go bobbing by and a fresh wave of grief over those beautiful locks of red hair that were lost would wash over me and I would have to talk myself down all over again.  I posted something about it on Facebook (with Anthony's permission, "If that is what will help you get over it.") and it did help.  Luckily, Masami's hair HAS grown back quickly and is just as red and gorgeous.  I can now put the whole thing behind me and am confident that next time I say "buzz" Anthony will know exactly what I mean.

Masami today: 6 wks later

**Note: this account may be slightly dramatized.  ;)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My 32nd Birthday

My birthday came and went over a month ago and I didn't blog at all about it.  However, it was such a good one that I cannot let it completely pass me by without a word...

I do not remember the last time that anyone threw me a party...I'm sure it was in college, so it has been awhile.  So a couple days before my actual birthday, Heather (our new co-worker and good friend) organized a birthday party for me at the Hospitality House.  She planned a delicious meal of all my favorite appetizers and invited friends.  It was a beautiful day and many of my friends were able to come out and celebrate.  The kids ran around happily together with their friends while the adults played games including Taboo, Cancellation Hearts (a new favorite of mine), and Corn Hole.   Heather finished out the meal with her family tradition of Chocolate Gooey Cake (which was amazing) and chocolate covered strawberries.  I'm sorry to say that no pictures were taken.  We were all having too much fun to remember to pull out the camera.  However, I did manage to remember to get one before the night was out...

On my actual birthday, Anthony watched the kids while I went out for coffee and croissants with a few girlfriends.  We sat out on the patio enjoying the sun while we chatted.  It was relaxing and nice. 

For my birthday present, Anthony got me something that I had been long wanting...a Tassimo!  It is basically a push-button by-the-cup coffee and cappuccino maker that makes the greatest cup of coffee ever.  Anthony also picked out a variety of coffee discs to go with it and I have been experimenting and enjoying my coffee everyday since. 

I got to spend the afternoon enjoying my kids, playing in the backyard.  For dinner, friends watched the kids while Anthony took me to an Indian restaurant for some Murgh Korma and Nan.  Yummy!  It was just such a sweet weekend of celebration and getting to enjoy my friends and family.  So thank you to all who helped make it so special!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


We had a wonderful vacation and got back just a couple days ago. (More on our trip later!). As I had the time to sit and reflect a little last week, I took my emotional and spiritual temperature and took the opportunity to look back on our year. As I mentally marked significant events, I came to realize that we have experienced quite a bit of loss. As part of my own process, I wanted to take the space here to recognize and grieve some of our more recent losses.

Barb and I in 2005
In March, our friend and coworker, Barb passed away after a 19 month battle with brain cancer.  Dan and Barb were our field leaders when we first arrived in Germany over 6 years ago.  They were kind, gracious, warm, real people who intentionally made us feel welcome and loved as newbies to the field.  Dan found us our apartment here that we lived in for 5 years.  They were the first non-family that we told when we found out we were pregnant with Alethia.  It was hard to say goodbye to them and their two children when they left Germany to eventually move to Alaska to open a new hospitality house ministry there for Cadence.

We were blessed to get to see them twice after Barb was diagnosed with cancer, to get to talk and cry and pray and worship with them.  Our hearts have been deeply grieved as we watched them walk through this difficult journey and, while we rejoice that Barb is free of pain and suffering and peacefully in the presence of our Lord, we struggle with understanding God's perfect plan for Dan and their two children as they figure out how to do life without her.
Masami & Dee last summer
On Mother's Day, our friend and supporter, Dee also went to be with our Savior.  She was a dear woman who we got to spend some time with last summer during our Stateside travels.  She was thoughtful and loving and generous.  She too will be dearly missed by many especially her husband and family. 
Susan (one of the many) & I

Besides death, we are experiencing loss through the uprooting of much of our community.  Military life involves quite a bit of moving and we have had to say innumerable goodbyes over the years.  However, the past year has held an even more significant amount of goodbyes than usual for us.  We have lost 4 Chaplains and their families who directly impact our ministry and Chapel world.  Two of my closest friends (who have been here since we first got here in 2006) also moved away this year.  These are women who I've counted on over the years and who were there for me through both of my pregnancies.  Five families who regularly attended and were involved at our Chapel have moved.  This is a significant percentage of our small congregation and impacts the way we are able to run.  These families also include students from our youth groups, volunteers for our ministry and good friends.  We host a weekly small group bible study for adults which has had a complete turnover in the past year of attendees. Last spring we had two couples, three single girls, and 3 single guys who have all left.

Additionally, at our recent staff conference we said goodbye to the Short family.  Rich, Melissa, and Jayden have been serving with Cadence student ministries for the last 8 years in Baumholder, Germany.  They were the last of our team that had not moved since we arrived in Germany.  We have been so grateful to have them just "up the road" from us over the years.  They have been great friends from our team who have encouraged and loved us well.  We will greatly notice their absence on our team and miss them dearly.  However, we are so excited to hear all about their new adventures as they go to serve with Cadence in Thailand.

Masami & Morgan
Unfortunately, we are not done saying "goodbye" yet.  Through the summer we know several others that are moving.  One of the most difficult will be the Nuccios.  Sara and Robert have also been here as long as we have.  Sara has become a good friend who I often see several times a week between playdates, storytime at the library, date swapping, running errands together, walks through our village, and girls nights out.  Their daughter Morgan is about Masami's age and the two of them have become best buds for a pair of two year olds.  One of the funnest moments in my week is hearing Morgan call out Masami's name in pure elation when she first sees us. They live just blocks from us and we have so enjoyed their friendship.

Although these losses are painful, we realize that it is often through loss and death that the Lord makes way for new life and fresh opportunities.  In many ways, I am feeling like we are entering a new chapter in our lives.  We do not have a big event like a graduation, job change, or major move to mark it by, but there are a lot of little things that mark a new beginning in some ways.  Because our community and support system has been so majorly hit, we are building new relationships and trusting in God to take care of us.  As you know, we recently made a minor move into a new apartment that has been a blessing to us in so many ways, as well as, brought challenges that has shown us, once again, how God provides for all of our needs.  And we have a new co-worker who is transitioning in and brings fresh energy into ministry and who will effect change. 

Sorry this one is a bit of a downer, but I promise there will be more to come on the "new life" things that we experience.