Maria's visit!

Maria is officially half way through nursing school - yaay Maria! She is doing great and earning hard-worked A's! I'm so proud; she graduates in December! She only has 3 one week breaks in the whole program (15 months) so to spend some time this week with me up in Greensboro was such a privilege and gift!

Celebrating Maria's hard work paying off! Also doing my part to help her get the Starbucks Gold Card... ;)

We did all our usual fun things...cooking, baking, RUNNING (first trail run together - it was awesome...how did it take us 7 yrs to finally do that!), TALKING, laughing, SOUL SEARCHING, being entertained by Felix and Marzell, eating, chick flicks....amazing how much we did and yet how fast the time flew. Something that I read recently that made me think of Maria and our deep-routed friendship throughout the past 7 yrs: "I count your friendship one of the chiefest pleasure of my life, a comfort in time of doubt and trouble, a joy in time of prosperity and success, and an inspiration at all times." Edwin Osgood Grover

My attempt...

Maria's turn...

Fun fun fun!


Spring Garden!

I am really enjoying the spring gardening season...last year was my first attempt at having a garden so I just stuck to one season - summer, what a great season to try! But this year I planted spinach, carrots & lettuce in early March and they are doing wonderfully! My friend Susan gave me some extra broccoli plants that she started from seed and another friend Josh had extra pea seeds so he put both of those in for us while we were in India. They are doing excellent - hopefully soon we will be enjoying some peas & broccoli thanks to Josh & Susan!
I am still planning to plant a summer crop in the next couple of weeks, we'll have to see if my lettuce is ready to come out at that point. My plans right now are: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lots of peppers, more carrots, basil, parsley, cucumbers, and anything else at the farmer's market that I can't pass up trying. I am so looking forward to a big garden this year again - Oh how I love putting what I just harvested on the table for dinner!
ALSO, a recent MAJOR victory for me is that I finally convinced Eric to let me expand! I have a beautiful little area that I have begun (haven't made much progress yet...obviously) that will soon be home to my zucchini, summer & butternut squash plants! I can't wait! :)

My broccoli

One type of lettuce

Another type of lettuce

Carrots...they are finally coming up!

Spinach...still babies


Aren't they all so beautiful?!

Zucchini & Squash - here I come! :)


Struggles of Re-Entry...

Slowly we are transitioning back in our normal routine life, whatever that means. Normal is an interesting word. How can anyone or the life they lead be considered "normal"? Normal for whom??
Webster's definition of normal says "conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern." But again I beg the question, whose standard do we follow to set this conformed pattern? I resist the notion to let culture rule what we take at face value as normal. Today, I encourage you to break from any mold that you find your thinking squeezed into. Let today be the day not to take things for granted. It is not 'normal' for most of the world to get a hot shower today, if you are lucky enough to have one, enjoy it! Eating lunch today? delight in it.
Unfortunately, our perspective is programmed by the world we live in, yet how do we live IN the world but not AMONG it? WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Yes, but how? Eating whats on sale? Buying smaller & older cars? Commuting by bike? How do you commute by bike when cities are so spread out? Giving our time to the community? Helping out a neighbor we don't know? Shopping at good will? Eating out less? I often hear people talking about the little things making a difference...I want to know about the BIG things - why are we settling for only making a little difference? What are the bigger things we can do WHERE WE ARE to swim upstream in our culture?
--Deep Breath-- Now that I have gotten all that out, I would like you to remind me going forward not to indulge in deep thought while still recovering from jet-lag. thank you.
but seriously it's impossible to come back from third-world unchanged. the challenge is what to do next. turning a blind eye on some of the most beautiful souls I've ever met with the deepest needs isn't an option. it can't be.


"Delhi Belly"

The last 24 hours have included lots of rest. Though we both felt great on the plane (so thankful for that!) and throughout the 36 hours we spent travelling, as soon as we got home, we have been experiencing the typical traveller's tummy bug, which is lovingly named "Delhi Belly" if acquired in India. :)
Just trying to keep hydrated with liquids; our sweet friends stocked our fridge with yummy sandwich stuff and yogurt so we have been nibbling on that. How wonderful it is to eat fresh crisp lettuce and fruits after staying away from unwashed produce this whole week! Thank you Matt & Karen!! :)
As re-entry can prove difficult coming from such a contrasted world, it is a blessing to be celebrating our Savior's resurrection today, reminding us of His conquered victory over death, pain, sickness, loneliness, and sadness! We can rest in His peace!
He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!! Hallelujah!
Happy Easter!


Back on US soil

We landed into Newark about 2 1/2 hrs ago, made our way thru customs, re-checked our luggage, went thru security AGAIN and now are enjoying the beautiful sunrise over the NY city skyline. Not a bad view! On one hand, it seems like we have been gone a month, on the other hand it feels like we just blinked and now have to pinch ourselves that it all wasn't a dream.
We both slept a bit on the plane and had the same massive movie selection to choose from (I enjoyed watching 2 movies in German) :) so after some eggs and a cup of coffee, we are feeling pretty good!
Looking forward to sharing all our pictures when we get back to GSO. What a wonderful, wonderful trip. It really couldn't have gone better - praise the Lord! :)