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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Blessings upon Blessings

Last week Alan and I decided to go to the condo up in South Carolina to try and get caught up on all the things we'd been putting off since coming home. That and go fishing (nope, not me... just my crazy husband!). We ended up getting a lot done. I wrote the 40 plus thank you notes to folks that had given support for our mission to Germany or bought a baby gift for us. Alan and I wrote up the summary for the last chapter of Entering Another's World and we wrote summaries for the first two core values of Pioneers. We did a bit of shopping, watched several Christmas movies by the fire and Alan fished while I walked around the lake. Most days were frigidly cold but it was still nice looking out at the lake and thanking God for blessing us with that getaway.

I also spent the first few days looking for places to live in Germany. I found a place on Friday that hadn't been posted before and so I emailed the landlord to find out more details. I was so excited about the property and its price that I also left him a voicemail telling him I'd sent him an email. :) On Saturday before heading home we got an email from him saying he would be willing to rent his apartment to us. I almost cried. The property isn't new by any means and the apartment is small but it has two bedrooms, one bath, a big kitchen, a living room and a balcony off of the living room. It is also only 430EUROS instead of the 700 we budgeted. With costs it will be 590. 360EURO less than budget. Praise God!!

The apartment is situated in a small town called Schönau in the mountains near Heidelberg and even though it's about 25 minutes from our church we are very excited about integrating into the German culture, meeting our neighbors, learning the language and settling in. Our plan right now is to drive down on the 9th or 10th of January but we're still working on those details.

The last few days I've spent getting ready for Christmas - shopping for last minute gifts, wrapping, shipping remaining for sale items on ebay out, etc. When we were in Seneca last week, Alan went shopping and bought my Christmas presents. I finally got something for him today but all in all I'm not thrilled with my givings this Christmas. I need to be more creative next year. We'll see how I do! :)

Tomorrow Alan and I will go for breakfast with Eric and Ellen and then I'm going out to lunch with Mel and the kids and to a movie. Tomorrow night is dads birthday dinner at Christine's. Thursday is our ultrasound. We got some scary news last week from the OBGYN that I had seen. First she said my pap smear came back slightly irregular so they wanted to redo it. Then she said the cystic fibrosis screening I had done came back positive which means that supposedly I am a gene carrier for the disease and as long as Alan isn't as well then there isn't a problem. If he is then there is a 25% chance our baby will have cystic fibrosis. I told mom and dad but they think the test is wrong because there has never been anyone on either side of our family that has had cystic fibrosis but the news was still enough for us to stress a bit and then have to remind ourselves that God is in control and He knows what He's doing. He loves us and He loves our baby and we just have to trust him and put Baby Rathbone into his loving and faithful hands.

Alans hope is that we don't have any bad news on Thursday that will ruin our Christmas but really as long as the baby's heart is still beating I don't care about the rest. It's not like if we found out the baby was 100% proven to have cystic fibrosis that we would ever consider abortion. What right would we EVER have to murder an unborn child? Would it make life more difficult? Absolutely but this child I'm carrying is God's gift to us and we trust that He knows what he's doing far better than we ever could. Anyway, it's something to pray about if you think of it. Pray we will be ok with whatever the outcome. That's my only wish.

Christmas is only four days away and then in one week we'll be on a plane heading back to England and then to Germany. Alan and I give God all the glory for everything He has done in our lives and in our marriage. We are blessed beyond measure. Merry Christmas to all our dear friends and family. We love y'all!!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The middle of December already - whew

Where does time go? Away I guess. It feels like yesterday that we were getting ready for my first baby shower but in reality it was two weeks ago. When I sit back and think of all the things we've accomplished since Alan and I have been home I get tired. So I don't forget, this is a partial list:

• Sent out support letter to about 150 people to try and raise our remaining support for Germany
• Had my aunt Polly and uncle Ron down for about five days from Pennsylvania for a nice visit
• Attended my first baby shower for Baby Rathbone thrown by my sister Christine, my sister LeeAnne and my best friend Melody.
• Spoke at a missions conference at Watkinsville First Baptist Church about our plans for Germany
• Attended bible studies each Sunday and Monday night at my parents house
• Alan worked for a little over a week at my sister Christine's re-tiling her kitchen and bathroom floors due to cracks in some of the tiles, worked on the transformation of the garage into a playroom and helped with putting shelving and making the attic much more useable.
• Had my uncle Ed, cousins Mark and Tammy and their daughter Sierra down from California for about five days
• Attended a fundraiser held by Christine for our mission to Germany at her shop down in Madision with dinner after
• Helped with the annual Christmas dinner party at my parents for about fifty people this year in both their bible studies
• Helped with the International Friends Thanksgiving lunch at Lat and Linda's up in Elberton
• Alan made wonderful handmade gifts for the family for Christmas (can't say what they are cause they may read this before Christmas!)
• Celebrated my 40th birthday with my best friend for lunch out at Rafferty's, lunch the following day and shopping with my sweetheart Alan and dinner with the family
• Celebrated Alan’s 47th birthday
• Went to lunch and out to coffee with several of my sweet college girls
• Alan went to a twice weekly breakfast meeting/book club with dad and friends of his
• Spent time hanging out with my precious two nieces
• Alan got a piece of steel in his eye after hanging a ceiling fan for Christine and had to go to the eye doctor to get it out
• Mary got a chest infection on top of pregnancy sinusitis on top of regular allergy issues and had to go to a specialist to get on antibiotics
• Mary went to an OBGYN to have blood drawn and a scan done to check on baby Rathbone
• Mary got approved for Medicaid for doctor visits in case we decide to have our baby in America
• Alan and I went to the lake twice for a few days to unwind and go fishing
• We ate about 100 meals together as a family which were all delicious
• Alan worked with dad making duck boxes and helping to fix a half dozen things that were broken around my parents house
• Mary helped give computer lessons to mom and Uncle Ed
• Alan helped work on and clean up dads boat to be sold and Mary listed it on boat selling sites
• Mary bought maternity clothes, returned stuff from the shower and bought other things from gift cards given
• AND finally… we sold and packaged about two dozen things on EBay and Craigslist including all my silver and china to raise funds for Germany.

In our last two weeks here we need to:
• write about forty thank you notes
• sort out health insurance for Germany
• sort out a place to live in Germany
• write up summaries for the last chapter in Entering Another's World and the core values for Pioneers
• Alan will finish up the work he started at Christine’s, do work for Lee Anne and help dad replace the front to pillars on the porch that have rotted
• We’ll celebrate dads birthday
• I'll go out for a couple of day trips with Melody and the kids as I haven't been able to see much of them at all
• We'll go to the doctors on the 23rd to find out the sex of our baby and make sure everything is good to go. We will find out the same day, same time as my sister Christine and her husband Russ. We'll reveal on Christmas morning! :)
• AND last but not least we'll celebrate Christmas and the birth of our savior and King, Jesus

It's been a great 6 and 1/2 weeks - only two weeks to go. I'm tired, did I say that already?? hehe :)