September 27, 2005
Starting Our Blog!
Well, here we go into the world of blogging! Now that I've figured out how to set up our page and type posts, I guess the next step will be to learn how to insert pictures. [Note on October 9: Figured it out! Woohoo!]
So here we are in Las Vegas! We have been here for just over a month. My last family update (sent via email) detailed the adventures of our move from Maryland. We are now just about unpacked--a few more pictures to hang on the wall, a few piles of clutter to sift through and organize, and a few stacks of boxes in the garage to, well, leave lying around, probably, until we have a full Saturday to go through the camping gear, tools, and random extras that haven't found a home anywhere else.
People ask how we like Las Vegas, and our answer is: We love it here! Coming from the East Coast (our last assignment was at Bolling AFB, DC), we feel that people are generally more friendly out west. A broad statement, to be sure, but having been stationed in Texas, Idaho, and Ohio as well as DC and Vegas, it has been our experience that we have made friends more readily out west. The weather here is wonderful, although admittedly we came in at the tail end of the really hot temperatures. We love not having to suffer through sweltering humidity, and it is so pleasant to step outside in the mornings and evenings and feel a coolness in the air. The mountains, though dusty brown and not at all like the lush Rockies that we know and love, still have a rugged beauty all their own, especially at sunrise and sunset. The streets are clean, the neighborhoods (at least where we are) are nice, the parks are colorful. For the first few weeks, every time we got in our van to go somewhere, we would hear a chorus of "Palm trees! Palm trees!" from the children, who were enchanted by the exotic foliage. (Even Arden expressed his delight--"Pahm tees! Pahm tees!"
It's not paradise, obviously. Dust abounds, winds whip, and adult store signs pop out from behind innocent looking advertisements. The newspaper details sad events related to the city's vices, which are taken for granted as a part of life for most people. It is called Sin City for a reason!
But there's hope! The Christian community is thriving and growing. Out of the desert, living water is shared. And we desire to be a part of that, prayerfully seeking where God would have us to serve and share His love with a lost and dying city. We have joined a great church and are excited to see God at work. We have attended there ever since we moved here and see no reason to visit any other churches. Although we were a little intimidated by the size (about 4400 people attend one of four services each weekend), we quickly realized that every person matters here, and our family has been welcomed with open arms.
Charis is a Sparkie! Hopefully most of you are familiar with the amazing AWANA program. Last year Charis was a Cubbie, but the Cubbies were completely full (Tobin is on a waiting list). Because of her age, the leaders told us to try kindergarten Sparks, and she got the LAST open spot! She is so excited to be a big-kid Sparkie now! She passed her entrance booklet in two weeks and has her vest and "real" book now. She is proud that she knows the pledge of allegiance, though she has finally quit spouting it off at random moments throughout the day. She has already paged through her entire handbook, noting the pages that she just can't wait to do. She amazes me with her memorizing skills, though I guess I shouldn't be too surprised...this is a prime time to be hiding God's Word in her heart, and Grandma Keist notes that I was the same way as a kid. I'm just thankful that we have the opportunity to help build a lasting spiritual legacy in her heart.
If you read our previous family update, you know that Charis asked Jesus to be her Savior on August 26, 2005. Ted and I have been thrilled and awed at the way she has already shown spiritual growth. She has a true sensitivity about her that is Spirit-given. We love to listen to her after we tuck her in bed and leave her room--she thinks she's alone, and she sings little prayers to God that are so precious! One of these days we'll figure out how to record her without her knowing!
This is getting to be long already, and I want to check and see if Tobin is asleep yet. I'm hoping to get a nap this afternoon, but I don't dare go to sleep until I am sure he's in dreamland! I will post more later, particularly focusing on our beginning weeks of home schooling. But this should get us started for now!