2 little things I am loving

1. The kitten Rob brought home from college. He and his roomates saw him running across the road in College Station so they chased him (all the way up a tree!) and brought him home. What a precious and feisty kitten! I am so thankful to have a cool brother with such a sweet heart that he would chase down a kitten to protect it.

This new kitten brings our feline tally to 5. 1 in the house and 4 outside as "mousers." I love that word. It makes me feel so country. Mousers :)

Zebo (the prince who lives inside) is none too impressed as you can see.

And 2., the other little thing I am loving: Max Aldis. Mom watched him tonight and we played some serious dress-up. He is pretty fabulous.



More good times in Austin! It is such a joy to see people that we have missed so much.

We've been staying at the Jamails'. Here is a sight that warms my heart. Sharon cooking something yummy (crepes!) while the rest of us munch on goat cheese and crackers :)

Tonight the Suh's were so sweet to have my high school lifegroup over for pizza and hanging out. Just being together and laughing was like medicine. My heart was so full.

Cuties surrounded by cuties!!

The sweet Suhs.

And just to polish off the evening we are now watching episodes of The Office with the Jamails at 1am. Sigh. This is fun stuff.


Estamos en Austin

We are in Austin!! Oh, how good it is to be back. Our LifeGroup had its Christmas party on Friday so we got to see SO many of our friends. What a blessing. We then stayed the night at the Kuo's house, where we enjoyed Saturday morning pancakes and games with their family. So fun to be back with friends!

On Saturday we went downtown to run some errands and, of course, stopped off at Hula Hut for some shrimp tacos. We will think of them often in Belgium :) Here is Clay with the creepy Hula Hut fish in the background.

That afternoon Robbie and Treeta surprised us with..... massages!! Neither Clay nor I had ever had real massages, and it was incredible! Seriously. I never knew something could be that relaxing. Thank you guys!

It was really great to be at church on Sunday. In a lot of ways it felt like we had never left! That night the Mayfields had some folks over for dinner, and again, just good hang out time.

Our time in Austin has been great so far. Relaxing and comforting. Looking forward to our next few days here!


Life in Tomball

Our days have been full of late- how wonderful!! On Sunday night TBC had a Christmas celebration featuring Lindsey Kane, Gatlin Elms (Neil’s band), and Robbie Seay. Oh it was awesome. Robbie’s is my favorite music right now so it was just incredible to see him live.

It was also great just being with church family celebrating Christmas and just being together. I especially enjoyed watching the Aldis girls and Chandler watch the bands.

Oh, one more highlight…. Rodger Plachy as an elf. I will never forget that.

I spent the early part of this week running around with Mom on her days off. We shopped the Galleria area which is always fun, but exhausting! A new addition to our days is the precious little one Mom watches several days a week.

He is so wonderful and it is so fun to have him with us!! Here’s Mom enjoying a sample at Williams-Sonoma with baby Micah in tow. Oh! He is delightful!

One of the best things about being home is being able to go to Q’s games. We missed football when we were at CIT but basketball is superfun. Here is my scrappy little brother waiting for the jump ball. He is really fun to watch.

Last night Katie and Rob hosted dinner at his house for Josh, Anna, and us. It is so great to be around friends again. Here we are plus Pabu, Anna and Josh’s new little one.

And, just to let you in on what I see some mornings.

In his defense, the juicer DOES spew, and vegetable juice DOES stain clothes. I just couldn’t help running for my camera when I came into the kitchen and saw this. He is such a jewel.


And there's the rub

I usually completely gloss over this whole "leaving" thing, especially on here. It is so much easier to ignore the sadness, those quick bursts of panic, the involuntary clench in my stomach every time I’m reminded how much I will soon be missing.

What makes it hard is that the future is unknown. I could pacify myself with thoughts of incredible future friendships, with the adventurous traveling to new places, with meeting God in new ways, but let’s be honest.

The hope of an incredible, exciting future sometimes pales when juxtaposed with the painful ripping from the warm comfortable nest you have built for yourself. OH! I will miss babies being born! And precious family and friends getting married! Loved ones will be growing old! Children will be growing up! People I love will be throwing parties I can’t get to. Girlfriends will be snuggled on couches watching chick-flicks without me. I should BE there!!

This is a small glimpse of the desperate whining that goes on in my head. Nice, huh? What a good little missionary she is.

I usually allow this for a little while. It really is so valid- our lives are upside down and will only get more so in the next year or so. Browsing at anthropologie.com is usually a nice temporary fix, but the ONE thing that binds wounds and comforts beyond all comforts is God’s word. It doesn’t usually take away the pain. Oh no, the heart certainly still aches, almost breaks, but the words of the creator of the universe spoken to me is a balm like no other. One part I think of often:

"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life." Mark 10:29-31

He promises us that if, for his sake, we leave what we hold dearest to us, he will provide even more abundantly when we get to where we are going. Is that not incredible?! Spoken directly to my heart. I also notice that it doesn’t deny that there will be persecution. I like that. Our God is honest about what it costs to follow him. The question is: is it worth it? Perhaps a better question is: is HE worth it?

How could I not always say ‘yes’ to the one who died so I could have such freedom?!

I can truly say from my soul that to serve him and glorify him is my desire, whether that is always evident in my panic attacks or not. And he has never failed to carry me. As he will when each baby is born and I'm not there, when I am far away from weddings, when people grow old and grow up, or when loved ones are gathered far far away.

He is truly worth it.


When did little brothers get so big?

This Thanksgiving week has been such a recharge for my heart. Can I even express such happiness? I am truly thankful to our God for the blessing of this family. This big, loud, sarcastic, hilarious, safe, loyal, loving family. Oh, laughter is such good medicine, isn’t it? As is being BACK IN TEXAS!!!

We didn’t do much since getting to Breckenridge on Wednesday afternoon. It was a long 2 day drive, and as usual, I was so excited to see that bank building with the B on the top (the tallest building in town) as we crested that last hill into town. It’s one of those images you have from childhood that always brings back memories.

Time at Nanny’s and Bob’s this year was nice and low key. Just lots of time spent together, lots of sleeping and eating. Basically it was perfect. We usually turn into TV watchers when at Nanny’s, so it was fun to turn on the TV and see a Dog Whisperer marathon on. Oh how we love that Cesar Milan. And, oh, how we love to watch it at Nanny's- it has become sort of a tradition. There was also a new game in town this year- Settlers of Catan. This is the game Josh and Anna taught us awhile ago. Dad brought the game to introduce to the family, and it was a big hit. We probably played it about 10 times (that is a LOT of Settlers, if you don’t know) in about 72 hours. I won it for the first time, and will lamely show the victory picture:

It was after midnight- we were in a Settlers craze.

We ate Mexican food twice, something that was eagerly anticipated after being in NC for months. They meant well, but they just never could cook up good Tex-mex like we have it here.
Another high light of the week was taking our family picture. It was so good to have everyone together!

I love this one of Rob after he helped me out of the tree. Can you believe that I used to be able to pin him to the ground in seconds? How funny to be the little big sister.
I thank God for this family!


Last weekend at CIT

The apartment is clean, the car is packed. Sigh. It is leaving time again. It seems we are always leaving somewhere. A long day in the car awaits us tomorrow. Followed by another long day. And then Breckenridge and family! This weekend has been sweet. Good friends making the best of sad times. On Saturday we went to Bubba's Fun Park and lasertagged. I am so horrible at it. What makes it worse is that I really do try to be awesome at it. So far God has not seen fit to bless me with laser skills. Maybe someday...

On Sunday we all went to Asheville for one last time. Dinner at the Noodle Shop and then decadence at The French Broad Chocolate Lounge. I have always wanted to try sipping chocolate- doesn't it just sound like what rich people would drink? Clay and I both tried the cayenne and cinnamon kind. Wow. So good. We enjoyed just sitting around with the group and talking.

We will miss these people and their precious kids!!

So, signing off from North Carolina. It's been grand. Thank you God for providing such amazing training- so few people get this quality of training. It was so incredible that I wish all of you could have gone through it with us! Love to you this Thanksgiving week! Megan


We're done!

We finished official class here at CIT on Thursday afternoon! We UWMers have stayed on for some final discussions specific to our organization, but finish up tomorrow around lunch time. I can't believe it's all over! These last several months have flown by. Here we are about to start saying goodbyes on Thursday:

We each received certificates stating our accomplishments at CIT. A very formal procedure as you can see :)

Our plans, you ask? Well, after we finish up tomorrow we will be packing and cleaning machines! We will leave for Texas as soon as everything is done- either Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. Keith will be here tonight and tomorrow so we look forward to seeing him, possibly for the last time on this side of the ocean for awhile.

Thanksgiving is in Breckenridge, Tx with my (Megan's) family so we will head straight there. We are looking forward to relaxing with the fam. Boy could we use some relaxing!

A happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope your weeks are full of thankfulness!
Love, Megan



Just a quick heads up on how you can be praying for us. Today our visa applications and passports arrive in New York for processing for our two-year stay in Belgium. We've heard it takes about 2 months to process this, so please pray that this process goes FAST - even faster than the norm! We can't buy our tickets until our visas come in (otherwise we miht have to pay to bump them back to wait on the visas), so the sooner they come in, not only the sooner we can leave, but the sooner we can prepare to leave. We'd really like to get to Belgium before February because of a few things happening on that side of the ocean but of course, we're trusting the Lord's timing of all this. If they don't come in until later, so be it. We certainly have our preference, but if the Lord has other plans, we'll take it.

May the Lord's face shine upon you today. As it says in Psalm 96, Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!


Sigh. A sad day.

Our special friends Rich and Michelle went back to Cali today :( It feels so strange to come back to CIT and not be their neighbors. We will miss them!!!

The day itself was wonderful, however. We took off for Charlotte, and en route to the airport, we stopped at Price's Chicken Coop which has been rated the nation's #3 top fried chicken place. This was too tempting to pass up. Michelle and Rich have been talking about this since we met them so it was fun to actually go.

Here you see a dream being realized:

Michelle cannot contain her excitement upon ordering.

Ready to roll!

My fried chicken meal for 2008.

Clay will miss hanging out with Rich. It makes it better knowing that we will see them next year when they get to France!

We really will miss you two.

And how does a girl cope when her friends leave?

Happy Saturday to you. And thank you Jesus for good friends!
Love, Megan


I know what you are thinking...

Megan, you are SUCH the little camper! It really is funny how much time we have been spending in the woods on trails lately. Last Thursday night, we were at it again! We had a half day to end our Team class, and we decided to go camping. Like for real-zees. In a tent and everything. I agreed to try one night. You can do anything for one night, right? And it helps if the scenery is gorgeous. Yes. This was the view from our campsite:

So truly gorgeous. Here is Clay and his hatchett, which he used to chop fire wood. He was absolutely giddy the man was so happy.

Watching the sun set from a nearby cliff. It was just so peaceful and quiet. I really needed that.

Me making Clay laugh, my most accomplished skill.

Ok, so the best part of the night, and the main carrot Clay dangled in front of me to get me to come, was watching MacGyver on the side of a mountain!!! Clay and I have been going through the seasons of the show for the last couple of years, and this was the perfect time to watch an episode. You can't really tell from the picture, but we were sitting on the cliff overlooking the scene in the first picture (at the top). So we were nice and high, could see the stars and some city lights. We had a fire, a la Clay the woodsman, and we had MacGyver. The mere memory is enough to make me smile. I was so happy.

The night turned cold quickly, and we were looking forward to our sleeping bags, guaranteed for weather down to -5 degrees. By midnight we were both awake and SO cold! Clay had suggested taking off my socks so the sleeping bag could make the best use of my body heat. Let me tell you, I must have looked like a runaway worm wriggling all over the tent trying to get my socks back on without unzipping my sleeping bag.

Morning came, and with it a sunrise to remember off of our personal balcony, of course not done justice here:

It was a beautiful, peaceful morning.

Breakfast for 2 :)

On the hike out, we were talking about what we wanted to eat when we got out (this makes me laugh now, as we were in the woods less that 24 hours. It wasn't like we were deprived or something...), and we both came up with chicken fried steak. And mashed potatoes. And Dr. Pepper. You will not believe it but we found that very thing in Famous Louise's Restaurant. Complete with strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert. It almost made me want to head up the mountain for another night... almost :)


Hiking with the Sandozes

I have been meaning to update these last photos from the Sandozes' visit. Maybe you remember this photo from an earlier post?

We headed back to this same location, and wouldn't you know, behind those clouds was an incredible view!!

It really was gorgeous!

The wind got pretty intense, I think Tracy almost flew away :)

We have so enjoyed these months in beautiful North Carolina. The colors of fall here are amazing.

This is one of my favorites because you can tell how happy they all are. We truly had a great trip.

Can I just say that half day Thursdays followed by a three day weekend is God's gift to CIT students. Whew. We are having a great weekend, so relaxing. We went camping on Thursday night and had a blast. Pictures to come!!

Love, Megan