Wednesday, February 1, 2023

January 2023

Oh January. You were such a roller coaster of a month for us in every possible way. Let's recap.

We started the New Year the same way we always do, waking up on our mattresses in the living room floor. I never sleep great when we do this, but it's so worth it for the memories we make with this tradition.

We had lunch with all the grandparents at Josh's parents house, and his mom cooked a traditional New Year's Day meal of hog's jowl, black-eyed peas, cooked cabbage, corn bread, and some other yummies.

We spent as much time as possible with the grandparents in our last couple of weeks in Kentucky.

We also drove to Nashville for one night so the girls could have a sleepover with Skye, who lived with us for 2 months 3 years ago. They had an awesome time, and it was fun to meet her mom too.

Josh continued to preach in a different church every Sunday. It was particularly special for him to get to preach at Waldo Baptist Church where his former youth pastor, Trad York, is the pastor. The grandparents watched the kids so I could go too, and we got to have a date lunch in Paducah afterward.

We went to my hometown one last time to see some of my family, especially my dad's side of the family. His sisters came to my parents' house to visit, and then later my sister and I went to visit our grandparents. It's pretty impressive that my grandmother is still so healthy and so are all of her kids, and it was fun to recreate the picture above of the four siblings as kids (minus the neighbor kid from the first photo). Not all of them may want the world to know exactly how old they are, but you may remember that we just celebrated my dad's 80th birthday in November, so you can do some rough estimating!

We also celebrated Haylee's and my birthdays just before we left! Haylee requested a cake that looked like the cake Hagrid made Harry Potter for his 11th birthday, and Janice surprised me with one for me too! 

We said goodbye to the sweet, tiny house that we've been blessed to call home for 7 months.

And then we said goodbye to our parents at the airport in St. Louis. Jude's face in the picture above says it all. After we said goodbye and started walking toward security, he went back and grabbed both grandmas and tried to bring them with us. If only we could.

After two flights, we said hello to Rome, Italy for a few days on our way back to Malawi! Having a stop in between proved to be a really good way to let our hearts and minds transition from one continent to another, and we're thankful to be able to do it. We visited a bunch of places that we didn't have time for the last time we were in Rome, including the place where Julius Cesar was killed, Hadrian's Mausoleum/Castel Sant'Angelo, the Scala Sancta, a Percy Jackson themed tour of the Capitoline Museum, the Capuchin Crypt, and more. We also ate a LOT of gelato, of course, even though it was really cold. When in Rome, right?

From Rome, we took two more flights and finally arrived in Malawi! We didn't have any trouble with Rey on Ethiopian Airlines in June, but this time we had a lot of fuss both in Rome and in Addis Ababa about her. Both times they were unsure about whether or not they could let her on the plane, even though she's clearly a service dog and had been on a lot of flights already, some with Ethiopian Airlines themselves. Both times, we prayed for favor and God answered and let us through.

We spent the last week of January just settling back in here in our home in Malawi, Josh preparing for his school to start (it started Monday), and me interviewing applicants for tutors for our kids so they can get back to school asap.

We also got a new kitten. Let me explain (since many of you know we already have several). A couple of years ago we had a grey kitten named Minnie whose fur was different from the rest of the cats. It was softer and thicker, almost like rabbit fur, and, most importantly, she didn't bother JJ's recently developed cat allergies like the other cats did. For this sweet, cat-loving boy to develop a cat allergy was really hard on him, but at least he had Minnie he could love on. Until one day Minnie wandered out our front gate. We didn't think anything about it at the time, because all of our cats come and go a lot, but Minnie wasn't quite as smart as the others and never left our walls. We tell ourselves that she got lost and adopted by another loving family, but whatever happened, she never came home. The internet told me that a lot of "blue" (aka grey) cats have that different kind of fur and are generally known as less allergenic, so I started keeping an eye out in Malawi for another kitten like her. Just a couple of weeks before we left the US to return, the SPCA posted a picture of a sweet grey baby needing a home! It was meant to be! So this little guy joined our madhouse and now responds (sort of) to Percy.

For as hard as it was to say goodbye, it is so good to be back to our home and our stuff and our pets and the amazing weather of Malawi (I'm currently writing from my front porch on a perfectly mid-70's degree day, while Kentucky endures some kind of ice storm and temperatures that we do not miss). We miss our family in the US, and we wish we could live closer. But we also love our life here, and we're thankful for that because this is where God has called us to be for this season, and being miserable here would make things really hard and not bring him the glory that he deserves.


  1. Beautifully expressed. I know you are where you need to be. The kids are alright! (*theWho..”) Love always. Cousin Karen

  2. I want to share this playlist by the Who rock & roll album “the kids are alright”.