Monday, December 14, 2009

My Gift from God

Origin - Hebrew
Meaning - Gift of God

Today is Matt's birthday.
(Note: Dec 14 was his birthday, but I was having some issues with Blogger.)
And he is my Gift from God in so many ways!

I love your crazy adventurous spirit!
(Yes, that little blur in the middle of the photo is Matt diving from the cliff.)

I love the way you see into people's hearts, speaking words of truth and hope.

I love your commitment to walk in what is true and right
- and how you teach others to do the same.

I love how you see the humor in any situation.
(You were so excited to get this shot of matching comb-overs.)

I love how you love Eliana and me.

You truly are my Gift from God! I am so thankful that I get to do life with you!

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Third time's the charm... We hope!

Last week we went to Salem (for the 3rd time) to get an official apostille stamp from the state. We need to prove that all our documents that we are turning in for our visa to Slovenia are legit and this stamp does just that.

Theoretically, we have everything we need for our visa except our "letter of invitation" from a church in Slovenia. We have had a long and difficult process acquiring this all important letter. We have been waiting for 7 months to see if the Slovene Baptist Denomination would invite us and just recently we found out that the church we are going to work with won't have the authority to provide that letter. So we (and by that I mean Terry) are looking into other options. Please pray that God opens another door to get invited so I can get these cute girls overseas soon.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Civil War Blues

Last night Sharon, Eliana, and I went over to my parents to watch the Civil War football game between Oregon State and University of Oregon. It was a great game and even though our team lost we had a great time cheering and hanging out with family.

We got the cutest little cheerleader around.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The big 40

Today we celebrated my (matt) parent's 40th wedding anniversary.

We had a great time celebrating them and the legacy they have given us. We made a slide show and a memory book for them and they loved it.

Good job Mom & Dad!!!

We love you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving we want to thank all those who have been standing with us in prayer and financially supporting our ministry. It is so amazing to us that so many are so interested in Slovenia and what God is doing in and through us. You are such an encouragement to us and we thank God for all of you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

9 months

Our little girl turned 9 months old on the 20th.

It is amazing how time flies by and especially as you have a visual reminder that is growing in developing before you everyday.
She is army crawling all around our living room here at the Bailey's house. We have had to baby proof our room as best as possible. Its crazy just how much we discover about our parenting as she learns to discover and explore her world.

Here is a quick video of her getting excited about her Diaper Duckie, which is a distraction technique my wife came up with as we change her diapers. Her response quacks me up. To view click here.

Here are some 9 month shots of our sweet little girl.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Back in TN

We have been having a blast staying with our friends in Tennessee during this support raising trip.

Here's a glimpse into our time here:

On our first night here we visited Jenna's 242 group. This group of 7th grade girls had collected money from babysitting job, taking on extra chores, and dipping into their piggy banks to help support us. It was fun and humbling all at once.We had the young adults group at church scheduled Thursday night but nothing during the day... until Kelli (the Lukes friend) got involved. She picked us up in the morning and took us to a meeting she had planned with a pastor at a local church. Then on the way back suggested that we stop at another church in town to see if the pastor would support us. It was wild and so far outside are box but so fun. We had a great day with her and her husband.

Today we hung out with Zack and Paige. They have led mission trips from their church (here in TN) to Slovenia to work with Johnny and Brooke. We had a blast hanging out with them, hearing their stories and getting to know them better..and enjoyed some local cuisineThe sweet potato fries were to die for! (Have any of you ever eaten here before?)

The Lukes have a trampoline out back. Matt has enjoyed hours (and I do mean hours) playing with the kids. Got a fun shot of him with Eliana:Eliana was having fun - really she was :-)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Encouraging Times

Two months ago we were down. We felt stuck, defeated, and tired in the support raising process.

But God has been moving lately! It has been so amazing to watch our support jump from 30% up to 50% the last month and a half. He has also brought us into contact with people who have been an unbelievable encouragement to us. God has placed people like Brandt & Shannon Luke, Aaron Schaefer, Mike Fitz, Christina Stanton, and Curt & Jana Austin in our life at just the right time to say just the right things. Thanks for allowing God to work through you.

Another key moment was hanging out with Josh Patty on Tuesday, he was in town from Slovenia for just a few days. It was so encouraging to talk and dream about our roles and the future of Slovenia. One thing that stood out was the need for extreme discipleship among university students. He mentioned that the old Bible study once a week just isn't cutting it. It is so hard for the students who follow Jesus to continue in their faith in the midst of the constant pull/pressure of their family, friends, and society to abandon or minimize their relationship with God instead of following hard and pressing into Him. One of the long term dreams of JV in Slovenia is to start a dorm house for the college students to live in community and love Jesus together as they study. To be honest, our hearts began to pound in our chest’s as we thought about the possibility of walking with Slovene students in that way and entering into intense discipleship with them.

Things are coming together and we are so stoked.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

first cold

Eliana had her first cold a few weeks ago.
Honestly, I mention this just so I could post this picture Sharon caught of our little girl blowing a snot bubble.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nashville was amazing

Last Friday Sharon, Eliana, and I flew to Nashville to visit some dear friends and work on raising some support.

We got in Friday evening and Brandt Luke, (my first mentor), picked us up from the airport. It was so good to see him and to catch up on what God has done over the last few years. One thing I love about Brandt is that no matter how long its been since I've talked to him or seen him, he makes it so easy to jump in right where we left off. We got to his place and were very warmly greeted by his 4 wonderful kids and his wife, Shannon. We spent the long weekend thoroughly enjoying the really fun times and great conversations with our friends.

It was so encouraging and honestly just what we needed in the midst of this long process of raising support. . . Speaking of which, the Lukes introduced us to quite a few of their friends so that Sharon and I could share about what we will be doing in Slovenia. It was exciting to share our hearts and vision with others outside of our sphere and to watch God stirring something in TN. We hope and believe that God is opening some doors in the Nashville area for people to join participate in what the Lord is doing in Slovenia.

This trip was Eliana's first flight and she did better than we could ever have imagined. We were a little nervous after hearing many stories of kids that wouldn't stop screaming. Many people recommended Benedryl, but she slept most of the way without needing any medicine.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Hibbs are off

This last week our good friends Peter & Jen Hibbs left for Australia with their two little ones. It was a bitter sweet day for us. On one hand we are sad to be absent from such close friends and on the other hand it was good to see them heading to the ministry God has prepared for them. Honestly it was personally encouraging for Sharon and me to see that it is possible to raise support and report to the mission field right now too.

As Peter was getting ready to walk through security I looked at him and said, "One day, dude, one day." You see we love the Hibbs and love doing life and ministry with them. So I was reminding him that one day we do just that again.

May God bless you and your ministry Hibbs. We love you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Woodard's are back

This last week we had the bitter sweet chance to hang out with Joel, Amy, Abigail, and Elijah Woodard. God has led them to come home after 7 years of serving in Slovenia. I have to admit that we were really looking forward to working with them and learning from their years of experience but it was good to see them even if its here and not over in SLO.

Thanks for serving Woodard's!!!

7 Months Old

Our sweet baby girl turned 7 months on the 20th. So, we had our monthly photo shoot. The wind was blowing like crazy and she has recently found her tongue. . . as you'll see below.

We had a hard time getting her to look at the camera.

And she often gets this pensive look


She's so expressive! I think she gets this from her dad! ;-)

She's not looking at the camera, but she often does this look.

Oh, how I love our expressive baby girl!

Monday, September 07, 2009

SLO chicks BBQ

On Thursday Sharon and I got a call from Christina Stanton, who was a missionary in Slovenia and an old friend from Multnomah Bible College. She wanted to know if we wanted to drive down to Salem to hang out with her, Anna Stepanian, Anna's friend David, and 3 Slovene girls who are in town. They (Barbera, Palona, and Mija) are some girls that Christina got to mentor while in SLO and will probably be in the university ministry we'll be starting soon. They were going to cook a traditional dinner so we didn't have to think very long about accepting their invitation.

It was a fun evening of hanging out while catching up with old friends and getting to know 3 new friends. Dinner was (of course) amazing as they prepared chivap, which in its essence is a blend of tastiness concealed in a sausage like treat. During dinner we got to hear how each of the girls got to know Jesus. It was powerful to listen to them talk about meeting someone who followed Jesus and how they just knew that person was different and experienced God's love through them. It got Sharon and me all excited and longing for the day when we will be over there in SLO pointing to Christ and loving those we come in contact with.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Champagne Tastes . . .

Any one who knows me well knows that I LOVE a bargain. I'm always looking for creative ways to make each dollar stretch just a little bit farther. (In fact, Matt and I keep a list of "cheap date ideas.")

Anyhow, when our 7 year anniversary came around this month we really wanted to find a special way to celebrate. Staying overnight somewhere was not an option - we needed to find something a LOT less expensive.

I was pretty feeling discouraged about our lack of options until I stumbled across a new website: They sell a bunch of $25 gift cards for just $10 (with a usual minimum purchase of $35) which meant we could save $15 on a dinner out. Not bad, but I happened to find this website during an 80% off sale they were having which meant our precious coupon was only $2. Yeah, you read that right, our $25 gift card cost us $2!! And there is no waiting for the gift cards to ship or worrying about them coming in the mail. Just pay and print right from your computer. Not bad, eh?

I recently learned they’re doing that promotion again through Aug 31st. Just enter “TASTE” upon checkout to score a $25 restaurant gift card for just two bucks!

Six Months

August 20th Eliana turned six months old.

I've tried taking a photo of her each month to document the changes, but every month the setting was a little different. I stumbled across an idea on Making It Lovely of some creative ways to take the monthly photos. Bob and Anita have a huge stuffed bear that I think I think could make for some cute shots. Here are a few of the photos from our six month photo shoot:

Startin' to work it

Something just isn't right

"How you doin'?"

Finally, the money shot


While we lived overseas I (Sharon) discovered that I really enjoy reading blogs. This probably came from the fact that we rarely found any magazines in English and if we did they were crazy expensive. So, I read blogs instead when I had a little free time.

Our time overseas was also the time that I was really struggling with not being able to get pregnant. (For any readers who don't know, it took quite a few years for Matt and me to be able to have kids.) Sometimes I found that I just had to take a break from looking at many of my regular blogs because they posted so often about kids . . .and having babies . . . and learning what it means to be a mom . . . I would find myself sitting at my computer with tears streaming down my face - wondering if God would ever bless us with children.

And I would have to just take a break from reading blogs.

And I remember thinking that if we ever did have kids I would not post a ton of photos and stories about babies because somewhere out there, there might be someone wishing that they too could have kids and they would walk away from their computer with tears in their eyes hoping against hope that maybe their dream of holding their own child would one day come true.

And that is why I so often I have held back from posting photos of Eliana and stories of what it has been like to become a mom.

I can't tell you how often we've taken a cute photo of Eliana and I've haven't posted it because I'd get a lump in my throat and my eyes would tear up thinking of any readers we may have who have been waiting a long time to have a baby of their own. . . and if that is you dear reader, please know that I understand that deep longing and I know what it's like to wonder if God will ever choose to answer that prayer - and all the while feeling like He is answering that prayer for everyone else. I pray that He will answer your prayers with a child. There is so much more I could write but I never know how much to put in a public blog. I guess I have two reasons for writing out these reflections:

1. If we do have any readers who would like someone to connect with about the pain of not being able to conceive, I would love to be a safe person to talk with. Email me or post a comment if you ever want to connect.

2. I've realized a few other things too. Just as I have waited many years to have a child, my parents have waited many years to be grandparents and my sister has waited many years to be an auntie. As I've reflected on this I've realized that I need to post more photos and stories about Eliana.

So, you'll be seeing more our little girl on this blog. Just wanted to share my thought process on all this.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meet Vespa

Yesterday I (matt) had the privilege of helping out around the house where we are currently residing. Bob and Anita's little dog Scooter needed a trim. Since I used to moonlight as a groomer, I gave it a shot.



My innate groomer instincts told me to go with a doggy Euro Hawk because it just seemed to fit his mood, coloring, and helped revitalize his silver years.

No longer does he go by Scooter, that's so American. Now his friends call him Vespa... the Euro Scooter

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Edelweiss... thanks for greeting me

One of the really cool and intentional things we did during our time in Slovenia was a trip to the Alps. In the midst of some hard core study of God and the Bible we took two nights away to hit the hills. We drove the hour or so to a little hostel in the mountains. It was amazing to me that there are little hostels in the middle of the mountains where hikers can trek from hostel to hostel each day and have a bed to sleep in as they hike through the Slovene Alps. Our little lodge was nestled at about 5500' in the NW corner of Slovenia where we could look out and see Austria and Italy in the distance. Our first day consisted of driving there and hiking in to the place we would stay.

The next day was awesome because our only goal was to individually spend time with God. We each had a sack lunch and about 8 hours to hike, sit, pray, read, and listen. Many found a good place to relax and hangout but I decided to hike and pray. I loved walking and talking with God in the midst of some of His extremely magnificent creation.

In all it was clear that it was a powerful day as we debriefed later on. It was a definitely a good relational break as all of us as we met with the One we had been talking so much about.