Sunday, November 26, 2006

November in Review....

Sorry we haven't posted in SOOOO long. It's been a busy month. This is going to be a long post.

Rick and I went to Senegal for a week for our area Leadership Training and Business meetings. As an added bonus of course, we got to spend a lot of time with Max. He's doing great! He loves school, likes his friends and his teachers, and enjoys living with Deckers even though Aunt Mary is sometimes tougher than his mom. We got to meet his teachers, go to his softball game, and go to a school event they called "International Awareness" Night. He really didn't have any complaints at all - and no one had any complaints about him. It's nice to know that when your kid is away from home, he really does know how to behave himself. But we do think he was glad to see us -maybe he was missing us a little. It was nice to get to see him in the middle of the semester. He'll be home on the 17th for 4 weeks for Christmas.

Max at bat

The other added bonus was that our friends Dennis and Meg Woodruff were there from Massachusetts to lead the Leadership Training. It's what Dennis does for a living, so it was kind of cool to see him in Professional Action. But what is really fun is having our two worlds connect again - and it will happen again when Rick's brother Doug and his family and his dad come for Christmas.

Den and Meg Woodruff
I got to go ahead of Rick by a couple of days for a nice women's retreat for missionary women - about 200 of us. I only knew a handful, but the teaching was encouraging (led by Noel Piper, John Piper's wife), the worship times refreshing and the air-conditioned rooms and buffet meals a nice escape from my usual standard of living. So I had a nice time. The highlight of the weekend for me was swimming about 1000 yards from the mainland where the hotel was to a little island. It was a calm little inlet we swam across, not really too challenging. And of course, we had to swim back again! There were 14 women who did it, most of us in our forties or older. It was fun, and it was good for my self-image - I wasn't sure I could do it, but I did! This is a pic
from the island looking back at the hotel beach where we started.

What do you think? Is it far? I don't think it looked this far in real life.
I have really been thinking about how out of shape I have gotten and how I am losing my strength and energy because of it. And how risky that is. We have had enough family and friends who have faced major health crises lately - cancer mostly - that I have realized that you have to have both emotional and physical strength to fight it. I might have the emotional and spiritual strength, but I doubt I have the physical strength. And that kind of scares me, because you never know when something is going to happen. I actually went to a workshop on the retreat about staying healthy, expecting some advice about my physical health, but actually the speaker focused more on the emotional and spiritual side of things.

So even though it is a little early to make a New Year's resolution, I think this is going to be something I will work on for 2007 (starting now). I don't have a lot of options here - no health clubs or diet foods. But I can walk and try to eat more whole grains and fresh vegetables and fruits, even though it is a challenge to get them sometimes.

It seems a little funny to post this so publicly, but I bet I am not the only one who is looking at her mid-forties and thinking that as the years go by we can't take our health for granted. If anyone wants to buddy up with me in my efforts, email me so we can encourage one another.
So that's the sum-up of the month. Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving holiday. More again soon.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Our new location

Do you like it? I think it's pretty. I'm kind of getting into this web stuff - I've even been working on our geocities site and I'll let you know when it is worth looking at again.

Unfortunately, our digital camera does not seem to be working, so there will be a serious lack of visual aids for a bit. But let me refer you to a friends' blog which has some amazing pictures of the rain... (by the way, this is a great blog and if you are interested in mission work, you should check into it regularly )

There is really nothing that can give you an idea of what the rain here is like, not even Bob Reed's pictures. We thought we were going to get off easy this year - in July and August we had lots of sunshine, and one bad week in August when it drizzled and was windy and just damp, but no real heavy rain. But September and October made up for whatever grace we received in the "summer". Day after day of rain delayed the work that was being done on the building where we are moving our SIM office, laundry didn't get done, roads became impassable. I bet we got 30 inches in one week in October. After saying that I thought we'd have a light rainy season, I think we ended up having one of the heaviest of all the years we've been here. But thank God for our friends and family in America, it didn't seem to be the kind of rain or storms that spawned hurricanes. And the dry season feeling is in the air finally.

Today was a holiday here - Thanksgiving Day. It is actually kind of a forgotten holiday here - when the kids' school made up the schedule for the end of marking period tests, they actually overlooked it and had to rearrange the whole schedule. So I am wondering what the real history of this holiday is in Liberia- whose idea was it? They don't forget the holidays that really mean something to them- their former presidents' birthdays, or their Independence Day, or Decoration Day (like Memorial Day). My theory is that this was someone else's idea (not a Liberian) and there really isn't anything behind it for them, but I would like to know. One year we had a nice service at church, but we haven't done that again. I will admit it is nice to have a long weekend.

Today we went to visit some friends who have just moved into their new house - it's not finished, but there is a roof and windows and doors. No bank mortgages here in Liberia, so you just work on it "small-small" as you can find the money and time. Anyway, it happens in America too, doesn't it?

That's all for now from this side -- more when there's something to say. Debbie