Monday, January 4, 2010

Blessings - and a Bump

December brought many blessings and one (hopefully) minor road bump. Among the blessings,  a truly joyful Christmas. We planned a quiet Christmas Eve, enjoying private and fruitful time in prayer before the beautifully arranged Crib at our home parish of Our Lady of Fatima.  On Christmas Day we traveled just a little to St. John the Baptist, a parish whose pastor, vicar and parishioners all have given us a tremendous amount of encouragement and support. The photo above was taken in the vestibule - our Maria and Bernadette sitting in front of the church's grotto depicting St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes.  We had fun giving the girls gifts in our home and then spent the day with Richard's family right here in Pennsylvania. The following day we drove 9 long hours to New York and spent the week with Kelly's family there. We were humbled right after Christmas by two families who "adopted" us, promising a monthly donation through our entire mission time.  These two families are the first to make that particular type of commitment to us and we are very moved by their generosity. Also, our hosting parish in New Zealand added a PayPal link on their website to make it easier for us to raise and transfer funds, another piece of good news in our sometimes stressful fundraising world! Unfortunately we have not yet been told how to access this account and therefore we have no idea what is happening with it- a major bummer for Kelly The Obsessive-Compulsive Thank You Card Writer.  At the year's end we found ourselves directly on target for fundraising, bringing us just a hair past the one-third-of-the-way-there mark (many, MANY thanks to all of you who have helped us get this far!) To date, we have been able to buy our plane tickets and pay for our passports. January and February's funds will be earmarked for health insurance.
And we mentioned a road bump - namely, our visa application. Bernadette, Maria and Kelly have all their ducks in a row for the visa. Richard's chest x-ray had an "anomaly".  Our doctor believes it's just a nerve ending, but it has to be checked by a specialist before he can sign off on it. The specialist had no openings until almost February.  We think that should still leave enough time for visa processing, etc... but in reality, we have no idea how long it does or may take.
And lastly, in what is almost a Christmas miracle, our classically aloof cat, Splat, was invited to move into a new home (much thanks, Karen) AND our now feline-free home has been promised to Theresa and Matt, who will wed on May 22 and begin domestic bliss in our house on the 24th. Cats, house, furniture - 3 headaches all nicely checked off our list!