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


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 :)


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


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.

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


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
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