Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mussoorie Rain

When I first arrived in Mussoorie, it was cold and it rained a lot. It remained cold the whole time, but the rain eventually stopped a few days before I came home.

Mountains in the rain.
City in the clouds.
Pouring, I mean really pouring, rain.


A good place to start is always the beginning. So, here I am with the ladies at the retreat in Nagpur. It really was a wonderful way to start my "September Tour."

Monday, September 29, 2008

After A Long Time

After a long time I am home.
After a long time I am posting pictures from home.
After a long time I am posting pictures of our new home.

Here it is with the white plaster on the outside.
Plaster on the walls, grates in the windows and MARBLE on the floor. Yes, the floors are almost all in!!! (The stones are down and sealed but not polished, so this is not the final look.)
The floor - not resembling anything like what it will eventually look like.
Boundary wall is going up fast.

The promised "September Tour" pictures on the way in the next couple days. Come on, I am digging out people.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Going Home Going Home

Today is the last day.

I catch a train to Delhi tonight and will be with my sweet little family by Saturday evening. - God willing.

HOPEFULLY, I will even be able to post pictures... yes. No more pictureless posts. You are going to be so sick of pictures that you will wish for the good old days again when I forgot my picture downloader wire thingy while on my "September Tour" and couldn't post anything. Uh huh.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

#4 On The Way

Well, this seems like as good as time as any to inform any of you out there who don't know - we're pregnant with baby number four. Due in the middle of February.

It was a surprise but a happy one and I'm very excited. I've been feeling great and the weeks are just chugging along.

I have been a little emotional which may have been why I teared up every time I looked at the Himalaya mountain range this morning.


Today was the first day I was able to see the Himalayas in the background of the local mountains. Since I've arrived they've been hidden by clouds and bad weather. But today is a beautiful sunny day and they are just All Over.

It took my breath away to look at the beautiful snow capped mountains in the distance. It's taken my breath away ever since and every time I see them again.

The white of the snow on the Himalayas is so white and shines so brightly that my mind is having a hard time accepting that what my eyes are seeing is real.

The whiteness of the snow reminds me again and again of the "Joy of Painting" when he would take the scraper and slap the "happy white" on the tops of trees and houses and mountains and things. The white is that bright and thick and shining in the sun. I wish you could see it with me.


The Day Ended Well

It was a good birthday with people celebrating it all over without me - which is great. Glad lot's of people had fun and ate good food on account of my mother giving birth to me.

As for me, I loved my quiet day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

23rd September 2008

It's hard to believe but the "big day" has come around again. My birthday. I'm reluctant to give any thoughts on how the day will turn out this early on in the game, but it has been pretty good so far. Shhhh. The day occasionally starts out this way and eventually goes down hill. I'll let you know about the whole shabang - tomorrow.

I've had loads of phone calls, one friend even told me he went to the local hospital and handed out apples to all the patients in celebration on my birthday. Yeah, I thought that was funny too, but I loved it.

I plan on cake after lunch with my two other guest house friends and the workers there. Then pizza for dinner, sweets for my teachers. That's it. Nothing special going on today. I woke up and was studying Hindi before 8AM.

I kind of thought to myself, hey, I should do something special today. Then I didn't really feel like doing anything special and it finally hit me - duh - this whole trip is special. I don't need to do anything else. What a load off.


I feel like my Hindi is getting worse.

I think it is the many days of having my Hindi corrected again and again and again. And then there is the possibility that I now - intellectually - know more Hindi but the old, crappy Hindi is still flying out of my mouth.

I had a feeling this might happen...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Church Away

Since I come from a long line of "church junkies" I was really looking forward to today (Sunday). I attended the church that is at the same location where my Hindi training is since it was the closest.

It was in English and in Hindi and, interestingly enough, they had both Indian and English (American) pastors. The Indian pastor spoke in Hindi and the English pastor translated for him. Wow, in all my years I've never seen that before. Lot's of English translated to Hindi but never Hindi translated to English (by a non-Indian, at that.)

I cried at the beginning. I was just starved for common worship. It was lovely.

Less than a week to go...

Friday, September 19, 2008

One Week Down

I've finished the 1st week of Hindi Language School. Whew! One teacher told me today that we can finish the entire 30 chapters of the book by next Friday when I'll have to leave. That would be fantastic.

I still feel like the Hindi grammar is like water slowly sinking into the hard dirt of my brain. But eventually it will all sink in - AND produce fruit. Whoohoo. I'm really glad I came, even tho it poured rain continuously for the last 24 hour and it's freezing (almost) and I hate being wet and cold. Not to mention lonely. :( Still miss my girls. Esp. my baby G.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Puzzle Pieces In My Head

I just finished my third day of Hindi classes. That's 12 hours. Some is sinking in, some is floating around in my head.

I do feel like I am getting many missing pieces to my "Hindi language" puzzle (the imaginary one in my head). I just need to get the pieces in the right spots now...

O. and girls continue to thrive without me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Delhi Blast

While on my way to the Delhi train station to catch my train from Delhi to Dehradun on Saturday night we got the news that there were several bomb blasts in Delhi. More terrorist attacks like the ones in Gujarat last month.

We were expecting some delays, road blocks, etc..., but we zipped right into the city, I got my on my train and off I went. Seems kind of bazaar.

Where Am I?

I dragged my laptop and Internet connector all over India with me so that I could keep up on emails and blogging and I am now so high up in the mountains that I have no Internet access. Figures. I'm in a cafe so I can keep up, but it's not like having it in my room.

I arrived in Mussoorie yesterday morning. There is only one other guest at my guest house - currently. A very nice retired Psychiatrist named, Ben from Hollywood, CA. The guesthouse, and Landour (which is really where I am - more north of Mussoorie) is exactly what I expected. Very Isolated. Very Quiet.

I think that was the most disconcerting thing last night when I tried to go to sleep - the absolute silence. There isn't even a ceiling fan in my room!!! NO ceiling fan. It's dang cold here. Cold.

I start Hindi classes today. They called me over there at 10AM and then informed me my classes start at 12:10. O-kay. That's not too unusual either. Hence, why I am here now.

I'll have classes all afternoon but I am changing my 12:10 to 8:20 since my lunch will get messed up every day otherwise. Lunch, is important.

Friday, September 12, 2008

In The Garden

In The Garden was the theme of our retreat and, sadly, it ended this afternoon.

There were only six of us. Five American women and 1 Indian woman who was our speaker. I found that to be really beautiful, that we were Americans ministering to Indians and we had the opportunity to be ministered to by an Indian woman.

This was the first time in nine years that I had any kind of opportunity for fellowship quite like this. I was blessed. I especially feel like God ordained the timing of the retreat to come right at the beginning of my two weeks of Hindi study (and reflection/seeking God.) It was like a spiritual preparation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The First Leg

I traveled by train alone for the first time in my life on Tuesday. I boarded at 3AM and arrived in Nagpur for my ladies conference at 6PM. Right on time.The trip was uneventful. I couldn't sleep much but I did read a lot.

The conference starts today at 3PM. There will be 6 ladies in all. We were supposed to be 12 but the number dwindled for various reasons.

I did forget the wire that connects my camera to my computer which means no loading pictures til I get back at the end of the month. Bummer.

The girls and O. seem to be fine, we'll see as the days progress...

Early Birthday

O. threw an early Birthday/Goodbye Party for me on Monday night. I'm not really a birthday party person - hence- why I planned my Hindi training over my birthday, but I never seem to win.

It was a lovely party and everyone had a great time and I got lots of beautiful gifts, so I'm not complaining.

At 2AM that same night, friends and family came to drop me at the train station and saw me safely on my train.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Leaving Tomorrow

Five months of planning zoomed right on by. I leave leave tomorrow night for my trip to Nagpur (for the women's retreat) and my two weeks of Hindi training in Mussoorie.

I'll have a laptop and internet connection (God willing) and my phone. It's not like I'll be incommunicado.

I've settled everything here as best as I could, left O. a list of "Important Things to Know" and so I'm leaving the girls and everything else in O.'s capable hands (I think he'll end up shipping them out to various friends and relatives...)
Leaving E., C. & G. for two and a half weeks is the hardest thing. Pray for us. Thanks.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Teeth Are Gone

The TEETH are out. Yes, 3 whole teeth got pulled out of E.'s mouth yesterday. E. had off from school and she went with me to get G.'s MMR shot and there was a dentist right around the corner and the mood was right, if you know what I mean.

E. started crying as soon as we walked in the office, so much so that all the other patients were trying to comfort her, including an old women who whipped her false teeth right on out of her mouth to amuse E. (E. refused to look, but I thought it was funny.)

Didn't work.

E. made it to the chair, the dentist talked to her a bit to calm her down, sprayed her mouth and then gave her the injections. This was, by far, the most amusing part for me. E. shouted the whole time. I never thought to explain to her about numbing... She kept saying - correction- Shouting, "What's happening?" (She wouldn't even look in the mirror when she came home, I think she was afraid her lips were gone.)

All in all she looks MUCH better now and it only cost me $5.

Hide And Seek

E. is almost 8
C. is 5
G. is 18 months

I like when E. & C. & G. play Hide and Seek together

I like when E. & C. make G. be "It"

I like when G. actually finds them

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

September 2nd

Here are some photos of the Prayer Rally for Orissa yesterday. We thank God for a peaceful and (we hope) effective rally. There were about 800 people who walked through our city for two hours to the mayor's office. We were a group composed of CNI, Methodist, Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, and independents like us.

Here we are praying before we headed out for the walk.
We walked two by two and prayed for our city, for Orissa, for India.
I wish I had a good picture of the line of people. We were probably about a mile long.

We got great news coverage on our local station last night. We thank God for that. One of the problems we face in India is a media that is biased against Christians. While watching the national news last night there was a long segment on the situation in Orissa. The entire thing was from a Hindu point of view. The claim that the man who was murdered (that started it all off on Aug 23rd) was murdered by Maoists but they were backed by the Christians. The news had a lot of coverage of "Christians" converting back to Hinduism, claiming they didn't want to serve a "foreign God."

It was painful and disheartening to watch. I pray for the media, also.

We want to THANK YOU because we know many of you have prayed and are praying.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Prayer Rally Tomorrow

We had the meeting today with the local pastors and Christian leaders in O.'s new office. It was inaugurated today. About 20 people were there and it was a fruitful time.

The rally will run from about 10:30AM to 12:30PM. We'll be walking and praying through the main parts of our city with banners and signs. We're bringing our kids with us, they can walk if they want to, otherwise we'll pile them in the car. I want them to be there, children should be represented, and personally, I can still remember going to protests as a young child with my mom and how it affected me.

The persecution continues in Orrisa. Agraj (our Orrisa Bible Student) was telling me this afternoon that many children are separated from parents and wives from husbands. Families are searching for their family members and not finding them.

Please pray for us as we walk tomorrow. If you pray before you go to bed tonight (Monday) it will be about the right time. (US)

Chicklee was great and we had a wonderful time at the ordination. Also, back to O.'s office inauguration: Today we had all the local Christian leaders there and afterwards we had all the local government leaders there because our school hosted a stop during the run for the "Youth Commonwealth Games" being held in India this year.