Wednesday, September 5, 2007

For you you haven't given up looking...

Since the activity on this blog has been very scarce, and it doesn't look like that'll change in the near future (my days are just way too full to get around to writing), I'd like to recommend a friend's and co-workers blog: www.mistycole.blogspot.com
She's in Fiji right now with her husband and is writing the newest news of what's happening there with the tour - very interesting I find - and daily fresh ideas of what to pray for :)

It is planned that Kylie and I will fly to Fiji next Sunday, Sept.16th - 23rd - Lord willing - - -
Talk to you later )

Friday, August 31, 2007

Back!

Where have these last two weeks flown???

While Rich and Nathalie, along with all the staff, evangelists and volunteers from overseas are having their official welcome to "Impact World Tour" with a traditional Fijian feast (i think), I am finally able to re-enter the blogging world.



I'll spare you the details of my 2-weeks. Suffice it to say that they have been extremely challenging, bringing me to the end of my strength daily. Actually a beautiful experience - seeing how the Lord helped me through it all (and still is)!



I'm amazed I'm still awake, considering the fact that I've been up since before 3:30am. Had a fresh veggie juice today that really energized me... I guess when you're desperate you go back to the healthy stuff :)



Yeah, Shayden has been quite sick. On top of his usual constipation(painful) and reflux(messy!), he's had the flu with a bad cough etc. an ulcer in his mouth that made drinking from the bottle extremely painful, is teething and to top it all off, the orthopedic surgeon that he had an appointment with last week, tied off his 6th little finger which caused a lot of discomfort, pain and crying the whole week.



We went back yesterday and the same doctor pulled the remainder of the little finger off - Shayden was in a lot a pain again - lots of tears again - but today he was so much better and pretty much back to his normal self. OUFF!



I better go now and get Kylie to bed and do the dishes...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rambling

I can't believe I actually get to blog! WOW!
After a bad night with Shayden waking up crying 3 times (there was a horrible storm howling all night right onto our bedroom - I thought the roof would come off any second!), the house is quiet now!

The kids are all at school, Kylie at kindi and Shayden asleep - and since I cancelled my other babysitting 'cuz of Shayden's bad cold/cough, I AM BY MYSELF IN THE QUITE HOUSE! !
WOW!!!
It feels AMAZING!!!

Before I get too excited, I better have some breakfast and do the dishes - LOTS of dishes.
Our dishwasher just "died" on us last night.
Good thing it's not ours but the landlords' - they will hopefully fix it or replace it (most likely) VERY SOON!!! Never needed it more than now :)
I guess there are good things about not owning your own home - every time somethin' needs fixing (which is quite often around here), all we have to do is call the landlords! YAY!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rich just about to leave

It's been a trying (and tiring) last few days. Shayden has been very challenging - I think he may be teething. Sleeping badly, being fussy and even running a fever - - - and throwing up more than ever. Some days I feel like I can do hardly anything but take care of him (and the laundry!).

Of course that affects the rest of the family, and Kylie - who has also not been feeling well again - acts up - and then sleep-deprived me acts up - - - and stressed-out-with-computers-not-working Rich acts up (good thing the teenagers are behaving decently at least). I leave it up to your imagination what "acts up" means (nothing too horrible, to assure you :))

Rich is leaving for Fiji tomorrow - I'm gonna miss him - it'll be so full-on with me having to run the "show" by myself and we've hardly had any time with each other since his last trip.
Yes, we have wondered if it was the right decision to take in Shayden- - -
But then again, when we were in Taupo for that week-end, I felt God whisper to me that it was the right decision.

He also whispered to me that I shouldn't be afraid of pain (the pain of missing Rich, of having to go through difficult times, of giving back Shayden one day ... etc).

He also told me some more things (very reassuring). So, I've got to keep those things in mind when the going gets tough. And if you don't hear from me, just remember me (and Rich) in your prayers :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

A few more pics

Kylie: "When Shayden will go with another family, I will miss his ears!"
(Kylie has a special love for ears!)

Vegies anybody?

Kylie's photo - she loves taking pictures - here Shayden has just had his last bottle for the night

Encouraged!

There's been so much sickness in the family again this winter - it's not even funny... Kylie has come down with the flu again (getting better) and today I tried to rest as much as possible to help my body fight that flu off - once again.

I am really blessed that I haven't gotten really sick yet - thank you, Jesus!!! - hopefully I'll get over this as well - really quickly!

Rich and Leilani are in Auckland for a fundraiser for IWT Fiji. Normally, Rich was supposed to have left for Fiji tomorrow, but he postponed his departure to next Wednesday. There were just too many loose ends and too many things left to do before his extended trip away.

I've been really touched by what Jesus said in Matthew 25: 31-40:

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me,

I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

It hit me for the first time that what we are doing for Shayden (and other foster children) is exactly what Jesus was talking about here! I've felt such encouragement from Jesus through this! Nothing to be proud of (it is my great pleasure and privilege to be able to take care of Shayden!), but it feels good to sense Jesus' pleasure with what you are doing!

I've also been reminded often these days of a prophesy that we received during our wedding ceremony about us being surrounded by many children of different colours, way too many to be our own ... I feel we're on the right track :)


As much as I LOVE taking care of Shayden, there is also a price to pay - with sleep-deprived nights, very little time with Rich and a really intense schedule (will get more intense when Rich leaves). Anyways, it was just such a beautiful encouragement to sense that Jesus takes what I do for Shayden (and Kylie, Leilani, Jeremie, Nathalie!) as if I was doing for HIM! WOW!!!

How incredible of a GOD is this - that he so identifies with the smallest and most helpless! Makes me just love him even more!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rest

Today is a day of rest, after a very busy week (with Jeremie and Shayden sick), culminating yesterday in Kylie's birthday.
Yep, our little girl turned 4!!!

Her actual birthday is on August 13th, but we advanced it so that Rich could be there for it. We had a nice party with a few kids. It was fun seeing Kylie enjoy her first real party! Her favorite part (besides the gifts) were the games! We had a lot of fun and it was a blessing that Shayden was happy the whole time. He sometimes doesn't handle a lot of people (and noise) very well.

Here are some pics:

This is Kylie opening the package from her grandma in Germany - a favorite of every birthday!
What do we have here? Oh, an apron - WOW - to help Mommy cook and bake - and lots of other goodies - for the whole family

This is Kylie with her favorite gift - guinea pig Toby (she chose the name all by herself). She now has both of her main prayer requests answered - a baby and a guinea pig!

Toby close-up


Kylie's flower cake - made mostly by Leilani


Rich with Shayden yesterday

Monday, July 30, 2007

BLESSED!!!

While we were in Taupo, I was telling Rich - once again - that I really needed a winter coat! This is my third winter without one. And as I was speaking, we walked by this store that was selling winter coats and had a huge sale going on.

After an hour or so trying on all these coats, we found one we both liked and felt to buy it. We didn't really have the money for it, but it was a necessity and so we went ahead and charged it to our credit card. It was an incredible deal - 60 or 70% off the normal price!

Guess what happened this afternoon while I was feeding Shayden?
This lady from our church knocked at our door and dropped off an envelope with some money. She said that it wasn't from her, but from an "angel", and off she was.

When I looked inside the envelope, I was sooooo blessed! The money was just about exactly what we'd payed for the coat. WOW!!!! All I can say is, "THANK YOU, LORD!!!"

Unforgettable Week-end

Rich and I had a fantastic week-end by ourselves! YEAH!

Since Rich will be leaving soon to stay in Fiji for 2 1/2 months - and it's been a bit challenging the last week since he's come back from Fiji with the baby and other kids (hardly any time to ourselves) - AND it was his birthday - I felt it was time for a time-out by ourselves. We dropped off Shayden at his former caregiver (she was more than happy to look after him) and took off to Taupo - a couple of hours from Tauranga.

Nathalie, Jeremie and Leilani volunteered to look after Kylie and take care of themselves for the week-end. This was their birthday gift for their Dad!

What incredible kids!

Rich and I were able to stay at friends' holiday house and spent most of the time fishing. This was the first time since our first year of marriage that I went fishing with Rich! Not that I wouldn't have wanted to before, but it just has never been possible.

Suffice it to say that it was remarkable - incredible - VERY enjoyable!!! I even liked the fishing, although we didn't catch anything.
The nature was just sooooo relaxing and beautiful - ministered to us! And how great to spend an extended time with your best friend!

It was really fun planning it all in secret, since it was a surprise for Rich. I got such a kick out of it! The kids and I were able to keep the surprise until just before we left - when Rich was packing his fishing stuff (thinking he was just going for a couple of hours) and missing something I had already packed away in the car, along with everything else (except the kitchen sink), including firewood :) - and yes, the only drawback was that it was so cold! There were no heaters in the house except a fireplace that needed tons of wood and still hardly heated up.

On Sunday morning, Rich went fishing on the lake with the kayak while I stayed in bed for a few hours - just to keep warm (10degrees Celcius). I had a fantastic time with God!!!


Despite the cold on the outside, it was a heart-warming, romantic week-end that we wished could have lasted a few more days :) - Thank you, Lord!

Friday, July 27, 2007

From an almost 4-year-old

"When you don't play with me, I don't know you.
When you play with me, I know you."

Hmmmm - - - That's been Kylie's way to ask me to play with her in the last week or so.
Interesting way to put it! And how true!

Makes me think of me and God - KNOWING EACH OTHER is what it's all about - cherishing relationship, playing together.
And we've got to make time for it! Not always easy - especially with a baby in the house and interrupted sleep etc. :)

I'm still having a lot of fun with Shayden and enjoy him IMMENSELY!!!

Another comment of Kylie (yesterday):

"Mom, I really love you! Pause
Sometimes I love you - and sometimes I don't."

Me: "So you love me when I spend time with you and play with you - and you don't love me when I get on your case about something?"

Kylie: "Yeah"

Oh, the simplicity and honesty of children! I LOVE IT!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rich is back home!

Just 1/2 hour before Rich arrived back home from Fiji on Friday afternoon, Shayden started crying and continued to do so for the majority of the next hours, including a good part of the night. He obviously was in pain from constipation and overtired because I'd been out the whole morning and he missed his nap. On top of that I had changed his formula - which, I found out later - could also have caused stomach aches (I quickly changed back!).

I felt so bad for Rich - - - what a welcome home - he even had to end up making some of our dinner just after he got home!

Shayden had never been like that and it was really hard to see him crying so hard for so long.

Anyway, besides another pretty bad night, we had a mostly relaxing week-end.


Nathalie and Jeremie got invited to go snow boarding with some friends today! They left the house at 5am and should be back home around 10:30pm. What a treat for them!!! I am happy for them, since they've had a pretty tough week - homesick for Tahiti and not really wanting to be here...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fallen in LOVE

It didn't take long for me to fall in love with Shayden. He's just beautiful and the easiest baby I've ever taken care of. Such a blessing!!!
Now that we have our digital camera back, here are some pics:


Monday, July 16, 2007

Nathalie and Jeremie are back home!

It is wonderful to have Nathalie and Jeremie back home! After a VERY short night (they came in at 2am and Shayden woke up at 5am) it's been a full on day, with hours of talking and looking at "just" 600 of the 1000 photos they took (thank God for digital cameras!)

The decibel of sound in our house has just doubled - at least - especially with Kylie feeling she has to shout to make herself heard :)
Shayden is still an amazingly easy baby, smiling lots and only crying when he's hungry.

They both loved their time in Tahiti and agree that it was way too short, especially since they were both sick for a third of the time and then it was raining for another third of the time - - - and they couldn't enjoy the nature in Papeari that they love so much (river, valley and ocean) as much as they would have liked to.

They both said that part of their heart is still there and they didn't miss anything about NZ except the family - - - quite hard to leave... lots of emotions... and pain...

I was getting pretty stirred up, too, looking at all the photos with the familiar faces and places - - -

WE LOVE YOU, TAHITI!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rich in Fiji

Every time Rich goes to Fiji, he takes a bus - at some point - from Nadi (pronounce Nandi) to Suva, the capital.
Yesterday, he took the airconditioned bus, because the time suited him better. Normally he takes the non-airconditioned bus.
Anyways, the bus was so crammed full, that they had 3 good-size men (including him) sit on two seats for the 5 hours the trip lasted!
Plus, one of the men had a 1-year-old child on his lap.
I'm glad that at least the bus was airconditioned - but he said it was miserable - as you can imagine.

As soon as he got into Suva, he took a taxi to the IWT base, got changed and took another taxi to a meeting with Pastors and volunteers. Remember, the 2 vehicles are still blocked at customs?!

When I asked him what I can pray for him, he asked to pray that he wouldn't get devoured by moskitoes in the night (like he did the night before)

Oh, the joys of being a missionary :)!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Shayden is here!

Rich left for Fiji a couple of days ago, Nathalie and Jeremie are coming back from Tahiti in a couple of days - AND - the big news is that Shayden arrived at our home yesterday afternoon!

I had NO IDEA what state he was going to be in, how distressed he would be and how he would sleep at night. Considering the little I'd heard before, he had every reason to be very disturbed and sleeping very badly (I'm his 5th caretaker and he's only 6 months old!)

Add to it a couple of bad nights before his arrival due to Kylie coming down sick with the flu (yes, again - sigh) - and I was definitely in suspense before he arrived.

Now, 30 hours later, I am gratefully relieved!
He settled amazingly quickly, just cried off and on for the first 1 1/2hours and has been fine since. The crying yesterday was largely due to constipation, which has gotten better today after prayer, some diet changes and more diaper changes than you can count :)
His former caregiver was convinced he would be screaming for 24 hours and not eating - none of which happened. Thank you, God!!!
It's great to have God on my side for this - what a wonderful HELPER!!!

I can't tell you how relieved I am that he sleeps through the night - YEAH!!! Actually longer than any of our kids ever has (6pm to 7:30am!!!)

Kylie has been really good with him. Before he came, she told me that she was going to share her toys with him. When he was here, she announced that she would teach him how to suck his thumb - now this is coming from a heavy-duty, professional thumb-sucker that knows her trade :).

She enjoys the stroller and car-seat in the house and puts her dolls in them - welcome new toys for her - especially since she can't get too close to Shayden due to her remaining cold and cough.

Leilani is an awesome helper - and loves to help care for him!

Am I blessed or what? Thank you, Jesus!!
It is wonderful having Shayden with us - and although it'll be full-on (especially if he keeps going through bibs and clothes like he has today - caused by reflux), I know the investment into this precious little life is totally worth it!

It's really good that it's just Leilani, Kylie and me at the house for starters, and no school this week, since he doesn't like strange new faces or lots of noise - nor car trips - very much.
Next week'll be a different story - - -
If I don't write, you know I'm too exhausted :)

Looking forward to having Nathalie and Jeremie back home - the night between Sunday and Monday! Can't wait to hear all about their experiences - we couldn't really be in touch with them by phone for most of the time.

Monday, July 9, 2007

I'm listening to beautiful LIVE worship from the "International House of Prayer" in Kansas City on us.god.tv (website). LOVE IT!!!


I am just blown away by the love and beauty of God! He's so good!!!


A couple of quotes that I took away from yesterday's church service:


"It doesn't really matter WHAT you do, as long as you do it with LOVE!"


Mother Teresa





"Love is spelled T-I-M-E."


How true! Especially when my hubby gives TIME to me, I really feel loved! He's been doing quite a bit of that lately and I feel that my love-cup is filled again. YEAH!
I guess we're ready for another trip to Fiji.

And my kids thrive when I give them TIME!

Hmmmmm.....

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Baby coming our way

If all goes according to plan (and you're never sure until it actually happens), we will have another little foster baby with us starting next week Thursday or so. He's a 6-month-old Maori boy named Shayden (spelling?) and needs a home for about 2-3 months - we'll see...

Rich and I really struggled through the decision for a few days.

On one hand, my heart is more than ready to care for another baby. I've been reading about adoption, looking up information, praying etc. Even a couple of my friends have had dreams just recently about me having a baby (and no, I'm not pregnant!).
On the other hand I know my tendency to take on too much - - - and Rich will be gone so much during that time that I'm just not sure I can do it without putting additional strain on my life and our family...

To make a long story short, we did end up saying yes - only if they could find absolutely nobody else to care for Shayden - and they couldn't.
Sooooo - he should be with us just after Rich leaves for Fiji next week Wednesday.

He seems to have some special needs requiring me to do physical therapy with him for 20 min. twice daily (he's got club hands and one shortened forearm, plus 6 fingers on one hand).

I am actually very excited - as well as a little scared :)
And we're praying that if for some reason it isn't the highest for us to take him on, that God would provide for another solution for him between now and next week.

Until then I'm enjoying the relative peace and quiet at the house with just Rich and 2 kids and trying to catch up on a lot of administrative work (and hopefully house work).

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Mommy-daughter get-away

Just got back from a couple of days Mommy-daughter time with Leilani about an hour from here. I "kidnapped" her (as we do with our children when they're about 11/12 yrs. old) on a surprise get-away to help prepare her for the exciting/terrifying teenage years.

We listen to a cassette series by Dr.James Dobson "Preparing for Adolescence", talk about it and just have a special time together (junk foods, playing games, nature walks, window shopping and a trip to the hot pools were part of it).
A huge blessing was that we were able to stay at some people's beach house (bach, as they say here) for free!

It was GREAT - very peaceful!!! So nice to just have that special time with Leilani and hopefully gearing her up as well as possible for the years ahead.

What an incredible resource - to be recommended very highly!!!

I also loved having time alone with God and reading a book for the first 2-3 hours each morning while Leilani was still sleeping :)

What a treat! I feel wonderfully refreshed!!! Thank you, Lord!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Quiz Question

So, do you think we went to the shopping mall or watched a movie yesterday afternoon????

Neither!
After the doctors, I parked the car in a parking lot and Kylie and I went to sleep until just before Rich arrived. Boy, did that feel good - and 't was much cheaper than the other options :)
We were even able to see his plane land - which was special!

Thanks for your Prayers!

Ok, here's a short report about yesterday:



HIGHLIGHTS:


  • Got out of the house on time and without stress

  • AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL scenery, as the rolling hills and everything was covered in frost - yeah folks, it's WINTER here!

  • Smooth trip up to Auckland and didn't get lost all day :)

LOWLIGHTS:



  • Leilani had to stay in the van at the airport for 2 hours (it was warm enough). She was too weak to stand up (she could have stayed in Tauranga with friends but insisted she was well enough to go)

  • Nathalie almost passed out while standing in line for check-in. She was so miserable and pale that I almost didn't let her go. We found out today, as she was going through security (after I'd left), she graced the floor with what had been a milkshake just half an hour before. She was quite sick and feverish during the flight and still is. SHE NEEDS PRAYER and so does the family she's staying with - 9 people plus our kids!!!

  • As I was at the airport with Nathalie and Jeremie, Kylie was getting worse and complaining about an ear-ache. It got so bad after we left the airport that she was crying with pain non-stop, asking to be taken to a doctor.

MORE HIGHLIGHTS:



  • Amazingly, I found a doctor, although I had no clue where there was one (long story involving a taxi ride...). He treated Kylie for free and we got medication for her. She is still quite sick.

  • It seems that Jeremie was very kind and helpful to Nathalie on the trip and his cold is getting bette. Good news!

  • Rich's plane came in on time and we had a smooth trip back - got home just after 8:00pm

I won't go into the "lowlights" of yet another miserable night with sick Kylie, but it sure is nice to have Rich back! We talked for hours last night. After helping during the night, he made the fire this morning and let me stay in bed and catch up on sleep (or kind of sleep, with the constant back-ground "noise" of coughing going on by the girls).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Would appreciate your prayers!

If you get this, could you please shoot up a prayer for our family. We are just about to leave for Auckland. Most of us had a horrible night. All the girls (except for me, Thank God!) are coughing up a storm, Nathalie and I hardly slept at all, Jeremie has come down with a sore throat, too.

We REALLY need God's intervention, healing and strength to make it through this day.

Nathalie and Jeremie need to be healed and well to enjoy their long-awaited trip!

Thanks so much!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wanna sing at a funeral?

Ok, so here I am on the last day before Nathalie and Jeremie's big trip to Tahiti. Two teenagers are going mental with excitement (not saying any names), there's a huge list of things left to do and two sick children (Leilani and Kylie) to care for.

Now, is this typical or what: the phone rang more times today and we had more people coming to our house than sometimes in a week.

To top it all off, I thought I didn't hear well when I got a call from our church, asking if I had time RIGHT NOW. They were going to have a funeral and suddenly realized that they had nobody to sing. And guess who they called up to ask if she could make her lovely voice resound at the funeral???
Guessed it! Yours truly!
Now, I should feel quite honored to be asked that, especially since I have never once sang at church except for in the pew... :)

However, as you guessed, I kindly declined and had a hearty laugh with the kids when I got off the phone!

Our church is actually a really good church, normally very well organized. Check out our new website www.livinghopechurch.co.nz

Anyways, still got quite a few things to tick off my list and then hopefully get a good nights sleep before getting up at 5:30am to get ready to leave to the airport.

One bonus: we get to pick up Rich from the airport 4 hours after Nathalie and Jeremie take off. Hopefully Leilani and Kylie will be well enough to walk around the shopping mall with me during the waiting time. If not, we'll just have to find a movie theatre with an appropriate film for Kylie, although Nathalie will be very upset in that case, because she wanted to be the one taking Kylie to her first movie.
But - as we say in Germany - you can't dance on every wedding.
She's going to TAHITI!!!

After yet another phone call, I better close here and get to work.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Asking for prayer

Here is a short update I just sent out to those that pray for us:

There are times when Rich and I handle our times of separation quite easily. Other times are harder – like this time. We miss each other A LOT!!!

Last night, I had a vivid dream that left me with the sense that our marriage is under attack from the enemy. I found out talking with Rich on the phone today that the wife of the Fijian leader for IWT had a very similar dream last night. Hmmm, interesting…

Heading up a big project like what’s happening in Fiji is always like being on the frontlines of a battle-field. In our case, Rich’s frequent travels to Fiji definitely put a strain on our marriage. When he’s home, we do get to catch up, but there are so many things to take care of that the level of stress is significant – and the intimate, romantic side of the marriage suffers.

Soooo, if you think of us, it would be nice if you could pray for a hedge of protection around our marriage – and that of Taubale and Ofa – and all other couples involved in the project. That we would be able to have quality time when we do get to be together and that our marriages would thrive – in the midst of the battle and sacrifices – and our love for each other increase.

Yesterday, Leilani came down with a violent case of the flu – PLEASE PRAY for quick healing and that nobody else in the family would get it!!! I will drive Nathalie and Jeremie to Auckland to the airport on Wednesday, as they will fly out to Tahiti. I will pick up Rich a few hours after the kids’ departure. So we really ALL need to be well. It looks like Rich will only stay home for 9-10 days before heading off to Fiji again.
THANK YOU HEAPS FOR YOUR PRAYERS!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Some more photos

Here are some photos of (most of) the cute kids I've been looking after this past week:



Am I ready for the orphanage stuff or what?


Actually, I heard first-hand today from a friend from our church who has just come back from a missions-trip to Rwanda, Africa - about the conditions in the orphanages there - just appaling!!!


She said they went to the supposedly best orphanage in the country. There were 150 babies and children up to age 5 with 4 (!) full-time staff - and a few additional people hired part-time. The way they carried the babies and treated them was shocking and when she picked one up, it was completely soaked - sheets and blankets and all. Their biggest need they said was disposable diapers, since they can't wash and dry all the cloth ones when it rains.

I think some basic training in baby/child-care would be appropriate too - according to my friend's report! I CAN'T WAIT TO GO!!!!

In case you've forgotten how I look like

I know - - - I've been awfully silent. Life's been real busy this week with Rich gone and all. Just thought to let you see Kylie's work of art from this morning.

Lately, she wants me to paint her face every time we go to Playcenter - usually she wants a tiger painted on her face.


Today, she REALLY wanted to return the favor and here's the result of our budding artist:


Did I mention that I managed to get a few funny looks on the way home in the car? AND - I had the audacity to quickly stop by the chemist (pharmacy) to pick up something on the way home - - -

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Day to Remember...

Rich and I got engaged exactly 20 years ago today!!!
It's hard to get my mind around the fact that it's been sooooooo looooooong since that amazing day in the gorgeous Swiss mountains.
How come I still feel so young - and yearning for one (or more) more children... ???
And how come the memories of that special day are still so vivid in my memory???
WOW - is all I've got left to say - 20 years!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kylie's special appointment with God

One more addition to our "Special Outing":
Benny Hinn was very strong about not allowing any noise, distractions or children playing in the aisles while he was preaching and we were hoping that Kylie would stay still. She was absolutely amazing and sat still during the 4 1/2 hours of the meeting!!! I guess there were more miracles than healings and salvations :)

What blew me away was that Kylie was actually listening to the preaching. She sat on my lap colouring and every so often looked up to me, reacting to something Benny Hinn said. Like the time he said "We're all going to die". She looked up at me with an open mouth and amazement in her face, repeating quietly, yet dramatically to me, "We're going to die!"

When the altar call for salvation came, she put up her hand. After a few more explanations, Benny said for every one that had put up their hand to come forward to the stage. So Kylie jumped off my lap and started to go forward - with me following, of course.
And there, in front of 12.000 people, along with hundreds of people, sucking on her thumb, she made a public statement that she wanted to belong to Jesus. She readily repeated the prayer and was happy as (as they say here). I felt that she really understood what she was doing - in her 3-year-old way. BEAUTIFUL!!!

One more thing: the next morning around 6am (Rich and I shared a bedroom with Leilani and Kylie that night) when everyone was still fast asleep after a late night - Kylie woke us up by saying: "Mom - - - I really love you!" When I didn't react cuz I was still trying to sleep - she repeated herself a few minutes later, until I responded.
Isn't that so sweet? Now how's that for losing sleep - compared with the many other times our children robbed our sleep in the past - - -
I JUST LOVE HER - AND ALL CHILDREN!!!

Special Family Outing

With Rich being gone so much (he's going to Fiji again on Saturday), we decided to go on a special family outing to Auckland last Friday/Saturday. The kids REALLY wanted to go to a Benny Hinn meeting there, after watching "This Is Your Day" on a regular basis when we were in Germany last (on God TV via satellite). So off we went.

It was an adventure just to get there. We thought we'd be fine for time getting there 1 1/2hours before the start of the evening (after driving 2 1/2hours). WRONG!
After getting stuck in traffic and being a little later than anticipated, we stood in a huge line of people - like sardines in a can - to get into Auckland's biggest indoor stadium for close to an hour. There were still 2-3000 people outside with us when the organizers decided to close the doors because the house was full.

Now comes the good part: our Samoan pastor friend (the really generous one, remember?) that we were going to stay with that night after the meeting, felt to come to the entrance. He was inside, getting concerned that we hadn't arrived yet and wanted to look for us. That's when he found out that they were going to close the doors...

What now? He quickly reacted and after a short phone call from Rich (thank God for cell phones!) just in time (we didn't know they were going to close the doors, Rich just felt to call Salomon), he got the main security guy and insisted that there was this pastor outside with his family that HAD TO get in. He even took off his own pastor's badge and showed it as if it were ours ...

And we couldn't believe our eyes when the security guy came outside - we weren't far from the entrance - and signaled for us to get in quickly. I guess it wasn't hard to spot us - we were just about the only white people in the queue... Auckland is amazingly multi-cultural - we love it!
Anyways, little did we know at the time that we would have stayed outside had he not done that... OUFF!!! Made it JUST in time! And felt really sorry for all the people left outside ... :(

Not only that - we were then escorted by Salomon to some of the best seats in the 12.000 seat stadium - in the VIP section. Now that was another answer to prayer. We'd prayed for good seats, since the kids wanted to be as close as possible to the "action" - and "action" there was!

God's kind of action - it was amazing, beautiful, touching!!!

I don't care how some people critizise Benny Hinn. We found him to be a man of God - preaching the Gospel clearly (and no, not asking for money in an exaggerated way!).

We were sitting right next to the aisle where empty wheelchairs kept coming with people walking behind them - and a long line of people standing in line waiting to testify to a healing God had done. I think we will never forget the joy, tears and faces of the people on stage testifying of numerous healings, including deaf ears opened, arthritis gone and all kinds of other pains gone. There was a man who had been dismissed from hospital that afternoon. The doctors sent him home, giving him one week to live - he was dying of cancer and in a lot of pain. He felt God surge through him and all his pain was gone. He was convinced he was healed! And on and on!

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!!

Kylie's new bike


It's taken me a few days :)

- here's the promised photo of Kylie with her new bike. She went to "kindi" with it yesterday for the first time - totally thrilled and LOVING it!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Another blessing

I've just got to share another big blessing we received today:
I babysat a little boy today just to help out his Mom (will be doing that every Wednesday morning from now on - him and his little sister - sister was sick today).

When I dropped him off at home, his Mom asked if we would like a bicycle for Kylie. She had been given one - in pink - and didn't need it (she's got 3 boys and her daughter is only 1).
So we gladly took it, and after a little fixing up, Kylie is now able to use it - with training wheels. She is soooo happy and proud of her new bike!
Photos to follow :)

Amazing! Thank you, Lord!!!

Celebrating the Queen's Birthday in Style

On Monday, it was the "Queen's Birthday" - a public holiday in NZ (and Britain, I suspect). We invited a family with 8 kids for "afternoon tea" ("Kaffe und Kuchen" for you Germans). Actually they came with "only" 6 kids. Anyway, we had a really fun time with them - and got blessed off our socks: one of their sons is a passionate diver and he had just gotten lobster (or crayfish, as they say here) the night before.

From a previous visit with us they knew that we loved lobster. so they brought us a couple - and we had them for dinner.


Look at those beauties - they fed our whole family!


They were exquisit - and we felt soooooooooooooo blessed!!! Once again, the kids were just over the moon - one of them was even touched to tears by this wonderful gift... and the scrumptious taste of the lobster melting in our mouths - - -


What a generous Father - to bless us so much!

Just imagine what we would have missed, had we not invited them... :)hmmm.

Showing hospitality is a lot of work and as much as I enjoy it, I have to continually make a conscious effort for it. It would be easier and more comfortable just staying as a family, but we feel it's the Lord's love that we extend in hospitality - and we get blessed in return every time - usually not with anything material - especially not lobster -

But our lesson this time was once again that you can't outgive God.

Thanks, Lord!!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Catching up (and fish) time

My lack of writing is due to "happy happenings" at our home last week. It's been great catching up with Rich and also having John with us!



John was such a blessing to Rich in Fiji and then to us here!


On Wednesday, he treated Rich and a couple of guys from the House of Prayer to a day of fishing. It was a gorgeous day with fantastic fishing! They were taken out by a charter boat that normally takes up to 30 people - that day it was just the 4 of them! They had an awesome time!


And the rest of the family enjoyed some raw fish salad on their return - yumm! Even after a few give-aways we still have more fish in the freezer!


Here are the fishermen with some of the fish




And Jeremie preparing a plate of raw fish for himself - thinly sliced with Olive oil and salt! You should have seen the passion he prepared this with, it took him a LONG time and then he was reluctant to share it... :)

He doesn't show excitement very much, but boy, did it come out then - my island boy!

As for the hoped-for photos from Fiji - well - - - they weren't quite the 250+ I expected to see - - - :) John just took a few so here are a couple.


For more photos I guess I'll have to go myself one day.


This is a service where Rich was preaching and sharing about the vision for IWT.


Having a cup of tea with one of the local people


Sitting with a planning committee and explaining them what they need to do.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Nice to meet you!

Rich is back!!! YEAH!!! We're all so happy to be together again!

Right after Kylie woke up this morning, she wanted to see her Daddy and quickly went to our bedroom, where Rich was just about to get up. Her eyes lit up and she sweetly told him: "Nice to meet you!"

We all cracked up laughing (Nathalie and Leilani were there, too) - funny girl!

She is starting to have a few more English mannerism...
The other day when I had somebody over for "afternoon tea", with the table nicely set, candles and an apple crumble (typical NZ treat) with icecream, her comment was - as the 3 of us were sitting around the table - "This is lovely" (you HAVE TO imagine the totally English sounding way she pronounced LOVELY...) I really don't know where she's getting all this from - we don't talk like that at our house and she doesn't hang around Kiwis that much (except for kindi and church).

Before I close and get back to the family happenins' tonight, I've got to rectify a couple of things I wrote in my blog:

Rich and John did end up getting some water from the neighbours before going to church yesterday, so didn't have to go all yucky and unshaved.
And - the taxi drive I told you about actually was paid by the budget for the campaign and not by us (most other taxi/plane rides weren't, though...)
Still - we need to pray for the release of the vehicles from customs, because the money for all those taxi rides could really be better invested elsewhere!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Almost Home!

Rich is just on his way to preach at a church near Nadi, Fiji - and then he'll take that plane that'll bring him back home - YEAH!!! We're all so excited - he should be home around midnight - together with John!!!



Those past 2 weeks have gone really well for all of us - THANK YOU VERY MUCH if you have prayed!!!



For me - even having to deal with a dog that got hit by a car, a flat tyre and keys looked in the car (Jeremie), a minor car accident (me) and sick kids (mostly Jeremie), a lot of guests, too - it was a good time over-all, and I really felt God's ABUNDANT GRACE!!! Isn't he so good?!



Rich sounded cheerful on the phone and it seems like he also experienced God's grace in a very tangible way. We'll hear more in the next week - and hopefully get to see some photos! I had asked John to take LOTS of them - so that we can get a bit more of a feel for what Rich is doing when he is in Fiji. John is more of a photo person than Rich :)



Just one more bit of 'Fiji live": Rich and John had to go to church this morning without having taken showers or being able to shave for 24 hours (imagine, we're in the Tropics...). The base where they were staying at has had no water! Gotta love Fiji :)!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Please pray!

While I am freezing - sitting at my computer - Rich I'm sure is rather hot in Fiji... What different worlds we're in at the moment - in more than one way!



Rich is doing well, although he's starting to get tired from his full program. He called me today just before taking off to more meetings with Pastors (he had 6 hours with Pastors yesterday). He and John were going to take a taxi for the 1 1/2 hr ride to where the meeting was, the taxi driver was going to wait for them (hopefully not a 6-hour meeting!) and then drive them back. And all this for $100 (about US$70-80, I think) - which, by the way, needs to be paid by us, since we have to cover all of Rich's travel costs.



Now this is definitely not Plan A as far as transport is concerned.

A few months ago, 2 much needed vehicles were sent off to Fiji from New Zealand. One of them was supposed to be on the island of Vanua Levu, which is where Rich is at the moment, where it was supposed to get used for the facilitators etc.

HOWEVER - since the military coup, things have changed in Fiji and even non-profit organization are no longer excempt from horrendous import taxes for cars.

There is no way that IWT can pay what is being asked for the vehicles to get released from customs. Lots of effort - and prayer - has gone into trying to get them released, but to no avail.



Hey, could you please join us in prayer for favor and the quick release of the 2 vehicles! This is really important so that "we" can function with all the work that needs to get done in Fiji! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

All-time-favorite

Whenever I want to make sure that the kids get a good share of veggies at dinner, I make our all-time-favorite carrot/apple salad.

I thought I'd share it - in case anybody is looking for some yummy, healthy way to enjoy fresh stuff:



Finely grate 4-5 large carrots

Finely grate 2-3 apples (more or less, depending on your preference)

Mix and add some natural yoghurt (equivalent of about one small container), juice of 2 limes (or 1 1/2 lemons) and a bit of pepper.



Voila - easy as pie - actually much easier :)



We all love it and the children eat HEAPS - tonight Kylie kept helping herself again and again - probably 5 or more times...

YEAH - that makes Mommy haaaapppyyy!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dinner conversations

I love our dinner times! It's the time of the day when everybody (or almost everybody) is around and gets to download stuff that happened during the day. Today, it was just Nathalie, Jeremie, Kylie and me (Leilani was at a school function and of course, Rich wasn't there) but we had some really good laughs!

Most of the time we laugh about things Kylie says (what a blessing to have a little one in the house!) and today was no exception.

Nathalie was asking her what she'd done at kindi and she said with that very important voice that she'd learned to "pray for Jesus." Now we're pretty sure that didn't happen, because that's not what they do at kindi - it's not a Christian one.

Maybe she was teaching other kids to pray?
Or she is learning to pray while she's there 'cuz she needs God's help? (She was actually singing to God again this morning and kept repeating "I need you, I need you!")

I guess we'll never quite find out what happened at kindi.

She does have an issue with making things up that aren't true.

During the Sunday School lesson last Sunday, the teacher was reminding the kids of the 10 commandments that they've been learning.

When the teacher said "Don't lie", I heard Kylie comment :"I lie"...
Same with stealing --- which is true, too --- :(
At least she is starting to realize that those things aren't good.


So anyway, tonight, she was telling us again that she was praying for a baby, but she actually said that she was praying for a "baby cub" :)(remember, she is also believing for a lion and bear cub?!)

She said this after Nathalie exclaimed that we really needed another baby in the family, 'cuz Kylie is so cute and so much fun!


Nathalie encouraged Kylie to keep praying and reminded her that she had to pray for 3+ years for Kylie to be born. Boy, was that worth it :)

OOPS

Today, our van had a little too close fellowship with a car.
I was backing out of the parking lot at "kindi" after picking up Kylie when I suddenly heard a big "bump" - and Leilani shouted, "You hit a car and it's moving".

She was right and the car that had been parked right behind us was moving... That was pretty scary - - - and it could have ended way worse than it did. I was a bit shocked at first (this has never happened to me in 26 years of driving), but then I saw God's protection in it:

The owner of the other vehicle obviously hadn't put on the handbrake, and when I hit it from behind, it "just" moved forward down a slight hill. So there was hardly any damage at all - just a little crack in the bumper.

I am so grateful - looking back - that the car stopped moving before it went too far - and - nobody got hit by the suddenly moving car (there were lots of kids/people around!)

Thank you, God, for your protection!!! I'm so grateful you're looking out for me! And please - let that new contact lens come in quickly - it'll be helpful - especially when I'm driving :) No worries, I am legally allowed to drive without them, but I do feel more secure with them!

Monday, May 21, 2007

THANKFUL

It's not that I've got nothing else to do but blog along - - -
I'm escaping the dishes that are calling me from the kitchen.
I'm really tired (didn't get a rest yesterday after all) and writing comes easier to me than doing dishes.
Here's a photo of Jeremie in his school-uniform.
Isn't that a crack-up?! Even Rich hardly ever gets dressed-up like that...
Handsome young man he is (Jeremie, I mean) - Rich is handsome, too :), and I miss him - sniff sniff
If Jeremie looks a bit "miserable" to you it's because he's been sick. He got all ready this morning to go to school and then realized he was still too weak - and ended up staying home.

I was just thinking today what a contrast our life is now compared to 2 years ago shortly after we'd arrived in NZ - lonely with no friends - - -

I remember having to exhort myself repeatedly to be patient, just patient - and that we're going to make new friends - it just takes time.
Now our social lives are so full that we don't even have the time to call and see everybody we'd like to - let alone meet new people like the new neighbours. But even that will come :)
What a change - especially for Nathalie who was so discouraged with our church youth group when hardly anybody had talked to her in her first 10 months! She now knows so many people (from school, church and work) that I can't ever walk around with her anywhere in town without meeting several people she knows - she's got a real gift at making friends and being a friend, too.
Reasons to be VERY GRATEFUL! THANK YOU, JESUS!!!

Off to the kitchen I go. Good night!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A little child

The best part of my day by far was this morning when I was trying to have some quiet moments with God.
I had already read books to Kylie for about half an hour and then told her to leave me alone while I talk to God and read my Bible.
Before I could start reading, I had to stop and listen to the most beautiful, touching, love-song from her to God - it lasted for about 10-15 minutes and was interspersed with prayers (you'd think she'd been to the prayer room - which she hasn't, since she can't stay still and quiet very well).

I bet God's ears were totally attentive to every word she sang/prayed and his heart melted away - even more than mine did :)

"Unless you become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Jesus

WOW!!! What a revolutionary concept! I love it!
Kylie's simplicity and sincerity surely made her the "greatest" in our family today :)

Here are some of the things she kept singing over and over:

"I love you so much, God. I know you. You are my best friend.
You need to come into my heart.
Please give us a baby." (this is totally from her - not inspired by me, I don't talk about my desire to have another baby).

After a while she started praying and asking God to give us a baby - and also a guinea pig and a rabbit.
Then she got bolder and started asking for a lion and a bear cub... :)

I just wish I could have recorded all this - it was too precious! I'm sure it's recorded with God and that's what counts - I just got to enjoy listening in :)

Lord, I ask you that she would never lose that spontaneous, natural way to relate to you and that you would increase her knowledge and love for you as you reveal yourself to her more and more!
And yes, please grant her desire for a baby! A guinea pig and a rabbit are ok with me, too. Don't know about the lion and the bear... :)
Thank you for giving us Kylie - what a joy and gift she is to our family!


some silly faces


look at my big nostrils!




silly girl


Defintion of a cold

How does a 3-year old define a sore throat and a plugged up nose?
Here is Kylie's definition:

Sore throat: I think a bee stung a hole in my throat

Plugged-up nose: I can't smell!

I guess you've got to work with the familiar to describe the unfamiliar - clever :)

More feasting

Yesterday was another one of Nathalie's school balls - yes, again! - I think it's the last one!
She'd asked if we could have the "pre-ball" at our house. This started with taking photos just after 5pm and then hanging out eating until just before 8pm when the ball started. We had some really nice (looking) young folk here last night :) - and a good time meeting some parents as well.

Here is a photo of Nati with Tim, the guy she went with - along with a whole bunch of other friends.

Just had Rich on the phone. He's doing well - very busy. He's now going to a church to preach and present IWT and right after the service he will take the 4-5hour bus ride from Nadi to Suva (the capital). He really enjoys having John from Tahiti with him and not to have to do all that traveling by himself!

After a full-on day yesterday, preparing food pretty much all day and getting the house ready for guests, I am glad I can relax a bit today. No plans other than going to church twice - in the morning to serve the littlies in the creche and in the evening to actually be in the service. That is, if Kylie is kind enough to take a nap this afternon. Otherwise I will have to stay home with her. Nathalie and Jeremie also go in the evenings, since they work with the children in the mornings.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

About Mistakes

It's been an interesting week where I've been learning some things about mistakes.


Leilani's school newsletter had an interesting article about how mistakes are not bad and shouldn't be classified as such.


The only mistakes that are bad are the ones we don't learn anything from.


If we consider mistakes to be "bad", we will not want to take risks to learn new things, because we don't want to fail.

If we see them as stepping stones for acquiring new skills - even finding out the hard way - then mistakes are actually good! Hmmm..., there was a lot more to the article and I found it most inspiring and helpful.


Now to the practical side of mistakes made this week - on Monday, I took Toffee, our dog, for a walk. Now let the reader understand that Toffee is a "beautiful blonde dog" and extremely good-natured, yet plain stupid (much to Jeremie's dismay, who still misses the clever dog he had in Tahiti).


She has never learned to obey either and when we got her at 5 1/2 years of age, there was no remedy (and we tried, let me tell you :)!)


To make a long story short, I didn't put her on her leash when we came back from the park, since I thought it's such a short walk, and she did it again - ran like a madman - or rather - maddog - after a car that came driving by, to bark at the front tyre - and this time she got hit! OUCH!


One of her back legs was obviously hurt and after waiting to see if it would heal by itself, I felt I needed to take her to the vet on Friday. She was still not standing on it.

Through my mistake of not putting her on the leash (and Rich had even told me just before to make sure I put her on that leash), I not only lost time and money I really didn't want to spend, but poor Toffee is suffering.

It's nothing too bad and I'm sure she'll be fine soon.


I am hoping that I am not the only one learning from my mistake... ! We'll see when she'll be able to go for walks again. Except I won't give her a chance anymore to run after any car! Nope! Not even for 100meters.


The other mistake happened last night when I had to clean one of my contacts 'cuz it was dirty. While I tried putting it back in, there was a phone call. The contact fell into the sink and somehow got sucked onto the sink so I couldn't get it off anymore. I figured I'd leave it there and answer the phone that Leilani was trying to pass me impatiently. I thought that I could surely get it off a little later.


Now Leilani, being the helpful person she is, tried to get it off while I was talking on the phone - and accidentally broke it. There was another painful and expensive lesson. I wasn't a happy camper at first, but quickly realized I needed to forgive her right away - she was devastated about her unintentional mistake and its costly consequence... which I made sure to let her know - bad mommy...


I don't know if you remember my ordeal from a few months ago - but it took me many weeks to get new contacts - and they weren't cheap either (I need hard ones).


So, there's been some learning going on at our house this week, as you can see. One thing I'll try to incorporate into my way of dealing with mistakes - be it my own or others' - is that they are not actually bad but merely learning experiences. This will - hopefully - help me to react a bit more relaxed when they happen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ramblings

When you don't hear from me, it's usually that I'm more busy than normal.
Between Leilani's birthday party with her friends and Rich's departure for Fiji yesterday, there was lots going on at the Betts' house the last few days.

I had a great Mother's Day! My only wish was not to have to do any work at all for a day - this means more to me than gifts - and costs the family more, too ... :)

Rich and the kids treated me to a beautifully set breakfast table, white table-cloth and all, with my favorite breakfast - freshly made vegetable juice and a bowl of natural yoghurt with honey, sliced almonds, grated apple and sliced banana - yumm! The rest of the family had pancakes, they're not so excited about my favorite breakfast :) - strange...

Rich just happened to find a gorgeous orchard in our yard (!) that he put in a vase with some fern - it was/is beautiful!

I thoroughly enjoyed being lazy for a day (except serving at the creche at church)! It was very nice - and worth repeating :)!!!
Another amazing blessing was a poem that Leilani wrote to me - the best piece of writing she's ever done - I was touched to tears by it - sniff, sniff. I am a blessed woman!
So - Rich is gone again :( he's got a very intense and demanding/challenging 2 weeks ahead of him, traveling a lot and meeting with all kinds of people for the preparations of IWT. It would be great if you could keep him in your prayers!

A special bonus is that John Liu, our Chinese/Tahitian friend who has worked with IWT in the past, is accompanying Rich on this trip. This will be nice company and encouragement for Rich. John is on a 3-week vacation and will spend the last week here with us when they get back.

He will also be helping in the area of finances for the campaign - with his expertise as an accountant! What a blessing!

YET another BIG day was yesterday, as Kylie started "Kindi" - or preschool!!! To start out with, she will be going for 2 1/2hours 3 afternoons a week.

She is so amazingly independent! Today was only her 2nd day and she told me that I didn't need to stay with her. She has no problem staying with 43 children and teachers she doesn't know - and that right after she got bit by one of the pet-rats at the preschool (with quite some blood...) - yuck!

What a trooper, my little baby-girl, who's not a baby any more at all!!!
Forgot to mention that she had her first public "performance' on Sunday. She was filmed during the week to do the announcements for the church services - together with a little boy. They were supposed to act like news reporters. We had the most hilarious time filming them, and the congregations (3 services) cracked up, too, when they saw them on the big screen! She's quite a character, that's for sure!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Photos from Fiji

If you are interested in seeing a few photos of the people that Rich works with in Fiji, you can have a look at a friend's blogspot http://www.mistycole.blogspot.com
Misty and Josh live here in Tauranga and Josh goes back and forth to Fiji just like Rich, helping to set up the campaign.
The photos were taken last week during a staff retreat for all the people that are involved in the Impact World Tour project in Fiji. Rich was supposed to have been there, too, but we couldn't finance his trip.

He is leaving for Fiji on Monday again for a couple of weeks. Be bought his ticket "by faith"... his trips are getting to be quite a challenge financially - but he just HAS to go. Would appreciate your prayers for God's provision!

Jeremie had his first painful encounter with another person's head during a Rugby practice and got his nose broken... OUCH! Good thing he was able to set it straight by himself right afterwards. Now it just needs time to heal - no cast :)

Monday, May 7, 2007

A BIG day at the Betts'

Today is a memorable day - our first child is in the possession of a driver's licence!!! Watch out New Zealand!
Jeremie got his "restricted" licence, which you can get in New Zealand after passing the road code and having a "learners" licence for 6 months.


He got the "learners" as soon as he could - right after his 15th birthday and has been VERY motivated to learn! Today, the 6 months were up and he passed the driving test!!! He can now drive by himself (only) and up to 10pm until he'll get his full licence in a year or so.

We're so proud of him! He's been very easy to teach and I've got one of those fuzzy-milestone-feelings of mothering - even more so since I was his main teacher :)

Another milestone in the Betts house was reached just a few days ago when Kylie has waived good-bye to diapers for ever - doesn't even need them anymore at night!

We're so proud of her, too, as we are of all our kids - of course :)!!!

I had lots of fun today as I literally spent HOURS playing with Kylie! I felt it was time for a good dose of filling up that love cup - after a busy few days with minimum attention.

There is no greater joy for me - kids are so much fun!

It wasn't quite so fun when I was late with my housework and welcoming my guests tonight with the kitchen/living room still messy. But - hey- that's ok. If I have to sacrifice one thing, I'd rather sacrifice the spotless house than my cute toddler :)!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Photos from a very special Grandparents' visit

Beloved Grand-parents!!!


Yeah! I actually get to use the computer tonight, which is a rare occurence. The kids usually have some homework to do on it or they are chatting - or playing - - -

Nathalie's out at a school function and Jeremie's "out" in bed, after an extremely tiring day at school and after-school sports (it's rugby now!), Kylie's asleep and Rich is "fishing" with Leilani - on the TVscreen with an X-Box game - for lack of the "real" thing :)

Here are some photos of the grand-parents' visit for you to enjoy. It's hard to choose - there were so many memorable times.

This first one was taken at the sulfur pools in Rotorua
The one and only fish caught during our time together!

Getting a special foot-massage
How spoiled can you get?!


Who's reading to whom?

This last one was taken at the "Hot Water Beach" in the Coromandel. This was a fabulous experience! We spent about 5 hours at this beach - mostly sitting in our pool that was filled with nice hot water

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Back from Aussie-land!

My heart is (THANK)-FULL!!!
The week was great - very rich with God - in fellowship, inspiration, refreshing and good food!
The kids seem to have had a good time, too, and we're all glad to be back together again!
Amazing how you can leave two teenagers for a week and come back to a CLEAN house! WOW!!! What great kids!!!


The two "little ones" seem to have done very well, too. This was Kylie's first time ever away from both of us for more than 24hours!



She told me this morning that she wanted us to go to Australia again. When I kept asking her questions to make sure I really understood her right, she kept insisting, adding "... so that you can bring me a backpack again." I guess she really liked the little backpack we picked out for her at the airport in Sydney :) - one she'll need for going to "kindi" (preschool) soon.


As soon as Rich and I stepped back into our home, we both came down with a nasty cold that's given us 2 miserable nights already and not much better days. We trust and pray that it's all uphill from here. There is so much work to be caught up on...

Back to Australia: We really loved our time there! First of all, it's not hard to fall in love with Australia (the little we saw). As a matter of fact, we just LOVE the nations - all of them!


It is most fascinating how the songs of the birds are so different in every country! The songs of the Aussie birds that we awoke to every morning were so interesting - and different!

Just like the songs and style of praise of humans is so different from country to country, so are the birds'! Just a little foretaste to heaven...

We LOVE it!!!
Here is an Aborigine playing his "praise" on a digeridoo - a most unique sound!



At the conference, there were more than 600 YWAMers (and friends) from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific- all ages, all colours and oh so many languages! We felt so at home in our YWAM-family and it was great to reconnect with "old" friends and get to know new ones.

Truly a great bunch of folks - and outstanding leaders and speakers!

Are we blessed or what - to be able to be part of this family?!!

The photo below is us with Ken and Robyn Mulligan, the leaders of the Townsville base (Australia). The last time we were all together was over 20 years ago - in Switzerland - where we were on an evangelism team together. That was before Rich and I started our "special relationship"!


Here is Rich with Taubale, his good friend and leader for YWAM and IWT Fiji:

Taubale really needs our prayers, as his family is being extremely stretched with all that's happening in Fiji and the preparations for IWT - including the battles. What troopers for God he and his wife Ofa are! They used to live rather comfortably in New Zealand before God called them back to their nation, and at the moment they are struggling just to put food on the table as their support is minimal.

There's so much more to say - - - maybe later :)



Sunday, April 22, 2007

Off to Australia


Off we go to http://across2u.com/Proclaim.html

Catch up with you in a week!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Happenings

Our time with Rich's parents is drawing to a close - sadly...
It's been a most wonderful 2 weeks! God answered our prayers for beautiful weather, health, safety and a great memory-making time!

We'll celebrate both grandparents birthdays and then tomorrow, Rich will drive them to Auckland where they fly out in the evening.
What a precious time with them! Thank you Jesus!!!
(Photos coming...)

Then - on Sunday - Rich and I will drive to Auckland, where Rich will speak in a church about what's happening with IWT in Fiji.
Early Monday morning, we'll fly out to Sydney, Australia, for a YWAM staff conference!
I am so excited that I get to go with Rich!!! This will be our first plane ride by ourselves since our first flight to Tahiti 18 years ago!!! And the first time that we go to such a conference TOGETHER!!!

The time will be packed with meetings - and more meetings in between meetings - and connecting with fellow YWAMers from our region.
We are really expecting God to do some deep stuff during our time there!

And then we'll be back early the following Sunday.

Nathalie and Jeremie are excited to stay home by themselves - also for the first time!!!
Leilani and Kylie will stay with friends.

How blessed we are! Got to run... Lots of things to get ready still :)
I doubt I'll be writing more in the next week or so...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Where did she get that from?

Last night we had another amusing dinner-time. Everybody was chatting - it was Leilani's birthday and the attention had been on her all day - until Kylie sweetly interrupted: "Excuse me, I want to say something." She said a few things I forgot and then dropped "the bomb" : "First I was in Mommy's tummy - and then she pooped me out."

After we recuperated from a good laugh, I asked her where she heard that (definitely not from us or anybody we could imagine) and she said that it was Leilani - which Leilani affirmed was not true at all.

Now remains the question: Who's teaching our sweet little girl...???

Sunday, April 8, 2007

HAPPY EASTER and Grandparents

Happy Easter and may we all grow in our revelation of what really took place when Jesus died on that cross and then was raised back to life - - - it blows my mind!

THANK YOU JESUS, FOR THAT HUGE SACRIFICE!!!!

It's been such a busy week and we just barely got everything ready in time for Rich's parents' arrival today. It sure accelerated the final stages and clean-up of our moving in and I can now say - very tired but very happy: we've got everything in its place and a place for everything!!!!
Well, just about everything (most of our books are still in boxes and will be until we can buy a book shelf)

Can't tell you what a relief that is for me!!!
When Rich or the kids ask me where this or that is, I actually know it! And hopefull they'll soon know it, too, so they won't need to ask any more. WHEW!!!

It is wonderful having Rich's parents here!!! We sure miss not having grandparents around most of the time! It was kind of funny and kind of sad at the same time having to prepare Kylie for their visit. She does not know them at all (she was a baby when we saw them 3 years ago), neither does she understand the concept of grandparents or who they are.

"Why are they coming to stay at our house?"
"Are they going to like me?"

She was so relieved when I told her that they're going to love her and she squealed with delight. Amazing that she would even wonder about that... must be the influence of those teenagers in the house... :)

I guess for her they are strangers - but that's going to change now!

What I am really grateful about is that the older children do have some relationship with them! Of course it is not as close as if we lived close by, but there are many good memories of times spent together over the years. Makes me all the more glad that we went out of our way (and financial possibilities) to visit them every 3 years or so. The kind of investment that is priceless!!!

Should be a fun couple of weeks with them - hopefully creating many more happy memories!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Invitation

I'd like to invite you to look at Julie's website. Julie is leading the "Impact Evangelism School" in Fiji at the moment, training workers for "Impact World Tour". This is just one page with some photos (can you find Rich?) and an interesting report from this week.

www.reeftooutback.com/article.aspx?id=22123

Enjoy and have a VERY HAPPY EASTER!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Friends

While Rich and Kylie are out choosing some paint for one of our living room walls (the present colour really doesn't match our couch set!) I should be doing all kinds of other things, but I can't resist to write you some more ...

Remember our Samoan friend? We were blown away again by his generosity! He never sends Rich off empty-handed, or let's say, with an empty gas tank!

Besides feeding him a feast on Sunday night, he took him out for breakfast Monday morning, and sent him home with a new/used shirt and a big box full of muesli bars for the kids. His generous heart really blesses us - all the more since we know that he's not swimming in the bucks, either.
AMAZING!!!!

How wonderful it is to have Rich back!!!!

Kylie was telling him this morning out of the blue: "I like it that you and Mommy are friends." Isn't that so precious?!

Just like the books say, if you want to show love to your children, the first important thing to remember is to love your spouse. It ministers to them when they see their parents love each other!

Regular separations really help you appreciate each other more than if you see each other every day :)

I'm happy we're friends too!

We've got a very busy week ahead of us and lots of things to get ready before Rich's parents visit! They're arriving on Sunday for a 2-week-long-awaited-visit!!! We're all very excited about it and are planning on doing some excursions that we haven't had time to do since we've arrived in NZ.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Ever wondered...

...what missionary kids save their money for?

I don't know about others, but our two oldest ones have been working and saving just about every penny for the last 2 years for tickets to go back home.

Now the quiz question is: WHERE IS HOME???

This is THE MOST dreaded question for our kids: "Where are you from?"

Until very recently, Leilani has been answering people, "I'm from Tahiti."

With her looks, she usually gets abit of a surprised look. So now, she says what her brother and sister have been telling people when they are asked THE QUESTION (because of their foreign accent, which is a bit American, but not totally typical):

"My Dad is american, my Mom is German and I was born and raised in Tahiti." (I'm not sure the puzzled look on people's faces gets any better after this explanation).

Anyway, as you may have guessed by now, although our kids LOVE to go back to the US and Germany to see their families, HOME IS TAHITI!

So on Saturday, Nathalie and Jeremie booked flights to go back "home" for 2 1/2 weeks during the July/winter vacation. There was a special for tickets - almost half off the regular price!

Nathalie was just about over the moon!

Jeremie would have been over the moon, too. Except that he is completely exhausted from the rowing championships and not very emotional anyways.

Last year, he told us that he was going die if he couldn't go to Tahiti soon. Now being as non-dramatic of a boy as they get, this sounded an alarm in us parents. He really does need to go back for a visit!

In the meantime, though, as he's saved up money, he realized that he could actually buy himself a car with that money if he wasn't going to Tahiti.

Hard choice - - - since he'll have his restricted licence (can drive by himself during daytime) early May.

Priorities, priorities - - -
We're glad for them to be able to go back home together!

My hubby's coming back today!

After more than 2 weeks, Rich will be back home from Fiji this afternoon! YEAY!!! I am so excited!!!
I've got to run and get the house cleaned up. If there's time left, Kylie and I will bake him an American apple pie for his welcome - one of his favorites :)

Having come from the islands, I know he will not have suffered from starvation, but it's still nice to come home to that smell (and taste)!

He actually already arrived in Auckland yesterday but had to do some more ministry stuff there this morning. Nearly every time he comes and goes he stays in Auckland with our Samoan pastor friends we know from when we were working in Auckland with IWT 3 years ago.

It's so funny - it's become a family joke - they always have a BIG FEED for him, no matter what time of day or night he arrives!

Last time, he arrived after midnight. We all knew - and yes, it happened - our Samoan friend took him out to eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
It's hilarious! Even if he's not hungry and doesn't really want to eat at all (rather sleep), he HAS TO eat and fellowship first!

It would be unacceptable for the Samoan sense of hospitality to just pick him up from the airport and let him go to sleep.

Last night was no exception :)

We love our island friends!!! (and we'll know who to blame for extra-pounds)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

yearning and longing

Those of you faithful readers and those who've known me for a long time know my passion and love for orphans and Rich's and my desire to adopt - some day.

There is a little chinese girl in our church creche (where I work most Sundays) who was adopted by a beautiful NZ family. 2 years ago, when we first arrived, I remember her to be totally closed and unapproachable. She would only stay at creche with her older brother. She had been adopted about 6 months prior.

Her mother told me how the first year with her was horrific, as she was unable to receive any love and basically screamed at the top of her lungs for the major part of the year! She was adopted from a chinese orphanage where she'd stayed for 18 months.

She is now 4 and the most beautiful, well adapted little girl. She loves Jesus and participates willingly at everything we do - especially the songs that we do movements to.

Last Sunday night at church, Kylie and her were intently watching over 20 people getting baptized in a very moving service. As I was watching them getting as close as they could to the pool and cheering and clapping with the rest of us, I was pondering on the changes this little girl has gone through.

How touching to see what she is becoming! How beautiful, what this family has done to literally save her life (according to her mom, she would most likely not be alive today, had she stayed in that orphanage)!

As I told her Mum about it this morning - thanking her for adopting her and taking her into their family - she said, "And we're doing it again. We'll have to wait 2 years (and know at what cost), but It's worth it!" WOW!!!

I've hardly been able to fight back the tears since this morning. The longing in my heart to also adopt are so strong. I feel like I am painfully yearning for the child(ren) that should be in our family...

It's hard to describe - - -

I am just going to have to keep asking the Father that he would open doors that would naturally be closed (for reasons of residency and finance mostly). I'm going to be like that widow, pestering the unjust judge... And I know that God is everything BUT unjust!

I know that it all starts in prayer and I'm going for it!

new blog

Since I can't fix some annoying problems of my old blog, I decided to get a new one... :) Easy as.

Let's continue to enjoy the journey of LIFE!