Monday, January 29, 2007

Ros and Rob

These are our friends Ros and Rob. They are getting married this summer. Awww. This photo was taken at a charity event that our friends Keith and Anna held just before chirstmas for a charity called Wellchild. It was an auction evening and it went pretty well. The room was really crowded. Rob lives in Leeds and Ros lives here. We had them over for dinner this past sunday night, or should I say Rachel had them over for dinner. I decided to take a nap at about 5 or 6 and slept right through dinner until my alarm the next morning. I guess I needed the sleep. We are still not sure what is making me so tired and lethargic. I got my blood tests back today and they all came up within the 'normal' range. All I know is that I don't feel normal! Anyway, I guess I needed the sleep and Rob and Ros played Settlers with Rachel late into the evening.
This is a random picture of us in Brekenridge over christmas. Why? I don't know, Rachel must have had it on the camera. I've just noticed how much that touque looks like a tea cozy. If you don't know what that is, ask someone british. It also makes me look like I have a massive brain.
This is us in what I think is Salt river canyon in the middle of AZ on our way up to Pinetop, AZ during Christmas. I think this is where there are some ancient indian drawings on the rocks. Unfortunately, some of them have been vandalized by some mindless thugs.

Pictures aside, it's been another long pause between posts. I guess it's difficult to know what to put down. I don't really know what to expect out of this year. Looking back on last year I can see where my lack of initiative in certain areas has cost me and others around me. I'm still trying to figure out how to really start living. For too long, I've been coasting. Just surviving and all reaction, no proactivity. I don't know why I find it so difficult to do things. I know that it's not any easier for anybody else, but I am trying, Rachel is helping me and we are making progress.

I am writing my American board exams this year in preparation for the possibility of going back. I write my first one on March 16-18. So far, studying is going well. There is just sooo much information to know. I know that lots of things that are in the review books are things that I am learning for the first time. You just have to jump through the hoops and do it.

Tonight is also the first night of our Alpha course at church. It will be interesting to see who shows up and how the whole thing goes. I'm hoping that it will spark some great discussions and that people will want to come back for more next week. If you have never been on an Alpha check out www.alpha.org to see what it is all about.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another Birthday


Today is my Aunt Jean's birthday. Happy Birthday Jean! This photo of the two of us was taken last August.
We are currently training for an Alpha Course at our church. It will start in three weeks time. I'm looking forward to it! I helped out with one at the Vineyard Church last year. This Alpha Course will be meeting at a pub called, "The Mission." A bar is an ideal place for church outreach, don't you think? It will make people feel comfortable. Here, as well, most pubs have the feeling of american coffee houses. I'm not sure what they're like in the States these days.
Tonight we're having some of our friends over to discuss our life predicament, brainstorm with us, and pray for us! Please pray that this time would be fruitful. We have 8 friends coming over at the moment. We can praise the Lord that Mark has done well financially this week. At this point, we just have to take it a week at a time. We're saving pences every way we can, preparing for the time when he might have few patients = very little income. Our greatest sacrifice has been vegetables. We still eat them... just less of them because we now have to eat starchy foods as well because they are cheaper. Beans are also cheap, so I've been cooking a lots of those up which has been good.
Otherwise, things are fine. I've been selling my books on amazon.co.uk (for extra income) which has been fun... I like it when they sell! And I'm not too heartbroken when they go because I know they are going to people that want them. My job is going better than I expected it to this year. I am so thankful for this, because I sort of thought I would be coming back to the chaotic environment I left. I have good co-workers, and we've been able to get things more and more organized every day, even if we have to do it the long way around. Our Malawian friend Henderson (living in Leeds) is visiting us this weekend which will be nice. I love being able to stay connected with my African roots! Maybe I'll have him cook us some ugali and sukumawiki for lunch tomorrow...Mmmm
Again, thanks for your prayers.
Love,
Rachel

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Some familiar faces

p.s. For some reason the blog man wouldn't allow me to put exclamation points or question marks in this entry. Please add them in where appropriate as you read this yourself.


It was my good friend Casey Bailey's birthday yesterday... I thought I'd put a photo of him up on my blog to celebrate. Happy Birthday Casey. This photo was taken at Eric and Carolyn Meyer's wedding this past August.




This is a photo of me and Mark on the train in Munich on New Year's Eve.


Now to show you some of the people I work with. This is Caroline Flood, a lovely Christian young lady, a year or two younger than myself. She's great... can't you tell by that smile. She's also single guys... plan a trip out here to visit me (and meet her). Caroline and I work most closely together.



These are the other ladies in my office. From the left, the pregnant one is Joanne. She actually just had her baby... a little girl, on Jan 7th. Next is me, of course. Then we have Justine and Joanne (#2). They both moved here to help out with the church plant, and I was able to give them jobs with me. It makes for a nice office atmosphere. Then Caroline. Then Ginny (Virginia) our amazing administrator/receptionist. She does and excellent job.

Mark made it safely to and from Bournemouth, and as a couple madly in love, we are happy to be in each other's arms once again. Thanks for your prayers.

-Rachel

Monday, January 08, 2007

Up-and-Down

Apart from sleeping on a boat the last two nights, things in general have been up and down.

I would have never guessed at this time last year, that at this moment we'd be where we are, in the situation we're in. At times I'm excited at the challenges and possibilities (both to stay here and to go), at times I feel sick to my stomach... like today. Mark discovered that calling to register for the American Chiropractic Board Exams (the exams he needs to take and pass in order to practice in America) wasn't quite enough. He needs to sign up in person so someone can notarize his forms. The deadline: tomorrow. The place to show up in person: Bournemouth (a mere 5 hour drive to the south coast of England). So, I'm home alone and Mark is making the trek by himself, after finishing his workday at 7pm. He returns tomorrow in time to see his afternoon patients. Ugh.

On a brighter note we met up with our dear friend Grace Chisholm this past weekend, in Amsterdam of all places. It just happened to be the most convenient spot where our paths could connect. We took a glorified ferry over, hence the nights on the boat. We didn't do much sightseeing. We just talked and drank beer for breakfast and had pancakes for lunch and falafel for dinner. We walked around and eventually toured the 'Bodies' exhibit. VERY cool... where they plasterize cadavers (?? I think that's what they do). It completely blew away those abstruse drawings of the human body from elementary school by making learning about the body so accessible and understandable. It also wasn't gross. I had never seen a cadaver, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Back to real life... At this point almost everyone knows about our possible move. I say 'possible' because it's not for sure. We do believe if we work hard Mark will generate the patient base we would need to survive. The catch is, I think the time we need is less than the time we have to work with. It isn't impossible, but it will be extremely difficult for us to stay. Despite our confusion, as we were planning on staying here longer, we are reminded that God's plans will prevail. If He wants us here, He will provide for us to be here. I have a little card I've put up in our room stating, "Expect a Miracle." We're torn because we generally don't like life in England, yet we will grieve if we have to leave our church. We desire to stay a part of it and continue to help it grow. The tug is for Mark to work with Dr. Roberts, my former chiropractor in Arizona. Dr. Roberts is a great Christian man with a similar heart to Mark's. I think Mark would flourish with him, and I want to see him flourish. The catch is that the practice is in my home-town... a place I didn't expect to move back to so soon. It's filled with pro-war Republicans (nothing against you personally if you are one) and small-town politics. I'd look forward to returning as the different person I am from who I was when I lived there. I'd look forward to befriending those I previously turned my nose up to, and to serving those I didn't have enough time for, but it wouldn't come without much difficulty. Have you gone from 'the world' back to a small small town before that seems so out of the rest of the world? Can I do it? We've thought about living in Tucson (for my work possibilites) and then having Mark communte to Sierra Vista (a 1 hour commute each way). He's up for it. We'll see.

So the POA is to have a meeting with our closest friends here, on Thursday evening, to help us brainstorm our situation and pray about what to do. At the moment, some people from church feel like we are considereing abandoning them. They reminded us that they don't yet have jobs, and still they are committed to the church. ouch. It's true, but I do know that we have many responsibilities to consider, such as: We currently pay £900/month for just Mark's student loans. If we fail to make payment, his parents' farm (they co-signed for the loan) will be re-possessed. I don't feel we can, in any way, put their farm in jeopardy. If God wants us to stay here, I sure hope He does it without us having to risk their farm or us having to rack up any more credit card debt. If we do leave, we hope to leave with our church's and Guy's (Mark's current boss) blessing.

In the meantime, we're asking my co-workers and everyone at church to help pass out Mark's business cards! Please pray for their willingness, enthusiasm, and success in doing this.

And please keep us in your prayers in general during this up-and-down time. We welcome any words of wisdom and encouragement.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Colorado and Arizona SNOW!

The first destination on our Christmas vacation was Colorado! We visited Jess and Tim Dunbar.


Here is the happy clan (Jess, Tim, Mark, Rachel) at Jess's aunt's house in Winter Park. The house was really nice and we were all blessed to stay there for free! I would describe it as knick knack heaven. Every possible form of stuffed moose, moose wall hanging, moose themed thing you can imagine was there. It was also supposed to look like a ski lodge with old ski lift signs and stuff. Kinda cool. Kinda. We were really thankful to have such a great place to stay at while we were up there.





Jess and Tim took us snowshoeing while we were there. It's basically hiking, but with snow. It was great fun but it really highlighted how out of shape I am now. The elevation change from sea level to 12,000 ft really had me sucking wind every 30ft or so. I'm sure I could acclimatize but it was slightly embarassing how exausted I was.



Rest. Very important when hiking.




These tracks are where we tried to slide down the hill on our bellies once we had reached as far as we were going. I think Tim ended up going the furthest. I'm sure he sprayed teflon on his jacket before we left. I mostly dragged myself across the snow.



Then... we went snowboarding in Breckenridge, Colorado. Leigh came up from San Diego on her way to her grandparents in Colorado Springs. We stayed with her uncle Rick who drives snow cats for the Breckenridge Ski Resort. We even got to go up in one of them at night. The ride was amazing! It's a pretty complicated machine. Just the joystick had 36 different functions and there was a whole other panel of switches and gauges. We had a great time snowboarding. Check out Rachel's new helmet and goggles, hot stuff! We were caught in Breckenridge by the Denver blizzard. Our flight was cancelled and we had rescheduled for the next day but that got cancelled as well. The next flight they could offer us was christmas day. No good. We ended up driving with Leigh to Colorado springs to see if we could catch a flight there. We could, for a mere $1500. We ended up renting a car and driving from Denver to Phoenix where Chuck picked us up and drove us the rest of the way. The was long, but oh sooo beautiful!



Rachel and her cousin Melissa in Pinetop, AZ. That's right, it snows in AZ!!!

The next blog down is a continuation of our trip but we had to post the pictures in two goes.

Here's a little more about what is going on with us in the next year. I had my review just before we left and it didn't go well. My boss was happy with my improved management of patients but said that I am just not generating enough patients. He brought me on to grow a practice and I haven't managed to do that. So, he is phasing out my new patients that he gives me from the practice over the next three months in an attempt to try and get me to get my own patient base. Realistically, this is not going to happen. If it does, it will be an intervention of God and I believe that it still could happen but we have to make contingencies. While we were home I had a meeting with Rachel's former chiropractor, Dr Roberts, who is coincidentally looking to take on another doctor this year. It seems that we could work very well together, and so we are pursuing the reality of me working with him. I have decided to write my American board exams in March and May leading to the possibility of us moving back to Arizona.

Please pray for us in this area as we try to honour everyone involved. We want to be used by God where ever we are and we also believe that God wants us to flourish and use the gifts and talents that He has given us. Rachel would be moving again for the sake of my job. Please pray that God would give her meaningful work that she would be excited and passionate about. You all know how organized and amazing she is, it would be a shame to not see her used to her full potential. We would be excited to live near family and within driving distance again of many of our friends. You can come visit us too as soon as we are settled.

Let us know how we can bless you too! As we prepare to potentially leave England (yay!) we will be selling and giving away lots of our stuff that we won't or can't take with us. Let us know if we have something you want. Does anybody need a loft bed?