Summer of Family Fun

I try to be intentional to spend quality time with family and friends. It is important to me that our immediate, nuclear family spend time together. It is also important that we enjoy time with extended family. That becomes more difficult as we all spread out around the country (and soon – the world. Yikes!)

This summer we have had one family fun time after another and it has been really wonderful.

We started off with a wedding for one of my cousins (actually his daughter) in Minneapolis. Then we had a family vacation, tent camping and hiking, exploring and laughing in Michigan’s U.P. We saw the Porcupine Mountains (no Michigan does not really have mountains, but there are a lot of forests!) and Pictured Rocks. We climbed a lighthouse and went on a boat cruise. We swam and skipped rocks in Lake Superior and swatted millions of mosquitos. We spent a few days with friends in Traverse City (so much fun!!) and then made it home in time for the kids to have their own adventures.

After time apart, we were so glad to be reunited and had our annual trips with the Janes’ side and the Yee side. For as long as the kids can remember, we’ve spent a very long weekend at Aunt TeeTee’s, enjoying time with cousins and on the lake. There are official games and lots of snacks and always an ice cream trip too. Then, we went the following weekend to Kalahari with the other side cousins, aunt, uncle and Grandma Karen. They had so much fun at the water park and the arcade and the zip line and the hi-ropes course and even just being in the hotel room. These trips are the highlight for all of us over the summer.

The big trips aren’t the only fun we’ve had this summer. We also enjoyed several trips to the library, the zoo, the village, swim clubs, air shows, and shopping. Our regular routine included plenty of gym time and some church time as well as a few playdates. We didn’t have quite enough trips to the farm (at Miss Barb’s or Walls Nuts Woods), but it’s not too late yet!

We are starting our fall bucket list though as Labor Day and the return to school in quickly approaching… cider mills, hikes through the woods with fall colors, and football games are at the top.



Our missions journey to date has been full of lots of waiting and unknowns. That is sure to continue.

We started to have a clearer picture of what the future might hold in November 2015 when we became members of Wycliffe Bible Translators. December marked the official invitation for us to go to Cameroon. And so, we ended the year with a lot more answers than we started with.

In January 2016, we attended the orientation course, Equip, in Orlando. We learned a lot. Among the lessons we learned that we can plan, but God has the ultimate plan, which may not match ours exactly. Then in February, our Partnership Development (PD) began. We sent out our very first newsletter and began to tell people about what we planned to do (because we finally knew some of those answers!)

Early in March, it became clear that we would have to go to France for language study and so we began researching and learning about that.

As we began to try to learn more in preparation for our move, we were connected with a family in Cameroon and got our buddies in April. (We really do wish this had happened much earlier, maybe if a full year earlier!)

We sent out another newsletter in May and reached the halfway point in our monthly financial partnership promises. This cleared the way for us to attend a required training in NC in the fall.

In June, we decided to attend language school in a small village in the French Alps. From the CCEF, we learned that our classes will start on January 3, 2017.

Now it is July and we are the missionaries of the month at our home church. That means that we are talking in front of the church one Sunday, doing a presentation with some families from our church and that we are being prayed for specifically each Wednesday at prayer.

August and September will be more PD work for us and hopefully our Wycliffe ministry will have a full partnership team. We will send out information to our prayer partners about a specific day to pray for each other each month. We’ve already been praying for each of our partners and this will help us to be more orderly about it. This is also when we will have a garage sale and possibly put our house on the market.

The Intercultural Communication Course (ICC) is another training for Brian and I. So, we will be going to JAARS in NC for the month of October (and one week of November) to study and learn as much as possible to help us in our transition. The plan for the kids is to stay in school and live with their grandparents while we are gone. Brian will likely leave his current job in October as we will be working full-time as missionaries (in training).

We will all need to go to Chicago for a visa interview in November. If all goes according to our plan, we will have our visas in time to leave for France at the end of December 2016. I am also going to try to make a last trip to LA to visit my sister and her new baby girl that should be born at the end of November!

So, January-June 2017, we will be studying French in France and then if everything works according to my plan, we will be fluent and ready to return to the US for a quick visit with family and friends in July 2017. Then we will move to Cameroon by August 2017 so that the kids can start the new school year in our new home.


Dinner Help

Lately, Josiah has not been eating as much, which I’m sure will change again, but for now he basically says that he doesn’t want to eat. He claimed to not like the dinners prepared for him. After several days of this, we offered him a new option: make the dinners that he would like. He jumped at the chance and has made dinner so that he can get more of what he wants.

So far from Chef Joe, we’ve enjoyed Mandarin Chicken, cereal, pizza, macaroni and cheese (from the box), Swedish meatballs, sausage, biscuits & gravy (homemade), spaghetti and sauce (from jar) and breakfast casserole (Mrs. Meagher’s recipe – from my wedding shower cookbook!).

These choices may not all be the healthiest or most nutritious, but Josiah seems pretty happy. He is learning some valuable skills in the process too.


The Next Step

While in some ways the waiting to figure out what we are doing is over. In many others, it has just begun. As of November 1, Brian and I became official employees and members of Wycliffe Bible Translators. We are currently in training. We are taking several weeks of online classes and then our family will head to Orlando, FL for two weeks where we will enjoy the warmth and sunshine. Oh, and also attend more classes and training sessions to prepare us for the next step in our adventure.

The immediate next step is to gather a team of people who will partner with us in obeying God’s call for us to go. We need prayer partners and financial partners and those who will encourage us no matter where we go or what we do. We need people to come alongside of us, to lift us up and encourage us, especially when our close family and friends won’t be alongside us physically.

Our first assignment: advocates for the Bibleless peoples of the world and team building. This part will probably be the most uncomfortable for my introverted husband, as we’ll be talking to lots of people and answering questions about the world, and also about our lives and how and why we are doing what we are doing. Which begs the questions: What are we going to be doing?

Well, the short answer we are going to be working with minority language groups to further the cause of Bible translation. Brian will be doing much of the same work that he has done for the past 15+ years. He will be working as a computer programmer, coding and developing tools for others to use. The difference for Brian will be the end result, instead of lining the pockets of Coca-Cola and the like, he’ll be working on programs for linguistics and others involved in Bible (and health, education) translation to use in their work.

For me, after many years of using my linguistics degree to teach ESL, I will be moving in a different (and very welcome) direction. I will be working with a team of linguists to train locals in linguistic fundamentals so that they can work on their own translation projects. I may work in developing dictionaries, writing systems, and/or grammar and text analysis. I am excited about the possibilities as well as doing hands-on linguistics research and language development.

Our kids will be working on all the same things they are now (and hopefully making great progress, especially in responsibility and kindness!) They will be continuing their education at school and playing hard in their free time.

Now, you might be wondering where we will be doing all of this… well, so are we. God is working it all out (we are trusting and praying for that!) and hopefully, we’ll know that by the end of this year. We won’t be going to our next assignment (in that yet undecided location) until we have a great team partnering with us and all the other details are in place – probably at the beginning of 2017.


More or Less

With the start of the new year, 2015, I had every intention of making some resolutions and so on and so forth. But, here it is nearing the middle of February and I am still putting it off in favor of other things to do. Those other things are fun, of course.

I just celebrated my 37th birthday. I would lie and say that I’m 27 again, but my kids keep telling me how old I am and as I’m getting used to hearing it, I’m not as scared as I was by the number that sounds a lot closer to 40 than I ever imagined myself. I still feel 27, and yet I’m a lot smarter and kinder and thoughtful than I was at 27. I think I look pretty close to how I did then, but my eyesight isn’t all that great and I don’t have a lot of time to stand around staring at my reflection in the mirror. So, I could be much prettier.

I think I’ll stick with that version. Smarter, prettier, nicer than ever before.

Let’s hope it just keeps getting better.

Honestly, things don’t get better without a fair amount of work and a decent plan. Now, it’s time to come up with a plan for this year.

This year, I’d like more celebrating the little things. More time spent playing and talking with my family. More relaxing. More working. More thinking of others. More helping. More trust. More clarity. More moving forward. More of God.


This year, I’d like less complaining and whining (from my kids especially but also from me). Less time wasted on the computer. Less stress over meals and cleaning. Less arguing. Less trying to make myself appear _____ (good, perfect, successful, wise, beautiful, happy.) Less worry. Less doubt. Less figuring things out. Less of me.

The gist is this: more of God and less of me.

That is a pretty lofty goal. And, not very concrete or well-defined. It’s not really measurable or attainable either. But, with God all things are possible. More of God in my daily life might look like more of all the other things I want to see this year. It might also look like what I cannot yet imagine. More of God will definitely look like less of me. More of God might also look like less of things that I might want more of.

So, this year I resolve to pray, serve, teach, love, and live for God and with God, and to forget about me… More or less.


Start the Day off Right with Breakfast

I love breakfast and I enjoy cooking and baking in the morning. By the end of the day, I’m tired and it’s hard work to make dinner for my family. Research has shown (somewhere, I’m sure) that it’s good for us to eat breakfast. So, here is a list what my family eats for breakfast. I included links to the recipes that I started with, but for almost every recipe I have adapted it to be gluten-free and with much, MUCH less sweetener. I also usually reduce the butter because while we love butter, there is a limit to the amount we need for our healthy brain function. Cereal in our house is a great bedtime snack, but not great for breakfast since we all seem to be hungry again well before it’s time for lunch. We typically have pancakes at least once a week, which we serve with peanut butter and a small amount of maple syrup or jam. Eggs and muffins make regular weekly appearances as well, sometimes served with veggies or fruit, but usually just on their own. Oatmeal, cookies, biscuits, toast and smoothies are in the rotation every other week on average. For gluten-free toast, I sometimes use frozen gluten-free waffles. Occasionally, we will eat leftovers for breakfast, but that is rare. To make breakfast and pack lunches each morning for our family of five, it takes me about an hour. We eat together and then head off in different directions to work productively and efficiently since we are so well nourished. At least, this is what I tell myself.

The Yees enjoy: pancakes, biscuits, scones, pumpkin muffins, almond muffins, blueberry or bran muffins, cinnamon roll muffins, or other muffins, Scottish oatmeal, eggs, smoothies (usually with oatmeal or biscuits instead of honey/jam), hot chocolate and toast, toast and peanut butter, breakfast cookies, baked oatmeal, ricotta pancakes, overnight waffles, french toast, popovers, and fruit with grilling cheese or yogurt and granola.


As The Saying Goes

Time flies when you’re having fun. We must be having a lot of fun!

I think we really are, but we’re so busy it’s hard to be certain. School, church, sports (basketball for Josiah and gymnastics for Eila, plus exercising for me too), and home make up the routine of our days. We are trying to keep Sundays as our family day and play games, take a walk, or watch a movie together. Brian has been traveling for work about once a month, so that adds a little variety to the schedule. Eila’s gymnastics competitive season is in full swing and we are traveling at least a few weekends each month with her. In January, we went to Toledo and then on to Columbus to visit my family. It was so much fun for all of us – playing games with our cousins, shooting pumpkins, eating well, and just catching up with each other. At the beginning of February we enjoyed a long weekend in Chicago where Brian and I celebrated all of our special occasions for the year with a most delicious and fabulous meal at Moto. We also loved exploring the Museum of Science and Industry as well as doing a little shopping. One of the highlights of that trip was the stop we made on the way home to visit some dear friends. This weekend, Eila and I will take a girls’ trip to Holland; we’ll probably try to squeeze in a little shopping during our time away.


Change Has Come

You won’t be surprised to hear that change can be good or bad. Well, I was ready and even excited for a change in my life. The shock of my new hair was really, well, shocking. My children were not fans of my new boy haircut and I wasn’t really sure how I liked seeing so much of my face – with the signs of aging that have somehow appeared just recently, because they weren’t there the last time I looked. That small change took some getting used to and now my kids actually like my hair and recognize me when I come to pick them up.

I usually love the new year and the promise of a fresh start. I feel the same about each new day. I often encourage myself by reminding my kids as I tuck them into bed that we get to start over fresh tomorrow. This new year has brought a few changes that are taking some getting used to, just like my hair. One of those changes, is actually not a change at all, but a return to our normal schedule. Unfortunately, some of us enjoyed our vacation a little too much… Another change is just temporary, but requires adjustments to be made, as Brian is traveling abroad and we all miss the head of the family.

While change has come, I know that more change will come. I am content with how things are and don’t really want any more change, but life is full of surprises – good or bad.


Life with School

I imagined that when I had more than one child in school, things would slow down. I would be able to get so much done around the house and provide great meals for our family. I figured that with only one kid, we would be able to have fun and get our work done and also have time for naps or relaxing each day. I don’t know what I was thinking!

As I write this, I’ve just realized that I only have 5 hours of time between the dropping off and picking up times instead of the 8 that I imagined I had. This might explain some of why I’m not as productive and fun as I thought I’d be. In reality, after playing with Josiah until he has to leave for school, Thad and I usually get the grocery shopping done, have one fun outing (like the zoo or park), help out a school (go to a playdate for TJ) and make a few meals each week. Each afternoon, he naps while I work on Bible study or ESL lesson plans or connect with people or maybe do a bit of a house project. Then I wake him up to go get Eila and we go, go, go until bedtime. Each evening is different, but they are all the same too: eating, playing, working, talking, laughing, crying, cleaning, reading, sleeping.

Fall is here and I don’t want to miss it, but it is tricky taking time to enjoy and experience life as we live it. If you have any tips, please share!


The Odds Are Pretty Good

After my little guy hit his head on the corner of the coffee table and got a few stitches on his forehead, we resumed our normal routine of life including some gymnastics. I never imagined that it would happen that he could get hurt at gymnastics. We spend A LOT of time at the gym and with all the mats and pads around, we’ve only ever had minor injuries and even those have been very rare. Of course, just a few minutes after arriving at the gym, the kids were playing two of them bumped heads. Thaddeus was one of them and the loud scream and blood were good signs that this was not a simple little bonk on the head. He hit his head exactly on his stitches and bust them all out. I just kept saying “What are the chances?”

Well, after we got the big kids to Grandma’s house, Thad and I returned to urgent care, where this time there was a decent wait and he did great except for a few fretful outbursts of “NO! No more stitches. No stitches!” When we saw the doctor, she was kind and patient and said several times that odds are this will happen again and that we’ll be back in there getting stitches again in a few days… So, his head is not just glued with some steri-strips over top and we have made it a whole 24 hours without a return to urgent care!


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