Melanie and I have launch a new company call Trade for Freedom, working to make ethically manufactured products accessible to individuals passionate about loosing the chains of injustice. Through the manufacturers we work with, individuals are provided with dignifying work and Christian discipleship.
We are launching with 1 product today – The Christmas Dress – with more to follow.
Check it out today and set someone Free!
One year ago today, we became parents to our sweet Abyala. My first words to you Abyala were, “you are so beautiful.” And one year later, I believe it more than ever. Daddy couldn’t stop smiling. He was absolutely glowing! He still is. He loves you endlessly. We were and are in awe. A terrified, joy-filled amazement overwhelms us – even one year later.
Yesterday we had a party to celebrate our sweet girl. She was surrounded by LOVE. Love from family on computers and from friends on our rooftop. We missed our families dearly, but Grammas and Papas called and sang and made Abyala smile. A few great friends came over to play with our sweet one and watch her eat up that number ONE cupcake. We laughed, ate strawberries, and enjoyed a sunny day in Kathmandu. What a blessing it was to have Abyala surrounded by such wonderful love from all around world ! God gives the most beautiful gifts.
Abyala, we love you. All of you. Every single day. Thanks for an incredible year, our darling!
Daddy holding Abyala as she enjoys her first snow
I love that you can see the snowflakes falling in this picture. We were in Lynden, Washington the month of December 2013. It started snowing and didn’t stop for a couple days. We bundled up our sweet girl and ran outside so she could enjoy her first snow! Complete with Albanian knit booties covered in plastic bags to keep her cozy. Her Daddy holding her tightly. Grandma, Grandpa, and Mommy cheering her on. We don’t want to forget days like this. When we smiled and laughed until our cheeks hurt. Such joy! God is good to give us such sweet memories…
seriously enjoying her time with mr snowman
Then, we spent January in Wheeling, West Virginia. And it snowed some more. A lot more! Abyala started to actually notice and enjoy the snow in WV. She would stand at my parents’ window and flap her arms with excitement as she watched the snow fall. We took her out again because it made her so happy.
loving the snow in West Virginia
I remember my Dad remarking how incredibly white the snow was. It was stunningly beautiful! We started reflecting on the scripture in Isaiah 1:18 that says “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” It’s unbelievable that we could ever be as pure as this snow appeared to us. But because Jesus died for us, we truly are made new. He purifies us. Only Jesus can cleanse us and make us as beautiful as the snow were admiring that day.
Admiring her Papa
Speaking of admiring…Abyala would stand in front of this window every snowy day and watch her Papa go out and plow using his ATV. She loved watching him and would anxiously await him coming back to play with her again. Such sweet memories. So grateful! God is good.
Taken in Nov 2013 from our rooftop in Kathmandu
It’s been a while since I’ve written an update on Abyala. Before she turns one, I want to document a bit of what’s happened in her last three months. By the time she was 7 months, she was able to stand herself up all on her own. By 8 months, she took her first steps, and by 9 months she was walking full speed ahead. Also by 9 months she was waving, clapping, singing in church, and refusing any food except her beloved apple cherry cerelac. She spent her first Christmas day (at 9 months old) with her Ewert grandparents in Lynden, Washington, USA. She loved opening the first couple gifts. Eating the paper. And by gift three, she could care less. She just wanted to continue playing with her first toy or mostly its respective box. A few days later, she celebrated another exciting Christmas with her Scherf grandparents in Wheeling, West Virginia. She was even a bit more jazzed about opening gifts. This time she wanted to open everyone’s. And eat their paper.
Christmas day 2013
Abyala enjoyed her first snow and very exciting sled riding experiences. She cut her seventh tooth. She started putting things back together that she takes apart. She loves toting around purses and became a very big Seattle Seahawks fan. She allowed Gramma and Papa Scherf to put her to sleep. And she endured her first daycare experience (an hour at the gym), but refused to enjoy it. By eleven months, she’s running around the house. Playing in her wash basin. And sleeping 9 hours in a row! She’s a picky eater, but we’re getting some bananas, carrots, and oatmeal in her belly. She loves other kids and has started to learn how to play with them. These past three months have been amazing! We love everyday with our sweet girl. More updates and photos to follow…
I reluctantly peeled myself away from the layers of covers that warmly nestled us throughout the night. Put on my down jacket, fleece slippers, and wooly gloves. Walked into the kitchen to put on a large kettle of water for Phil’s shower and a small kettle for my cup of tea. The windows steamed. Making me happy to know that I would soon be heating my hands on a clay mug as I sip some earl grey. As I feel the chill on the tip of my nose, I look to my dining room table and smile. The roses my wonderful husband gifted me four days ago are still perfectly half open, inviting me to smell them. They remain remarkably stunning because of the cool air that lingers in our home throughout the day. Grateful for it all. As Phil says, it’s these type of days that we feel like we’re really living.
We’ve posted our stunning views of the Himalayans in the past. They take our breath away. But there’s also another side of the coin that is Kathmandu-life. A piece of it can be captured by these photos from our other balcony at our house. As I sit outside the kitchen eating my lunch, this is my view. You’ll notice the foothills of the Himalayans out there amidst a plethora of trash, random grazing cows, dangling power lines, unfinished buildings and a stray dog in sight. In the air, you’ll smell the lingering incense from our neighbor’s homes who are making offerings to their Gods. You’ll also breath in the aroma of burning garbage at least twice a day – the remnants which you can view.
Then there are our gas tanks that fuel all my cooking. These are gold! And are locked to the balcony – kept safe from any gold diggers. In the distance you’ll see the water tanks on everyone’s rooftops. Some solar panels for hot water. A nice big green tree and some more precarious power lines. Laundry hanging from rooftops to dry since even the wealthiest don’t own a dryer here. A little slice of daily life.
This is a view of my neighbor’s house decorated with a shade of pink and some family idols. They’re a nice family. I don’t know them well, but they love to chat with Abyala when we’re out together.
And then of course I save the best for last…our sweet girl, sitting in the sunshine that comes in from the doors that lead out to our balcony. Enjoying her very own wash basin aka toddler seat. Keeping her warm and playfully content!
In Nepal, Valentine’s Day isn’t much of a thing. There are a few cards at the mom and pop shops, but nothing like the commercialism in the States. I have to admit, it’s nice to be away from all the craze. Instead, we get to do our own thing without any pressure. For those who don’t like Valentine’s Day, it’s a relief. For those who do like it, all is good too.
Abyala is celebrating with a very sweet bib from Gramma and some festive red pjs with pink hearts. She is definitely the cutest valentine in the house. This sweet girl has definitely given us a new understanding of love this year. A depth that challenges us. A depth we cherish and that makes us simply happy! But we want to love her perfectly. And we realize that we can’t do it on our own. So we want and are striving to draw ever nearer to Christ so that we can love her perfectly. The way that Christ loves her.
Grateful for the love of Christ that allows us to experience true love everyday. Wishing you all a very happy valentine’s day!