Sunday, January 27, 2008

Goodbye, Old Friend

Skippy and Val, originally uploaded by russandval.

I found out last night that our family dog, Skippy, passed away yesterday. Skippy was more than a pet--she was truly a member of the family, as anyone who knew her could attest. She lived a long life--almost twenty years--and was quite possibly the sweetest dog I have ever known. As we grew up and went away to school, the biggest fights at holiday times would be over who got to sleep with Skip. When my high school did the musical Annie, Skippy played Sandy and seemed to love all the attention. It's going to be strange the next time we visit my parents and I don't get to see my girl!

So I'm a little bummed today. And quite bored. I've been on my back with a monster head cold for the better part of a week. My voice has returned somewhat, though even Russ doesn't know it's me when I answer the phone! (Hey, at least I can answer the phone now--for a couple of days there I couldn't talk at all!)

The rest of the team gets home from furlough in a couple of hours! We can't wait!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How Can I Be Mad?


Oh, Sam.

We left you unattended for a long time today.

It was only natural for you to find something to do to entertain yourself.

And I'm quite impressed that while we were at church, you were thinking about Jesus, too!

So really, how can I be mad at you? The sight of you with stickers from head to toe was too much.

But, Samson, for future reference, Jesus' place is in our hearts and not our paws.
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Saturday, January 19, 2008



That's the word that seems to always be on my mind these days. Theoretically we still have a month, but we know there's no guarantee. And as we get closer we complete things and think, "I guess it'll be a while until I get to do that again!" That means I alternate between two strategies. At times I say, "Great! That's in the can--one less thing to do!" and I relax. Other times I say, "I'm running out of time! What can I fit in before the baby comes?" and fill up the free time that was just created with something new.

That was the case today. I got a call just over a week ago about a Sunday School Teacher training day hosted by one of the other congregations. They wanted us to know about this great day coming up and oh, by the way, could I please be one of the speakers? So that's what I did today. It was a great day, an excellent opportunity to build relationships with the other sisters, but at eight months pregnant, I found it a little long and a little hot. (I texted Russ at one point with an update: Things are going well but were better before the power (and fans!) went out.)

Now it's back to checking things off the list. Next week I teach my last ladies class for a while (on submission--eek!). And next Sunday afternoon the rest of the team gets back from furlough which means I will be giving Alicia all her responsiblities back. Then, I guess, we'll just sit around and wait.

Seems rather unlikely.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Diapers Have Been Purchased

Yes, the unthinkable has happened. I thought my birthday made me feel different, or the first time we had an ultrasound and there was definately a person in there. But THIS tops all of the other weird feelings, hands down. We watched Lamaze dvds and washed baby mitts and did many other useful things (I still have to build a changing table; it will come to pass) and yet the diapers seemed much more important that those other things. At first I thought "so begins the worst 3 years of my life" then quickly changed WORST to TOUGHEST. But enough with the belly ache; we are doin great!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I don't know why I ever worry. My fears never come true. It's almost like there's someone making sure it all works out. Hmm...

I was worried about this morning. Russ and I were the only teammates in town so church was entirely up to us. It was pretty intimidating (and lonely) being the only ones around. And today was the day of a big government exam so we knew we'd be missing members. It almost seemed like it would have been better to cancel.

But I'm not the one in control.

We had a guest speaker from another congregation who did a fabulous job. And all the songs that Russ had chosen, the children's time I had prepared, the communion talk--everything!--perfectly tied into the lesson. To top it off, we had what is considered in these quiet summer months a good crowd. It ended up being a wonderful day. I can't believe I was ever worried about it.


I just looked at the date of my last post. Sorry! My latest excuse is that we had our friends, the Bonneys, from Mayfair visiting us. Russ and I couldn't go to the missionary conference this year since one of us is great with child but it worked out perfectly because it was the best week for the Bonneys to come. We were so busy with them that we barely thought about what we were missing. (Okay, maybe I thought about it a little...) It was such a blessing to get to spend time with Jeff, Natalie, Phillip and Kyle. (And we never complain when we have to take people to the beach!) I thank God for all the friends He's given us that seem more like family.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Oops! I just looked and discovered that I haven't posted in a while. I'd love to say that it's because life has be just too frantic but it's more that we've been enjoying the relative quiet of this time of year. (Though only having two team families in town does mean there's some extra work to be done!) We had a nice Christmas, though it was a little strange because it was the first time Russ and I had ever been completely alone. We handled it okay, I guess (well, he did anyway but I'm hormonal so I've got an excuse!).

We spent yesterday (New Year's Eve day--is there a word for that?) at the beach. A family that has been coming to church lately invited us and the Porters to the beach house they rented just north of town. We spent the day swimming, sitting in the sun and eating. John and Evelyn Willis (from Abilene) are visiting the Porters right now so they came with us, too. It meant we also spent the day translating back and forth, but no one seemed to mind. After a day in the sun, we didn't feel much like going out so we stayed in last night and watched an Everest marathon on the Discovery channel while we waited for all the fireworks to end.

John and Evelyn are celebrating their 52nd anniversary later this month so today we had a get-together with some of the couples from church. They shared what they had learned about marriage with us. It was quite the multicultural (and multilingual) gathering because one of the couples is a Brazilian woman (who is from the far south of Brazil which may as well be another country!) and an man from El Salvador (who really doesn't speak much Portuguese but lived in North America for several years so has great English). So we switched between English, Portuguese and Spanish. In the end I think everyone made themselves understood and were able to learn a great deal from John and Evelyn. It's nice when we have older people around to share wisdom with us--our congregation is young and made up of relatively new Christians so times like today are quite special!

This morning I had the realization that it's now January. It's January and we're having a baby in February. Wow. Just for kicks, we've set up an online baby pool. You can access it here.