....Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,whatever is pure,whatever is lovely,whatever is admireable, think about such things. Whatever you have learned,heard or seen from me put into practice, and God's peace will be with you.... for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances. I know what is to be in need and I know what is is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to be content in any situation - I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Philippans 4:6-11

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Where is the summer going...

Wow!!! It has been 2 weeks since I blogged last about our on mission together journey. We are still on mission but life has been busy with camping, sleepovers, dinners with friends, and so much more.  Not to mention that I am in school full time.  I have been so blessed this summer with the gift of time with my family and friends.  I am enjoying my kids in whole new ways. I have had time with each of them on their own. Can I just say all three of my girls are pretty amazing people. 

Ellie is super aware and very sensitive to the needs of others. She inspires me in her relationship with Jesus, and is really open to movements of the Lord.  She is super social and elegantly fashionable. Her willingness to try new things is awesome. She is really taking to art. Just last night her and I went to an art class I was amazed by what she produced. 

Johanna is so easy going and fun to dream with. She sees the world through rainbow glasses.  She is passionate about the Bible.  I found her a sleep reading it all on her own accord.  She is really" coming into her own," as my dad would say. She radiates beauty. Her heart is so aware of things going on in the world.  She teaches me daily to breathe and that life is not so complicated. 

Hope is a JOY.  She really is such a blessing to our family.  She is super sweet, so smart and realizing how to be funny.  She loves to play with her babies, her tractors and tea parties- we have every night before bed.  She adores her sisters and everyday looks for new words to say.  She can put words together with amazes me.  The other day she woke up from her nap and said "me go nana pape water snack go please thank you"  She must have been sitting in bed brainstorming what she wanted to do after her nap.  Yeah, she is just FUN.  She makes baby look easy. 

Leroy and I are in a great place. This mission journey has opened our eyes in whole new ways.  We are excited and so willing to GO if the Lord says go.  We know someday our family we go on some sort of mission together.  We are open to the big world and face life with a renewed sense of optimism.

The simplicity of this summer has been refreshing.  I have grown to love hanging out my laundry and being mindful of how I use my resources. Our garden is doing amazing despite my neglect- which is also a place of not worrying.  The best part of on mission together has been that I have not worried at all about money and how things are going to work and you know what we have not just survived but thrived.  I have been blessed beyond measure at the generosity of my family- they all have been so aware of the choices we are making and supporting us. This season of life is rich, full and exciting. 

Monday, July 14, 2014


Thailand- this has been one of my favorite weeks on mission together as far as food.  We even splurged one night and got some take out Thai food from our favorite Thai place.  It was so good and it tasted even better because it was a million degrees outside and someone else cooked it.  We tried new stuff along with a order of pad Thai- the girls favorite.  I am amazed at how we have fallen into a rhythm with all the simple changes and wouldn't your know it our power bill and water bill were both lower last month.  It was very encouraging to see this as it showed us and reinforced that small changes can have impact.   I keep processing this- that life is really about the little things not the big things. I am so thankful that this is a season of smaller for us.  I feel present, and not weighed down by the things of this world.  I feel aware of my children in a whole new way.  I am enjoying the simple nature of time- quality not quantity. I have sat with my girls and snuggled more in the last few weeks than I have in months.  I have had more conversations with my husband about real topics than I have in- well I don't remember.  I have also been that proud mom- listing to my girls share with their friends that stayed the night "we are on mission together" and that is why we are eating Thai food tonight and that is why my crazy mom is hanging our cloths out on the line to dry"  We might officially be those parents... but I am totally OK with this because I believe in my heart that the impact of being on mission together will carry my girls a lot further in life.  Japan is next... and we are going to have dinner with my Aunt at some point who lived in japan and has a heart for the Japanese people. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 4 and Week 5

The last two weeks have been a little crazy and it has distracted us a little from our mission. My Mom got married July 3. We had our wonderful family in town for the wedding and enjoyed every second of our time with them. 
For week 4 we made and executive decision to not do Honduras (we had already touched on Honduras when we shared a meal with the Buchanan's when they arrived home) and to do Italy instead- to be honest most of it had to do with the fact that our kids where so tired of rice, beans and tortilla's. This allowed us to have a great conversation about our realities and others realities are so different.  It was a nice change of pace and kept the kids on board.  We are learning to be flexible in new ways.  We had a lot of rain during week 4 and drying clothes was a challenge- I had to keep the drying rack inside and it drove me nuts but we made it work.  I would love to visit Italy someday. When my dear friend April and I visited Europe many moons ago we had to cancel our few days in Italy because I got an intestinal infection and was super sick.  Italy was fun also for me personally because I had the amazing privilege of growing up next door to the Nardones'. Sal, their father was this amazing Man who was resourceful, a skilled hunter, farmer and fisherman.  I have the best memories of soccer in the street, spaghetti Sundays, fresh bread, homemade vino, a garden to put mine to shame and lots of fun.  Wow, I realize more and more how incredibly blessed I am and that every person in my path has impacted who I am today.  I can see with my own children that I so deeply want them to value relationships because really at the end of the day that is all we can really count as treasure.
Week 5 was China- like I said before this was wedding week so it was a little less intentional.  Although I do have a burn on my arm after making pot stickers one night.  I had read some fact about china recently that more people are coming to know Christ in China than any other place in the world right now- a modern revival  I think this is awesome.  We also saw that the one child law has been lifted.  This reminds me of a dream that I had years ago 3 nights in a row and it was Leroy and I on a plane going to adopt our daughter from China....great are the plans the Lord has for us.  I have always tucked this dream in my heart and confessed to the Lord that I would be honored to have a daughter from China.
 This project has been so good for my soul- very reflective and stirring up the deep parts of my heart. I am beginning to see that this life should be about doing what love and loving what you do. 
We move to Thailand today- this is going to be fun.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 3- Chile

     So, It is official- we are all getting a little burnt out of South American food.... This has been very interesting and I was not expecting it as we love rice, beans and tortillas.  We have been eating a lot the same kids of foods with minor variations for 3 weeks now.  The other night at dinner Ellie who is our resident foodie- asked for anything but Mexican/South/Latin American food for dinner and claimed that we are "so weird."  The girls really have been troopers and we have not let up.  We have had lots of good conversations with our girls about the effects of eating the same thing day after day and that a lot of places in the world live like this.  It has made me look at food in a whole new way, as something that is a necessity but how much of it can very.  Our portions have become smaller naturally and meal time has been more about the conversation than the meal- which is a shift for us as we all love good food and lots of variety.  I have to be honest it has been hard not to cave and go out to eat. This mission has required a lot of self discipline and planning. I feel like a lot of our morning is spent thinking about meals and getting the laundry out to dry which seems almost archaic.

  We have learned a lot about the Chilean people and culture.  Much of Chile along the southwest coast line and is the longest counties in the world.  The land is beautiful. We found it strange that there is a great population of German-Chileans.   It has also been fun as the World Cup is in Brazil- has been on and we have been able to see how much "futbol" is a part of the south American cultures and may other cultures around the world.  Our girls have really gotten into watching the games.  The US game yesterday was great.

  This project has been a great way to be focused on something as a family.  I always tell my girls how important it is to be intentional and how we respond to others matters.  I have enjoyed the stillness and peace that has come with this season.  I am also blessed beyond measure to be home with my girls this summer.  We have decided to hold off on me finding employment until the early fall.  My focus is my family and school. I will need to find something and we are praying about what that something is... I have had a few moments of panic- and then stepped back and reminded myself that this is season, it has an ending and I am never going to get this time back with the girls.  Besides all of that, in 2 years when I am teaching all the sacrifice and hard work will be a faint memory.  I am believing that this season of our life is a platform for all the things to come and that is good for my girls to see me work hard and find success.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week two- Argentina

This last week flew by. We had some fun foods - very simple again and dinner with actual missionary's this week.  My favorite food was beef empanada's with rice.  They were fairly easy to make and relatively inexpensive.  Johanna was very excited about Argentina and did a great job with journaling things she learned.  We found some great books at the library and see that both our girls pick up Spanish well- I wonder what the Lord is going to do with this. It must have been all the Dora they watched when they were little :)

In some ways this last week was test of trusting the Lord, lots of little steps of faith through out the week and times a struggle to stay focused on "mission" I wonder if this is a common thing on the mission field.  I have this idea that while on a mission your mind, heart, and body is wholly devoted to the Lord-this seems very unrealistic as daily life has a way of distracting us. There must be a lot of unnecessary pressures on missionary's to save the world when that is not the real goal.  The goal is to serve- to wash feet, to love, to build relationships so that the credibility is there when the opportunity to share the gospel presents itself.  The Shepard looks and seeks out the one lost sheep. 

  We were blessed beyond measure with people providing little extras like paper towels- which we had decided that we would not buy for the whole summer.  I cut up a two old flannel sheet and we were going to use them in place of paper towels.  This provision for our family which reminds me to be mindful of missionary's around the world and to do my part when I can.  There are people everywhere giving of themselves and serving others.  The Lord keeps speaking to my heart about "a cold cup of water" and how important it is in our faith walk to pay attention to the needs around us and not to over spiritualize our faith- see a need- fill it- give the cold cup of water. This is the kind of faith I want to have.

Our dinner with missionaries was amazing- they brought us dinner-chicken tortilla soup -how funny is this.  It was a great night full of questions and reflection. It was nice to hear how the Lord challenged them, changed them and loved them in their time on the mission field.  It makes me hungry for the chance to go on a mission trip someday. 

Laundry was hard this last week because it rained a lot so I had my clothes rack up all week in the living room which kind of drove me a little nuts as I like things a certain way.... I am learning a lot about myself.  I need a lot of control and probably work too hard keeping our house "just so"  A home is a functional place, that evolves hour by hour through the day.  I keep seeing my home as a workable space so the laundry rack was in the living room was a good mental challenge. 
I am finding that despite some minimal creature comforts life has slowed down and I love it.  I am more aware of my kids less distracted and have enjoyed meaningful conversations with my hubby every evening.  Thankful for so much. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week One- Mexico

Week One on Mission together.
 This has been a fun week getting to focus on Mexico. It has been a lot of work to be intentional.  We have successfully only used the dryer once this week- we moved our clothes line that we have used in years past, so that it is more accessible.  So, what I have learned from the clothes experience, is that it takes thought and organization- the one load of laundry that I put in the dryer was because I had let it sit in the washer overnight and forgot about it and it was starting to get that "smell" so I put the load in the dryer to prevent having to rewash the load.  We have come up with a system- one load a day about every other day in the morning and hung out to dry for the day. On a positive note- we fold them right off the line so- which prevents the large clothes pile on the couch that needs to be folded.  I cloth diaper, so I have to wash them every three days- but we already had a hang drying system for them and that all seems to be the same.  The towels are crunchy no matter how much vinegar I use or how much I shake them out but I figure it is a good reminder of how blessed we are.

 The food element has been interesting- we have tried some different things.  Hominy has been the most unique- we bought a 6lb can and had finished over half. I made a chicken hominy soup that was amazing. Ellie really enjoyed it.  We have eaten really simple- tortillas, beans, rice, veggies, melons and only a few nights had meat. We had tamales one night- we make them every year at Christmas time with Leroy's parents and freeze them so that we can enjoy them all year.  Making things from scratch also takes time- beans take planning, and rice takes patience. Years ago, my mother in law had shown me how to make rice and beans so that is how we have always made them- I am not sure why they felt more time consuming this last week maybe it was the combination of everything else or that we were making it almost daily.

The 3 minute shower is the hardest- we are a house full of girls. I never realized how long my shower takes to heat up about 45 seconds- so I have come to enjoy the shock factor of a cold shower and the art of soaping up before hand-lol.  Honestly my shower has now become the quickest part of my day.  

My favorite part of "Mexico" was watching Leroy teach the girls how to play Mexican Dominoes which he played as a kid,  while eating Cinnamon popcorn.  Johanna had remembered from our reading that Cinnamon was a spice that is used often in Mexico so we put it on our popcorn and it was a nice treat.  I also enjoyed listening to them practice Spanish on this "learn Spanish App" Leroy found for them. Did I mention that Leroy is a natural with Spanish-  he grew up with Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins all of which spoke Spanish.- I will share this story later. I think it was fun for him to tell stories about his childhood and "growing up Gonzales"

The girls had a good attitudes for the most part- we are requiring a lot more from them beyond there regular chores- they have been helping with projects in the yard and the garden.  Speaking of garden- we had our first fruits- some strawberries. The yard looks amazing- we have been enjoying it a lot this last week. The girls journal entries have been fun- Ellie is writing hers as if she is really in Mexico sharing about the poverty of the people and the beauty of the land. 

It is so funny, that even in the craziness of this last week, there is a stillness in our house.  We have been intentional about not using as much electricity and  I don't think the TV has been on much all week. We have enjoyed some great Mexican music- we even found some Mexican/Spanish  worship music.  We have really had to work our day around the "chores" of the household and working together to make things happen.  I am humbled.  We move to Argentina tomorrow. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014


So we talked to our kids and at first they were a little confused as were other people- we are not actually leaving the country or even the state for that matter.  We are "on mission" right here at home.  Making efforts to see how people live around the world and be intentional with our time and resources.  The girls understood pretty quick what was happening.  They are used to there mom and all her "crazy creative" ideas and most of the time indulge me.   

Confirmation- ok so we are officially starting this whole journey tomorrow, but just the simple movement of publically being accountable has been amazing.  I have had more deep, real, meaningful conversations about life, the Lord, showers, laundry, and faith in the last few days than I have had in months.  This is awesome!!!

Some ground work literally- The garden is planted and ready to go- I have a few starts left in the kitchen window- I have gardened for the last 7 years and every year I have a plan and just do what I need to do to make it happen. This year with limited resources, as I am in school full time- I began to pray about what the Lord wanted me to do about our garden this year. I felt the Lord saying plant all the seeds I give you- you are sowing seeds for your family.  And wouldn't you know it- seeds began to show up at my house. So the garden this year will be a little different from years past and I also had a gift certificate to get a few tomato and pepper starts along 4 more blueberry bushes.  So the garden includes- tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, snow peas, bush beans, sunflowers, cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, Walla Walla onions, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, garlic, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cilantro, basil, chives, rhubarb, mint....  Now, some of these are new this year and some are well established... I also was given lots of wild flower seeds from various places and events one of which was a friend who lost her husband- we planted these seeds also in honor of her.  When I list it out I am humbled by the overwhelming variety and look forward to sharing the bounty with others- that is my favorite part of a garden. I am believing for a double blessing this year for the garden and for my crazy chicken to start producing more eggs- so that anyone who enters our mission field will leave with something. 

Question for all my missionary friends- the night before a mission do you take the longest shower possible? I am feeling this desperate need to do so, as 3 minute showers start tomorrow-I will refrain as I normally shower in the morning.... I will refrain!

I will post a picture of our pantry- this is where we are posting all our information about the countries we are studying.

Mexico begins the journey.