Ten on Ten- March

Ten on Ten- March

On the 10th of the month, a photo an hour– over ten (ish) hours. This month the 10th fell on a Friday… and oh, how I love Fridays! With the exception of a birth or a government/business meeting, Fridays are usually reserved for starting the day a bit slower, catching up on stuff around the house– laundry and such, and administrative tasks– tackling emails, updating charts for the maternity center, preparing for the...

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Ten on Ten– February 2017

Ten on Ten– February 2017

Ten images a month to catch the beauty of the everyday for us… occasionally the everyday is in America, most of the time it’s in Madagascar, and I dream of days that it would be in places like Spain or Italy, Guatemala or Peru… a girl can dream!  Project from www.rebekahgough.com. We’re rehabilitating this little sifaka lemur… we’re calling her “Rosie”… and she is really the sweetest...

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Ten on Ten- January 2017

Ten on Ten- January 2017

Ten photos throughout the day on the 10th of the month to capture the beauty of the ordinary in our day.  The 10th landed on a Tuesday this month.  Tuesday is our shopping day that Jamie and I make a date out of… nothing special…  no great restaurants, food, coffee, movie, walk on the beach, etc… merely a day that we set aside each week to catch up and be together sans kiddos and little voices interrupting our conversation....

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Ten on Ten- August

Ten on Ten- August

Ten of Ten– 10 images on the 10th of the month to capture the beauty of the simple dailies.  This month a baby was born in the early morning hours on the 10th and so after 34 hours without sleep, I finally crashed and re-picked up the camera a day later. Linking up with Rebekah Gough for this great little project– and a fun fact– Rebekah’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law are arriving in Madagascar later this month to...

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Ten on Ten- July

Ten on Ten- July

For years I’ve had the burning desire to participate in a little exercise called Ten on Ten…. something that another former SPU alum and acquaintance, Rebekah Gough began.  The premise is simple: 10 pictures a day on the 10th of every month in order to capture the beauty that is life all around.  And so, the day before a planned trip to the capital rather than the standard rush and impatience, I pulled out the camera throughout to...

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Putting Out Fires– April News

Putting Out Fires– April News

Deforestation in Madagascar is estimated between 88-90%– quite the staggering rate!  The two largest culprits of the continued destruction of the forests are 1) charcoal production to be used for cooking and heating purposes and 2) slash and burn farming.  When traveling on the two-lane national highway during the dry season, one can easily count 15 or 20 plumes of smoke from various areas dotting the landscape.  Of course with...

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Unsurpassed Love… March News

Unsurpassed Love… March News

You may remember towards the end of 2015 that many of you gave generously for necessary renovations at the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  All these renovations and improvements are in preparation for when we begin deliveries at the center later this year.  A few have asked us, “why the improvements? or “doesn’t the center function now?”.  While the answer is Yes, the center does function… the more important answer...

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On Transition and Re-Entry…

On Transition and Re-Entry…

Transition and re-entry.  It’s become a regular part of our lives, typically on a 20 month then 5 month then 20 month then 5 month rotation. Each and every time we return to the USA we experience transition.  Each and every time we return to Madagascar we experience transition.  Through the years, the transition and re-entry back home to Madagascar has become easier while the transition and re-entry to the USA has increasingly become...

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World’s Apart… July 2015 News

World’s Apart… July 2015 News

It’s a bit of surreal process to travel half way around the world… leaving one world in which we’re settled and at home and coming back to our American world and the transition that it warrants.  The sights, sounds, experiences, foods, work, routines, friends, commonalities, climate, culture, currency and language are all totally different between the two worlds. As I downloaded our pictures from our camera recently, these...

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Twenty Fourteen

Twenty Fourteen

Twenty Fourteen was quite the year… there was good and there was hard, there were times of joy and sadness, times of growth and steps backward.  Through it all, God has been present and He is good!  It’s good to look back through pictures and SEE that God has been present and He is good– in addition to knowing that truth deep in my heart.  So here’s a look at twenty-fourteen and the things that fed our souls during...

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Through their Eyes

Through their Eyes

We recently got to hang out with Josh and Amanda, some Santa Barbara friends who came to visit us and the ministry here in Madagascar.  It’s always a joy when our two worlds of Santa Barbara and Madagascar merge and this was no exception. Often times what stands out to visitors has become just normal life stuff for us so we often walk past it without a second glance, thought or even an awareness or appreciation of how different life is...

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This little guy…

This little guy…

Last month while the Westmont team was here we celebrated this little dude’s birthday.  How can it be that my youngest baby is four already? During my pregnancy with him, I knew with all my motherly instincts that he was going to be a boy.  In fact, seven dreams during my pregnancy confirmed this.  He entered the world and our lives on a beautiful morning the day before Father’s Day in a birth pool in our bedroom.  I didn’t...

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TCK love

TCK love

I’ve been thinking a lot about TCK’s lately… third culture kids.  You may or may not be familiar with that terminology or what in the world it means.  Essentially TCK’s are those kids that grow up in a culture other than their parents home culture (or first culture).  Therefore they typically don’t truly identify themselves with their parents culture but they don’t truly identify themselves with their host...

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This (little) girl…

This (little) girl…

Just like her big sister did last month, this little girl celebrated a birthday last week.  6 years old.  Time seems to pass even more quickly with each year.  This little girl of ours was a whole 13 days late… and when she decided to make her appearance into the world, she did so with force and intensity… a bit like a freight train, in fact. From 6 cm to having a beautiful baby girl in my arms in less than 25 minutes… over...

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Third Culture Kids

Third Culture Kids

My husband is a Third Culture Kid (TCK)…. I am not… I’m a Santa Barbara kid! Yet we are raising TCK’s. And what exactly is a TCK? Well, I’m glad you asked… By definition the Third Culture Kid “is a person who has spent a significant part of their developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements...

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Life’s Joys!

Life’s Joys!

There is something amazing about seeing my children being cared for by the friends of my youth.  In truth, it is a dream come true.  I love watching my children experience the world of Madagascar that I grew up in, a world one would not appear to fit into and yet where one is welcomed without hesitation. Take for instance, Isabella riding on the back of Armand’s bicycle through the slums of Mahajanga with full confidence that Armand will...

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Village Life According to a 5-year old

Village Life According to a 5-year old

I have to admit, I was a little nervous as to how our kids would handle the village life of Mahabana.  It’s not easy living.  Hot and humid temperatures without escape, no electricity, no running water, no toilets, and only bucket showers.  Granted, it’s been a long time since I was 5 years old… but I should’ve remembered.  To our kids, once the excitement factor of our arrival vanished and the village kids weren’t so...

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Transportation to Mahabana

Transportation to Mahabana

Getting to Mahabana is no easy task!  Though only 120 miles from the large city of Mahajanga, there are no roads, not even the semblance of a road.  In 2000, Jamie attempted to drive it once, it took 7 days, one way, and when they had driven as far as they could and after several problems with the car, including a small engine fire, they gave up and turned around.  They didn’t even make it half the distance to Mahabana. In the past, Jamie...

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Mauritius (part II)

Mauritius (part II)

As I said in my last post, our family along with my parents, went to the beauty country island of Mauritius for a vacation earlier this month.  One word sums up Mauritius… AMAZING!  By no means is the island a first world country but it is a long ways from Madagascar…. in fact, Mauritius is one of the developing world’s most “successful democracies”  compared to Madagascar that recently earned the title, “the World’s...

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Mauritius (part I)

Mauritius (part I)

While my folks were with us, the seven of us ventured over to the neighboring island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.  This was a long anticipated and planned trip, we were full of excitement for a vacation in a tropical paradise and Jamie and I were ready for a break from the “dailies” of Madagascar.  We arrived after dark, stepped off the plane and strolled into a beautiful air conditioned airport.  Within the first hour, the contrasts...

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Grandparents

Grandparents

What an absolute joy all around to have my parents with us!  They arrived bearing lots of love and gifts (including Christmas presents) from Santa Barbara.  They also came bearing some fun items from home… a few new movies and coloring books for the kids, some fishing lures for Jamie and coffee for me!  It’s been awesome to enjoy our days together, soaking up the parental and grandparental love that they bring and bestow upon us. The...

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Unsung Heroes (part II)

Unsung Heroes (part II)

Last month, we started part I in a series entitled “Unsung Heroes”; a tribute to all the Malagasy people who work so hard, day after day, to eek out a living in order to care for their family the best they can. Just outside of Antsirabe lies a small wet valley where 7 families work long, hard, dirty days making bricks.  Bricks are used, especially on the high plateau for houses, buildings and walls. Men, women and children are working, they...

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Hello

Hello

Here on the island there’s a hundred different ways to say “hello”… or at least close to a 100.  Because the country is made up of 18 different tribes, all Malagasy, they each have their traditional way of saying “hey”.  Some of my favorites and their translations…   Countrywide, “salama” — “hello” The northwest coast, “karakory” — “what’s up” The north, “mbola tsara” —...

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Trilingual

Trilingual

We hope and pray, that one day, our 3 kids will be trilingual like their daddy.  As they play with Malagasy friends they’re picking up Malagasy and as they attend French School, they’ll soon be speaking French. In the picture above, our five-year-old drew a picture of a recent weekend trip to the beach English:        Beach French:         La plage Malagasy:     Ranomasina It looks like we’re on our way… Like it? Share...

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French School

French School

The kids just completed their second week at the French School here in Mahajanga.  Isabella entered Grande Section, the French equivalent to kindergarten and attends 5 days a week.  Eliana started Petite Section, or preschool and attends 3 mornings a week.  Now brace yourself… school STARTS at 7:15am! In and of itself, French School provides an opportunity for culture shock all over again, not necessarily in a bad way, but in a...

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Sunday Fun

Sunday Fun

There isn’t an overabundance of fun activities for kids here in Madagascar.  Thankfully though, we live on the northwest coast of the island where the days are hot and the beach is close.  As a mom of young kids, this lack of activities is definitely an unwelcome challenge.  No zoos, no parks, no natural history museum or sea center.  We do have 1 scant playground for which we’re thankful.  The other thing we’re incredibly thankful...

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Catch of the Day…

Catch of the Day…

  A few weeks ago we went for a little fishing adventure.  In the past we’ve always done this sort of thing in a Malagasy lakana or outrigger canoe.  Kids have a funny way of changing things though … and this time we went in a small motorboat where the risk of capsizing is a little less.  It was a great Saturday on the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean.       ready and excited for a day of fishing! the...

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Special Guests & Birthday Celebrations

Special Guests & Birthday Celebrations

Our long-time good friend and main ministry partner, Josy, left his wife home with their 3 kids and made the 15 hour drive to spend a few days with us and our 3 kids.  It was fantastic!!  We learned something new with our time together…. kids are kids wherever they are and whatever culture they’re from.  Josy felt like he was transplanted back into the chaos of the three small children that he left behind and that chaos was replaced...

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We’ve found a COW!

We’ve found a COW!

One of the great benefits of living in Antsirabe was the close proximity to a Swiss missionary who had milking cows and as a result, twice a week, we received fresh milk delivered to our house as well as thick blocks of cheese.  Since our move to Mahajanga, we’ve had to return to UHT long-life boxed milk and we haven’t been thrilled about it.  It’s terribly expensive ($7 to $8 a gallon), the taste isn’t great and I often wonder what...

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Viva la Fiesta!

Viva la Fiesta!

As one can imagine, there are a number of things that we miss about life in Santa Barbara…. family and friends of course, church, our home culture, paved roads, … and FIESTA!  For those non-Santa Barbara folk, Fiesta is a 75+ year tradition of celebrating the Mexican and Spanish culture that decorates our hometown in the States.  Essentially, Fiesta is a 5-day party full of festivals, parades, music, dancing and good Mexican...

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Preschool Graduation

Preschool Graduation

Two weeks ago, Jamie wrapped up Sekoly (preschool) with the kids, Isabella (5), Eliana (3), and Oliver (3).  We celebrated this milestone for all of them with a little graduation ceremony.  They sang their favorite songs, showed us how they know their letters and the sounds they make, showed us the world map and where their hometowns are as well as Madagascar, and presented their parents with the last 6 months of their artwork and letters...

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Ony

Ony

Ony has become a favorite friend for Gavin (right) and his little buddy, Alex (left).  She’s a sweet woman who watches the boys while we’re in formal language study.  She has the magic touch and these boys LOVE her just as much as we do!  We’ll certainly miss her when we make the big move to Mahajanga this coming week. Like it? Share it!ShareEmailPrintGoogleTwitterLinkedInFacebookLike this:Like...

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Ranomafana

Ranomafana

Two weeks ago, over Pentecost, we had a long holiday weekend… after all, doesn’t everybody have Pentecost Monday as a national holiday?  Along with our guests, we went to a lush rainforest, Ranomafana (literally translated as Hot Water because of the natural hot springs).  It’s one of the “must see” tourist sites on the island.  A large rainforest with a river meandering through the valley floor, full of lemurs, chameleons,...

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Gavin’s Birthday

Gavin’s Birthday

It’s still hard to believe that last Sunday we celebrated Gavin’s 1st birthday!  He’s a sweet, fun-loving, quiet little guy, his eyes twinkle and he brings smiles to all he meets!  He loves to stand on chairs, open and close the dryer, take all the tupperware out of the drawer and sit in wash basins.  During church on his birthday, he took his first steps unassisted!  He’s trying to master this skill daily.  I keep telling him to...

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Only in Africa

Only in Africa

There’s a lot of “only in Africa”-type of things our kids get to do…  one such thing…  we get to let our kids pretend to be airplanes on a working airstrip…. after all, planes only land here once every few days.           READY…  SET…. TAKE OFF….   Like it? Share it!ShareEmailPrintGoogleTwitterLinkedInFacebookLike this:Like...

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Early Missionaries

Early Missionaries

Last week our Malagasy class w ent on a field trip to a center for adults who are blind.  This center teaches them a variety of trades so that in time, they may be employed as rug weavers, scarf and sweater knitters, basket makers, etc.  The center and the people were impressive however what really intrigued me was the early missionaries that started this center and lived in this remote location.  I’ve always been fascinated with the daily...

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Field Meetings

Field Meetings

Earlier this month, we had our annual WorldVenture field meetings, which consisted of a day of prayer, a day of business, a day of team building and a day of play.  Our immediate team recently tripled in size when our family of five and the Casurella family of four, arrived on the field this past January.  As a result, our team now consists of 7 adults and 5 kids.  We also had the privilege of our Malagasy office partners, Germain and...

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Easter- Malagasy style

Easter- Malagasy style

Easter here in Madagascar is celebrated a little different than in the States… no dyed eggs, Easter bunny or candy stuffed in plastic eggs, but that’s not to say there’s not a party.  The town of Antsirabe where we currently live is the party capital when it comes to Easter celebrations here on the island.  It consists of a week-long street party, complete with street vendors selling clothes and food, bounce houses and train rides...

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Easter Surprises

Easter Surprises

As Easter approached this year, I realized I was disappointed in that we weren’t going to give the kids the Easter festivities that they’re accustomed to… church would look different, Easter with family would look different, and the Easter egg hunt would look different.  I grieved at the loss of these but didn’t speak of the disappointment of the absence of the plastic eggs filled with candy, the fake green easter grass and the...

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Of Birthdays and Modern Technology

Of Birthdays and Modern Technology

We recently celebrated our second daughter, Eliana’s 3rd birthday.  It is during times like this that we are so incredibly thankful for modern technology and the ways that it has the capacity to bring families together who are literally on opposite sides of the globe.  During our celebration, we skyped with “grammy” and “grampy”, who despite being a 10-hour time difference, joined in the festivities with their own party hats,...

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Special Guests & Birthday Celebrations

Special Guests & Birthday Celebrations

    Our long-time good friend and main ministry partner, Josy, left his wife home with their 3 kids and made the 15 hour drive to spend a few days with us and our 3 kids.  It was fantastic!!  We learned something new with our time together…. kids are kids wherever they are and whatever culture they’re from.  Josy felt like he was transplanted back into the chaos of the three small children that he left behind and that chaos was...

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Our First Casualties

Our First Casualties

It didn’t take long for our first “casualties” to occur here in Madagascar.  We experienced two casualties in three days a few weeks ago.  The first, Jamie’s soccer cleats.  Jamie and Jonathan went to play soccer late one afternoon and quickly a pick-up game began with several Malagasy guys.  None of the guys were wearing shoes so Jamie and Jonathan took off their cleats and played barefoot also.  The cleats were used then for the...

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Sekoly

Sekoly is “school” in Malagasy and is what transpires four days a week for the three older kids on our team; Isabella (4), Oliver (3), and Eliana (2).  Sekoly coincides with Malagasy language lessons for the parents, however it’s a very different education for these little ones.  Jamie is their exuberant teacher and as a result, sekoly days are full of explorations and adventures, singing, learning Malagasy words, as well...

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