happy thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving from kolkata! while yours is just starting, ours is wrapping up. we started the day by sleeping in and having a skype date with Preston’s parents and sister. We even got to see our puppy nephew and new puppy niece. I made my favorite fall treat, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies last night to bring to our thanksgiving gathering. My very best friend, Lauren and I started making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies our sophomore year of college and we’ve been making them every fall since. Making them without her felt weird, but I know that we’ll have many years to make them together and that we’ll eventually get to make them with our children and talk about all the adventures we had making those cookies. One of the hardest parts of living overseas is missing out on all of those traditions. Among making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with lauren every fall, my favorite fall traditions include: calling my dad after every LSU home game to talk and ask about things that we couldn’t see in the stadium, cooking with my whole family on thanksgiving morning, going to pick out our Christmas tree at the Christmas tree farm, drinking Starbucks holiday coffee with my mom and of course black friday, which i normally spend working, but totally enjoy it because I loved my work family so much. 

Fortunately, we did get to spend thanksgiving with our community here. It was a great afternoon filled with awesome food. No turkey though! We were able to sit around and talk about all the things we’re thankful for and read scripture that talked about thanksgiving. It was a great time filled with good conversations about daily life here and the everyday struggles we’re facing and how we’re dealing and how good the Lord is. 

This year, I am most thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness. It’s been a really rough year for us, but we’ve seen how faithful the Lord is over and over again. From car issues, to support raising, to issues with our apartment, to Preston graduating, to health issues, God has been so good even through the challenges. And that list is just from when we were living in the states. We’ve seen the faithfulness of the Lord on an even bigger scale just in the almost four months that we’ve been here. Life has been challenging, but I’ve taken so much comfort in the fact that we serve a God that fights for us. We serve a God that promised that he won’t leave us as orphans. A God that is mighty in power and a God that has told us that the battle is not ours. I am thankful that the same God that has proven himself to be faithful this year, will continue to do that next year and that none of our seemingly big problems ever phase him. I’m thankful that our God specializes in rescue and that He is making all things new. 

I hope that you all have a wonderful American thanksgiving! Enjoy the parade and the football and the turkey! 

 

P.s our internet is currently down. So if you need us — email, facebook or twitter are the ways to go. 

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adventures with DaLee

we dropped my Mom off last night at the airport after an amazing week all together! if you know my mom, you know that she is a blessing to anyone she comes in contact with. seriously, she’s awesome. the kids all adored her and we loved getting to share with her our everyday life in kolkata. she also brought all kids of amazing goodies from the states, including a ton of resources for teaching English from my lovely mother-in-law and knitting supplies from my sister-in-law! She also managed to get over an entire container of my favorite fall treat, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and 2 cans of Dr. Pepper! Preston and I are now treating two 75 cent cans of Dr. Pepper as if they are two bottles of $300 champagne. ha! She also spoiled us while she was here and we were so blessed by her visit.

We were able to do a mix of our regular everyday life things and also a little bit of sightseeing. On Saturday, we went to the boys home where my small boys showed off their reading skills and we worked with all of the boys on Christmas cards! We then went to the girls home to work on their Christmas cards. The boys welcomed her with a flower garland — Indian tradition!

Sunday was church day and it was my week to teach sunday school. The best part about teaching sunday school was that the lesson was on Luke 2:1-20, where Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem and the Angel appears to the shepherds in the field; well, my grandma sent over a handmade felt nativity scene that arrived just in time! The kids absolutely loved the nativity scene and it made my job much easier! Mom got to sit in on my sunday school lesson which was so fun! She already had kids fighting over who got to sit by her. In the afternoon, we went to one of our local malls and shopped around a little bit. Mom bought a beautiful traditional Indian outfit!

Monday, we did a full normal day at the girls and boys home. We went to the girls home at 9 for worship and Mom got to share a little bit about Thanksgiving and what it means to her. It was so great to see her share her heart with the girls. We then went to the boys home where we normally do office work before lunch. The HOL cook (my Indian momma) made my favorite Indian dish for lunch. We then did our normal English teaching for the day. The kids were a little more wild than normal, but that was to be expected with an extra person and all the craziness. We then did our normal Hindi tutoring, well I did, Preston’s was canceled, so both he & mom got to take a nap! We ended the day with our normal Monday night, heading to our closest mall for our favorite Indian dish.

Tuesday was a super busy day! We did a walking tour of all of the British architecture. It was cool to hear about all the history of this city that we currently call home. We then ate lunch at our favorite restaurant downtown and headed to Queen Victoria’s Memorial. We ended our outing with a carriage ride, because we fancy. Seriously, so much fun.

Wednesday, Preston went into work and Mom and I hit the market! I first took her to one of the local markets for the true Indian experience. Then we went to my favorite little mall for an Italian lunch, shopping at India’s version of Anthropologie (only wayyyy cheaper) and the best coffee Kolkata has to offer. After we got home, we headed to the boys home with all of the girls for a feast. Mom was able to share a little more with the kids about thankfulness, we sang worship songs, played some games and the girls performed a few dances (I even joined them for one). It was an amazing time with the HOL family and was such a blessing.

Thursday was a rest and recovery day. I was a little sick and we were all pretty wiped out from the week. I slept the majority of the day and we had a little movie night.

Friday, Mom and I went to the girls home for morning worship. Mom got to share with the girls again and we did our Friday longer prayer where we pray for several different things. All of the girls have their end of year exams coming up so we have been praying for those. After worship, we headed to another market to find us a printer! We then went to yet another mall (we have lots of malls, i know it’s weird) and had a wonderful lunch and shopped around some more. The evening was spent getting all of the HOL Christmas cards together, tracking down addresses for our Christmas cards and wrapping a few Christmas gifts. We took her to the airport around midnight and said our goodbyes. 😦

We had a wonderful visit and loved getting to play hosts in our new city! And we were so blessed and refreshed by having her here encouraging us. It’s so great to be able to share our new lives with family.

Please pray for Preston, he’s finally caught the awful cold that’s been going around HOL. And you can keep praying for my health, it’s kind of a ticking time bomb. Ha.

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Victoria Memorial Hall

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Streets of Kolkata

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St. John’s Church

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Playing Lean on Me in St. John’s
(its the only song he knows)

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Coconut Water!

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in front of Victoria Memorial

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awkward picture with the sasuma (mom in-law)

finding fall in Kolkata {and other random life happenings}

we are the worst bloggers. terribly sorry we abandoned the blog for almost a month! it’s been a crazy one as usual…

lately, we’ve been trying our best to find fall in Kolkata. the weather is finally starting to semi-cooperate with our quest. I.e. it’s 75 at night but still almost 90 during the day. here are ways we’ve been finding fall:

1. Watching 90’s romantic comedies that are set in the fall.

2. Drinking the amazing Pumpkin Spice Starbucks Via packets that my mom sent over. Almost as good as a pumpkin spice latte. Seriously.

3. Enjoying the awesome “Be Thankful” window cling that Tara sent us.

4. One night, we turned the AC wayyyy down in our bedroom, put on our fleeces and drank coffee in bed.

5. We celebrated Halloween with our good friends by watching Hocus Pocus and gorging ourselves on candy.

6. I have been baking. (I know, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now.) I’ve gotten really good at making muffins from scratch. The latest? Apple Cinnamon.

7. I attempted Apple Cider last night, but left it on the stove too long, proving that I haven’t completely transformed into some kind of domestic goddess. However, I did obtain cinnamon sticks by using only Hindi, so that has to count for something.

8. Soaking in the couple of hours of the day that it’s a super enjoyable temperature.

9. We also just got a hot water heater, so we’re really enjoying warm showers!

Other random, yet awesome things going on:

1. We switched our methods of learning Hindi about a month ago and added an extra hour of tutoring. So we have 2 hours of instruction, 4 days a week. It has been both awesome, yet exhausting. But we’re really starting to be able to communicate in Hindi. But seriously, the extra hour + having to study at night has been wearing us out. Language learning is tiring!

2. I had an epic bike accident the other day. I had a nasty head cold (yep, i’ve been sick again!) and was trying to keep up with Preston on my cycle. PK was trying to get to the boys home really quickly, so he was going fast. He had to stop semi-suddenly because there was a car and a cow and who knows what else and I ran into the back of him. Fell off my bike, hit the ground hard, blacked out for a second and when I came to, there were rickshaw wheels right by my head and a bunch of people helping me up. And PK giving me that look he gives me when he “can’t believe it” but really, he knows me well enough to not be THAT surprised. I’m totally fine so it ended up just being a really funny story. I’m sure the people that were around that day went home and told everyone about “the crazy white girl that crashed into her husband.”

3. My mom is coming to visit!! She arrives Saturday morning and we cannot wait! We are so so excited. We’re going to do a mix of exploring the city and spending time with both the boys and girls and it is going to be awesome.

4. We had our first birthday party for one of the boys! We’ve had several staff birthdays, but Tuesday was the first birthday for one of the kids. It was an incredible time of worship and celebration. Most of these kids had never celebrated their birthday before coming to Hope of Life and it’s such a blessing to see how appreciative and thankful they are! We also introduced them to “Pin the tail on the donkey” which is now considered the BEST GAME EVER. It was just as awesome as it sounds. But, the best part of the night was listening to the boys give encouragement to the birthday boy. So incredible to see how much transformation and restoration is being done through the Lord and how he is using the other boys to encourage each other.

5. Our church has had several clinics on leading worship lately and Preston has been a big part of that. He also helped lead worship at church a couple of weeks ago.

6. We taught a First Aid clinic on Friday all about basic first aid and types of OTC medicines…without a translator! We’re getting really great at Hinglish and miming. Ha!

7. My current projects include: finding/creating a Christmas program for the kids to put on, helping get together Christmas cards for HOL, getting our personal Christmas cards ready, creating a fun schedule of activities for the kids that will stay at home during Christmas break, continuing to work on the office projects and teaching English every day! We are as busy as ever!

I think that covers most of what has been going on here lately! As always, thank you for supporting us and praying for us. We love hearing from you and are so encouraged to know that we are not walking alone. Thank you!

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Pardon the bars on our window, but here is our awesome window cling.

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Pumpkin Spice VIA!

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apple cinnamon muffins made in a convection microwave

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we love care packages!

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and i love skype dates with my dog and my youngest brother.