Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our 43rd Anniversary

Today is our 43rd Wedding Anniversary.

August 16, 1969
Northside Baptist Church, Longview, Texas


We are in the middle of building a crate, dealing with
shipping companies, trying to contact the fumigator who is on vacation (the only one in all of Skopje it seems) and won't be back until September, moving our belongings to a warehouse, sorting through things that we will sell or give away, and trying to handle delays as best we can. 

This has been a normal occurence for us over the past 43 years.
We moved twice during the first 3 months we were married. 
This was only the beginning.

We moved so that Arville could attend seminary (about 6 times during those years), and then to Columbia, Missouri, where we moved 4 times.  We then moved in with parents while we waited to go to Pine Mountain, GA, for orientation before going to France for language study.  When we got to Tours, the apartment we were supposed to live in was taken and we had to move again in the first couple of weeks we were there.

After language study, we moved to Upper Volta (Burkina Faso).
We moved from the Ouagadougou to Koudougou (living in 2 different places in that village). 

Our 22nd Anniversary


We lived in 3 different locations from 1994 to 1997 while we
were in the Kansas City area. 

Our 25th Anniversary
Arville's dad took this picture of us (we were in their front yard in Greenwood, LA)

We moved to Albania, lived in 2 different houses in Tirana, and then moved to Kruja where we were living when the evacuation from Albania happened in 1997. 

Our 27th Anniversary
This picture was taken by Arville's cousin, Karen Cline -
after Amy and Christopher's wedding (they were married
on August 17, 1996).


We moved to Macedonia in January 1998, and then to Gostivar in 1999 (one month before the Kosovo War began).

Our 33 Anniversary
 Mavrovo, Macedonia


We lived in 2 apartments in Gostivar before moving back to Skopje to work with the Future of the Family Kindergarten in 2006.
We have lived in this apartment since then.

Our 37th Wedding Anniversary

So, through all the years and all the moves, we have learned to celebrate life when we have the chance.
That means that tonight, we are leaving the packing, the sorting, the moving, etc. and are going out to
CELEBRATE 43 wonderful years together. 

Happy Anniversary, my love-

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Happy 10th Birthday, Anna

Happy Birthday to our
Anna Grace.

We hope your tenth birthday is VERY special.
Wish we could be there to celebrate with you,
but since we can't, we wanted you to wish you
a very Happy Birthday this way.
Here are various pictures of you through your 10 years:

So this is probably the look I am getting about now -
when you get through reading this blogpost, huh? 

What wonderful memories though. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our December 2011 Newsletter

Newsletter ---  December 2011

We recently went through the process of renewing our registration and visa application so that we can reside in Macedonia another year (through the month of September 2012).  All the laws had been revised once again since our last registration process in September 2010.   We have an attorney (advocat) who worked diligently for five months to insure that we would have the visas by the end of the year.  If we had not received the visa stamps by this deadline, we would have had to leave the country in order to register at an embassy outside Macedonia before we could continue the waiting process.  This would have been an inconvenience, but we would have obtained the visas eventually.  It was good news when Dijana called to tell us that our visas were waiting to be picked up at the Skopje office.    

The whole process caused me to wonder what people do when they do not have an advocate.  What would it mean for the poor, the homeless, the downtrodden or the victim to have someone to “stand up” for them?  What about the African woman who is a victim of rape, war and abuse?  What about the mother whose son has been diagnosed with epilepsy, but she has no way to pay for the medication?  Who is their advocate?

The Future of the Family Kindergarten has become a place of “advocacy” for over 300 families whose children have attended this small school during the past eight years.  These families have been the recipients of “good news” many times, and many of you have provided that “good news” through your contributions to this ministry.  You have supplied nutritious meals, a loving environment in which to learn and grow, and a teacher (Habibe Iseni) who nurtures them consistently and caringly.  You have gone beyond these basics of a solid education by providing heat for families in the winter, buying clothes and shoes for the children, seeing that the children who needed eyeglasses were able to do their work, and even supplying medication for several children who were in dire need.

So we want to take this opportunity to “thank you”, on their behalf, for all you have done to “stand in” for them.  You have been their “advocate”. 

May you experience this “Good News” in a very personal way this Christmas Season,
Arville and Shelia

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to All Our Family & Friends

We want to take this opportunity to wish all of our
family and friends
in the U.S. a very
Happy Thanksgiving today.

It is hard to believe that this is our last
Thanksgiving Day in Macedonia.
Time goes by so fast, and
we didn't want to let this day pass
without saying how much we love and appreciate
all of you.

(This picture was taken by our good friend, Janie Sellers.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Making Ajvar

It has been a long time since I spent an entire day working outside.  We have had some dreary, gray days lately, but this day was an exception.  It was sunny, but cool --
a perfect day in Skopje.

The big occasion for this all-day outing was
"making Ajvar" with Habibe.
Actually, the whole family got involved.

Ajvar (pronounced I-Var) is a declicious, roasted, red-pepper paste
---  a traditional Albanian-Macedonian specialty.

We began with small ovens - heated to perfection. 
Agim is very good at knowing just how hot to make the fire.

We roasted 52 kilos of red peppers (that is a little over 100 lbs.)
until they were black on the outside and juicy on the inside.

After they were taken off the fire and cooled a bit, we began the process of peeling the peppers and taking all the seeds out.
We had several large pans full of red pepper skins when we were finished with this part.

The peppers were then processed, along with very hot green peppers.  Habibe added garlic, a little salt and a little olive oil.
We had 2 large blue vats of processed peppers to cook on the two small traditional stoves.  One vat had just the red peppers and the other had a combination of peppers, roasted eggplant and cooked carrots.  The second vat is a specialty of Habibe's.

Cooking the peppers is the longest part of the process.
The vats have to be stirred continuously for over 3 hours on top of the hot ovens. 
 Everybody took their turn during this part of the cooking.

At times it splatters, so it is a good idea to wear an apron
for this part.  Of course the men didn't believe us and got splatter with hot pepper sauce a few times.

Once the sauce reaches that deciding moment when it is ready to be taken off the fire,
(Habibe is an expert at this, too)
the vats are removed and the canning process begins.

Of course, everyone needed to taste-test each vat's contents before this final stage of preserving the ajvar is done.

And it is YUMMY!!!

I told Arville that I would like to try to make ajvar once we get to the states - and he just rolled his eyes at me.
I think I might have to talk someone else into doing this with me if I decide to do it again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy Anniversary



Back when we first met, no one was talking about finding your "soul mate",
but after 42 years of marriage,
I believe I know what that means.

That is definitely what you are to me --
my Soul Mate.

I know that we have unique personalities and different responses to circumstances, but I am grateful that we have the really important things, like - convictions, principles and beliefs in common.

Hopefully we compliment each other by allowing the other to express his/her own personality;
and yet, we make great partners because of the common
goals and desires we share. 

Here is to another year of sharing life together !!

Happy Anniversary to my soul mate.

I love you,

Monday, August 15, 2011

FBC Abilene Team - Day in Village

Pictures of our day in Harachina (a village outside Skopje).

FBF Abilene Team Partners

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Zoo Trip 2011

Here are pictures of the annual

Zoo Trip for the kindergarten.

This year, FBC Abilene Team went with us.

Thank you for all that you did for us, the school, and
the folks in Skopje while you were here,

Arville and Shelia