Saturday February 23, 2019

Numbers 14:19-21 Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now.” Then the Lord said, “I do forgive, just as you have asked; nevertheless—as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord

We enjoyed leisurely getting out of bed and down to breakfast this morning followed by a drive to Mirissa, a bordering beach town where the whale watching is superb. We hired a driver who was more than willing to make a quick pit stop in Galle to check out the old Dutch Fort that overlooked the Indian Ocean. We enjoyed walking around this quaint tourist town, checking out local shops and indulging in some waffles (the kids were in heaven).

We arrived at our hotel in Mirissa and headed straight out to dinner in the sand at a local restaurant. The food here was great and so were the margaritas! This was a wonderful evening watching the kids play in the surf and sand, just like they did last night. I think they are really enjoying the beach lifestyle. I am so thankful to be sitting here surrounded by God’s beautiful creations.

We have to be up very early for our whale watching excursion, so we put the kids to bed and then we headed outside to have some beers by the pool at the hotel. But we ended up sitting down at a table with 2 of the guys that worked at the hotel to drink our beers. We enjoyed some great conversation and laughter. It was a wonderful hour or so getting to know these nice young men. I love that Jeff enjoys this just as much as I do…putting ourselves out there to meet new people and that we are both able to have a conversation and loads of laughter with people we just met. It was a nice ending to our day.

Wednesday February 20, 2019

2 Corinthians 5:17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

I realized today how grateful I am that we are only here for 2 weeks, based on the suggestion from the organization that helped us to plan this project. Jeff and I would have been fine to stay for our original plan of 4 weeks, but the kids would have lost their mind (or would have driven me to lose mine)! Outside of the normal morning of burying turtle eggs and then cleaning out the nests, there was nothing else to do unless we had visitors, which means there is a lot of sitting. We made several trips out to the beach to clean up, but it is hard to get the kids engaged in doing this more than 1 time per day. This sitting around and doing nothing while we wait for visitors to come through is very trying for the kids, though I don’t mind the down time at all. But the kids have found a nice reprieve in the pool on the property of the volunteer house. They want to be in it all the time and they take advantage of it after lunch and after dinner, basically whenever we allow them to.

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Jeff and Joeri hoist kids in preparation for a game of chicken

With the weekend fast approaching, we are having some difficulty in planning our activities. We know what we need to do, we just need to work out the logistics and because we need Dudley involved in the planning process, we just can’t make these plans on our own. Our hope was to do a national park to see elephants and go whale watching, but the logistics are not working out so well. This would have previously sent me into a bit of a frenzy or caused me a bit of anxiety–“we need a plan”, but I don’t seem to be bothered. I have confidence that in time all things will work out just as they are supposed to. I have allowed myself to be changed by Christ, to trust in His way and His time. I have learned to turn over my life to Him, which has significantly reduced my anxiety caused by my need to plan everything to the minute. I know this may sound a bit trivial, and maybe it is, but looking at the bigger picture, I have been able to turn over my need to plan every waking minute to Christ. I have learned that when I try to push a plan through it always fails or it doesn’t work very well. But when I let God plan it, it works out perfectly and usually better than expected. He is able to provide us what we need.

Tonight we had a fisherman come to the volunteer house to let us know that a turtle just came up onto the beach to lay her eggs and that we were welcome to go watch. We joined the fisherman on the beach at 10 pm and sat very close to the surf while the turtle crawled up to her spot and began digging her hole. This process took almost an hour so we just sat quietly under the stars listening to the waves coming onto shore. Once she was done digging her hole we were able to join the fisherman behind the turtle to watch her drop her eggs into the hole (and then the fisherman grab the eggs). These fisherman are very protective of the turtles and do their very best to not disturb the process, but in the end they are still taking the eggs from the nest to be sold to the hatchery for 25 rupee per egg. What gives me a bit of comfort is knowing that the alternative is that these eggs would otherwise be sold in the market for food (turtle eggs are still considered a delicacy and though it is illegal, they can still be found). The upside is that because the hatchery and the fisherman are working together the turtles are given a chance to hatch, furthermore the hatchery is also protected, so the eggs have a reduced risk of being dug up and eaten by predators. I believe that the conservation work being done here is making a difference in helping increase the population of these endangered creatures, it was just really difficult to watch this turtle lay her eggs that were being taken from her nest just as she was dropping them.

Thursday February 14, 2019

Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

Happy Valentines Day (for those who celebrate–I am not one of them)! Today we spent the day getting organized and packed up to leave. The kids did a bit of school work and then helped me pack up. We ended up going to the beach one last time this afternoon, but only for about an hour. I am so glad we purchased that boogie board, it has given us many hours of fun at the beach. Today, while David was using it he caught a really big wave (the waves today were HUGE) and took the boogie board to his face. Thankfully it was nothing too serious, just a sore nose and a fat lip. He did a great job just shrugging it off, but it did end his desire to use the board any longer.

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After packing everything up we had dinner and a couple games of Mastermind before we sent the kids of to bed. Tomorrow will be a very long day and we start really early. We have a 6:50 am flight, which means that we have to be at the airport by 3:50 at the latest and leaving the house by 3:00 so we have time to return our rental car and still get checked in for our flight. I debated not going to bed at all because by the time I was ready to go to bed it was already midnight. Part of me wanted to just stay up, but I also knew that we had a long day ahead of us and any sleep would be better than none.

Wednesday February 13, 2019

Matthew 26:6-13 Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

Happy early birthday to Lucia! We had another easy start to the day. We had lunch and then headed to the beach for some boogie boarding and playing in the sand. We had so much fun until the kids got a little too excited (I asked them at least 4 times to not throw sand at each other, but they kept on doing it), so we left. Both Jeff and I were pretty frustrated and the kids were angry that we left, but we all came around and enjoyed Lucia’s birthday party. We had hot dogs and chicken with Kraft Mac and Cheese for dinner. We ordered an ice cream cake to celebrate and David and I found a couple small gifts for her to open. Our decision to celebrate early was because we didn’t know what to expect in Sri Lanka. We all had a lot of fun at the party and we all played a fun game called Mastermind before the kids went to bed without much fuss; I think they are all pretty tired.

 

Jeff and I stayed up quite a while and enjoyed some adult time with wine and great conversation. We have been talking a lot about what we want to do when we are done with this year. I feel quite lost, not knowing what I want and it felt good to hear that Jeff was feeling the same way. We prayed and put this in God’s hands. He will continue to be our guide and we will put our faith and trust in Him. He has never failed us and I know that He won’t start now. This is not the first time having this conversation, nor will it be the last. While we still have another 6 months to go, we only have 6 months to go and there are occasional moments when I start to feel overwhelmed at the thought of what to do next. I love these conversations with Jeff because we end up discussing that we need to continue to be in the moment. Looking for jobs right now isn’t a viable option anyway because we can’t start working for another 6 months, so looking now doesn’t make any sense. Furthermore, I want to make sure I listen attentively to His word and be open to going wherever it is I am called.

Monday February 11, 2019

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast

It was an early day today. We had to be at the ferry in Fremantle for a 7:30 am departure, so everyone was up an moving by 5:45 so we could leave by 6:45. The kids did great and I suspect it was because this was something they really wanted to do. The hour ferry ride was very peaceful as we had a beautiful view of Fremantle harbor and the Indian Ocean.

I could feel the excitement building within the kids as we approached a Rottnest Island and as we got off the ferry I thought Anjali was going to explode. She was ready to just take off running, but first we had to get our bikes and snorkeling gear. Once we got the bikes Lucia was finding it difficult to remember how to get started. It took a few minutes of Jeff’s patient teaching before she took off. We decided that we would enjoy a bike ride first, so we headed towards was looked like a good ride on our map. However, about 10 minutes into it, Lucia really started to struggle and a frustrated Jeff decided that he would take her back to the settlement and the beach and wait for us. I was upset by this at first, but as we continued on our ride, I quickly realized that this was not for her–she would have never made it! As it was, David was really struggling towards the end. This was a long and hilly ride, I even had to get off my bike to walk it up some of the hills. But we did finish and meet up with Jeff and Lucia for an early lunch.

 

We met up at the settlement, which is like the main street of the islands with shops, restaurants, and a store. And since we came her to see quokkas we were blessed with seeing many of these cute marsupials while we were here. The kids were in heaven following these little guys around trying to get a photo with them or just of them.

We finally managed to pull the kids away and get them back on their bikes to head for lunch. We ended up getting more of a brunch because it was still too early for lunch, but the food was amazing and we all enjoyed the food, but the kids were especially thrilled that there were several quokkas who made our lunch even more special. Plus we got to FaceTime Grandma Wood, which was really fun.

After lunch we headed to the beach for some snorkeling, we were told this was some of the best snorkeling we will find in Perth and it did not disappoint. We saw so many fish of varying sizes and colors. The kids didn’t last long, but when they were finished the played on the beach. I was happy to let them play while we snorkeled because we were basically on a reef and the water only came up to their knees until they started o where we were. It was perfect. They were safe and we all got to do what we wanted.

After snorkeling and some playing on the beach, we hopped back on our bikes and headed for the settlement. We were going to grab some more food and hopefully some wine for me and Jeff. We found a nice little restaurant that had Seagull Cannons (aka: water bottles to spray them when they got too close) and the kids thought this was great (I found it very effective). Jeff and I enjoyed a bottle of wine while the kids took more pictures of the quokkas and finally ate some pizza. I think we sat here for almost 2 hours, just hanging out with the quokkas. We were all content to just hang out with the quokkas, drink some wine, and eat some pizza.

Today was a beautiful day. This was Anjali’s only activity she requested during our stay in Perth and she seemed very happy with today’s experience. She has been in such a good mood leading up to today and all day today. I think she really felt fulfilled with the activities today. She just had a permanent grin plastered on her face the whole ferry ride home.

Sunday February 10, 2019

Proverbs 22:6 Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.

We did nothing today. We spent the day at the beach, playing and being silly and then the rest of the day was relaxing at the house or running a few errands to the grocery store. The kids have enjoyed the beach more than I ever thought they would, especially since we got the boogie board. What is even more surprising is that there have been no fights over who gets to use it and they seem to be sharing it better than I have ever seen them share. When they aren’t using the boogie board they are playing in the surf or in the sand, building forts, castles, or burying each other. From what I can tell, they were really needing this vacation and again God’s plan is better than my plan!

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Tonight the kids did really well going to bed, probably because they knew we had to get up really early in the morning to catch the ferry to Rottnest Island. I enjoyed some good Australian wine, while Jeff enjoyed his beer (of all things, he has really missed his craft IPA beer and there is plenty of that here, to which he has had no problem finding).

Friday February 8, 2019

Daniel 2:23 To you, O God of my ancestors, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and power, and have now revealed to me what we asked of you, for you have revealed to us what the king ordered.”

We got up this morning and did a very small bit of school with the kids and then headed out to Fremantle about 35-40 minutes away. I was very much looking forward to seeing this old port town. We did some shopping and enjoyed walking up and down the beach and touristy shops. I found a new pair of sandals that I was desperately needing and we all found some fun souvenirs from Perth. We enjoyed a nice lunch right in the bay with a beautiful ocean view and then finished our day with a tour of the shipwreck museum and some ice cream. We headed home for some showers and dinner. It really was a wonderful afternoon with only a few arguments and tantrums. I thoroughly enjoyed the day today and loved the town of Fremantle, though I am still grateful that we are staying outside of the city in our quiet little town of Ocean Reef.

Driving home the kids were so wound up, yelling and playing loudly in the car, and after about 20 minutes I couldn’t take it any more and asked them to quiet down, but as soon as I did I could feel an immediate shift in the atmosphere. You could actually taste the tension in the car and I instantly regretted saying anything at all. They really were not doing anything bad, just being loud and obnoxious kids (basically they were being irritating). Had I just kept my irritation to myself, the mood of the car would have stayed the playful and happy atmosphere. I kicked myself for my lack of patience and vowed to try harder to allow my kids to just be kids.

My poor choice in the car was quickly forgotten when we arrived at the beach with the boogie board and this time we brought the phones for pictures!