Wednesday, March 1, 2023

February 2023

 February has somehow been both very chill and very stressful. We haven't done much outside the home this month, but we've had plenty of things going on at home to keep us busy. Josh has been teaching at Shepherds Academy, I've hired and trained homeschool teachers for the kids, and we've had a million side projects, repairmen in and out of the house for various things that have broken, and a constant run of metaphorical fires to put out.

We started the month by hosting our homeschool friends at our house for our monthly get-together. It had been a long time since we'd seen our friends here, and it was so much fun to get to hang out with them again! 

We celebrated Jude's 14th birthday by all going out for sorbet and putting candles in his favorite meal, meatloaf, because he doesn't like cake. He's an absolute gift.

Poe has proven to be such a sweet, funny, and smart guard dog. He's instinctively learned from the way we follow Jude around and keep a close eye on him that Jude must be protected. Wherever Jude is, Poe is close by keeping an eye on him. If Poe thinks Jude is doing something he shouldn't, like climbing on something, he will look at us and ruff as if to say, "aren't you going to stop him??" One day (pictured above) Jude and I were outside when it started raining. I got in the truck while he continued happily walking around in the rain. Poe walked up, saw that Jude was alone, and started urgently looking around and barking! I had to open the truck door to let Poe know I was watching him before he stopped, but Poe stayed really close and didn't take his eyes off Jude anyway. I guess he doesn't trust me! Ha!

We've made some new friends who moved here while we were in the US, and we spent one Saturday at their house with the kids playing in the pool and exploring their grounds. It's been great to get to know them, and they have a daughter Taylah's age, which has been great for her.

Our kids have spent loads and loads of time with our neighbors'/colleagues' kids. I've been thinking about what a blessing it is to have them close by, these built-in best friends and playmates. Their younger daughter has gotten to a really fun age and has so much personality. She's learned some English from her big sister and from us, and her favorite thing to say right now is, "I don't know" to everything. Having seven kids in the house can get a bit chaotic, but thankfully we can just send them outside most of the time since the weather is so nice.

As I said, Josh has been teaching this whole month. The residential students of Shepherds Academy stay for a longer time than the modular students, and are taught and discipled more in-depth. He and our Malawian colleague, Isaac, have been teaching several subjects, and our friend and new translator, Khama, is doing a great job keeping up with Josh in class.

Malawi is still experiencing 10 hour daily load shedding, but for some wonderful reason our line doesn't usually get the full blackout scheduled. In case I haven't explained before, load shedding is when there are planned blackouts (usually either all morning, all afternoon/evening, or a little in the morning and a little in the afternoon/evening) because the country isn't producing enough power for everyone to have power all the time. Every week a load shedding schedule is released so you know when to expect the power to be out. It can be a pain, but I honestly really love our lamp-lit evenings, and the power comes back on just as we are ready to go to sleep, so we still have our fans and sound machines.

We spent a full Saturday last weekend gardening in the front yard. When we left for America, all of my houseplants got moved outside for easier watering, but few of them survived. So I bought a bunch of new plants at the nursery and we worked hard getting them potted. We also planted a whole row of Amaryllis along our front wall, which we're really excited to see fill in and bloom. I love that Amaryllis leaves look nice all year as a border, and then look really stunning in hot season when they're blooming!

To wrap up, I just have to add in this picture I took from our front porch a few days ago. We're in our fifth year of living here and this view of the Zomba plateau never gets old to me, especially during rainy season when it's so clear and green. It takes my breath away every single day. Our Creator is amazing!

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