Some personal information

(I haven’t forgotten about writing on women in their five folds, and I wasn’t done talking about the perfect marriage, either.)


My husband is on his second airport run of the day.  He also worked behind the bar (coffee bar), worked in his office, drove some Uber, hugged and kissed his wife and played with his kids.  A phenomenal man, I consider him.  He works long days without complaining or getting paid, which I think everyone should try at some point.  It will really make you think about why you work.  I think Hj is a little homesick too, because he has been listening to Dutch music and watching Dutch television while resting in his very American easy chair.  Our fellow YWAMers were moving back to Ireland and they left their recliner in the hallway for anyone to claim and guess who jumped on that baby quick as a wink?  Hj was thrilled.  “All I need now,” he says, leaning back with a contented sigh, “are some little Mennonite women bustling about the kitchen.”  🙂
Hj is also reading a lot of books this year.  Right now he is reading “The Practice of the Presence of God.”  Sometimes he reads me quotes, usually the ones he thinks are funny, but sometimes the ones that make him think too.  Sunday he got to play Ultimate Frisbee at our church picnic, and I thought it so good to see him run around in the green grass, just enjoying himself.  Everybody tells me he is awesome behind the bar, talking to strangers and engaging people.  Last-borns tend to be entertainers, you know.  He’s very good at what he does, anyway.

I, Joy, am pondering my yeses and my nose.  I’m sorry, I’m not sure how to spell it when you have more than one no.  I tried several things and autocorrect just gives me nose.  Funny that I would ponder my nose, eh?
I said no to pie night with the ladies tonight, and I said no to ladies’ meeting last night.  I said yes to writing you this update and yes to eating chocolate cake and ice cream.  I said no to Ellie when she wanted ice cream and yes when she wanted me to climb in her tiny bed with her.  It’s a unique discipline to have so many good, wonderful things in your life that you have to say no to a lot of them.
I feel like I have said no, no, no.  So many opportunities to do good, to be involved, to run this, to go there, and I have turned them all down.  My mentor encouraged me to practice saying no and then not feel guilty.  I did, and it was good.  We Fouserts like to have a big yes, though, so when my friend Lisa from upstairs asked if she could watch my kids just for anyhow, I whipped out my yes– the big one.  She came to my house, played with my kids, washed my dishes, made me tea, got my mail.  And when I came home after an hour, she wouldn’t let me in the door; said I wasn’t gone long enough.  Her youngest is five and she is dealing with adolescents and stuff so she thought hanging out at my house was a breeze.  I still cry when I think about her kindness, but I’m so glad I said yes.
I also said yes to making a good, hearty breakfast.  Yes to “wisdom time” with my kids.  Yes to weekly dates with my man.  Yes to the spills and the attitudes and the time-consuming training and reading stacks and stacks of books and playing endless hide and seek– they’re a huge part of my every day.  Why not put them on my to-do list and see if I can maybe fit the laundry and cleaning in there somewhere?  I’m sure my sister is rolling her eyes because she knows this actually comes way too naturally to me.  🙂  Perks, I say, of being the baby of the family.  We know what’s important and what isn’t.


Ellie, my little girl.  We think she is pretty great.  She is such a joy to have around our house, even on the difficult days.  She tasted root beer recently and she declared up and down it was Sprite.  “But it’s identical of Sprite!” she said.
Saturdays we have Family Night.  We do something fun after dinner, and then Ellie gets to sleep in our bed (for 30 minutes– but she doesn’t know that part).  It is truly a highlight of the week for Ellie.  The other night we did a story-telling contest and a tea party for our fun activities and Hj and I were laughing until our sides hurt.  “Remember when we just dreamed of Ellie talking to us?” he said.  Her tall tales and her dramatic body language were just the medicine we needed after a long week.
This morning she wept on my shoulder.  “Mommy, I feel so sad,” she wailed.  “I miss my friends; my friends Jaime and Megan.  Why don’t they come back?  I could feel happy if they drive back to my house.”  I had to blink back my own tears because I know that aching feeling and I know this is reality for us, on this side of heaven.
Thankfully Ellie also has her imaginary friends who never leave her.  Lap-payne is her best friend but she does have a brother Shap-payne who enters the picture sometimes.  Lap-payne goes with us everywhere, but she is very hard to see so sometimes I forget to strap her in her carseat or I accidentally sit on her.  She yells a hearty protest, so I remember better next time.  For her birthday, Ellie received a gift card from Lap-payne– a gift card for juice.  But then she drank it all herself.  Ellie loves her unconditionally, so this did not matter at all.  When we visited the Mennonite church down in Canon City, Lap-payne liked it so much she decided to stay and bring the bus home the next day.  Ellie Facetimed her from the car though, and made sure she was alright.


Sweet Adam just came down with hand, foot and mouth disease which is making its rounds here on the campus.  Poor baby is miserable, but I cannot get enough of his snuggles and pats and kisses.  He says lots of words but the cutest of all is when he says, “trash.”  Something about he way he puts so much effort into pronouncing it distinctly just makes me laugh every time.  I forgot how babies say the same word 10 times in a row every time they say a word.  I don’t know why they do it like that, but when Adam says “twash” 15 times while running to put something in the trash, I think it’s hilarious.
His answer to everything nowadays is, “kaka.”  It means cookie, candy, lollipop, shoes, and a couple other things I forget.  This morning I said, “Adam, what are you doing!?” because he was doing something dangerous and just as always, he looks at me innocently and says, “kaka!”  Being a mom is really funny.
He is so good-natured, like his papa.  He just rolls with whatever’s happening.  Unless, of course, it’s his will getting crossed.  He just started sitting down on the floor and yelling when he gets disappointed.  He thinks life is a bundle of fun, so anytime it proves otherwise, he gets really sad about it.  Not mad, just sad.
It’s interesting to me that even though he is so busy and curious, he loves being restrained.  He really likes his carseat, his blanket time and his bed.  Ellie protests all of those on a regular basis, and pretty much always has.  When I’m done pondering my nose, I ponder these other sorts of mysteries.

If there were a little one on the way, I would write about him/her here.

I turned 3 today!


Today is my 3rd birthday. Around 7:30 this morning, Adam jumped on my bed and woke me up with his noisy squeals and shouts of joy. Papa and Mama sang “Happy Birthday” to me and let me blow my candles out on my little stack of pancakes. There were lots of balloons and “slingers” hanging from the ceiling. In Holland it is normal to wake up on your birthday and find the house decorated!


My Tante Martine made a slinger with Peppa Pig on it and sent it to me.  I love it!  If I stand on the chair, I can touch it.  Every day this week, I got to open a package from my family far away.  I got so many really wonderful presents!  If you come over, I’ll show you all of them and I might even let you play with my little Peppa Pig and her camper van.


My Tante Sietske sent me some money in a card and I decided I wanted to buy a chai at Kairos for my birthday. Mommy said, “How about a pink drink?” and I thought that was fine so I got a raspberry cremosa. It was very, very yummy! I gave Brad the money and he gave me change. Now I have even more money!


Next we went to the park and I met some nice little girls there. I played with them on the stagecoach.  One little girl’s Papa pretended to be the stagecoach driver and he gave us all rides.


After that, we went to toddler time at the library.  I danced like crazy for the milkshake song and I popped lots of bubbles.  Adam did too.  He loves toddler time just as much as I do.  We brought home lots and lots of books to read this week.


Next to the library, there is a French bakery and Mom said we could eat lunch there.  I love being three!  If I hold my head up really tall, I can see I am growing big and bigger.  We came home and all took good, long naps.


Then our special guests came over for my birthday party:  Uncle PDs!!  I made a special plan to scream “Uncle PD!” when I see him and give him a wild hug but then when they came, I got a little shy and I didn’t give the wild hug.  But I love them so much, because they’re my family and they came for my birthday! We went to the park to eat cake and ice cream. I designed my cake a long time ago and yesterday, I helped Mommy make it just the way I imagined it. It had marshmallows and gummy bears and strawberries– all the yummy things.



My Papa read me a bedtime story and tucked me in with my special Dutch song.  But first, we talked a lot about my good day and how I am getting to be such a big girl.  You know my Papa is really happy about me?  He tells me that all the time.