The unintended side effect of being present to the present moment is being absent from the blog. There's been a lot to be present to. It's the end of the school year in New Zealand, with all of the attendant drama that accompanies wrapping up a year of youth ministry. Plus it's hot, it's humid, it's Advent - and yet I still haven't even processed our pseudo-Thanksgiving. Yes, we did try. Sort of. It was no improvement on last year's attempt at Thanksgiving, but the upshot of it was that we decided to use "Thanksgiving" as a possible theme for youth group meetings when we start up again in 2012. This will include introducing our hapless Kiwi youth to American classics like pumpkin pie and proper turkey stuffing. But shhhhh - don't tell them - it's a surprise!
Also keeping us busy: we have another Sealy under our roof right now. Rich & Christine's sister Karen has been visiting her siblings, nieces and nephew for ten days, taking in the sights of New Zealand and semi-seriously pondering the idea of selling her return ticket -to me. [Just kidding! Sort of! Rich and I have purchased our own return tickets and will be touching down in LAX in late May 2012. I've been singing the Star Spangled Banner & America the Beautiful to the girls as lullabies ever since....] We've been the nice kind of busy as we attempt to cram as much of this beautiful country as we can into Karen's ten days. The bonus prize is that the kids are totally worn out and have gone to bed early since she arrived!
no visit to NZ is complete until this happens....
Besides ministry and guests, we're all quite busy with "side projects". A brief overview of these:
Christine has her hands full
Christine is busy preparing for NET - she's getting her Australian visa paperwork squared away, getting her fundraising efforts off the ground and setting up a blog. (It sounds so familiar...almost like I've done all that before in another life.) I'll be posting a link to her blog once she's all set up. She leaves in just one month and I'm trying to figure out what on earth I will do without her once she's gone. The whole rhythm of my day has now become intertwined with her presence. The little ministry that I do (mostly just girls group) is possible only because of her assistance. There's a young woman waiting in the wings - or so I believe - and I will write more about her once it's official. But whether there are ten women waiting to step in and help - or none at all - I'll be missing little Christine more for who she is than for what she does. Please join me in praying for a fruitful and grace-filled mission experience for Christine.
she's leaving all this beauty....
for spiders the size of DINNER PLATES
Richard's preparing for his ten day exploration of the South Island, which will reunite him with his beloved family hours prior to Christmas Eve. He has two friends going with him and they have the most vague plans in the world - something about renting a car (which they will sleep in) and an unwritten "list" of possible sights to see - maybe. They are keeping very busy, meeting regularly to ensure that these plans stay as vague as possible until the absolute final moment.
the last time Richard left home for a few days,
let's just say that Maria was a little upset....
....so this time I have some more uplifting art projects planned
I'm realizing that Christmas tree ornaments made from red construction paper are really not acceptable - even though we sunk that low last year. Since all our festive decor is half a world away, the kids and I have been working on creating some meaningful and delightful substitutes - from homemade playdo - which everyone knows is a huge step up from construction paper. I have no idea what on earth else I am doing that is keeping me so busy but I presume it mostly has to do with the short people. We've been visiting the library quite a bit - bringing home an armful of books every week - including many beautifully illustrated stories of the upcoming Nativity. And I guess in my own heart, there is a peaceful kind of bustle....trying to make room for a Little One. I pray that all of you, who have so generously loved and encouraged and supported us over the past two years, enjoy a peaceful and grace-filled Advent season as you prepare to receive a Little One!
even I have no idea what I was doing
(but it looks neither graceful nor peaceful)