Lizabeth put her book down long enough for a picture.
Lucy's reading Jake's Kindle. :) He is rarely this generous with it.
Jake finished writing his book yesterday! Now to the editing...
And this morning, my two little pumpkins crawled on my lap for some self-portraits. I had just walked the dog so I'm lookin' sweet. They, on the other hand, look so fresh and beautiful.
We are working excruciatingly hard to simplify around here. Getting rid of anything that we don't use that someone else can use and selling things we don't need.
Top of the list on this journey to simplicity was going through Beth and Lucy's room. And I mean really sorting through it and getting rid of a ton of stuff.
I took a risk and began this project with them instead of when they were gone. And it was a success. Really, I'm not just saying that to spin it positive for blogland. Beth and Lucy really got into it and I was surprised what all they willingly stuck in boxes to give away.
I had to remind myself that the things accumulated in this room were about 2 years worth of little pieces of paper and happy meal toys and anything else you can think of. But here are some before pictures - most of the photos courtesy of Lucille.
and doing gymnastics
and sometimes mocking me
Last night and this morning over and over they have said "thank you" to me for helping them.
It might be the only thing besides baking I will have accomplished this week. But it feels good!
Last night we battled it out in an intense game of Settlers of Catan.
I'm sorry to say that my son has inherited the "Pam" competition gene which equivalates to a bit of a mean streak and a little lip. It is not pretty to play against us.
It was Lucy's very first time to play - ever. The rules have an older age range but she's watched us many times and she caught on right away and did a good job with her "stragedy" as she said.
Um yeah. And the winner, well, there had to be a first time for Eric to win SOMETIME. I went easy on him. :)
We stayed up late talking with our friends at Hotel Stern :) both Saturday night and Sunday night. It is so refreshing to stay with such deep and loving friends.
We woke up a little late Sunday (surprise, surprise) and left the kiddos behind and went to church again. The service was awesome. Scott Harrison was even more on target Sunday than Saturday. He seemed even more at ease and his story just flowed. Andy and the band were rockin' and the Calvary kids danced and performed.
Then we stuck around during the community hour and mingled. I sat down with a group of Liberian friends and heard how they were feeling about the whole weekend, about ministry and just listened to their hearts as they poured them out.
Really, the statistics become faces to me all the more when I sit down and hear these beautiful women speak about their homeland. Many of them were separated from their children during the civil war in Liberia. They somehow made it to the US from a refugee camp and at the same time were separated from their children by thousands of miles and an ocean. It breaks my heart to think about leaving my own children behind. I can only imagine the daily pain and thoughts they struggle with.
All this to say, THEIR families are who we are lobbying for when we scream with our voices for clean water. THEIR children might die if we don't do something. THEIR children are still in Liberia drinking dirty, parasite and feces infected water.
This is where the rubber meets the road for me. It's not OK for me to hear their stories and then turn my back and go about my good ol' American life. No way. Not OK.
We heard Scott speak again at a Business luncheon. It was a smaller, more intimate group with a Q and A time and it was interesting to hear many of the questions we've had or heard asked to us answered and questions alleviated. It was so good to hear Scott's take on everything. As he spoke the words he used, the indications he made, meant he planned to give his whole life to this thing called clean water. Wow.
Headed over to the country club straight from the luncheon to help Cassie and her momma with "whatever". It was awesome to take a small part in the day. These gals have worked their buns off for months and it was such a privilege to see the night unravel.
THEY RAISED $17,000 that night! You can see pictures on Cassie's blog here because yet again these are the goofy pictures I came away with...
My first picture was a big smile for us because it represented the company Eric almost went to work for in Memphis.
The silent auction was HUGE and profitable. It was so evident that the whole team had really hit the pavement for donations. The one above has a T-shirt in the mix from our own Kansas BFF Meg Duerksen! I was wishing so much my Kansas friends could be there and this made me think of them and made me happy.
Me and Cheryl.
My dear friends Karen and Cheryl. See, for me it was about water...and people. I couldn't get enough of the people.
And I'll have you know this made me a little nervous. ;) just kidding (sort of).
Really, I'm sure it is of no surprise to you that I never really talked to Scott Harrison. I prefer to hover in the sidelines. But Eric and James on the other hand...
All together over a 24 hour period the water team raised $30,000. Yes. You can all drop your jaw now and say WOW. God is in this thing. I'm telling you.
Saturday was a long day. For some reason I woke up at 4:30 am and couldn't get some etsy stuff off my mind so I got up.
The rest of the crew awoke around 8:30 am and by 9:55 am we were on the road.
We ate the leftover Indian food for lunch and kept driving.
We only had to stop once for a come to Jesus meeting and once for drinks.
And THEN, Alex had to pee so bad she made us stop at a REST AREA just 30 miles or so before Muscatine! I NEVER stop at rest areas.
Of course I told them all about the murders and bad stuff that happens at rest areas and this one was probably original in the 70's but I couldn't sway anyone to keep going. Needless to say we didn't touch the seats and we used lots of hand sanitizer. It was gross.
We pulled into town about 4 pm and had supper with our friend Deeno. Then it was off to Saturday night church where we heard the first of 5 of Scott Harrison's presentations (in all I think he did 12) about water. He is good at what he does and he inspired us to think BIG and he challenged us with his story and the pictures and faces that represented the statistics.
We closed down the church (literally) and stopped in at the Woepkings for a few minutes before heading to Davenport for the wine to water party.
This party was so cool. The atmosphere was trendy and classy all in one. We got there a little late and missed a few things but the food and the wine were delicious. They auctioned off wooden Africas and some dinners (and maybe more?). Go to Cassie's blog to see some pictures because all I took were these goofy ones.
They raised $11,000 Saturday!!
Friday afternoon we met my folks in Emporia and Beth and Lucy went to stay with them for the weekend. Since we weren't leaving for the big water weekend until Saturday morning we took Jake and Alex out for a date.
It was Indian cuisine - Korma Sutra. Now, don't accidentally say Korma wrong because I did one time and Eric and his brother laughed at me for a really long time. I am so naive. And it is not a good word to get wrong.
Jake and Al started with Mango drinks full of sugar and big yummo. Somewhere along the line we must've looked like suckers or we had a culture barrier because the owner just kept refilling these drinks and in the end we paid out the nose. But the kids sure slurped them down fast and oooed and awed at them.
Friday it started with some kind of breaded appetizer they handed us on a stick as they walk by.
Before we had a chance to think about what's next they placed on the table a dish of flaky breaded fish that melted in your mouth. I even liked it and I'm not a fish eater. My mouth is watering right now just remembering it.
Then they delivered this flatbread that is crispy and yummy all on it's own but they added this topping to the mix. It's some kind of candied onions in one dish, some crazy goopy sweet unknown glaze in another dish, some green incredibly spicy smooshed stuff in a third dish and finally some drippy, thin, salty and sweet liquid. You take a scoop of each and then mix it together on your plate to top the flatbread.
Next they brought out these bowls full of the main course. We had 4 varieties - chicken tikki masala (I think), some kind of spinach with unknown meat, lamb and veggies, chicka peas and sauce. They were out of goat so we didn't get to try it.
We each took a sampling. I was so proud of Jake because even though he is picky he tried everything! For Alex, this was fun because she is such an adventurous eater - just like her daddy. And the rice is so delicious; long and tasty.
Now it really looks like those serving bowls are small. But we all piled the food on our plates and we still ate until we were stuffed for lunch on Saturday too. We ended up with leftovers from the leftovers. The amount of food you get is unbelievable. Those bowls are deceiving.
That bread is so tasty too. This one had garlic, cilantro and onions on it.
At this point we were all so stuffed we weren't sure if any of us could walk out of the restaurant.
After the main dish they brought out a lime and gave each of us a slice to rub on our hands and then they poured warm water over our hands to clean them. I wished I'd have gotten a picture of Jake and Alex doing this! They were both so intrigued. And the warm water felt really good.
Next they brought us an extremely sweet coconut and rice soup (this was my favorite before so I had prepared them!) and some kind of candied bread ball along with chai tea. Sweet, sweet, sweet.
Our bill was twice what we expected because the menu is a "guideline". :)
I would do it all over again just to spend the evening with Jake and Alex who laughed and joked all night and lit up when the owner spoke to them with his fast talking accent. It was an unforgettable experience for all of us!
We arrived home last night from an awesome weekend in Muscatine. I don't even have all the words to describe how it went down. I'm still chewing on it, really.
I'll update more later. I have to steal pictures from Cassie or something because my camera seems to only be full of up close face snapshots of me and my friends, mostly self taken. ;)
We loved every minute of the weekend. I'll post more this afternoon.
But for now, I have to meet my mom halfway and exchange Beth and Lucy for Alex, which means I'll also have to cook tonight.