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Merry Christmas from the Minters

Its that time of year again!  Time for our annual Christmas card.  This marks year 6 of this tradition, and the first year the kids really wanted to take ownership of the tradition.  They picked the music, where the computer would sit, what they wanted to show in the video, and just basically made it their own.  It is fun to watch them grown up.  In fact, if you want to view years gone by, here is 2009 (Elliana at the end is my favorite!), 2010 (Justus finally makes his first appearance “helping”), 2011, 2012, 2013 (our first Christmas in Iowa), and finally, 2014.  Merry Christmas everyone!

 

The Minter Christmas Card

This is one of my favorite family traditions.  Hope you enjoy!

 

Merry Christmas!!

Our Last Day in Bac Ha

I got a little teary eyed saying good-bye to some of the teachers at the end of the conference today.  Each time I come, I fall more and more in love with these people and this place.

Overall, I think this conference was extremely successful.  The teachers are so fun and willing to do anything I ask them to…even if it means feeding each other applesauce while blindfolded =)

And this city…I won’t even try to put into words how incredible this city is.  Simply incredible.

Tomorrow morning, we begin our journey home.  We will leave the hotel at 7:30am and spend the day in Sapa hiking and sightseeing. Then we will get back on the night train tomorrow evening to head back to Hanoi.  We should arrive in Hanoi about 5:30am and then hang out there until our plane leaves at 11:00pm.  We will then be flying home for the next 24 hours.

All that to say, keep lifting us up as we begin the long trek home!   Starting tomorrow night, the countdown begins until I get to kiss my hubby and kids again =)

 

(I wrote this 2 days again during a storm and the internet went down before I could post it.  We have already made it to Hanoi and are just waiting until its time to go to the airport to start the flight home!)

Quotable Quotes

There are just some conversations you want to document forever. This was one of them.

After we read our Bible last night, the girls ran to their room, and Justus grabbed my face and said:

mom, if I disobey, does Jesus stop loving me?

I reassured him that no, Jesus never stops loving him. He asked again a few more times and then said:

“if I don’t tell the truth, will he make me disappear?

I have no idea where that came from! The thoughts of a three year old =)

He doesn’t quite get the concept that the baby Jesus that we celebrate at Christmas grew up, became a man, died on the cross, and rose again. I just recently discovered he thinks baby Jesus is still a baby and it was a different Jesus who died on the cross and yet a different Jesus who is in heaven. (we are working on correcting that perception!)

“mom, was the baby Jesus in the big man Jesus’ tummy?”

He also doesn’t yet get that the cross was a one time event. He was always begging to go back stage to see the cross all the time. I finally figured out that he doesn’t want to miss the next time Jesus is on the cross!

We Made It Home

Two incredible weeks of vacation at my parent’s house in Iowa.  I truly feel like a new woman after the rest we got while up there!   Twenty-one people, eleven of whom are children, all staying under one roof, and I absolutely LOVED it.

The kids did great.  Well, except for a couple few incidents by little man.  We learned he liked switches as we woke up on morning to a freezing cold house because he turned off the heat the day before, and one morning my dad had a cold shower because Justus turned off the water heater.  Luckily, my parents are gracious and laughed at my son’s energy =)

Some people go to a beach to get away and relax.  We go to Iowa.  There is just something about being surrounded by family who loves you that just allows all the stress of the world to go away.  Thanks mom and dad for letting us crash at your place for two weeks!

 

A Year With Jesus

A Year With Jesus by R. P. Nettelhorst was sent to me by Thomas Nelson publishing in exchange for a review, and I was so grateful to receive this book from them!

The book is simply what the title states, a year of daily devotionals over the words and actions of Jesus.  It is laid out simply with the scripture actually typed out next to the devotional thoughts.   It is also divided into themes based on ideas such as “Love and Hate”, “Truth and Lies”, “Arrogance and Humility” and so on.   Both of these aspects make it easy for the reader to read, understand, and learn from the words and life of Jesus.

I would recommend this devotional for those who are wanting to start seeking God.  It is extremely easy to read and grasp ideas from and will lead you down the road to understanding and knowing Christ better.

 

 

If you would like to purchase this book, click here

The past 48

Our first full day was spent acclimating and preparing for the teacher conference we will be doing at the end of the week.  Acclimating included riding around the city in these fun things.  I have great video of a bus almost hitting my feet as we crossed an intersection.  Good times =)

We finished our tour at this incredible hotel with an even more incredible menu for lunch.  It was about the time that we finished this yummy lunch that my body realized it was 2 am our time and it began to protest being awake.

I did manage to stay awake until we arrived at the night train that night.  I have heard horror stories about this train, but I’m now convinced all those people who told me those stories were lying.  It may have been the best nights sleep I’ve had since arriving here!  Really loved this experience!

We got off the train at 5:40 am and drove up the steep, curvy mountain for 2 hours until we arrived at this town.  This is where we will be for the rest of the week.

Yes, that is the Ranger game on the Ipad.  We arrived here just in time for the game.  I would love to say I stayed around to watch the Rangers lose, but I didn’t.  I went to the market instead and had a blast. The people here are so friendly and the whole area is just beautiful.   I am loving Bac Ha!  So thankful we are spending the week up here!

I’ll try to upload some pics soon that will show you how amazingly beautiful it is.  And maybe eventually I’ll be able to upload the video of the bus almost hitting me in Hanoi as well =)

But for now I’m off to dinner.  I hear its supposed to be the best food ever.  Hopefully they are not lying to me like they did about the train =) And then tomorrow we start working with the farmers and their wives, and I hear it is pretty hard work.  I’m looking forward to it though.

As you all wake up on your side of the world, lift us up and ask that we would sleep well tonight.  Sleep is something not everyone on the team is getting yet but it is so desperately needed before we begin a busy week here.

Thanks and enjoy your day!

Entertainment for Today

My little rock star thinks tinker toys are the best invention ever.

Give the kid a guitar or a drum set and a microphone, and he is happy for hours.       hmmm.. who does that remind me of?

Little Miracle

I want to take a day and just celebrate the little miracles God has done in me over the past few months.

Last January I started getting sick.  I was continually nauseous and couldn’t handle most food. We did allergy tests, strict diets, and everything else the doctors could come up with.

By May, the sickness, whatever it was, began to get unbearably worse. By the last week of May, I started to not be able to eat anything without immediately getting sick. Every day, for the next 13 weeks, I was just sick. By the last week, I couldn’t even function. It was then that the Lord finally broke me.

Deep in the misery of this sickness, God began to give me a glimpse of some things He wanted to change in me. Deep in the misery of this sickness, God began opening my eyes to things I would have never discovered had I not been too weak to even get off the couch. Deep in the misery of this sickness, I found recovery.

My eyes were opened to sin that needed to be confessed. So I literally spent a full week in August doing nothing but confessing and calling out to God. I could do nothing else. My body hurt, I had no energy, and I couldn’t eat.

By the end of the week, I was healed. Completely healed. Haven’t had an issue since type healed.

Now throughout the summer, there were different medicines tried, doctors visited, and circumstances that changed, and God may have used one of those things to heal me; however, I know that healing came after I hit rock bottom, and He changed me.

Can we take a minute and praise our God? The only living God who heals and interacts daily with his children!

However God healed me, I’m thankful He waited until the last moment. Without those last few weeks of weakness, I would not have learned so much or drawn as near to Him as I did.

Weakness has a way of pointing out those secrets parts of your heart that you don’t see when you can function normally. Weakness is good.

I’m now on the other side of the 7 months of misery.  Those months were hard.  The last few were extremely difficult, but I can now look back and say it was all worth it. The lessons I learned and the faith God increased in me are priceless.

I didn’t want to get to that point where I was so sick.  For months, I continually asked God to heal me.  Begged God to heal me.   Was desperate for God to heal me.  Was fearful He wouldn’t heal me.

But my fear of getting to the point where I couldn’t function anymore was the very place God needed to take me in order for me to hear Him.  In the  middle of the misery was the miracle I needed.

Through God’s grace, we are able to walk through whatever storm is in front of us. To quote Pasty Clairmont, “sometimes its in the middle of the very thing you try to avoid that the miracle you so desire occurs.”

 

Productive Naptime

This is what I call a messy naptime

but a very productive naptime

Can you tell which meal of the day I dread cooking?

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