Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A precious Jewish family

These pictures just came in from Israel {where hubby currently is}, and I wanted to share them here.  The first time I ever went to Israel (December 2007) was specifically by request from my pastor to meet this family.  David and I are the same ages as this couple, and three of our four children line up exactly in ages too (they have another son not pictured).  
My childhood pastor, Dr. Vineyard (pictured on the left in the picture below) met this precious lady during a war in Israel.  Bombs were being sent over to Israel from Lebanon, and he was staying in a hotel where she was working at the front desk.  She was understandably afraid, and God used him to calm her young mama heart by reminding her that God was in control and on her side.  She loves Dr. Vineyard now like a father.
David and I have stayed in this family's home on a couple of occasions, and we consider ourselves blessed for how they have accepted us.

If you scroll back up to the first photo and sneak a peek of their daughter in purple, you will catch a glimpse of a special pouring of God's grace.  About five years ago, this dear mama was heavily considering having an abortion.  It was an unexpected pregnancy, finances were tight, problems were escalating, etc... I called her from Ukraine and begged her to keep the baby, reminding her that God was the One who placed this new life in her womb, and He would provide for the needs of another little one.  She thanked me over and over for reminding her and promised she would not go through with it.  A few months later we heard the happy news that her wee one was born and healthy!  When she was one year old, I was able to hold that precious girl and thank the Lord for the small part that maybe I was able to have in her little life.  It may or may not have been our telephone conversation that made the difference, but I find joy in the fact that it just could have been.

{Below} Picture of this couple's daughter when she was one year old.  I just couldn't keep my eyes off of her big, beautiful, brown eyes!
A true sign of friendship is sharing your hearts over a good cup of hot tea or coffee.  One of the sweet memories David and I have from this home is being introduced by this couple to delicious Moroccan tea, that they call "Louiza" {lemon verbena in English}. Several times we watched them clip the leaves right off of the plant growing in their backyard and enjoyed a steamy, hot cup of tea sweetened with raw sugar minutes later.  The flavor is better than anything you can ever get out of a tea bag, I guarantee you!    

When I think of Jewish families, I always think of this family first.  They were my first Jewish friends and will always hold a very special place in my heart. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Traveling makes you richer

Oh, the places we have been in a year's time!  My next post will be a round-up of countries we visited or lived in during the year 2012.  

2012 was definitely a year for our family to get to know one another.  Six people living together, many of those nights in one room, and traveling together in one mini van gave plenty of opportunity for each to see each other at their best and worst.

And looky there - we survived!  Not only did we survive, but I think we drew closer as a family.  It gave us the opportunity to work through things as a team, and learn how to put one another first (not that we always did, but we were learning.)  In hotel rooms, the children rotated who would sleep on the bed and who would sleep on the floor.  In the van, the three older ones constantly rotated seats and learned what it meant to leave a clean seat for the next person.  One bathroom with one shower... it was all good for us. 

And here is what I got to see whenever I wanted to turn and look around in the van...

 {Below} Love that little boy's leg, hanging over the side of his car seat.
Very little sleeping went on in the van as we traveled... my kids just are not sleepy travelers.  Oh, but they sure did enjoy the open road as we traveled from September to December!  I think I would sum up their year as a big lesson in learning to live in tight spaces and be flexible... great life lessons that we can all use some brushing up on from time to time.

Many people feel sorry for missionary kids because they "miss out on so much."  But, really, missionary kids get to see so many more places and experience so much more than they would if they were "normal."  Yes, they do miss out on some material things, but they trade that for something bigger.  And when we're having a "chips and soda" kind of day, I like to remind them, "Isn't it fun being a missionary kid?!"

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vimeo to Mimi

I watched a missionary video online this evening and came across a video we uploaded nearly a year and a half ago.  It made me smile, so I thought I would share it in this post.  ;-)

My hubby begins his journey to Israel in less than two hours.  He is already at the airport, and I am already missing him.  After a week in Israel, he will fly to Ukraine to run a Men's Conference.  I will try to update you on his trip as much as I can.

This 22-second video upload is a fine example of what being a missionary can do to a family.  Even though we are Americans, hubby is speaking Spanish and then the children say, "I love you, grandma Mimi" in Russian.

The children were especially emotional when their Daddy left.  They miss Ukraine.  It made my heart smile to know that, even in the midst of all they are enjoying in America, a part of their hearts remain in Ukraine.

As you watch this video, please whisper a little prayer for my hubby as he travels.  My heart deeply thanks you.
Click here to watch "To Mimi" on Vimeo

Thursday, February 7, 2013

David Sloan family 2012

Yesterday I shared individual pictures of the kids from our photo shoot last July, and today I am sharing some of the rest.  This is just a small percentage of what I have on my disc, and it was not easy choosing favorites, hence the excessive amount of pictures I am over-sharing today.  I promise you, though, there are still many more that we will just enjoy ourselves.  

For some reason, our oldest son, Davey, ended up with only one picture all by himself (shown in yesterday's post).  The photographer was extremely apologetic when we picked up the disc, explaining that he had planned to take more in a different setting and forgot.  Good thing the one he took was downright perfect!

Our prayer card picture was hard to choose.  We were deciding between this one {below} and the one we actually used.  We couldn't decide if we wanted to go for more of a fun look or something more serious.  We finally opted for serious since it was, after all, for our prayer card and not for our living room wall.
{Below} The picture we used for our prayer card and display table.  And want to be let in on a little secret?  I cropped David's face in this picture for the back of his book!
See there?  The quality on the book {in real life} is so good that it looks like an individual shot!  Yay for great photographers!

And speaking of great photographers, you will not believe that we paid the equivalent of $30 USD for all of these pictures (a 1-hour photo session) and the disc with 114 pictures on it.  No watermarks.  No copyright policies.  Done deal.  Yes, missionaries have to fork out the bucks when it comes to airline tickets, paperwork, etc..., but we do get our price breaks in other areas.  Our photographer already knows that he is our photographer from now on.  He took our pictures last year (you can see the family picture here or lots of shots on our Meet My Family page before they get updated) which were a huge improvement from the year before when we used to go to an indoor studio.  When you have multiple children, the friendliness of the outdoors is a much easier environment for gaining cooperation from every age group.  They are smiling anyway.

Someone has anonymously paid for our family pictures to be taken again while we are in California {thank you, anonymous!!! A parent can never have too many pictures of their growing children.} which is partly why I wanted to go ahead and get these pictures uploaded.  We will most likely get them done next month which will put us at 8 months between photo shoots.  Since both are/were outdoors, I think we'll enjoy the March weather much more than the 90-degree July weather we were trying so hard not to show on our faces the last time around.  Even though some pictures were not usable due to the strong winds that day {I'm sure you noticed flying hair in some of the pictures}, we were grateful we had it.

Thanks for taking the time to look today!

Three thorns and a rose

How is it that these four children get sweeter and cuter with each passing day?  I like to joke that we have "three thorns and a rose," referring, of course, to the fact that I have three boys and a girl.  Of course, my boys are not thorns by any means unless that just translates to the fact that they are the protectors of their one and only sister.  In that case, being a thorn is not a bad thing at all!
These pictures were actually taken last summer, in July, not long before our departure from Ukraine.  We were in the midst of teen camp preparations, finishing up a semester of school, and packing up our suitcases for furlough.  As the veteran missionary we work for likes to say, uploading these pictures to this blog was on my to-do list, it was just written "at the bottom of the fold."  Have you ever heard that thought?  In other words, if you had a list written on a piece of paper and folded that paper in half, where on the paper would something come in order of importance - the top half or the bottom half?  Great concept, right?

Apparently, it has taken me awhile to reach the bottom half of my to-do list!  But, I have been busy taking care of the precious ones IN the pictures, so I am not going to beat myself up for just now getting around to this project.

I never posted teen camp pictures either.  Hmmm.... now that I think about it, that was written at the "bottom of the fold" too!  Now to start working on the list at the bottom of that fold...