Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Time

We saw a pretty sunset on our walk.

The town's Christmas lights.

Arianna drinks without getting her dirty hands on her cup.

Caleb's birthday party.

Christmas morning.

Arianna got a slide.
Last week did end up being busy, but not as bad. Wednesday, Caleb had his birthday party, and Lilia had a swimming competition at the same time.  I went to Lilia's competition, where she did good, even beating some of the kids in High School. Our guests were not able to make it on Thursday. We did have a good visit on Friday afternoon.  Friday, Angie and Lilia went to the youth meeting and so the boys, Arianna, and I took a walk at dusk.  We enjoyed a nice, and the 70 degree weather was nice as well.  Services went well Sunday, we had a guests from Limoux go with us and attend the services.  The afternoon, we decided to take the kids to McDonalds, were they had happy meals and nine piece nuggets on sale for 2 euros.   That's right our whole family ate for about $18.  Christmas eve, Angie finished up some shopping.  Arianna has a full blown cold.  She had a little fever, cough, and runny nose.  Christmas eve, everyone went to bed ready for Christmas day.  I slept poorly, having fever myself during the night.  At our request the kids did not wake us up until 7 am.  We read the story about the birth of Jesus.  Each person took turns opening gifts.  Everyone was spoiled.  I felt poorly, but had a great time, and even took a nap.  We had a nice talk with our families.  The food was great for the day as well.  We always do a large breakfast about mid-morning.  Everyone had a great day.  I am still recuperating today, but also getting a little work done and a little play time in.  God bless, JASON   

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas dinner

Spiderweb frozen in the back yard.

Good food at the Christmas dinner outreach.

Arianna enjoying a snack with her friends at church.
Things have continued to be busy for everyone.  We have not had anyone for the Bible Study for a couple of weeks now because everyone seems to have things come up at the last minute.  We know that most will be gone during the holidays and so it might just be us.  Last weeks highlight was we picked up our visas, so we are good for another year.  Another good thing is that we have finished our Christmas shopping.  That is unless Angie thinks of other stuff that she wants at the last moment.  We have been having a good time watching Arianna recently.  She is growing taller and smarter. She was sleeping in church Sunday and started to wake up, when she noticed Andrew was sleeping next to her, she would reach out and rub his cheeks every now and then.  It was cute.  Lilia had a cross country run last week with her school.  She finished 26th out of several grades going all the way up to high school age.  I was shocked that they still had the race, being that it was rainy and cold.  But they did, and Lilia did a good job, a couple of the other students passed out.  It warmed up by the weekend to a nice 65 degrees, but I should be cooling back off today. Angie has continued to have a good time in her French class. She had a lunch last week with her class and had a good time visiting. Angie is by far the youngest in her class, and everyone is real impressed when she pulls out our cell phone to look something up.  One of our friends car re-broke down, so we took her to the train station on Wednesday.  Friday night, I had a practice with a choir group.  I am playing the piano for them, they sang at the Christmas dinner outreach at the church in Carcassonne.  We have been practicing together son Saturday mornings for several weeks now.  They are a nice group, most are from Madagascar and Mauritius.  Speaking of the Christmas dinner, we had a wonderful time.  All Saturday was spent getting ready for it, preparing the food.  We invited our neighbors and another family that we have had good contact with.  We almost did not invite this other family, but Angie ran into them at the grocery store on Friday and we asked and they said they would love to come.  They are a real sweet family and real open to talking about God and the Bible.  The dinner was real good, well attended.  The boys sang a special with the children's choir, Lilia sang with the young people's choir, Angie sang with the adult choir, and I sang and played with the other choir.  We had a great time.  Even the mayor attended. Sunday we were out all day.  We left for church Sunday morning, I was leading the services and doing the kids devotional.  After services we treated the kids to McDonalds as an early Christmas gift.  We then took them for a little shopping.  A church in the states had sent our children money, and we decided to let them exchange names and buy gifts for each other. Angie took them into the store one at a time, while I stayed in the car and helped the other finish their homework. It was the only time we had available to do it.  At 4:00 we attended the English (British) Carol service that the church in Carcassonne puts on every year.  We enjoyed the service and even knew most of the songs this year.   Snacks were served afterwards and someone made brownies with peanut butter chunks.  Wow!  Caleb's birthday is today. Ten years old already.  He is so excited because he can ride in the front seat now.  His party will not be until Wednesday, but he did get some Ramen noodles for lunch, his favorite, and we bought him a Dr. Pepper.  I need to get some yard work done while the weather is a little warmer.  Angie is taking a friend to the grocery store.  She will have her French class tomorrow morning.  I need to get visit some people tomorrow afternoon.  Tomorrow night will be the Bible Study, possibly.  Wednesday, Lilia has a swimming competition, Caleb will have his party, and I have my kids basketball group, followed by my practice with the guys team.  We might have some guests arriving on Thursday, so better get some other things finished today.  Blessings, JASON

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lights out

At the awards ceremony.

Lilia and Caleb play Wii, Micah and Andrew watch, Arianna pretends.

Our car passed the 100,000 km mark.
Rainy and cold would describe the weather of last week.  There was just one person for the Bible study.  I decided against going to the market Friday morning as it was below freezing and windy.  We put some Christmas lights up on the palm tree in front of our house.  The only problem with outdoor lights is there usually is not a outdoor plug.  Doors and windows close tightly to keep out the cold, so it is not easy to string lights up.  We found some solar powered lights for a good deal and put up a string to see how they did.  They worked good.  Unfortunately Sunday someone stole them off the tree.  We have an idea that it could be a neighbor boy who has stolen from us before, but we have no proof.  They were nice while they lasted.  Friday  I was given special recognition for volunteering in the basketball program.  There was a big sports assembly to recognize all the volunteers and others who had contributed in different ways.  We had a good time, I enjoyed visiting with my teammates.  Saturday mornings, I have been helping a choir from the church in Carcassonne with their Christmas music.  I play the piano for them.  They sound really good, and I am glad to be able to help.  Angie and Lilia had youth group Saturday evening, and left a little early to do some Christmas shopping.  Sunday went well.  After church, I took some banana bread to Philippe, and afterwards Angie went and visited with a neighbor. In between we enjoyed hearing the services in Carcassonne with Skype.  Monday, I talked with a basketball coach in Arkansas.  I have been working with him for several weeks, trying to get a couple of players from here into college over there.  Angie had her French class this morning.  She ate lunch with a couple from the class who invited everyone to their house.  God bless, JASON 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Lilia is ready for school, Andrew is not.

Kids ready to put their ornaments on the tree.

Love the coloring in this picture.

It is amazing how the season has suddenly changed here.  Not just with the sudden arrival of the Christmas season, but also with the changing weather.  Last week ended up being rainy and cold, but it was welcomed, because, after all, it has to become winter sometime.  I went to the market Friday, it was just above freezing when I arrived.  The basketball group that I coach is doing well.  They played a good scrimmage last Wednesday.  There was a new kid last week as well.  The weekend went well.  Friday night (family night) we played Scrabble with the kids and had a great time, the Caleb & Micah duo won, but there was only 10 points separating the winner from the lowest score, so it was a tight game.  Saturday night, Angie wanted to make some brownies for the meal after church on Sunday.  We got all the ingredients out to make sure we had everything, we had just enough butter.  Wouldn't you know that when Angie was getting it out of the microwave it fell out of her hand and ended up all over the floor, the rug, and herself.  We had a good laugh about it and tried best as we could to get it cleaned up.  So, no brownies.  Monday we were going to pick up our new visas that we renewed.  We arrived and found out that we needed to have brought our old visas.  Since we were in Carcassonne and had some time we wanted to stop by the Trocante.  Found a parking spot and walked over to it, found out they are closed on Monday mornings.  Guess that was a wasted trip.  I remember not long ago, I would have gotten upset about the waste, but now it seems its no big deal.  God's still in control.  We got our Christmas tree set up last night.  Have I ever mentioned how much we laugh.  I would like to see a study done on how much families laugh together.  We have to be near the top of the list.  Arianna has been talking, singing, squawking. . .non stop.  She has this new expressing that comes out frequently . . ."That's mine."  She will say it as the weirdest moments.  When we were leaving Carcassonne, we saw a man on a bike, pulling a little trailer with a dog riding on it.  They both were wearing rain coats.  As we were telling the kids about it, we asked Arianna if she remembered seeing them.  She replied, "That's mine."  God bless, JASON
Took the scenic route home from church, and found this tree.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thankful for more visitors.

We had a good visit with Steve and Tonya.

Scenes from the drive to Barcelona.

I led a couple of songs in Spanish in Barcelona.

The wildmans.
A Thanksgiving feast.

Jim and Subie.

The boys and Arianna.
We said goodbye to the Rutherfords.  We enjoyed a couple of days with them.  We took them to the market Friday morning.  We were able to walk around a little until it started raining.  In the afternoon the ladies enjoyed some shopping while Steve and I watched the boys.  Saturday I drove them back to Barcelona via the scenic route.  The changing leaves made a beautiful drive.  Saturday evening, Angie was going to the youth meeting, but when Lilia and her arrived they found no one else was coming and so they drove home.  That evening I had a basketball game.  We won! It was a good game, even though I did not contribute much.  Sunday services went well in Carcassonne.  Monday the kids started back in school.  Finally Angie and I had a time to sit and talk seriously about Thanksgiving.  We were approved for a room from the Mayors office, but there was not one available until mid-December, which is when things get really busy for us.  We decided that we would just invite guests over once a week, a few at a time.  That left us with Thanksgiving as a family.  We were not really motivated to do anything, but . . . Wednesday morning Angie got a call from Jim, they are an American family traveling the world for a year.  There were looking for someone to have Thanksgiving with and so we invited them to come.  They came over with their three boys Wednesday afternoon and went to basketball practice with us, stayed for Pizza, Jim came to basketball practice with us that evening, walked with me to get our boys from school, stopped by and had lunch with us on Thursday, stayed for Thanksgiving dinner, we watched the kids for them Friday afternoon and evening. . . we just had a wonderful time with them.   Thanksgiving is one of the times when we really miss family the most, and it worked great the God sent us the Wildmans for a moment.  We were able to help them out as well, as their car had recently been broken into and they were having to deal with all the issues about replacing all their credit cards and stolen items.  You can check out their blog here, hearing the echoes.  We just had a great time with them.  And Thanksgiving was great, not just because of the food, but because of God's blessings.  Sunday we traveled to Barcelona, where I preached.  Lilia stayed home because Saturday night she had fallen off the ladder to her bunk bed and bruised her hip.  Monday our new friends stopped by for supper and to say goodbye as they continue their adventure and as we continue ours.  We definitely hope to visit with them next time we are in the States.  Thank you God for all your blessings, we are looking forward to the future.  God bless, JASON

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Visiting with friends

Visiting with the Rutherfords.

The picture does not do it justice.

Lilia took this shot at the basketball game.

The kids playing with their friends.
Well the second week of vacation went well.  I went and picked up our friends from Romania, the Rutherfords, on Wednesday.  While I was gone, Angie had a friend come over with her four children, and the kids had a good time together.  I arrived with the Rutherfords without any delays.  We spent a good couple of days together.  We laughed a lot.  We walked through the market on Friday, in the rain.  The girls went shopping the afternoon.  I drove them back Saturday morning.  We took the scenic route through the mountains, which was very pretty with all the fall colors.  Saturday afternoon, Angie and Lilia went to the youth meeting in Carcassonne.  There was no one else that came, so they returned. It seems everyone had put all their homework off until the last minute.  I had a basketball game Saturday night. It went well.  Lilia, Caleb, and Andrew went with me.  I played okay, but did not score, missing the one shot I did take.  The other team was from a small community, but still had seven players.  They played a good zone defense, which is why myself and others did not penetrate and score, thankfully we have some good long distance shooters as well, which gave us the victory.  I had a good time.  Sunday, we enjoyed the services in Carcassonne, followed by lunch and a nice nap.  We listened on skype to the services at Walnut Street and finished off a good and filled weekend.  This week the kids are back in school.  I have been occupied with paperwork and bible studies, that  I had put off during the vacation.  Someone is considering coming to work with us for two years, which would be great.  I prepared a paper giving her details and things to consider.  I have been trying to get a meeting place for the Thanksgiving meal we would like to do, but each time I stop by, I miss the person in charge.  I will try again this afternoon.   Bible study went well Tuesday.  We almost cancelled because one lady was out with car problems, and a couple were unable to make it because of work, but we ended having two come.  We had a good time of singing, praying, and studying God's word.  Wednesday, we picked back up our basketball practice.  I had 8 kids this time, and they all played real well.  After the first of the year we should start playing mini-competitions with the other teams.  I am looking forward to it.  I just finished an hour with my language partner.  Looking forward to the market in the morning.  The weather is supposed to be nice.  God bless, JASON 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Barcelona and Birthday

Lilia had a smiley face cheesecake birthday cake.

Her favorite gift was some boots.

Snow covered Pyrenees on the way to Barcelona.

Caleb had all of these kids playing in his lap for a while.

Pastor Leopoldo, Nancy, and their kids.

Lilia and I looking at some spanish music.
We did have a good weekend.  Lilia's birthday party went well, with just our family.  She was spoiled as usual.  We spent Sunday in Barcelona where I was preaching. We had a great time.  I am still amazed at how much Spanish I can pick up on.  I suppose it helps speaking French.  I wish I could speak as much Spanish as I understand.  We had a great service, and a great lunch as well.  We made it home without any problem, stopping by McDonalds to treat the kids for being well behaved.  Caleb was playing well with all the other kids at the church. Arianna went to Sunday School class without any hesitation.  I would think some kids would be scared to go to a class in another language, but it didn't slow down Arianna and Andrew.  Monday I went in search of the tensions pulley for our dryer.  Yes, our dryer still is not working.  I replaced the belt that finally came in, and found out the reason why the belt went bad, now just waiting for that part.  The kids have been a lot of fun this vacation.  Right now Caleb is chasing Arianna around like he is a monster.  She just went after him with a shoe to defend herself.  Andrew said something out of the blue yesterday, "Dad instead of spanking us, why don't you spank the dishwasher?"  I don't think I ever answered him.  Arianna is potty training, in the beginning stages.  She goes if you ask her at the right time.  But now she is just as happy when she goes in her diaper as when she goes in her potty.  Angie has bought her some panties that should help the process along.  No hurry. I heard some words of advice when dealing with kids once, "Sometimes the key to enlightenment is to lighten up."  I will be returning to Barcelona on Thursday to pick up the Rutherfords, missionaries in Romania, who are going to spend a couple of days with us.  God bless, JASON

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Photo shoot

The first week of vacation is going well.  We have enjoyed nice weather, sunny highs near 70.  I was able early this week to help a friend get some used utility poles to make a fence, put down some concrete in a horse stall, and place some beams for a new barn. Halloween went well.  Lilia went to a friends house, and I delighted the boys with scary stories, while candy was served, and we let them watch a scary movie (Winne the Pooh style).  We actually had a couple of trick-or-treaters stop by, evidently it is becomming more popular.  I did not know who they were, but I heard one of them repeating, "It's Micah's dad."   Lilia stayed for the first as well, which was a national holiday here, All Saints Day.  I went and played basketball for a little bit.  Friday, I had a good time at the market, enjoying nice weather and making some good contacts.  Friday afternoon I took the kids to the pool with one of their friends. Saturday (today) is Lilia's 13th birthday.  She is all excited, mostly about getting a facebook page.  I will include birthday pics later.  That attached pictures are from Angie's photo shoot with the kids.  God bless, JASON

Friday, October 26, 2012

School Break

Arianna sits in Andrew's lap to watch TV, which she doesn't actually watch.

Lilia is hungry after swimming.

Micah gets creative with the map colors.

Angie got a good deal on a bread machine at a garage sale.

Arianna gave a little fashion show.

Arianna found Angie's lipstick, and why not put it on the belly.
Once again, things have gone well.  The weekend passed quickly.  Lilia had a swimming competition Saturday. I took her and we had a good time.  She swam the 800 meters race, she knocked over a minute off of her best time finishing at 12 min 40 sec.  She didn't place very high because this competition went all the way to 18 year-olds.   We had a good talk with my parents and enjoyed listening to their church services on Skype.  Angie found some good deals at garage sales over the weekend as well.  Monday and Tuesday she didn't feel well.  Tuesday night she scheduled a Doctors appointment.  Turns out that he blood pressure was high, so the doctor prescribed her a second medicine to take.  We canceled the Bible study Tuesday night since Angie was going to be late getting back from the Doctor, and because three others were not going to be able to make it.  Wednesday, basketball went well. I had 10 in my class, one new boy came.  They are progressing well.  They are an energetic group.  Our practice Wednesday and Thursday went well.  We played a little scrimmage between us, I scored 20 of our teams 48 points, and we won.  On Wednesday after practice, I offered to wash our practice jerseys, because our coach doesn't have a dryer, and they would not have time to line dry by Thursday.  We washed and dried them, and was doing a second load on Thursday when our dryer started making noises.  Turns out that the belt was broken, I got one ordered.  At least the jerseys were clean and dried.  Thursday night, I had meet the teacher night with Lilia.  It was a fun experience.  A lot of waiting in line.  Everyone said Lilia was doing a great job, and that she is well behaved and quiet in class (which is a negative thing in France), and that she needs to speak up a little more.  Friday, I had a good time at the market. I met several people, passed out a Bible and several tracts.  There was one lady interested in the Bible study that we are having.  Angie ate lunch at a restaurant in town with a friend.  This afternoon, I got our expenses turned in, fixed a broken toilet, and helped a friend pick up some fence posts.  Tonight is family night, we will probably watch a movie with the kids when Lilia gets out of swimming class. This was their last day of school, they get a two week break for Toussaints, a catholic saints holiday. We plan to have a good time, spending some time with the kids, and with some of their friends.  Pray that you have a blessed weekend.  JASON 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall is here.

The sunrise this morning, from our backyard.

Arianna thought one wasn't enough.

Arianna holding one of the twins.

Angie took this picture in a small village when she went to
have coffee with some friends.

Well let me think, it was Tuesday of last week when I blogged last.  Let me hit some highlights.  Wednesday is activity day, as elementary has no school, and Jr High just goes in the mornings.  Lilia and a friend come over for lunch and we take them both to the pool for their swimming class.  Speaking of which she has a competition this Saturday.  I can't believe that she will soon be 13 years old.  The boys have their basketball at 4:30.  I'm still having a good time coaching the youngest age group, 6-9.  Last week we had ten, busy busy.  Wednesday and Thursday evening is my basketball practice.  My team played on Sunday morning and won 65-30.  We had a new player last night, there were 14, several more that last year.  I'm excited about the team we have coming from the states this summer, and about AC Green coming as well.  The weekend went well.  I gave the kids lesson at Church on Sunday.  As always we enjoying staying and talking with everyone afterwards.  The twins were there. (babies born recently to the australian couple that asked Angie to help translate at the hospital during the birth)  This week has been good.  We have had rain and cooler weather, lows around 50 and highs around 70.  Feels like fall weather has finally arrived.  Bible Study went well Tuesday night.  We had four come and join us.  It is exciting that we all are from different backgrounds and places, but are united in Christ, and in our desire to see a church started here in Limoux.  Been getting a lot of things done this week.  I finished reading the book "Not a Fan" that I would recommend to anyone. I am also trying to get paperwork together for our visa renewal next week.  The kids are all doing well.  Lilia is making good grades, she got 100 recently on a French test (the highest grade in the class).  Andrew is trying to get into the swing of 1st grade, actually having to learn things and do homework is kind of new for him.  Micah, who does homework real fast, usually doesn't have much, but Caleb who does homework slower has a lot.  One evening, he was working on homework all the way until bedtime.  We did get a new cell phone, same model as the old one.  It had been giving us problems for months, thankful to have a replacement finally.  Angie joined a group called the AVF (accueil des villes francaise) that welcomes new people to towns by providing activities for them.  Angie is taking advanced french classes.  She has enjoyed meeting all the new people.  Last Friday night she attended the welcome time, and met the mayor of Limoux.  She had a real good evening, meeting people, many British.  Enjoy the pics and God bless, JASON. 
Saw this flower as I was walking to get the boys from school,
turns out it is passion fruit bloom.