Simply Stephanie

Simply Stephanie

Monday, August 15, 2016

On the Road Again

     Well, we started back out on the road! Our first meeting was in Grafton, Illinois. We decided to take it slow and only go halfway to the in-laws, and then go the rest of the way the next day. New mama and our two littles can only handle so long in the car, so we wanted to break the trip up a little.

     While we were at the in-laws we had two little blessings happen. The first one was a baby shower for RPG.  The church family and our dear friends were so sweet to throw one for him! We got diapers and wipes galore. SCORE!!!!!  Any of you parents out there know that diapers and wipes can very easily kill that budget of yours! There were also some adorable little baby clothes. I have to admit, when I found out I was having a boy this time around, I was not as excited about the baby clothes as I was with our little girl. However, I am really getting into it now and finding some really adorable clothes for our little guy.  Little boy jeans are just so cute!

     The second little blessing was so unexpected. When we pulled in on that Friday night, the church was just finishing up their VBS for the week. Since most of those kids were in our Wednesday night class or our VBS classes from earlier years, we went to the VBS graduation that night. Every year the kids do a boys vs. girls penny offering for missions. This year they surprised us by making us the missionary for the offering, and I have to brag on the kids a little. There were only 23 kids there and they gave over $400!!! It was such a huge blessing and such an encouragement to see those kids giving! One young boy brought in his money that he had been saving all year, and when someone made a comment to him about how he must really want the boys to win, he said "yes, but it's really just about the missionaries."  Such an encouragement from such a young kid!

     All in all, God has really blessed us! Just when it looks like we're at the end of the bank or at the end of our rope, God provides just what we need. It's definitely been a test of faith, but isn't that what life as a missionary is all about?

Monday, August 1, 2016

My Little RPG

                 Well, here he is folks! No need to beat around the bush.                    

 This is what I've been up to lately. Our little RPG (yes, those really are his initials). He's a little over a week old and weighed just shy of eight pounds. He's my sweet, little guy. 

How's his sister taking this, you ask? 

Well, she loves her little brother. Maybe a little too much sometimes. This is what we call a "squeeze hug", and she hasn't quite learned that little brother is too small for the squeeze hugs. All in all, I think she's taking his arrival quite well. She's a little attached to me right now, but can you blame her? She just went from having all the attention to having to share it...with a boy.. 

Now, that RPG is here, life is picking back up again. It's been nice to be home and relax for a while, but we are excited to start back up traveling again in the next couple of weeks. Between now and December there won't be a whole lot of down time, but that's a good thing in the life of a missionary! Here's the big question though. How do you fit two adults, two babies, everything you might need for babies, and over a months worth of clothes and belongings into a tiny little Ford Fiesta?? 
Challenge accepted!

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Good, The Bad, and The OOPS!!!

      So, in one of my more recent posts (yes, I know "recent" isn't really a good word when describing my previous posting) I was talking about the stories from deputation when I was a kid. Well, we've been on the road now, for almost nine months and we've already got some good stories of our own. Let me preface this by saying, though, that we have not had any really bad experiences on deputation so far. We've really enjoyed our time on the road... except for the tiny car that we have...  but otherwise, it has been really exciting so far and we've really been blessed by the people we've met and churches we've been able to attend. With that said, our stories are pretty much just our goofs and such. I'm gonna start with the "oops" because, I mean, who are we kidding, that's the part everyone enjoys anyways!

     For the most part, our one year old daughter has been pretty good at this travelling thing. Not every little kid would do so well in such an ever-changing environment. She pretty much goes to anyone, she loves exploring new churches, and she even does ok in the car... eh, it's really 50-50 in the car, if I'm being honest. She also has gotten to where she will eat almost anything. Which is a huge blessing, because let's face it, I can't lug a bag of frozen chicken nuggets with me everywhere we go. However, the eating almost anything can pose a bit of a problem. For instance, we were at a pastor's house recently and she had made chicken casserole and green beans and rolls, all of which are things our little girl will eat. And, oh boy did she eat! Mostly, green beans because those are her favorite. She ate lots of green beans and drank lots of tea... don't judge me for giving my child sweet tea. Then, while the pastor's wife was getting dessert for us, it happened. I can't explain exactly how it happened, but it did.... all over her, and the highchair, and the floor. All of those green beans and all of that tea came back! I have never seen so much come out of my daughter. So, both me and my husband are standing there trying to make sure she's not choking on the green beans that she apparently never chewed, and at the same time trying to somewhat control the mess. A useless effort, I know, but when you're in someone else's house, well.... You have to at least try. She finally stopped and I took her to the bathroom for a bath (yup, it was to that point) while my hubby and the pastor's wife cleaned up the mess. While it was incredibly embarrassing, it was one of the situations where there wasn't really much we could do, but apologize. It helped that this wasn't our first time we had met this pastor and his wife and they both really love our daughter. I mean, he is the same pastor that has given her a bag of Hershey's kisses all of the three times that we have been in a meeting with him. So, I think it's safe to say they are sort of taken with her.

     The next "oops" also involves baby girl, but I really don't think we can blame this one on her. So, we are getting ready to leave a pastor's house to head back to the hotel for the afternoon and it's like a monsoon outside.  Hubby tells me just take the stuff and get in the car, he's got the kid. So, we run out to the car, I get in on my side and he puts our daughter in the car in the back, but goes to get in up front before her buckles her in so that he doesn't get completely soaked in the process. Now, for the record, we did have an umbrella, but it was raining past the point of holding an umbrella over him while he put her in the car. We both would have ended up soaked in the process. Ok, so we're in the car and he turns around to buckle her in. Well, we have a car with a manual transmission, and if you know anything about that, to park the car you put it in neutral and put on the emergency brake. Somewhere, in the whole process of getting in and turning around he bumped the emergency brake... and we started to roll.... right into the pastor's car. Hubby was facing backwards and saw that we were moving, and so he jerked around and fumbled for the brake, but it was too late. We were already bumper to bumper with the other car. Immediately, we both start sweating. Hubby backed the car up, and wouldn't you know it, somehow in the couple of feet we rolled forward, we managed to leave three little black marks on the back of the pastor's nice silver sedan. What do we do?  High tail it outta there and say "well guess they're not gonna support us"... No, I'm just kidding. He went back up to the house and told the pastor what had happened.  What we didn't know was that those three little black marks had already been there. Apparently, the pastor's wife had been rear ended in a grocery store parking lot a while back, and the damage that we thought we did was really from that incident. The pastor and his wife did however get a good chuckle out of the whole thing. Oh, and did I mention that this was the same pastor from the first oops?? Yup, same house where our daughter threw up all over their kitchen. Somehow, someway, that church did actually take us on for support and we are still friends with that pastor and his wife, although for the rest of the time we were there, we made sure not to park behind their car. In all seriousness, we really praise the Lord for couples like them. They have been a huge blessing to us the few times we've been with them.

     So, that's the "bad" and the "oops", but here's the good; and this is actually my favorite deputation story so far.  I grew up as a preacher kid and a missionary kid, and I'm sure things like this happened to us back then, but it's so different when you're the adult and it's happening to you first hand. We were on our way back home from a missions conference, and we were only about forty-five minutes from home when we heard a loud noise in the front of the car and one of the dash lights came on.  We drove a little further while my hubby checked the brakes and the clutch and everything seemed to be working properly. We hadn't even gone a mile when we stopped at a stop light. When the light turned green and we started to turn, we realized the loud noise was something that had popped our front right tire and that it had gone completely flat when we stopped at the light. So we pulled out of the middle of the intersection and into the first parking lot off the road. My husband got out and went to unload the trunk so he could get out the spare tire. Before he could even open the trunk, a utility truck pulled in the little lot next to us. The driver hopped out and asked if we had a flat. The guy just so happened to own a tire shop down the road and he had just been out on a call to fix another flat. So he just so happened to have everything he needed with him to fix our tire. It turned out that we needed a new tire because that one was too worn to fix, so he called up his shop and he just so happened to have a used tire that we needed and he had one of his guys come deliver it. Now, how many times have you broken down on the side of the road and had your car completely fixed and ready to go again in under thirty minutes. Well, that's what happened. He had everything done in under thirty minutes and we followed him back to his shop to pay him for the tire. He didn't charge us for anything but the cost of the tire because like I said earlier, he just so happened to already be out on call to fix a tire. During the course of all this, my hubby spent some time talking to him and was able to wtiness to him some. The man shared some of his story with my husband and new he needed to get back in church. Now, this is my favorite, favorite part! You know all of those "just so happened to be's"?  Those weren't really a "just so happening". Those are the parts where it was obvious that God had a certain person, in a certain place, at a certain time; and the point where I felt like God was just making it obvious was when the guy found out we were missionaries. When he found that out he told my hubby "oh, that's neat. My parents named me after someone in the Bible. My name is Gabriel".  Did you read that right? Yep, his name was Gabriel. When I heard that I just got a big ole grin on my face, and as soon as my hubby came over to talk to me I about shouted, "Did you hear that?!? God sent Gabriel to fix our car!!!".    We spent the rest of the way home praising the Lord, and just marveling at how amazing God is.  God has always taken care of us, but that day we just felt like He was making it very clear to us that we didn't need to worry, because even in a little town in the middle of nowhere in Alabama, He was still right there. He always will be right there during the good, the bad, and the oops.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Playing Catch Up

Let's see.... where to begin. A lot has happened in the last... oh, that's not good, ten months?!? Yes, I guess it has been that long. Well, let's start at the beginning.

       Last August, we were commuting for hubby's job during the week and then going four hours to our church on the weekend. We also went to New York that month for his grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. Fun trip, but it ended with a seventeen hour one day trip back home. It wasn't too bad, but it was definitely a long day. In September we had our first official missions conference in Ohio. It was exciting to finally be doing what we had been working towards! Then, the end of October we packed up and moved so that we didn't have to make that commute every weekend. The first couple of months of deputation were mostly at home with hubby calling churches to schedule meetings, but in January things picked up. We have been going pretty steadily with meetings since then.

                                                                   Meetings have been slowing down for the summer, but that's mostly because of this...
       That was at 20 weeks, I'm now 33 weeks and our little one is due in July. We weren't expecting to have another one so soon, but God had other plans for us. We are very excited about our second little one, and we can't wait to meet him in about seven weeks!!   We still have a few meetings between now and then, but they're mostly local and I won't be doing anymore travelling till the little guy gets here.

                                                                                                           What of our other little one, you ask??

               Well, she's 14 months old now, and she definitely keeps us busy. This is her favorite little spot at her uncle and aunt's house. She's not just walking, but climbing, trying to run, and talk. She's a very vocal little one, and her personality has been coming out quite a bit lately. The other day, hubby and I were working in our office at home, and she started to get very upset. We turned around and realized that she was getting mad at a piece of paper that wasn't doing what she wanted it to do. As we laughed, I told my hubby that it's a girl thing; sometimes we just get mad at inanimate objects.

      Anyways, I think that about catches us up. I'll try not to let ten more months go by before my next post. Until next time!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Oh, The Stories I Could Tell.....

   Being on the adult side of things changes my perspective a little. Back then being the kid that rides in the car for hours and hours on end, you don't see all that is put into being able to get in that car to ride hours and hours on end. I didn't see all the laundry my mom had to do for all six (yes, I said six) of us kids. Six doesn't seem that many when compared to big families like the Duggars and the Bates, but I still think that trying to pack for six kids for a several week long trip could probably be a little stressful. I mean, I can't even remember everything for the three of us. I can't imagine trying to pack for five more!!!

  But somehow, we always ended up having everything we needed. Well, almost always... There was the time that one of my brothers threw up in the car so many times that my mom ran out of clothes for him. He threw up on his church clothes, and then his back up church clothes (always gotta have backups), and then his play clothes, and then his pajamas. So, he road the rest of the way home in his diaper and a blanket, but he survived.

  I don't know how you can be completely prepared when you have at least two kids that get carsick all the time. One of my younger brothers and I couldn't do much but sit in the car and face forward; otherwise, that White Castle burger your dad told you you had to eat if you wanted that mozzarella stick was going to come back up all over you. I remember our 12 passenger van pulled over on the side of the interstate as mom was using an entire roll of paper towels to clean off my little brother, and I was pushing past her to get out of the van before we needed another roll for me. Good times, good times. Then there was the time that we pulled into a hotel, mom and dad went in to check in while we sat in the van and waited. I didn't feel so good and I sat ever so patiently by the door waiting for them to come back, and as soon as they opened that door I was out of the van and tossing that White Castle burger all over the place...right next to the very nice little black sports car that dad had parked next to.  Then my big brother who had been watching me the whole time decided he didn't like that burger after all, and he joined me. Needless to say, once we were all inside the hotel room, my dad went out and moved the van far away from that little black sports car. Sorry, Mr. little black sports car, you parked your car in the wrong place at the wrong time.

   Not all the stories are bad though. There was the time we stayed with the people who had a fire pole in their house. What more could six kids ask for than to run up three flights of stairs and slide down the pole for hours on end? Or the fact that we collected "grandparents" on our travels. I think we ended up with about ten sets...okay, maybe not ten, but there were quite a few. Or the fact that , especially for the younger boys, we got a new best friend at every church we went to.

    All in all, I'm looking forward to creating our own set of deputation stories.  The good and the bad, although since neither I nor my husband like White Castle, we'll get to leave that little burger out of our stories. Thankfully, we won't be doing our deputation round with six kids. Only one for now, but  only the Lord knows what that number will be when we come back for furlough and round two!!! We shall see!!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Did You Pack My Deodorant???

    While we have not started deputation yet, we have started traveling on a regular basis.  I mentioned in my last post that we are going to be moving soon. The process has been slow, but it is going.  Just a few little details left and then we can move; but in the meantime, we have already joined a church in the new place and have started commuting there every weekend. The trip is four hours, which isn't all that bad, especially when you consider that once we actually start deputation, there will be much longer trips.

   I have considered these weekend trips to be practice for deputation. Just a couple weeks ago I was bragging on myself that I was becoming quite the expert packer. Well, pride goeth before a fall.... Last weekend I forgot an entire outfit for my husband, and this weekend I didn't pack him any t-shirts, and I almost forgot his deodorant and his Sunday suit! Both are kind of important, I think. Funny how all the things I have forgotten so far have been for him. Oops!

   I do have a routine down, though. We get back around midnight every Sunday. So, on Monday I unpack after work and try to put my house back together. Tuesday is laundry day. Wednesday we have midweek service and I finish laundry. Thursday I pack all over again and make sure there are no dirty dishes left in the sink. Friday we leave as soon as we get off of work. Now, does everything always happen that way? No... A few weeks ago we had an evening VBS at the church where we still live. Two weeks after that was a revival at that church. But, hey, I at least try to stick to that. Otherwise, I end up doing laundry and packing all on Thursday night, which never ends up being a fun night.

   All that being said, I'm not an expert yet, but I am learning.  I've learned that traveling with a baby is quite interesting. I no longer get to sit up front with my husband during trips.  Baby girl can entertain herself for a little while, but she doesn't like being alone for long periods of time, but who can blame her. So, my trip consists of some chatting with my hubby and quite a bit of cooing and silly faces at baby girl; but you know what, I don't mind it even a little bit. All I ever wanted was to be a mommy. Even though I've been up since 4:00 this morning doing mommy duties, and now baby girl is back sound asleep and I am still wide awake,  I am living my dream!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Our Journey has Begun

   Last time I posted, I was 29 weeks pregnant....  What's happened since then, you ask...

 Well, this happened.

 However, that was 4 months ago. She looks more like this now.

She already knows how to pose for the camera.

Our sweet little girl has changed our lives completely. She's not the only thing that has changed in our lives, though.  Sometime in the next few months our little family will be moving, and then, Lord willing, we will be starting deputation shortly after. I figured that since I titled my blog "Life as a missionary wife" I should probably start writing again seeing as how the missionary part is beginning. So, this post is short but sweet (how could it not be with that beautiful little face!!!), but there will be more to come as our journey has begun.