Friday, May 31, 2013

School is out!

Today marked the last day of school!  We officially have a boy that is ready for 2nd grade and a girl who is ready for KG!

All day I have been fighting back tears, as I think of the many ways the Lord has guided us over the last 175 school days.  I've also been fighting back the tears as I think of how awesome our kids are.  I'm not bragging, I just feel blessed! 

At the start of the year, Annie was just a month old.  We were up with her at least 3 times a night.  Susie was just starting her 3rd week of radiation and she continued on for a total of over 6 weeks.  I stepped down from my role as Global Director of Athletes in Action.  We took the family and headed to Lake George for a few weeks.  After we returned, Susie started her 6 rounds of chemo, with the end of the first round putting her in the hospital for a few days.  We celebrated Thanksgiving out on the deck and resumed all the normal Christmas activities.  We then headed to Boston where we started my Doctoral program at Gordon-Conwell.  As we came home we received great news about an MRI.  Then our thoughts began to shift towards Brazil.  We enjoyed a fabulous time in Cabo and have been home since, and marched towards the finish line of chemo, celebrating Susie and trying to put things in motion for a hopeful relocation to Brazil.  

In the midst of all that chaos, our kids enjoyed the routine, the normalcy and the family of school.  Every day we had school pick up and drop-off, three total.  We had reading and homework.  We had field trips and special programs.  We had to sign the agenda/planner daily.  We memorized verses, did math facts and even memorized all 50 states and where they are located on a map!  Our kids loved every minute of it.  Thank you to everyone at BLS who made this year so enjoyable for them.  To their teachers, their friends, their friend's parents, administrators and staff.  Thank you! 

Thanks again to many of you who have allowed our kids and us to enjoy a "normal" year in the midst of chaos.  Thanks to the Lord for the great things He has done.  

As we pulled out of school today, I couldn't help but be thankful.  I was also wondering, what school will be like for the next few years, hopefully, in Brazil.  Our hope and prayer is that our kids and our family enjoy being part of the school family there as much as we have here. 

School is out for the summer.  As Simon says, with the move to Brazil, we may get a longer summer than usual! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Update on Brazil

Thanks to many of you for praying for us while we traveled to Brazil.  Susie and I had a great time.  Our friends and fellow staff members, Fernando & Pati, and their kids, took great care of us.  Thanks to them, and all their pre-work, and thanks to the Lord, many doors were open.

  • Hospital - Susie and I visited a beautiful hospital in Sao Paulo.  It was perfect for Susie.  It is the hospital that the President of the country has used and many celebrities as well.   We were able to meet with the International Patient Department and Susie received an MRI.  We couldn't believe it!  We felt very comfortable at this hospital and it has everything we need to keep track of Susie's brain!
  • School - We were able to meet with the principal of a school in Praia Grande, the town we hope to be living in.  The school was great and we think Simon, Talya and Charlie will enjoy learning there and making friends.  
  • Housing - If you follow us on facebook, you know that we saw a few options but landed on a great house that we will rent.  It's spacious, beautiful and only one block from the beach!  We even have a guest room if you are interested in visiting.  
  • Praia Grande - It's a Brazilian beach town that many people from Sao Paulo visit.  It is lined with 21 kilometers of beach and it is beautiful.  The people were friendly, warm and received us with smiles.  While it is not a big city, it has everything we need and is conveniently located only an hour or so from Sao Paulo.  We are looking forward to making the most of the opportunity to enjoy all it has to offer.  
We continued to feel confirmed that serving in Brazil for the next few years will be a great option for us as a family, for the ministry and for what I'm learning in my Doctoral studies.  We were so thankful to spend a few days there.

While we remain excited and continue to move forward there are a few things that still need to happen before this can all be finalized:
  • Visa - we need to secure the proper visa to move to Brazil.  Our colleagues in Brazil are working with a lawyer to get all the necessary paperwork.  This is a very tedious process and one that is completely out of our control.  We hope to file the paperwork by the beginning of June and are hoping to receive the visa by the beginning of September.  This is a big one! Please pray for favor and wisdom in this process.
  • Our house - we are very open as to what to do with our home in Ohio.  We are open to renting it, selling it or keeping it if the first two don't work.  Just yesterday, we officially put it on the market and are eager to see what happens with it.  Please pray with us for wisdom.  
  • Portuguese - one of the things that became very clear is that our family is going to need to learn the beautiful Portuguese language in this process.  Susie and I are hoping to tackle our Rosetta Stone over the summer months and then be fully immersed in the language once we are there.  As you hear people speaking different language, feel free to pray for us as we seek to learn a new one!
Thanks so much for your interest, prayers, excitement and support of our family.  It is a blessing to share this adventure with you.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A quick trip to Brazil

As this Mother's Day concludes, Happy Mother's Day, Susie and I are on our way to Brazil.  We will be spending the next few days with our friends and colleagues with Atletas em Acao - AIA Brazil.

We invite you to pray with us this week as we seek further clarity on housing, schools, hospitals, visas & daily living things (banks, cell phones, Internet, grocery stores, etc).  Please also keep our kids in prayer as they are with some very good & capable friends.

We are thankful for the many prayers and words of encouragement so far.  We are thankful to share this journey with you.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Happiest House on Earth - it could be yours!

Or, at least in the Miami Valley.

One of our big things as we consider moving to the global south is what to do with our things. It's tricky, because we are really not "stuff" people, and so there's a huge part of us that wants to sell or give away it all. If you walked through right now and said, "hey I like that bowl," I'd probably give it to you. But, like I said, it is tricky. Because though we have a *plan,* we can't depend on our plan. One bad MRI and I'll be back in Ohio trying to find which Good Will my winter coat ended up.

So, do we store, sell, give away, rent, trash? And all the sentimental value of our happy home is just so much more valuable right now, you know?

In my mind, I've given the house and everything in it to God already. I've even told Him that if we need to sell it, I'll paint the walls beige. (Wow, that's as painful a sentence to type as it was to pray.)

It's a bright, open, cheery, happy home that is full of amazing memories and has enough room for 4 active children and all the relatives that visit. (3 bedrooms, 3 baths, mostly finished huge basement with an extra room that is technically NOT a bedroom) We love it and hope the next person (permanent or temporary) loves it too and can make their own happy memories here.

If you or someone you know wants to see it, just let us know. We're open on the rent vs. buy and furnished vs. unfurnished issues. And if you paint the walls beige, I'll cry, but I understand.  Not everyone loves billboard green and peacock blue, but in my opinion, everyone should try.

Look at that giant table that Ben built! It was where the Beebe family ate Thanksgiving dinner this year. I'm probably going to paint it soon. I'm thinking.... red?

I even cleaned my kitchen enough to show you.

And, seriously? I love our neighborhood, our city, our region, and our state. Yeah, it's cold in the winter and hot in the summer, but weather isn't everything. Fairborn is cheap, friendly, easy to get around and as long as we live in the States, it's where I would want to be. Well, either here or Lake George.