Second New Zealand post

 

1-26-13, 12:26 am NZ time


I keep trying to post on our blog! I started this one ten days ago, and then never found the time to add photos. So here I am, needing to go to bed, and I am trying to get this post to work. I had it all written and captioned and accidentally didn’t save it when I navigated away. I hope this has been worth the wait!

~~Jamie

1-15-13, 3:56 pm NZ time

This is actually funny. So far, I have not written about New Zealand!

Here is an email that I tried to send from our “hotel” room when we were in Sydney, Australia. (I say “hotel” because we stayed in a 3-bedroom service apartment, much better than a hotel. It had a kitchen and six-person meal table, utility room with washer and dryer, and two complete bathrooms.) I could not send with Outlook, even though I could receive. It was quite disappointing, because I paid for 24 hours of internet, but I barely used it, due to inability to send by hitting reply. I gradually got smarter, going to webmail and then to my Opera account. What I wanted from Outlook was my address book! Who takes the time to type all that into webmail? Not me! I can open Outlook and find addresses, but I wasn’t about to spend my day and half in Sydney typing addresses into Opera or webmail. I could have done it on the long flight over, had I realized I would want it. Oh well, we live and learn. Anybody traveling may want to consider doing that if they plan to send out large group emails!

This “email” I am about to post was supposed to be forwarded to the whole church (Old Paths Bible Baptist Church), but the copy in my inbox doesn’t seem to have the words. So here it is, as I sent it.

Hello everyone,

Well, it’s kind of funny. I asked a few people who had come this way before if I should try to get Australian money through AAA before coming. I was told that the exchange rate here would be better, so I assumed I would get cash (after talking with our NZ friends) at the airport with my credit card. I misunderstood just about all the advice I received. I don’t usually pay for things in life with cash. I like to have a record of my spending, so I used mostly credit card, some debit, and some online banking, with a few checks written a month. I actually had a $100 bill in my purse that I took out and left behind, because I don’t like carrying around big bills. Trevor had paid it to me for his insurance.

So. We landed and stopped at some benches to compare our landing cards and make sure they were filled out the same. They were close enough. 🙂 Then we lugged our way to customs. I told the man I had unopened packages of nuts in several suitcases. Not a problem. I told the man we have shoes from a farm and they might have a little soil still on them but that we had wiped all the shoes with disinfectant. Not a problem. I asked if the Pepperidge Farms goldfish in a package were OK. Not a problem. We just walked right along and got to the counters. The man said, “Grab a line.” So we got into two lines and just sailed right through. Everyone was friendly and cheerful. We took our many, highly-loaded carts to the quarantine area and we laid our bags on the floor in a line. A cute little dog (maybe a beagle) sniffed all along the line. He stopped at the same one on the way up and on the way back, but the handler didn’t seem to be bothered by it. Then he sniffed another one near the beginning and the handler asked if we have a dog at home. We answered that we didn’t. I asked if the dog barks if he finds something. The other man said he just looks up at the handler as if to say, “I found it. Now can I have my treat?”

We went on to the exiting area and I herded us over to the money exchange business in the corner. He said they only exchange cash; they don’t give cash for credit cards. I was directed to a bank machine across the way. I told the kids to encircle the carts of luggage while I used the cash machine. I put in my Visa card and it asked me for a PIN. Pin! I don’t have one of those for my credit card! So I called the number on the back of the card. No connection. Did my new international phone not work as I expected it to? I tried again and got through. I explained to the lady in Missouri that I was in Sydney, Australia, and that I needed a PIN to get money to pay for a cab to take us out of the airport. She connected me to some automated PIN department which proceeded to tell me I would receive my PIN in 7-10 days! What!!! It said if I needed cash before that to go to a bank. Great. I had 14 suitcases and about 10 carryons and we could not take the luggage carts away from the airport to find a bank somewhere to get some cash! Now what?

I decided to call my junior pastor who has traveled more than anyone in the church probably and who had helped us arrange most of the portions of our trip. I had to leave a message. It was actually one hour before the evening church service was supposed to start for Wednesday night back home. It was 10 am here in Sydney. So I called our friends in New Zealand to see if they had any brilliant ideas. Not really. I called Pastor Folk while Reese and Dylan went to ask a taxi driver if he took credit cards. I could hear Pastor, though his words were fuzzy, but he kept saying, “Can you hear me?” I didn’t go outside because I didn’t want to leave the children and I didn’t want to move the whole pile outside. I had to hang up. 🙁

The boys came back and said there was a long line and they didn’t want to stand in line just to ask a question. It was about that time (I was talking with the NZ friend at that point) that Trevor spoke up and said he had some cash. I had $79. He had $172. The girls each had $25 from their grandmother to buy food on the plane, but it wasn’t needed after all. Dylan had some and Reese had some. So we thought we knew it would take $80 to take a Maxi Taxi (a minivan) because that is what it cost for the group of six when Reese had come with a group from church in 2011. I was sure it would take two taxis for all those suitcases. I wanted to get $200 Australian, so I borrowed from all the children until we had $200. Reese wrote down the loans in a little notebook he was carrying. I went to the window and asked him how much US I needed to get $200 AU. He told me $250. There was a $12 commission and $10 fee. So I motioned to the children until someone saw me and came. I borrowed more until I had $250. He told me if I exchanged for at least $400 AU I would pay no commission. I told him I didn’t think we had that much. I dragged out the $8 I had kept in the wallet and we got up to $408. I needed $450 USD to get the no commission. I asked how much it would cost when I went back through and exchanged again. If I got the higher amount, I would get a receipt to show and I would pay no commission and get a better rate than that posted on the wall. I called Karen over and asked her to look for her other $5 bill. The man spoke up and said, “How much do you have now?” I said, “$408.” He punched some keys and made the commission $6 and gave me the receipt to pay no commission going back through. I forgot to say that he was encouraging me to exchange more at the beginning because I would pay $12 commission no matter how much I exchanged, unless I went over $450. I knew I would need $50 AU for each of us when we got to PNG to buy visitor visas in a few weeks, so since I had plenty of time this morning and maybe no time going through from NZ in a few weeks, I thought it would be better to get plenty of cash now and just have that over with. So I thought I needed $160 for two taxis. I wanted so badly to get out of the noisy airport and into our room so I could call my credit card company and explain that I needed a PIN now.

With cash in wallet, we went to find the taxi area. The man told us to go to No. 14. That was a small station wagon, so I went to him and told him we needed the maxi taxi. He motioned me to one that had just pulled up. I told the man I thought I needed two and he was sure it would all fit in his van. He let down his hydraulic “ramp” and they loaded it. We got into the middle section, which had a row of three seats facing the back of the van and three facing forward. Trevor sat up front. For just a second I wondered why he got into the driver’s seat. Silly me! They drive on the other side of the road. 🙂 I told him the address and the name of Meriton Apartments. As we drove along, with our video camera going, he asked the address again. It didn’t seem to satisfy him. He was from Africa, a nice man. I kept saying “DeVries”. Finally I dug a briefcase out of the stack and found my folder of reservations. It was Defries. So I said, “deFRIES, like French Fries.” It turns out that they pronounce it “DEFFreez.” (That rhymes with “Jefffrey’s.”) Oh well, we got here. Then the bill was only $51. And when he swiped the credit card, it wanted a PIN! I said I didn’t have one and it declined. So I was glad I had cash! I gave him the 50 and the 20 and he gave me the 20 back. I said, “Wait, I have a ‘one’ here in my pocket.” He said, “That’s OK, I have another fare.” A woman had come up and asked him to take her and her party to the airport. He was happy to have more customers. 🙂 Normally he would probably drive back to the airport empty. [editor’s note: a ‘one’ is a one-dollar coin.] For anyone wondering, it took only about 8 minutes to get here and he didn’t drive particularly crazy.

I was hoping we could check in early, but there were no empty rooms. They had told me at the time of booking that we could if there was a clean one when we arrived. But it’s summer and vacationers are everywhere. We were blessed to get a room this late in the booking. They had us put our luggage on two huge, fancy trolleys which they locked into a room. We sat in the side part of the lobby and I combed the girls’ crazy, messy hair. I got directions to a grocery store and we started out for a 20-minute walk. Since our “serviced apartments” have a kitchen, we can save money because we don’t have to eat at restaurants. We walked through a couple of cute little parks. There are many eucalyptus trees planted along the streets and they smell good. We had fun looking at all the food and choosing what we wanted. Should we buy sliced cheese, or buy a sharp knife and pay half the price for the same amount of cheese? Reese and Dylan went to see how cheaply we could get a knife. Trevor and the girls went with me to the produce section. Everything was stacked neatly and the produce manager was apologizing for the messy look due to the holidays! I tried to tell him it all looked great. Several employees in the store were very friendly. We gave several tracts in the store and on the walk to and from it. Lord, please open their hearts to the Saviour and His love and His plan for mankind. We got chicken thighs, avocados, tomatoes, apples, Australian cheddar cheese, an onion, half a head of garlic, bread, butter, eggs, milk, ice cream, and frozen green vegetables (green peas, green beans, and a smattering of broccoli). The cheap veg here is green peas. We had planned to stop in one of the parks and make cheese sandwiches (hence the need for a knife), but we realized it was quite warm and the chicken and ice cream and milk wouldn’t survive. Besides, we were tired and the room was ready. We had killed 2 1/4 hours. It was in interesting walk, with lots of cranes and cars to look at.

We got into our room and had our ice cream on the balcony. We then made the sandwiches and ate. Everyone lay down to take a short nap and slept four hours! I had a hard time getting them up. I don’t have time to write all the funny things about our room, like a shower with just a partial clear wall and a drain in the floor. The kids raised their eyebrows about that. They have a lot of experiences to build up.

We cooked our chicken in butter with garlic and onion. I didn’t have salt for the meal. There are a few packets, but the boys are saving those for eggs.

I was going to attach pictures, but I have to pay for internet $5 for one hour or $18 for 24 hours, so I wanted to wait until tomorrow morning to send this. We don’t want to waste the one day we have to look around Sydney.

We have other stories of the actual flights, especially Reese talking about the Bible so loudly and clearly that those of us a row ahead and beside him could hear him. He was talking to a saved girl, but the Mormon next to him heard it all. And the Catholic missionaries on his row did. I talked to a Muslim after giving his daughter a tract. I’m so naiive, I didn’t know what they were. They had distinctive clothing on, but I don’t know enough to guess religions of people. I had to ask. Well, I won’t elaborate more right now. He was very congenial.

Goodnight. 12-27-12 11:57 pm Australia. (8 am New York)

Jamie

////

That’s then end of the email I sent Dec. 29. Now for a few pictures to go with it. (I DID fix a few grammar errors. 🙂 )

~the restaurant called “lemonade” that we had supper at in LAX~

2012_12_25 Lemonade restaurant LAX 0042012_12_25 Lemonade restaurant LAX 007~loading our 14 suitcases and as many carryons into the maxi taxi~
2012_12_26 load the maxi-taxi 001~arriving at our serviced apartments: Meriton, in Zetland~The girls were looking up at the top floor, because that is where they told us would have a room. Ours was one of the five-story blocks.~
2012_12_26 Meriton Apts 0022012_12_27 views outside Meriton Apartments 0112012_12_27 views outside Meriton Apartments 012
While we waited for our room to be ready, we shopped at Coles. There are interesting things for sale in the meat case!  2012_12_26 in Coles 0112012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 0042012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 005  (It might help to know that in the UK, sausages are called “bangers.”)

2012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 0062012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 007In UK societies, they don’t refrigerate eggs.
2012_12_26 in Coles 014~Reese using his new camera to capture memories~
2012_12_26 in Coles 0262012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 008Annabelle, Naomi, and Karen enjoyed hearing and seeing multiple fountains. For fun, the girls and I walked across the footpath between the bubbling fountains.
2012_12_26 walk back to Meriton apts 002It was a long walk back to our apartment on a warm day, toting our groceries.
2012_12_26 walk back to Meriton apts 009Gas (petrol) is priced by the liter (litre). Don’t you think Hungry Jack’s got their design idea from somewhere in the USA?
2012_12_26 walk back to Meriton apts 017~getting our two trolleys of luggage to our room in the building next door~
2012_12_26 get luggage to room 0062012_12_26 get luggage to room 015Ice cream tastes even better after a long walk on a hot day and it’s even MORE special to eat on a balcony! 🙂
2012_12_26 refreshing ice cream 006 The view from our balcony was not beautiful, but was new and clean. Very modern; just the opposite of quaint. The kids loved it.2012_12_27 views from Meriton Apartment balcony 005 Plenty of dishes and utensils were provided to cook a nice meal.2012_12_27 supper at Meriton 006 It was so pleasant to have a table big enough for the whole family and enough dishes to serve them all.2012_12_27 supper at Meriton 008 We never served chicken and vegetables quite like this before. It was delicious.2012_12_27 supper at Meriton 010

 

 

 

First New Zealand trip post

Jan. 6, 2013

It’s amazing to realize it has been almost two weeks since we left home. I don’t know whether to write details or give an outline coverage. I will try the outline and see if I can limit myself!

We got up at our normal morning time (about 7 am) and put the last items in our suitcases. This was really good because we stayed up late packing and weighing. I gave up trying to check in online the night before. We had tried to check in before leaving for the Cammilleris’ party, but no go. So I tried once more when we got home and decided my lack of success meant it was meant to happen at the airport.

We loaded the van and drove to the Daires’, where we picked up some of their family and the rest drove behind us in their car. They are taking care of our van while we are gone, making sure it doesn’t sit and get problems from sitting. At the airport, I tried to tell the lady that I wanted the discount on luggage charges because in good faith I tried to check in online the day before. She had trouble with getting the discount for me, but I just stood there, with Charlie Barkowski’s calm encouragement and finally she said I got it. This was important to me to try because we took 14 suitcases, including schoolbooks for the missionaries we are visiting. So every dollar I could save on that was a big help. I have to pay anew for all our luggage every time we check in with a different itinerary. We have six different itineraries, if I remember correctly.

After the long wait, we wolfed down the sandwiches that Charlie brought and had prayer together. Then we checked in. I was so pleased that they didn’t ask us to go through the X-ray machine. Each girl paired with a brother to go through security and I followed to pick up on any problems from the rear. No problems. We went to the gate they told us and no one was there. The number was right, but I had the boys split up and check other gates. One behind the wall of ours was the right one and everyone else on our flight had already boarded. So we go our seats and took off for Minneapolis.

This was not the first flight for any of the Parfitt children. But it was the first that Karen remembered. And Naomi probably didn’t remember much of her last one (she was almost three at the time). I don’t even remember anything from that trip to Minneapolis, except that I was happily surprised that they gave us some snacks (drink and small bags of pretzels). We found our next gate after a good-sized hike past lots of food places. I wanted Chinese and had seen Wok N Roll. But there was none near us and really no time to go back and get food, not even if we left some little ones and two of us went back to the nearest. Nana (Ken’s mom) had come the day before and given all the kids some cracker-and-cheese snacks and some other snacks. So they had a little of those. We refilled the empty water bottles we brought with us and we were set for the flight to LA. I think that is where I instituted looking at our seat assignments and lining us up so we went in with the farthest-back person first to eliminate having to squeeze past each other to get to our seats and put our things overhead. It got a little messy because we were carrying things for each other and they could not seat us all together.

Jan. 14, 2013 (NZ, 9:12 pm)

I was greatly disturbed by the movies playing all around me. I knew the kids would have as hard a time as (or harder than) I was, to not watch the movies. The cartoons were just as bad. I wish they would have a section of the plane for people who want to limit what their children can see. You can see several screens from your seat. We landed in the dark and found that our gate was very close to where we got off the second plane. I was ready to stop at the first Chinese restaurant, but there weren’t any! We found our gate and thought a minute. I decided we had enough time if we marched back through the terminal. But the terminal seemed tiny and there was a door to the outside. A lady working nearby confirmed that we would have to leave that terminal to find Chinese food! So we went back. We had passed a place that sounded Oriental in name. We went back there (almost to our gate) only to find that they had closed the grill and we could only get sandwiches from a cooler. Humph. We went back to the place we had passed three times now: “Lemonade.” What a strange place! I wish I had space to describe it. We all got trays and stared at the strange-sounding “authentic California cuisine,” wondering if it tasted good. I picked a couple of things and then said I would just have some chicken. I was getting “half-servings” from a sort of food bar. I was told, “Oh, that’s from a different section.” Different section! What does that mean? So I picked one more thing and moved on. Oh, here was soup. Oh, macaroni and cheese (sort of). THERE are the prices, on the wall at the end of all the food we have been choosing! I paid for the girls and myself and then let the boys fend for themselves. It was pretty stupid to not ask about prices first. Oh, well, we ate and tried not to watch the Grinch thing on the wall.

We went back to the gate and put ourselves into order to board. I had chosen seats online and put us all behind each other, down the middle of the plane. That plane seating pattern was three, three, three. I sat in front, Karen behind me, Naomi behind her, and Dylan in the rear. Karen got to move to the aisle. Annabelle was across from me in the first set of three seats, Reese was behind her, and Trevor was behind her. Reese proceeded to witness to the young lady next to him for a long time, and we all heard him, so several people got a dose of Bible that flight. Again we fought with the moving pictures we could see on all sides. The main problem was an excess of violence. Lots of killing and explosions. Lots of immorality. Lots. The young ladies between Annabelle and me knew each other and talked a lot at first about people they knew. The lady on the other side slept a lot. I read Jon Jenkins’ book about temptation. It was certainly ironic that I would read some of it, watch some of something someone near me was watching, drag my eyes away, pray and ask God to help me stop watching, and go back for some of the book. I guess the Lord let me learn how hard it is for my children and the young people (and older people!) at church to resist temptation. We want to set no wicked thing before our eyes, but it was just all around, colorful, moving, interesting. 🙁

We all slept some of the time. I think I actually got more than my usual one hour of sleep. Almost exactly halfway through the fourteen hours, they fed us. We had already had supper, so I assumed this was breakfast. Turns out they fed us breakfast later, too. I had a bag of almonds I had been working on all day, trying to get them all eaten before we reached Australia. I didn’t succeed. But they let me keep the nuts. 🙂

Before I forget, I talked quite a lot with a mother on the second flight, who was flying back to Minneapolis with her two little boys. She told me the boys had gone on all of her business trips and usually her husband did, too! Wow, wouldn’t that be great for all families? And on the long flight, I ended up talking with the lady who slept a lot. Turns out she took something to help her sleep. She and her husband were originally from Germany, but lived in Michigan. I had asked about them wearing their rings on their right hands. She said that everyone in Germany did that. Interesting. We had a long friendly talk. She even got out her camera and showed me pictures of pretzels she had made and arranged to look like a bouquet for a friend’s party. She has a business of making pretzels. But she just wouldn’t take a tract. 🙁 I think I talked to the Muslim as we were exiting the first plane (from Rochester). I am still so green that I had to ask him (after several minutes of conversation) what he believed. He sounded slightly surprised that I didn’t know. He had allowed me to give his daughter a tract! Divine appointments? Certainly, though nothing spectacular. Just kindergarten in sharing faith during travel. 🙂

We were the last ones off the plane, as I like to let others past while we make sure we have all the cameras, laptops (we took two extra-wide laptops and a netbook, and boy have we used them a LOT.), story books, Bibles, purses, and other carry-on things. I decided that rolling carryons are much better than backpacks. I am going to keep my eyes open for them on craigslist. The Snyders found some here on their local “trade me” and gave Karen one. She was using a backpack that started ripping near the zipper and is getting worse all the time.

So much for an outline! This is actually now THREE weeks since we left (it is Monday night here in New Zealand). I haven’t actually gotten us into the airport at Sydney yet! Oh, well, I will now look for some pictures.

taking off from LAX, bound for Sydney, Australia

taking off from LAX, bound for Sydney, Australia

Annabelle was across from me, to my left.

Annabelle was across from me, to my left.

Karen read a lot and slept a lot. :-)

Karen read a lot and slept a lot. 🙂

Fourteen hours seems like forever! The longest we had flown before was 8 hours.

Fourteen hours seems like forever! The longest we had flown before was 8 hours.

Getting closer. Maybe we will survive all this sitting after all.

Getting closer. Maybe we will survive all this sitting after all.

We have arrived at Sydney, Australia! Hooray!

We have arrived at Sydney, Australia! Hooray!

Herding cats

My husband often says, “It’s like herding cats” when I tell him the difficulties of getting all the children (there are 8 of them in our family) to do what they should be doing at the same time. There is a video on YouTube of herding cats that amuses us. I’d like to share the address with you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

[Looks like I started to post this Aug. 17, 2010. Hope you get a smile from it like we did.-Jamie]

 

Lately in the Parfitt home

I hope to keep this concise, as I have many other things to do.

This past year has included (in random order): replacing our older Subaru wagon with a newer model, having son number three move to a nearby town to work construction jobs, losing that son’s four goats but then gaining two for ourselves, building a new chicken pen for my two banties, getting a new tractor with mower and tiller attachments, breaking and fixing the old JD skidloader several times (it’s currently down), getting the mini-excavator repaired, keeping up our journals, blueberry picking, starting the new school year, making plans to visit New Zealand next year, getting a real wooden pantry built, chasing the boys’ loose steers, taking the neighbor to court about their dogs continually coming into our yard and terrifying the girls, praying my mom through a road trip to California and back, buying a 15-passenger van in Pennsylvania and taking it to the other side of PA to Quigley to have it converted to 4WD and then picking it up one month later, taking a boat ride on the Erie Canal, camping with friends for two nights on an island in Lake George (turns out we don’t want to repeat that, but we would like to tent camp somewhere when the animals are all butchered), picking volunteer squash, NOT putting in a garden this year, enjoying the gladiolas that Ken planted in 2010, losing Trevor’s cat, getting a new cat to keep Annabelle’s cat company, receiving three kittens from the new cat, cleaning out our shed, getting rid of scrap metal, taking Bible Institute courses, having some carpentry work done, attending missions’ conference, Bible conference, and God Weekend, street singing and preaching, getting new wardrobes for the girls of more conservative and feminine dresses, stopping at our old house and being invited to look in every room of the house (they changed a wall we wanted to change and it was great to see that Ken’s idea DID work!), getting walking pneumonia (some of us) and hives (Karen), helping at the air show for three days again, helping the church hand out literature at the county fair for a couple of hours and then looking at the animals for the first time in some of the kids’ lives, taking a hunter safety course, deer hunting, taking a bow safety course, singing in nursing homes, having musical instrument lessons, scraping a car in a parking garage, ice skating, going to dinner at Japanese, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants, getting a delivery of a huge load of logs to split, splitting the last of the 2010 log delivery, getting our granite countertops chosen and installed finally, installing cabinets for a family that is expecting a baby any day, helping people move, attending calling hours and memorial services, videoing a wedding, and breaking my little toe.

That’s a long sentence, but I think I will leave it as is. No emotions expressed here, really, but you can fill in how you would feel doing all that and trying to also do school. All those experiences ARE school, but somewhere in there we have to memorize our times tables and learn what the subject and predicate are! 🙂 The glue that holds our lives together is attending church. We may have almost all the rest of our lives on a different schedule now, but we still go to church and see the same people week after week. Wise, godly men help the boys with “Dad” type discussions and kind, godly women and girls take us into their hearts to comfort us and encourage us.  It helps so much that they know the one we miss. We know we can’t be babied forever. We need to baby others now. I have found Bible time to be more interesting than ever as I actually ask questions and the Lord answers them quickly. I am forming a close relationship to Jesus! My Father in heaven is patiently showing me things I need to change not only my actions about, but my thoughts or philosophies about.

Reese and I are scheduled to take an electronics course together at the local community college. I just couldn’t find a homeschool electronics course, and I would not be able to explain any problem areas anyway. He may also begin piano lessons from one of our pastors’ sons. The boys will continue to take a Bible Institute class and we hope to go to New Zealand in February and March, with a short jaunt into Papua New Guinea. Dylan hopes to make it to the Philippines once this coming year. We wait to see what God has planned for us and we are ready to change our plans at a moment’s notice if the Lord tells us to.

Perhaps some day I will post pictures. For now, I’d better get some sleep and try to get back on the right schedule.

Thanks for reading!–Jamie

Ken Parfitt – Photo for Test and Measurement World Magazine

This photo of Ken Parfitt was taken at Harris Corporation Jan. 1. The photographer worked for Test and Measurement World, and Ken was the supervisor of the man who won the award for Test Engineer of the Year.l The photograph appeared in the Test and Measurement World magazine. The article with the photo can be read here: Test for the digital battlefield at Harris RF Communications.

Ken’s story to submit to his college alumni magazine

Ken Parfitt, the love of my life, has left this world to be with his Lord forevermore. He left behind a history of service to God that many men would wish for.

 

Ken was raised in a small town in Western Upstate New York and had an aptitude for two things: electronics and humor. He narrowed down his college choices to LeTourneau College and began attending in the fall of 1982. He was 17 when he arrived on campus. One of the main reasons he chose LeTourneau was the fact that it was a Christian college. He chose to work to get an Electrical Engineering Technology degree and did well his first semester. He didn’t like the heat of East Texas, but he enjoyed the many activities on campus. His humor showed up time and again as he and his dorm mates planned activities to pass the time between studies. When he later lived off campus, he made some poor personal choices and his relationship with God was weakened. Then he met me at work at the local newspaper and I challenged every one of his beliefs about God. It was a lot of work for him to prove me wrong on every point, because I had been raised in a cult (WCG) and I was as indoctrinated as they get. But he had many good professors to help him dig out from the Bible the proofs of what he believed so that he could show them to me.  And the good thing about LeTourneau was that these were not his theology professors. They were his welding professor, his computer professor, his electronics professor. He patiently kept pointing me to the Jesus of the Bible, and I was finally saved by Jesus’ blood alone. Gone were my law-keeping and my reliance on membership. In their place was a sealed promise from God the Father to keep me until Christ came for me. We married after this and he spent two years as a married student, working full-time and caring for his new wife and son. He graduated in the spring of 1988.
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What we have been doing the past month

Some highlights of the past month include: harvesting 5 1/2 gallons of honey from our hives, almost finishing the siding on the house addition, finishing the concrete layer around the radiant heat (all four zones are now operational), scanning old letters from my great-great-great grandmother to my great-great grandmother, attending our church’s annual homeschool fair and getting a few prizes, special meetings at church with guest missionaries with an emphasis on Papua New Guinea and aviation, a pie social at church after one of the meetings, learning to cook with honey for the sweetener, eating our own home-grown beef (it really DOES taste better), celebrating Elliott getting his pilot’s license, and helping another man named Parfitt find out some of his family heritage.

We are now planning a special trip: going to visit my mother and grandmother in Arkansas the last week of December. I hope to meet my father’s uncle while we are down there. But I want to concentrate on visiting with Grandma Laura because she is 98. We will probably go bowling with her one day while we are down there. Ken and the boys want to do some work on their house, and that will probably take the form of replacing the floor in her bathroom.

Who I Am and What I Do, etc.

(I saw this list on the Reynolds Family’s blog and wanted to fill it in for myself.)

I am: a wife that grew up on a small Ozark farm and got born again to be married to an electrical engineer and be a mother of eight children
I think: raising children is more of a challenge than I ever imagined
I know: I learn more every year, especially from my husband and children
I have: the gift of God–eternal life 🙂
I wish: I had more time to do genealogy
I hate: hearing English used incorrectly, especially at church
I miss: seeing the dogwoods bloom on Matney Mountain in the spring
I fear: spiders
I feel: tired much of the time
I hear: my daughter’s feet running on the bare floor
I smell: the fresh stain on the new cedar balcony
I crave: sleep
I search: the house for lost keys, glasses, fingernail clippers, socks…
I wonder: if my lost family members will get saved
I regret: not praying for my family all these past years
I love: ice cream, tomatoes, and watermelon; but most of all, my husband
I ache: after pulling the weeds that I let get too big in the garden
I am not: a good encourager, but I want to learn to be
I believe: we need to want to be with Jesus, our Holy Creator, for all eternity
I dance: when I stub my toe
I sing: soprano, first soprano, descants, alto, and tenor; hymns and classic oratorios
I cry: sometimes when I pray for unsaved people
I don’t always: get to bed at a good time
I fight: my selfishness
I write: emails mostly, and daily entries in my calendar-journal
I win: at Pictionary with my husband as partner
I lose: at four-square
I never: cut my hair
I always: want to sing
I confuse: my husband and children probably
I listen: to the tape of our family singing
I can usually be found: at my computer
I am scared: of driving fast
I need: to praise my children more
I am happy about: going on trips with my husband
I imagine: visiting Arkansas
I am wearing: a worn-out denim jumper and floral short-sleeve blouse
I look forward to: finishing our house addition and moving things around

Jamie