Speaking of New year resolutions, my other would-be-a-New-Year-resolution-if-I-was-brave-enough-to-make-one is to lose weight. There. Now it's out there in black and white, maybe that'll motivate me more. Probably not, though, seeing as how most of you reading this blog are very far away from me, but I had to try to find a way to get myself motivated. I haven't even defined how much I want to lose. I just know I haven't been happy with some of my pictures lately. I know. I'm vain.
But I knew there was a definite issue here that needed to be addressed when in desperation I grabbed Dale's bike to get down to the Center the other day (about 1km distance). I was so winded when I arrived that even after 30 minutes I couldn't bring myself to actually ride the bike back to the mission station. I planned to walk instead, but our guard heard I was walking and insisted on coming to pick me up on the motor bike. I wonder how many other habits I've lost or laid aside because people insist on doing everything for me (think most house-keeping chores)!
But it's only January and I've got time to work on this, so hopefully, like with all other things in life, I can start to learn to take it one little step at a time rather than trying to reach my goal in one foul swoop (which is what I usually do and whey I'm such a coward about making resolutions).
Okay, so after that rabbit trail, I guess I should go back to the fact that I haven't blogged in forever and at least mention the highlights of the last few "silent" months so you can get the gist of what we've been up to. Here it is:
After all the teams from this past summer left, we took a one-week vacation to Bobo Dialloso and Banfora (in the Western part of Burkina). Our friends and SIM colleagues the Baeder family joined us for part of that time. We also got to catch up with Ken and Anita Hoch - Ken is a Messiah College alum from our days as advisors with Dokimoi Ergatai and now he and his wife are also missionaries in Burkina.
|The domes in Banfora, a cool natural rock formation.|
|The famous Banfora waterfalls.|
In August we said goodbye to our good friend Liz Barr as her one year term in Burkina Faso was finally over. But we also got to welcome another good friend, Brendon Earl, who also came to spend a year with us, covering a lot of Matt Walsh's responsibilities while he and his family are stateside on home assignment.
We started the new homeschool year in September, with Caleb doing kindergarten and Joel doing preschool. Since then, I dropped the preschool with Joel (he was only 3 when the school year started and just didn't have the attention span even if he could grasp the concepts), but I do continue to include him for certain portions of school. I had been pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed homeschool when I first started doing preschool with Caleb last year. This year has proved to be a bit more challenging, though.
|Learning about the early Egyptians.|
|King Cole and his sidekick working in their language arts notebooks.|
|Daddy teaches about soil.|
After a quieter September, October started picking up again, especially towards the end of the month. We enjoyed introducing our American "Fall Candy Day" customs to our Australian friends and missionary colleagues, who thought our obsession with pumpkin desserts somewhat strange. Still, they humored us and while they might not admit it, may have liked a few those pumpkin pastries as well!:)
|Mahadaga pumpkins ready to be carved. Recently as we talked about the letter "J" I asked Caleb to color a picture of a jack-o-lantern. He insisted on coloring it green because, after all, in his experience that's what color they are!|
|Joel and Tessa Walsh dressed up as kittens.|
|Our boys LOVED having so many other MKs around to play with. At the end of a short hike up on the cliffs behind the mission station, the kids all show off their muscles "holding up" this big rock.|
November brought a lot of meetings and visitors. The Fuhlani milk season peaked in November and we got a bit carried away experimenting with making cheese, butter, creme fraiche, yogurt and other dairy products. In the middle of the month we also spent a week in Fada for SIM Burkina Faso's annual spiritual life conference. I (Florence) helped with the planning committee this year and led worship for one of the days of the conference. After conference we enjoyed a short visit from a Canadian team as well as more of our SIM missionary colleagues. We also celebrated Thanksgiving as a station a few days after the actual holiday.
|Freshly pressed cheese! See all those engineering textbooks in the background? They come in handy for making a good, heavy cheese press!|
|We celebrated Thanksgiving as a family on Thanksgiving day.|
|A few days later we celebrated Thanksgiving as a mission station, sharing our American traditions with our Canadian and French colleagues.|
December was the busiest month of all. We kicked it off by saying goodbye to the Walsh family and splitting up their responsibilities as they returned to the USA for home assignment. We made 2 one-week trips to Ouaga, which means we spent nearly half the month on the road! We were thrilled to have my parents visit us for 2 weeks. Just before Christmas we also celebrated Joel's 4th birthday. Time flies!
|My mom made a Fuhlani friend, Kumbo, who brought her a chicken as a welcome gift. In total my mom was given 4 chickens, a guinea fowl, and a grass mat!|
|Joel is such an expressive little boy and he did not disappoint us as he opened his birthday presents!|
|Caleb helped decorate the Christmas cookies.|
|The boys enjoyed spending some quality time with Grandma doing different art and craft projects.|
|My mom had an accident while visiting the local market and injured her knee. She spent 2/3rds of her time with us using crutches or a wheelchair to get around. She was a good sport about it, though!|
|Our Christmas present to the boys was to build them a tree house. My dad helped Dale get a good start on it and Caleb got the hang of the fireman pole pretty quickly!|
Until next time!