Saturday, December 18, 2010

Our Twelve Days of Christmas

12 Christmas wreaths

11 chocolate yummies

10 sticky fingers

13 Dec 10 (8)
9 funny faces

8 snow angels

7 snowball fights

6 toboggan rides

5 late night Christmas videos

4 parade watchers

3 hungry kids

2 trips to the mall

and 1 perfect Christmas tree!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Butterfly and the Cocoon

17 Sep 10

written and illustrated by Claire (age 6)

Barbie the caterpillar went to bed one night in her warm cocoon.  In the morning, the sun came up, but Barbie didn’t want to come out of her cocoon.  She said, “It’s too cozy in this cocoon with my Buddy.  I just want to sleep some more.”

But her mom and dad said, “If you don’t come out of your cocoon you won’t go to the restaurant with us.”

“OK, I’ll come out,” said Barbie.  “But first I have to straighten my cocoon.”

When she was done, she came out and realized that she had pretty pink and purple wings.  Then she went to the restaurant with her mom and dad and had mashed potatoes and peas.

The End

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?

003Wondering what happened to that airplane Jon was working on at JAARS in Waxhaw, NC?  Well, after Jon and the others completed the modifications, the Kodiak aircraft was flown to Moundridge, KS.   A crew from Weaver Aero Int'l then installed a ferry tank and made other preparations for flying it over half-way around the world.


On November 3, it left Kansas to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, the Middle East, and South Asia.  Praise God!  imageOn November 19, the Kodiak arrived safely at the Aiyura Valley airport (near where we live and serve on the Ukarumpa center).  It flew 87 hours between Kansas and Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea.  While it was in Port Moresby, it received its new registration of P2-SIR, and will probably be called “Romeo” henceforth.

DSC01576JonF Prayer circleDSC01573 0038 arrival a

A small crowd was on hand to welcome Romeo to its new home in Aiyura Valley.  They praised God for its safe arrival and dedicated it to the Lord’s work.  Soon, it will be put to work alongside its twin “Bravo”.

We thank God for the opportunity to help prepare this Kodiak for its service in PNG.  Lord willing, we’ll get to see it in action soon!  The aviation department in PNG is seriously short of aircraft maintenance technicians right now, so we’re eager to get back there and continue the work.  Please join us in praying that God would expand our team of partners to cover the last 26% of our monthly financial budget.  Pray also that our house would sell and free us to return without the concerns of caring for a home here in the US.  Thank you so much for your partnership in prayer!

If you’re interested in learning about why the Kodiak is the perfect tool for supporting Bible translation in Papua New Guinea, watch the following video clip.

Kodiak Tour

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bountiful Bananas

imageTJB 3 (6)imageIt still strikes me kind of funny that now I pay around $0.49 a pound for bananas when in Papua New Guinea at times I couldn’t give them away.  They grew in our backyard and in everybody’s backyards for that matter.  And when a bunch was ready for harvesting you hoped this time they’d ripen slowly instead of all 104 turning brown at once!  Sometimes you had to get creative in your uses for ripe bananas if you didn’t want to just throw them away.  Now it’s rare that I have any left over for baking.  But when I do, this is our family’s favorite way to use those brown, spotted and mushy fruit-fly attracters.  The mushier the better…!

Dressed Up Banana Cake

Combine and beat:

  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar (or less)
  • 2 eggs


  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine separately:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg

Add alternately to the first mixture:

  • 3/4 cup milk

Beat well.  Pour into well-greased 9x13 inch pan.  Sprinkle on top:

  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hopeful Creation

09 Nov 10 (10)So we’re back home for about a montha couple of weeks…an undetermined number of days.  I woke up this morning feeling strangely like I’m on vacation.  Must be the result of sleeping in my own bed for a change.  I could have stayed under those covers for much longer, but the sun comes up an hour earlier now, and so does our rooster (aka Isaiah).

This rooster requested pancakes for breakfast.  Fortunately, I saw it coming and made the batter the night before.  Pancakes are essential to Isaiah’s “settled in” feeling.  He rates our many “homes” by the frequency he gets pancakes for breakfast.  09 Nov 10According to his Sunday School teacher, they figure into his top six things to be thankful for—falling right after “motorcycles” and right before “his sister”.  Actually, I was quite surprised Claire made in the top 100.

It being the gorgeous autumn day that it was, Claire’s and Isaiah’s PhyEd teacher determined class would be held at Holliday Lake State Park.  This park boasts a 6+ mile trail around the lake, and each time we visit we try to hike a little further than we did before.  I estimate we walked 3 miles this time, and with minimal complaining about tired legs.  I’d like to say that our kids’ appreciation of the great outdoors kept them going, but it was probably the snacks.

09 Nov 10 (14)The trail was ankle deep in crunchy oak leaves so any wildlife we might have seen heard us coming a mile away.  Undeterred, Isaiah stuffed his pockets with acorns of various sizes and Claire adopted a pet rock.  09 Nov 10 (11)The said pet accompanied us on our hike for a lot longer than I would have guessed, until it decided it would rather take a swim in the lake.  According to Claire, rock is currently looking for its baby rock on the bottom of Lake Holliday.

The teacher in me can’t help but point out how all the plants and trees are letting go of their babies…or seeds and getting ready for winter.  We find berries, acorns and pods of various sizes.  These seeds will fall to the ground, get covered by dead leaves, and hopefully rise up to new life in the Spring.  The browns and golds of dying leaves and plants dominate the landscape we see right now.  But there is hope for new life yet to come.09 Nov 10 (7)

“…with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay….We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.”

--Romans 8:20b-21,23b

Maybe that’s why I love autumn so much….

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Bliss of the Animals

For the bliss of the animals lies in this, that, on their lower level, they shadow the bliss of those—few at any moment on the earth—who do not “look before and after, and pine for what is not,” but live in the holy carelessness of the eternal now.”  (Sir Gibbie by George MacDonald)

thebarnyardbigst6Claire and Isaiah just watched the animated version of Charlotte’s Web and it hit me that Wilbur was not one of those “blissful” animals.  Once he learned that he was destined for the dinner table, he lost the will to live.  Neither his comfy mud hole, his well-supplied feeding trough, nor even his barnyard friends could cox him out his misery.  How could he enjoy a good roll in the mud knowing what autumn had in store for him?  Not that I blame him….

I’ve got plenty of less ominous concerns that often keep me from enjoying today:

  • We’ve got a house in VA that no longer feels like home.  No houseplants to die while we’re gone, no scented candles or d├ęcor to match the current season, and even the kids’ artwork on the fridge is saying, “I’m so last year!”
  • When asked, “Where will you be?” or “What will you be doing?” I have to just shrug my shoulders instead of pulling out my day-planner like the well-organized person I’d like to be.
  • I can’t shop for bulk-sized groceries items like thrifty Americans should because the cereal will go stale before we get home again to finish it, and there isn’t room in the van to take it with us.
  • I have to run to Wal-mart during the first snowfall with the rest of the unprepared mob to buy boots, hats and mittens instead of finding them months in advance at a thrift store or garage sale.  Who was to know that we’d even be in a place where we’d need winter gear?

This not knowing what or where we’ll be from one day to the next sometimes drives me crazy!  I find myself wanting to argue with God, “How am I supposed to plan what we’re going to eat and drink and wear like a responsible wife and mother when I don’t know where you’re going to send us next?”

Oh wait…something about that sounds familiar.  Didn’t Jesus already say something about that?  Yeah, here it is in Matthew 6:31-34.  “So don’t worry about these things, saying ‘What will we eat?  What will we drink?  What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.

wilburThat’s a pretty straight-forward answer!  The worrying about (and dare I say) the organized planning of my future is NOT MY JOB!  It’s God’s responsibility and when I look back it’s easy to see he has done a right fine job of it too.  I’ve never wanted or lacked that which I truly needed, and I’ve been blessed with a whole lot more besides.

So what is my job?  To “live in the holy carelessness of the eternal now”—seeking God’s Kingdom and living righteously.  Whew!  That gives me a lot of freedom to enjoy today and whatever God puts in my path—the fun and the challenging.  With God’s enabling…this I can do.

Friday, October 15, 2010

“It Just Sounds So Good”

Since 2004, the Taylors have been living and working with the Nukna, a Bibleless people of Papua New Guinea (PNG). They recently completed a revision of the Nukna translation of Genesis 12-22, and the next step in the process is called “village-checking”. The translated portions are read aloud to the people in the village to test the clarity and flow of the text. We’ve been receiving email updates from the Taylors while they have been in the village, and we want to share how God has been speaking to the Nukna people through the newly translated Scripture. The Taylors write:

“It was so exciting to be reading a passage, and hear the people laughing at the right spots, or smiling as I or one of the village men read. I would ask them, ‘Why are you all smiling?’ And they would answer, ‘Because it just sounds so good. We've heard this story before in Tok Pisin (the trade language), but we've never heard it like this before!’

NuknaAs we were checking Genesis chapter 21, which tells the story of Hagar and Ishmael dying of thirst in the desert, and God hearing their cries and revealing a well of water to save them, a large downpour with thunder and lightning hit the village, the first heavy rain in almost three weeks.

One of the village leaders said to me, ‘It has been so dry lately, and we have been very worried that the food growing in our gardens would dry up and die. But just like God heard Hagar's cries for water, He has heard our cries for water and sent this rain.’

Wow, great timing, God!”

Reading Matt’s story renews our excitement for Bible translation, and we look forward to returning to PNG to support the work through aviation.  Ask us how you can help bring God’s Word to the Nukna people and other Bibleless people of Papua New Guinea.  Bible translation requires a lot of team work, and God uses ordinary people like you and me to accomplish this task.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pink Glasses are Chic

13 Oct 10 (8)13 Oct 10Look who got glasses today!

After several weeks of reoccurring headaches, and complaints that reading made her tired, we decided to get Claire’s eyes checked.  She’s a bit farsighted, has astigmatism, and needs to wear her glasses all the time…BUT we think she’s even cuter than she was before!  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Teamwork on Two Wheels

So sometimes the kids do get along.  Actually, they usually play together pretty well, but this made me just plain proud of them….

Thursday, September 30, 2010

To Be Useful

23 Sep 10 (12)We’ve been at JAARS for the past six weeks and we’re finding out what a blessing it is to be useful.

As we mentioned before, Jon has been helping to get the new Kodiak airplane ready for its assignment in Papua New Guinea (PNG).  Installing a fire detection system and HF radio were planned projects, as was building a tow bar and making cargo nets.  Replacing a fuel tank was not!  During an inspection one of the mechanics discovered that one of the brand new fuel cells was leaking.  A very good thing to discover while the airplane is safely on the ground—not flying over the Atlantic on its way to PNG!

We also thank God for the opportunity to be useful to other families we’ve met here at JAARS who are planning to minister in PNG.  Some families are in the training stages and some are just starting the application process, but all have lots of questions about what life 23 Sep 10 (9)is like on the other side of the world.  Our five years of experience in PNG have come in handy!

There’s still a bit of work to be done on the Kodiak, but we’re hoping the plane will be in PNG by the end of October.  When the Kodiak is ready to begin that long journey, our family will return to our home in Virginia.  But Lord willing, we’ll see it on “the other side” one day soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A NASCAR Kind of Morning

  Trip to Hendrick Motorsports Museum = $018 Sep 10 (1)


Souvenir Mark Martin #5 car = $8#5


Visit to the Charlotte Motor Speedway = $0


Morning spent living one little boy’s favorite fantasy = Priceless

Friday, September 17, 2010

10 Reasons We Love Homeschool

26 Aug 10 Maybe you’ve noticed our “We love Sonlight” gadget to the right.  Sonlight Curriculum Ltd. is the name of the company where we get a majority of our home-schooling materials.  And although it is true that we love Sonlight and we love homeschooling, some days I need to be reminded.  Today is one of those days.  So here goes….

  1. We’re free to teach our children about God and his creation from his precious Word.
  2. Homeschool travels well, and we can adjust our schedule to meet our family’s needs.
  3. We get to do “field trips” during non-peak times.
  4. No bullies!
  5. We can tailor our teaching methods and materials to meet our children’s learning needs without the fear of them developing a complex because they are “ahead” or “behind” the rest of their class.
  6. We get more time to observe and encourage our kids as they explore interests, and develop skills.
  7. Our children’s social development involves interaction outside just their peer group.  (Who’s idea was it anyway that the best way to develop socially was to stick a bunch of equally socially immature kids in a room together for 6+ hours a day?)
  8. No hour-long bus rides or school pick-up queues.
  9. Our children learn together, and we learn right alongside them.
  10. Our school goes way beyond textbooks and tests.  We’re transferring our beliefs and values onto our children while instilling a life-long hunger for learning.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Let’s Ride!

During the past couple of days, Claire took a big step in her quest for independence.  She can now officially ride a bicycle without any assistance.  She’s mighty proud, and I’ve been hard-pressed to keep her inside.  It’s amazing how quickly she can finish school when there is a bike outside just calling her name!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


imageThe daughter of our friends, Orava and Leah, from Papua New Guinea went to be with Jesus on Sunday evening.  Betty had struggled with a heart condition for many years, but you would’ve never know by her faith, love and bright smile.

We miss you, Betty, but we’re so glad you are completely healed and at home with Jesus.  We look forward to seeing you again one day!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Kodiak

Almost a year ago, the aviation department in Papua New Guinea started using a new type of aircraft, the Kodiak, to service translation programs within the country. This airplane, specifically designed for missions work and rugged environments, is quickly proving its worth.  Eventually the PNG branch would like to utilize several Kodiaks to fly the majority of the workload. The current “workhorse”, the Cessna 206 airplane, requires Avgas, a type of fuel that is expensive and easily contaminated. In 17 May 10June, the price of Avgas went up 25%. The Kodiak, however, uses a less finicky fuel (Jet A) which actually decreased in price!

In May, I spent a week in Sandpointe, ID at the Quest Aircraft manufacturing plant getting some maintenance training on the Kodiak.  At the time, the frame of the PNG branch’s second Kodiak was still being built.

Now that airplane has left the factory and sits in the hangar at the JAARS center in Waxhaw, NC. Our family will spend the next several weeks at the JAARS center while I help to install some modifications on the airplane that willKodiak 004 suit it for its particular work in PNG. The goal is to have the airplane finished by October in time for its ferry flight.

I thank God for the opportunity to support Bible translation in PNG now by using my recent Kodiak training; even as we continue preparing to return to Papua New Guinea ourselves.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coming Home

14 Aug 10

After a 3 1/2 week trip to some of Great Lake States, we came home to find our yard rivaling the grasslands of the Serengeti.  Our “lions” thought it a great place to prowl around and stretch legs too long cramped in the car.

It’s good to be home…for a few days anyway.  The reunion with toys and books is like Christmas all over again for the kids.  I’m happy to mess around in my own kitchen, and hang clothes on the line again.  But as much as we enjoy our house, it’s starting to feel like a burden…or maybe an anchor—holding us back in our plans to return to Papua New Guinea.  Maybe it’s necessary for me to feel this so I don’t mourn the loss of our home when we do eventually get back to PNG.  Maybe God has other plans for it…or us for that matter.  I don’t know, but in the meantime our house is going back on the market to see what happens.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

God Speaks Yopno

A colleague from Papua New Guinea recently sent us this photo.  Last week the Yopno New Testament was dedicated.  Now these young ladies can enjoy reading God’s Word in their heart language.

"I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb.  They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.  And they were shouting with a might shout, 'Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!'" Revelation 7:9-10 (NLT)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

“Pure Michigan”

Despite the misadventure of getting rear-ended in Gary, IN, we finally made it to Grand Rapids, MI to spend some time with Missy’s parents.  Grammy and Papa only recently moved to this Great Lakes state and we’re discovering some of its many treasures.  The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is definitely worth a visit.  Just make sure to set aside the whole day and wear good walking shoes.

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It’s a very friendly place.  We even got to hang out with Mr. and Mrs. Meijer…

07 Aug 10 (37) …and Fluffy the fire-breathing dragon.

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Claire egg sat for BIG momma robin, and filled in as a human sundial.




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Isaiah found his avatar… 

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…and before we left, we tried the floating salad and rock candy on a stick.