It's the start of a new week, banana oatmeal raisin muffins are cooling on my counter, the laundry is folded and put away and the kitchen is clean. What better time to write a little update?
We've had two weeks of school now and it's going surprisingly well. I have been pleased and a little relieved that Clara Anne seems very glad to be in school, and willingly and excitedly follows my leadership on when and what we are studying. Last year I felt there were so many times where I was ready to do school but she was not...for whatever reasons (she was busy playing, she had just started a new craft project, she was tired, etc). This year that has been almost a non-issue, well, so far anyway. She's been happy to spend pretty much the whole morning on school activities and that's been a blessing for us all. I was never concerned about Chloe, she is such an eager learner and is blossoming under the extra attention, but I wasn't sure how Christin would fit into the mix. Thankfully, so far she has participated in the things that we do all together and then happily wanders away when I'm working with the other girls. She seems to like the structure too. I think all of the girls (and me too!) are so glad to be on a bit of routine again that it just feels great to be back in school!
I continue to be amazed at the pace of life in America. It is VERY easy to pack every evening full with activities of all sorts...not to mention the parks we could go to, the zoo, the science museum, the library, and on and on. I've had to say "no" to some things already that I would have really liked to have done but that were just too much. I am trying to faithfully put my priorities in line and figure out exactly how that means I spend my time. It is a challenge!
Tonight I chose to get some things done around the house in order to be better prepared for tomorrow, so that we can start school in the morning without much delay and tasks hanging over us. But, it meant that I didn't have time to exercise. And, it was 11pm when I started writing this so I'd better not go on too long! Still trying to figure out how everything fits in! Exercise will ideally happen right after the girls go to bed, but of course that limits my computer time or anything else I wanted to accomplish in the evening. But tomorrow is another day, I'll try to get it in then!
We are so enjoying being a part of our local church. It has been a great blessing to my soul to be a part of the worship services, as well as the fellowship that takes place afterwards. Our family seems to always be some of the last to leave! On Wednesday night we were there for the prayer service, which started at 6:30. We didn't get home until 9pm! It's such a gift, though, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of local church life. We have wonderful pastors and I have felt very refreshed, encouraged, and strengthened by the teaching of the Word.
The girls are doing well in general with life in the States. Recently our friend Robert (whom we knew from Asia and helped to come here to study) had finished his degree plus a one year internship and returned to Asia. We hosted him for a few meals before he left and on the final night, Clara Anne particularly had a hard time saying goodbye. She just kept hugging him and clinging to him! She said later that she just wished she could go back with him and be with her friends there again. We reminded her that if she did that, she would have to leave her friends here. Such is cross-cultural life; our hearts are in two places at once!
We have enjoyed some time at local parks, a family bike ride where we rode Asia-fashion down to Riverfront park, the blue blue blue skies and cool temps of fall, and the girls have loved our porch swing which is a great spot to sit and read aloud in the mornings. It is such a blessing to have clean air! We've even had the windows open! I am thankful.
John is thoroughly enjoying his classes, reading, and interaction with others on the subjects they're studying. It's a ton of work, no doubt about that, and he has to be very disciplined with his time, but he is excited about his course of study. It's been great to see him really thriving!
Well, the hour is already late so I'll just leave you with this family picture with Robert, the night before he left. We miss you already, Robert! We hope someday the Lord will allow us to live on the same continent for longer than just a few weeks!