Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everybody! We've been reflecting on this past year, amazed at where we are and what we are part of. I (Brooke) am, in particular, thankful for the opportunity to be living in community with an amazing, diverse group of people who share our desire to serve God by serving people. I have learned so much about hospitality and caring for your neighbor from so many who have cared for us this year--especially since returning from the U.S. in September. I expected it to get easier to be away from our friends and family during the holidays (this is our 3rd year away from home), but in some ways it's only gotten harder! Still, we are blessed to be part of a family here who loves us. I've also learned so much this year about compassion, trusting God, and about appreciating every day.

Christmas Eve afternoon we spent at Mac Mac pools, swimming, reading, and having a picnic lunch. Then last night we went to a Christmas play and had a late Christmas dinner with George and Carolyn and their kids plus Levy and Pragcidence. We went to church this morning, came home to clean up, now Jed is making candy cane cookies in anticipation of friends arriving this afternoon to eat and play games. The weather's been in the 90s all week, so we're really grateful to have clouds and cooler temps today. (Of course, we're dreaming of sounds like MN could stand to share some of theirs.)

Thank you all for your support this year. You have no idea how much your phone calls and emails and text messages and packages and blog/Facebook comments mean to us! Here is our Christmas present to you...we had so much fun making it! If you laugh even half as much as we have, we'll be thrilled.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Let it Snow

A week or so ago when Minnesota had that cold snap go through I started thinking back to when we first arrived in South Africa in July 2007. It was the middle of their winter and people were complaining about how cold it was. As a Minnesotan I would just smile and say if you think this is cold where I come from it can get to -40 and it will barely get above freezing for weeks at a time. They would look at me and shiver never really being able to understand what cold like that is really like. I suddenly realized I have become them. I can imagine what -20 is like, but it has been so long since I have felt it that I really can't comprehend it.

The one difference that there is between myself and my African neighbors is that I want it back. I want to feel the sting of the cold air filling up my lungs. I want my eyelashes to freeze together every time I blink a little too slowly. I want my cheeks to turn rosy red after standing outside for 10 minutes and after an hour in the cold just start to become numb. Then I would go rushing into the warming shack or sit by the fireplace or wood stove. Drop my hat and gloves on the radiator just long enough for them to dry out and run back out into the cold.

I don't understand why people would want to go on a destination Christmas to a warm, sunny place. Yesterday it was 90 today 88 tomorrow 84. The sun is shining the grass is green and it is Christmas? This year will be our third straight Christmas outside Minnesota and there is nothing I would rather have for Christmas than a foot or two of snow on the ground.

Brooke and I will be finishing up our time with Peace Corps in October next year. Let's see if I still feel the same way next Christmas, or an even better test if I still feel the same way in February, March and April.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas and gets a chance to feel the sting of cold weather!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

There's no place like home

It's hard to even believe. When we found out our Meggie was getting married, I was pretty crushed we were going to miss it. It's really a miracle that everything fell into place perfectly. Jed found an amazing deal with air miles...and there just happened to be a special where you got 50% extra on transferred miles...and Jed just barely had enough miles to stay under the transfer limit...and our families were incredible generous to "top us off" with miles. We'll be home May 13 - June 11, in time for Jed to fish before it gets too warm (shouldn't the opener be a few weeks later, honestly), in time to celebrate my 30th birthday with all of you, and in time for Megan and Blake's wedding on the 5th. See you then!

If you're disappointed that we're coming and you want to know who to blame, it's this girl! For those of you who don't know her, this is my cousin Megan Garrity. She's like a little sister to me and Kim, and she's marrying Blake Ellefson, a Hibbing guy that many of you know. (We love Blake too!) They're getting married at Elbow Lake Lodge, where Jed and I had our honeymoon. Isn't that cool?