Year’s End

Our fall was busy, and I don’t use that word lightly.  In fact, I hate the word “busy” and I try to avoid using it whenever possible.  I prefer to say I have a full life, but even that is starting to get a dark tone to it.  Constantly being busy shrivels my soul like no other, so I usually work hard to make time for pausing, reflecting, and being quiet.  It feels like swimming upstream sometimes, but I think I’m learning to feed my soul and spirit more than drive-thru fast food.  I discovered, though, that I am better at short bursts of very busy with white space in between than I am at constantly being sort of busy.  That’s kind of unrealistic, isn’t it?

God did set up creation to rotate through days and nights, seasons of harvest and seasons of rest.  I think that is the thing I am trying to learn, to find the rhythms that bring fruitfulness and peace.

This fall we had about 100 students join the already 150 full-time staff here, and that’s not counting all the kids.  We are at max capacity in this building.  God has been speaking to our leaders the past few years about building systems and roots that can hold more people, so it is a blessing to see the fulfillment of that word.  Hj and I led the business track of our DTS this quarter.  We had 5 students, who are in the lecture phase of their discipleship school.  Most of the time they were with the other 50 students in DTS, but we had several hours a week with them.  They got introduced to what business as mission (BAM) is, we took them on a number of field trips to local businesses, and they were instrumental in launching a fair trade store here on our campus.  They left this week for several months abroad, putting into practice all that they have learned the past three months here in Colorado.

Hj is helping several businesses in the 10/40 window establish an online presence through website and social media.  It’s a challenging job without ever having visited these businesses, but he is planning a trip next year to several countries where he can meet the business owners, as well as create and gather the content he needs.  Hj has committed to another year at the coffeehouse.  It has been a year of explosive growth at Kairos and with it, of course, growing pains and challenges.  We are sending 3 employees to do a discipleship training school with YWAM this year.  If I didn’t believe it before, this year has confirmed my belief that one of the most effective ways to invite people into the family of God is to hire them.  Especially here, our employees rub shoulders every day with young people who are passionate about following Jesus and they can’t help but be drawn into the story of what God is doing.

For almost a year, my friend and I have been going to the places in our city where prostitutes work because of a dream she had in which God told her to go every week and to take me along.  During the summer, we had 4 interns who went with us every week, but this fall it was just the two of us.  For security reasons there are a lot of things I can’t say on this platform, but God has led us one step at a time into a deep love and commitment to these women and introducing them to Jesus.  In January, we will officially launch this new ministry in YWAM and I will spend a few months doing nothing but research and prayer on many different fronts so that we can wage a strategic war on prostitution in our city.  We will seek to find out the biggest needs of the women we love, and working with law enforcement, politicians and spiritual leaders to understand what are the spiritual and legal strongholds we can work with or against.

During this time, Hj will be working in a three-month counseling course that is specifically focused on helping refugees.  He will be staffing the course, which means he will sit in on the classes, run the finances and mentor several of the students personally.  There has been great interest in this course, and they have accepted about 20 students so far.  We are excited, because they are coming from all parts of the world to learn how they can make a lasting impact in the global refugee crisis.

As you might know (or maybe you forgot), we live on the generous donations of our friends and family in order to be able to do missions.  We cannot be paid for any work we do with YWAM, but we are blessed with extremely generous families and friends who support us monthly and a church family who loves us and prays for us so faithfully.

There are so many wonderful places to invest your money this holiday season, but if God lays on your heart to give toward our mission, here is the link to give, for a tax-deductible receipt.

https://www.ywamcos.org/support?code=618

SOBE

I’ve just been through a 6-week business intensive that we call the SOBE, School of Business and Entrepreneurship.  Technically I was staffing the course, but the truth is that I was there to learn.  We had 13 students from around the world, who each gave a 10-minute presentation of their business plan to a “shark tank” as their final exam.

We had phenomenal speakers every week; a collection of local businessmen who are embracing missions alongside us, as well as speakers from around the world who are very connected to the missional aspect of their businesses.  They were all brilliant, and gave generously of their time and expertise.

I heard so many things I don’t ever want to forget.  Here are a few of them.

As Christians, we usually divide our work and activities into sacred or secular.  We think a missionary or a pastor does sacred work, while a lawyer or business owner does secular work.  What if we are all called, as believers, to full-time ministry in our field?  It might be farming land, trading stocks or representing clients in a courtroom.  When God made Adam in the Garden of Eden, He “took the man and put him into the garden to cultivate it and to keep it.”  Genesis 2:15  We were created to work; what if this is our daily worship?  It reminded me of a quote I read a long time ago, when I was first introduced to the idea that God did not set up a secular/sacred divide in our work.  If money and trade and business were His idea, why would He not be right in the middle of it?

Peeling potatoes was more essential for Brother Lawrence’s spiritual growth than attending the evening prayer service because Brother Lawrence recognized that God was there in the kitchen as much as he was in the chapel.  -Andrew Spencer

I was especially delighted with the thought that when God made mankind on earth and gave us the mandate to cultivate it, He had hidden in the earth all the raw materials we need to create boats and cars and computers and fidget spinners.  Not only that, He hid in humans the intelligence to figure out how to make this stuff, trade it, ship it, and then how to manage it.  The business of creating products and services was all God’s brilliant idea to help us thrive on the earth.

I learned about what BAM (Business as Mission) is, and what it is not.  It is not business for missions, nor is it business to cover up the mission, as in restricted-access countries.  BAM refers to for-profit, sustainable businesses reflecting the kingdom of God in their mission and values, including these four bottom lines:

  1. Economic Profitability
  2. Social Impact
  3. Environmental Impact
  4. Spiritual Transformation

I believe Jesus is the answer to our soul’s greatest needs, but suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you tells him, “Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,” but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that?  James 2

Lots of kind-hearted people have been touched by the plight of the poor in developing countries, and were moved to give from their abundance.  When I lived abroad, I was on the receiving end of containers from the USA, filled with clothes, shoes, food, all manner of donated items to help the poor.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that this creates a cycle of dependency that hurts the local economy, besides the psychological and spiritual difficulties this dependence creates in a society.

I now see that BAM brings beautiful answers to the problems of the poverty cycle.  One of our teachers in the SOBE has started a business in a country where desperate poverty has caused many women and children to be sold into the sex industry.  His business supplies a living wage for men and women to provide for their families with dignity, in an environment that champions them as valuable children of God.

In the past, Hj and I worked with several ministries that were fighting sex trafficking and prostitution.  The biggest struggle these ministries faced was trying to find viable jobs for women who sincerely wanted to leave, but felt that prostitution was the only means by which they could afford a house and food for their families.  BAM addresses these needs, through spiritual discipleship as well as restoring hope and dignity through jobs.

This isn’t just for developing nations.  As a school, we took a field trip to Denver to visit several businesses practicing BAM.  We saw a coffee roasting company that employs homeless young people, as well as a connected coffee shop that does the same.  We visited a discount building supply store and cabinet shop that employs men and women transitioning out of homelessness or prison.  In traditional business, I’m sure these are the people you don’t employ, but that’s the beauty and irony of the upside-down kingdom Jesus taught.  I asked the owner how hard it is to employ people that the rest of the world tends to marginalize, and his answer really surprised me.  “It’s really not hard at all.  They’re motivated to work!”  We joined them in a lunchtime Bible study the day we were there. I found it so inspiring to see firsthand the way God is transforming individual lives and society through these businesses.

 

So, that’s [some of] what I learned in the SOBE.

“There is no understanding of any domain or dominion without understanding its design and purpose before sin and the fall. We were not made for sin. Sin happened, so God must and we must deal with it. But we do not have governance, science, education, family, business, beauty and the arts, communication because we are fallen from God’s ideal. We do not have nations and cultures because, after sin, there was no other way we could be ruled. We have all of these arenas of life because we are created in the image of God and they are all part of revealing Him. They are all ways in which we know, see and worship God. Our work, creating communities that reflect who God is, is our worship now and forever.”  Landa L. Cope

 

 

 

 

Updated update

VISITORS!
Hj’s sister came for a few weeks to visit us, all the way from Holland.  She brought her little daughter Feline along, as well as her friend named Rosalie.  They arrived on koningsdag, the day when the king’s birthday is celebrated in Holland, so we got to start their visit off with festivities!

They went on lots of adventures and the kids got to play together to their hearts’ content and maybe even beyond.  🙂  There are plenty of things to do around the Springs, and they even spent a weekend with our friend in Estes Park and explored Rocky Mountain National Park.

         

Feline’s birthday was a few days after they left, so we threw an early birthday party for her and Ellie, who will turn 4 next month.  It was so interesting to hear them communicate, in English and Dutch, sometimes figuring it out and sometimes getting frustrated when they were trying to pretend a story.

More recently, we had some of my family come visit!  It’s very hard for me to fathom, but those beautiful women flanking me are my nieces.  Last week we were having tea parties and swimming in the Pomeroon River and this week they are old enough to cut their own pancakes!  The rest of their family was here too; I just failed to get pictures.

This is the other day Andrew’s were visiting– we  took the train up Pike’s Peak and stopped halfway up where there was still enough snow to make a snowman.  Adam found that amusing, it seems.

SOBE!
While Martine was here, the SOBE (School of Business and Entrepreneurship) started.  I am staffing that school, which means I am in class every day with the students, sitting in on the lectures.  We have 13 students from around the world and it has been a delight to get to know them and their visions!

Most days, this is my view from the back of the classroom.  I’m learning so much from each of our knowledgable speakers, as well as from the students.  Meanwhile Hj is at home with the kids, being humble and loving and sacrificial and cheering for me every day!

ART!
I have organized a series of summer art classes for our campus.  It has proved to be a really profound experience and we have encountered Jesus in every lesson!  Yesterday after the art class, I found one of the older students in a corner weeping at what God was revealing to her through the process of creating.

WASHINGTON DC!
I spent Mother’s Day weekend in Washington DC with a number of friends and family.  These 3 beautiful women came with me all the way from Colorado Springs.

We were there to pray for God to move in the Supreme Court, that we would see an end to abortion in our country very soon.  It was a really powerful, beautiful time.  It is such an honor to stand as humans and pray for LIFE.

This year we circled the Supreme Court seven times, praying for seven different areas that relate to the abortion industry and fatherlessness.  My faith was renewed and the flickering flame of hope was fanned in my heart.

We spent an extra day sightseeing in DC, as the ladies traveling with me had never been there before.  I had seen the city plenty of times during the day, but seeing it at night was a whole new experience which I loved!  It felt even more grand and majestic than normal.

FAMILY!
At the end of every day, I am so grateful for the little family I get to call mine.  Before bedtime, we like to sit in a circle, hold hands and talk about the best parts of our day, as well as the sad parts.  Adam’s favorite part of the day is usually, “when Papa came back.”

Ellie  Adam  (typed by Ellie!)

I asked Ellie to write the captions for these photos.  She says, “These two pictures are for God and Jesus, one funny and one happy.  Did you know the devil hates pictures?”  Those are little undies on her head, which she discovered work great as a head covering.

          

Ellie spent the last 2 months in our preschool here on base, two mornings a week.  She loved it and will be going again in the fall.  Adam misses her a lot on those days, and sometimes I think how ironic that having two kids at home is so much easier than having one.

I’ve been reminded lately that 2-year-olds are about the most charming little creatures in the universe.  I feel like I have my own little show to watch every day as he discovers the world and language and his own opinions.

          

 

Yesterday

My friend Heather had a dream about human trafficking when we were in California together a few months ago.  Either in the dream or out of the dream (I do not know), God gave her my name and a mandate.

Our campus is focused on the 10/40 window and unreached people groups, but we also do some local outreach right here in our city.  At holidays, a group of YWAM ladies usually takes gifts to the local massage parlors for the women working there.  By massage parlors, I mean the sketchy ones where you come in and there’s a locked door and a camera to greet you.

God put it on Heather’s heart to start going to visit these ladies every week, and asked me to join her.  As we prayed and waited for God to direct us, He did.  Yesterday was our first day to go and we had four interns join us from the REACH team, the team from our campus focusing on local outreach.  I think REACH is an acronym or then I’m just yelling it.

I’m not sure if I have a comfort zone anymore, but if I do, I wasn’t anywhere near it yesterday.  I had never been to any of these places before; actually never did anything like this in the USA so I had no idea what to expect.  I had to remind myself of Ellie, who announced this week at the breakfast table that she has been talking to Jesus a lot and He has been talking to her.  He came to her in her bed, she said, and told her that she never has to worry because anytime she goes anywhere, He comes along.

We had a good time, prayed for a number of ladies, and told them we’ll be back next week to visit more.  They seemed delighted, overall.  Our highlight, though, was when God interrupted our “task” with some unexpected people.  A young guy came up to me as we were leaving one parlor, and asked what we were doing.  I said we were going around blessing local businesses and offered him a pack of Twizzlers.  He said he’d trade Twizzlers for weed, and would I join him in a celebratory smoke?  The Scripture says, If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

I was very unbiblical and refused, but we entered into a wonderful conversation.  He was on his way to get married at the Rastafarian church down the road.  I kept looking at him and his fiancé, who joined us after a bit, and felt such love and compassion and hope for them.  They were as open as could be, welcomed our prayers with outstretched hands, and kept telling us we were so cool, even though we were preaching the Gospel to them, which isn’t always cool.

There is hope for this generation.  Of course there is, but some of us actually believe there isn’t, if we’re honest.  I am seeing young people transformed right before my eyes.  A man who was in prison a few months ago, dedicated His life to Jesus and is giving his life to missions.  I watched a youth who was an atheist a few months ago, picking up a mic and declaring he is opening His heart to the Father’s love.  These are people in my every day life; this is happening right now!  I even know some good young people who just realized their goodness doesn’t come from following rules and they encountered the Father for themselves.  That’s a real miracle.

This is not a hopeless generation!  Ask God to lead you to the ones who are hungry for truth, and He will do it.

 

Easter Celebrations

This year we broke from our Easter tradition of hosting an art gallery, and took a mini family vacation instead.  We got an airbnb in the mountains in a tiny town called Nederland and spent a lovely day breathing deeply and that’s about it.  It used to be a mining town, which is why the Dutch came and named it Nederland but there really wasn’t much of the Netherlands there, tucked into the Rockies.

Easter morning we went to a sunrise service downtown.  I was freezing cold and annoyed at the inefficiency and incompetence on display (a very Weaver thing to feel, I think) and then Adam thawed and I got to wrestle a wiggling 2-yr-old for an hour.  He kept saying, “Devil’s dead!” very loudly, and in the same breath yelled, “I’m farting!”  It was a special Easter morning, the kind you can only have with toddlers.


We came home and had a lovely brunch with several other families.  The dads, instead of taking naps on their recliners as in the Mennonite tradition, went outside and hid Easter eggs.  I am 31 and this was the first Easter egg hunt of my life.  It was very fun, because there were lots of kids and chocolate and little surprises and so much laughter.  Ellie says it was the best Easter in the whole world, and Adam kept saying, “Let’s do it again!”  I trust that in future years the power of the Gospel will overshadow the power of the chocolate eggs, but for now we were all just delighted in our own ways.

It was a joyful weekend, filled with such sweet memories.  (only one or two that weren’t so sweet)  Our life is so full and intense, but God is teaching us how to take Sabbaths and not only that, but how to live from rest every day.  What I’ve cut out (pleasing people, performance, serving out of obligation) God has replaced with abundant grace and joy.  But my number one victory for this year?  Getting up early, like 4:30 or 5:00 early.  It’s changed my life.  The little twin that goes along with that is going to bed early and I have fully embraced that too.

There are a number of things I could point out about this photo, like how I have been wearing that polkadot dress for about 15 years.  I can hear the voice of that sweet little Southern guy who asked me many years ago, “Ain’t it taaaam to update your staaaal?”  I’m sure he would be disappointed to know that no, it still isn’t time to update my style.  I will probably be wearing this dress when I’m holding my grand babies, sir.

Isn’t it easier to be joyful and a Christian in general, in the springtime!?  Just being warm helps a lot already.  Blessed spring, peeps!

Honesty

Awhile back, I spent the weekend with a few other moms.  I was inspired, encouraged, and reminded that there is an army of amazing moms out there raising the next civilization.  These moms are intentional, thoughtful, gracious women who care about their families, who love God and are making a huge impact in our culture.  They want to raise healthy kids who are wise and kind, who will make good choices and lead fruitful lives.

Of course I’m aware that this is a big, eternal responsibility– raising children.  I want to do it well; I want to be intentional and I want our kids to thrive, to love Jesus, to make kingdom impacts wherever they go.  But sometimes I start worrying about doing it all correctly so that they’ll turn out right in the end, like a long division problem.  I soon start treating them like that– a problem to solve and fix.

My friend told me recently, “There are no secrets in families.”  I was telling her how I struggle to know how to introduce my children to Jesus, because I have an aversion to the Sunday school cartoon that’s been watered down to a kind historical figure.  My friend was reassuring me that even if I don’t say all the words right, what I truly believe is going to be revealed to my children, if you can call that reassuring.

To be honest, this realization made me lay down the parenting books and get counseling– for myself.  I want to know that what I believe is pure and true and righteous, because that’s what is going to be exposed to my children, if it hasn’t already.  I can say that I believe God is good, but if I complain about His gifts or His ways, do I actually believe He is good?  Opening my heart very, very honestly to a few friends has helped me discover the differences between what I say I believe and what I actually believe.

What if, instead of worrying about how to teach my children that God loves us, I live loved?  What if they believe it because my life has taught them that, on boring days and through dark valleys and on shining mountaintops?  At the end of the day, they will reject or embrace what they have been shown.  But at least I want to know that what they have been shown is pure and true and righteous.

I’m so grateful for encouragement from other moms, for parenting books and mommy blogs and inspiring examples.  I love teaching my children, a little every day.  However, my faith doesn’t hang on my ability to communicate everything perfectly, to set the best rules, to always make the wisest decisions, to follow new, wonderful ideas.  That would be a lot of pressure on me; pressure that would make me overwhelmed and frustrated.

Every day, I learn more about God as my Father and me, His daughter.  I’m in the middle of being a kid myself– I know how it feels to be corrected and forgiven and loved without limits.  I want my kids to go to sleep believing the same thing I believe when my head hits the pillow: I was loved and delighted in today, and I’m confident tomorrow will be the same.

Packing peanut

It’s about time for us to be responsible and tell you what is up.

We seem busy, and that is an easy thing to do around here. We recently realized that we have been in YWAM for more than a year and we still feel like we are the new people. We are finally getting to the place that we call this place home and it feels that way. One thing that really helped was ripping off our ugly old wallpaper. We got some guy to restructure our walls and I put a beautiful Polar Bear White on the wall. All of the sudden it made sense to put something on the wall and it looked good. Our two hotel rooms became a little less hotel and a little bit more a part of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things at Kairos are going good; we are breaking sales records like crazy. After having some problems with dying fridges and other things breaking down it is good to see that we are moving forward. Our shift manager has quit her job, so me and Ryan are doing everything. We are praying for someone else from YWAM to join our team and bring some new vision in. We are still training lots of people to run their own coffee business all over the world. We had a pastor from New Mexico come and join us for a little while to teach him how to start a cafe at his church. Right now we have Lisa with us who possibly wants to open a cafe in Nepal where she runs a hair salon. Ryan is going to visit a couple that went through training at Kairos and just opened a coffee house in Zanzibar, Tanzania. In April we will get 3 more interns through the School of Business and Entrepreneurship and train them to open their own coffee shop or cafe.

Joy will be staffing that school and I am so excited about it. It is a great opportunity for her to be more involved and help out our BAM team.

Not too long ago me and Joy went to a marriage conference in CA. We had such a good time working on our marriage and learning some valuable tools. I had been feeling a little bit down when it came to my relationship with God and was praying for breakthrough. We spent a lot of the week during the marriage conference listening to God and praying for other people. God spoke to me in some powerful ways. But the real fun came when we came back home and God kept on speaking to me. On the radio, I won 8 tickets to a worship concert and felt quite clearly who to take with. The current DTS was having giving night and I felt to give a certain amount of money to a boy, but I didn’t even know his name. The next day he came to me saying that his outreach fees increased and the money I gave was the exact amount he had to pay extra.
Those are small little things but they help me so much to know that God cares about us.

 

Ellie

I try to never hurry my kids because I ain’t got time for that, but the other day on the way to an appointment I was hurrying them.  I jumped into the driver’s seat and we roared off in our minivan and then Ellie’s little voice said, “Mama, you beed rude to me.”  It was a very polite way of smacking me right between the eyes.

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Ellie, very cheerfully and very early in the morning: “I only want Chinese waffles for breakfast.”
Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t know what Chinese waffles are.”
Ellie: “I don’t need anything else, only Chinese waffles.”  This went on for a little while until my brain cells started working and then I got busy mixing a little of this and a little of that until we had ourselves some “Chinese waffles.”

I explained to Ellie that I was going to the mountains for a few days, but I would be back and Papa would take very good care of her in the meantime.  She replied, “Well, be careful you don’t step on the little plastic bear. It’s really tiny, but you could cut yourself on the glass if you don’t watch out.” This is so typical.  She is just a blazing stream of confidence no matter how wrong she is.  Not super flexible, I’d say.

“My pajamas have wishes on them.”
Me: “Wishes?”
“Yeah, witches.”
Me: “Witches!?”
“Yeah, wood chips.”
(see below- they’re tents)

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Last week I did my semi-annual clothes shopping for the kids.  I got Adam these little boat shoes, which Ellie declared immediately that she didn’t like.  (You never have to wonder with three-year-olds.)  I wasn’t prepared for just how much she would dislike them though.  It’s been a week and this morning she was still crying and screaming and covering her eyes every time she happened to see Adam run by in his little boat shoes.  I would definitely return them if they weren’t second-hand.

(below) At Kairos, with her hard-earned penny in hand.  “Look, Mom.  I’m kinda in a little queue!”

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Ellie was really listening to the sermon at church this morning.  She kept making incredulous comments, very loudly, because she was quite taken up in the stories.
“Huh!  Adam and Eve fell!?  Where?”
Me: “In the Garden of Eden.”
Ellie: “Oh my dear!”

Speaking of Adam and Eve.  We were talking about ribs at our house and I mentioned in passing that Eve was made out of Adam’s rib, back in the day.  Ellie chuckled heartily.  “You just teasing, Mommy?” she asked.  (not that I would ever jest with my kids, haha)

“Mom, should I just call you Joy, or Mary Fousert?”

I get to listen to so many fantastic stories about when Ellie was a t-i-i-i-i-iny little baby.  There are even the unexpected plot twists.  “One time I had a tiny baby in my belly and then I pushed and pushed and out came a little baby girl and I named her Mary Joy.”

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We had a lot going on for a few weeks, and lots of people in and out of our home.  Finally we were sitting down to dinner, with just our family.  As Ellie sat down, she sighed dramatically. “I just love my feelings.  They’re good feelings.  They’re like dreams.”

Picture Update #2

We discovered the secret to getting all the favorite cousins to come visit: move to Colorado.

We discovered the secret to getting (some of) our favorite friends to come visit: move to Colorado! Everybody wants to come visit when you live in Colorado.

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Hunters and honeymooners– that about sums it up. We were so happy their visits overlapped a little!

Ellie wanted to take a picture of Declan at the tiny coffee shop.

Ellie wanted to take a picture of Declan at the tiny coffee shop.

In a nutshell, this was our summer. I don't regret a minute of it!

In a nutshell, this was our summer. We basically lived outdoors and  I don’t regret a minute of it!

Our "backyard" is a pretty popular gathering place.

This was a typical summer scene in our “backyard.”  I am so grateful for this small tribe of mamas that I love and admire!

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We’re slowly saying goodbye to summer.

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Our world is full of golds and blues. Such a beautiful palette!

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I told Ellie she is not going to preschool this year. She is crying because she doesn’t want to go to preschool.  Three-year-old logic at its finest.

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Thankfully three-year-old sweetness outweighs three-year-old logic.

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I’m not sure if I can call it his first sentence, but Adam said to me the other day, “Ellie rude.” He is doing that miraculous thing of stringing words together and communicating ideas.

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Hj made his first batch of American biscuits and they were terrific! Thanks to my brother Andrew for the tried and true recipe.

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Hj invited the new employees at Kairos to design some new drinks for fall. They took him up on it, didn’t they?

Thank you for being our friends and reading our blog!

Thank you for being our friends and reading our blog!  We really appreciate you.

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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.