Backyard Explorers

I have really great memories of my backyard when I was a kid.  I, along with my friends and siblings, played for hours and hours in our backyard: kick the can, climbing trees, swinging on swings, playing in our tree house, building snow forts, camping out, and on and on.

But over here, we barely even go in our backyard (who wants to go to the backyard when there is literally a playground in the front yard?)  However, Elias and I have taken a few exploratory trips into the vast unknown of our backyard and you know what?  There’s a jungle back there!  Full of cool plants and even cooler bugs (although the bugs don’t like to be photographed).

Barb wire

little explorer

Binoculars are a required accessory when backyard exploring!



underside of a leaf

These sweet little flowers were growing on the underside of the leaves…good thing my exploring partner is short, or I may have completely missed them!


inside a palm tree



This is definitely not what my backyard looked like growing up in the midwest, but it is gorgeous.  Maybe we’ll start hanging out back there more often!

E Week!

We have made it all the way to the letter E in our little preschool now!  And I feel like we both deserve gold stars.  Maybe 5 consistent weeks of school doesn’t seem like a big deal, but since it is often a daily battle, I’m feeling pretty good about 5 weeks of school!

E week turned out to be a pretty fun week!



E is for Eagle!  Elias made his letter E eagle and we watched a fun little video about eagles on YouTube.  He loved watching the eagles swoop and dive for fish.



Next we did some review since he’s still getting his letters mixed up.  I wrote all of the letters we’ve learned so far on the floor and he had to throw a bean bag to the letters as I called them out.  After that, he used the same letters on the floor to make play dough versions of each letter.


Next, we played a little game called Escape!  I froze several small plastic toys in ice and Elias had to use a hammer to help them escape!  He loves this activity, we’ve played it several times.


On day two we learned about elephants.  I neglected to take many pictures this day, but we talked about elephants and then walked around the house pretending to be elephants.  We also made letter Es with our bodies!


The last day of E week was Elias’ favorite.  E is for Elias!  First he did this little activity matching the clothes pins to the proper letter to spell his name.

Egg hunt

Next, he did an egg hunt in his room.  I hid 25 eggs in there and he loved discovering each of them.

What's in the eggs?
Spell your name

Once all the eggs were found, he cracked open each egg to find a letter inside–the letters of his name.  He sorted the letters by making a pile for each letter that he found and then practiced putting the letters in the right order to spell his name.  (his head isn’t really all wonky in real life…it’s just the lens I was using).

We also sang a little song that I made up to help him remember how to spell his name.  It goes like this:

That’s how you spell your name, it’s

A song writer, I am not, but it’s effective and he can usually spell his name pretty well!

Phew!  5 letters down, 21 more to go!

MAF in Haiti

Devestation in Haiti

As I’m sure you’re aware, Hurricane Matthew’s affects on the island nation of Haiti have been devastating.  MAF has 5 expat families on the ground there as well as 15 national employees.

So far, MAF has been able to do survey flights to access the damage and has begun to fly for several relief organizations.  If you’re interested in finding out more about MAF’s relief effort, click here.

Join with us in prayer for this Nation: both those affected by the hurricane and those aiding in the relief effort!

photo credit: Tim Schandorff, MAF Haiti

Belum: An Adoption Update



There’s this lovely little word in Indonesian that explains more about Indonesian’s ability to be ever hopeful than any other word I have come across.  Just this one word displays hopeful anticipation that everyone here seems to have.  Even in the face of unknown odds, this word give a glimmer of light to an other wise cloudy situation.  You know what it is?


Not yet.

Unless it is known beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is absolutely not true and will never be true, most Indonesians will use the word “belum” where we might other wise say no.  Is the sky green?  No.  Have you ever been to the moon?  Not yet!  Is you child a girl?  No.  Do you like shrimp?  Not yet!

I loved this word when we were experiencing infertility.  Do you have children?  Not yet!

So, today, the day we received another “no” about a possible adoption match (our 7th), I fully believe that God is not saying NO to us in this adoption, He’s only saying NOT YET.  There is a child out there for us.  A child that God has hand-picked for our family and we will wait for him or her with hopeful anticipation!

photo credit:

Pantai Gedo

Elias, our little fish, had been asking to go to the beach for several weeks.  So, last Saturday we packed up the troops and headed out to a nearby beach.  It had been awhile since we had visited this particular beach, and we were pleasantly surprised by the improvements they have made!  Yes, there is still trash along the shoreline, but it was otherwise clean and quiet.




sea shore

The water was a little wavier than we are used to, but Elias seems to have conquered his fear of the waves…as long as we are close by.

Big E, Little E

Indonesia is really into putting up these big signs all over the place now.  This one says “Pantai [beach] Gedo.”  We have one near our base that says “Pantai Nabire.”



play in the waves

whale shark statue

We used to say that this beach lived up to its moniker (Gedo), but now, though maybe not travel-magazine-ready, it is quite beautiful and pleasant morning at the beach!