Tuesday, March 31, 2009

celebrating mark's life

it'sbeen a couple of weeks now, but mark turned 28. wow. 28. carla claims mark is finally catching up to her age (carla is the older sister). ha!

mark is 1 year older than me. the main advantage to this is that he gets the shocking high age a whole year before i do -- so when it's HIS bday we are stunned at how "old" we are getting, but by the time January roles around, we are used to the number. he does not think it's as good of a deal. 

mark and i had a very hard week preceding his bday. just lots of difficult situations and conflict. 
so i planned a great celebration: i packed his bag, cancelled his appointments for the next 2 days, rented a couple of really GUY movies, and we headed off after church on Sunday. he had no idea where we were going. 

anyone who knows me knows that i am TERRIBLE with surprises! i LOVE to be surprised, but i am bad at holding it in, bc i know the person will be so happy! guys -- i actually was able to keep it a secret until after we got in the car! victory for ali!

well, i took mark to the beautiful b&b where we spent our honeymoon...almost 5 years ago!
it was such a fun getaway! it's on the beach, so we enjoyed the warm days in the water, ate lots, slept in, and watched movies in the afternoon. 

every day i am reminded of how blesses i am to have Mark walking thru life with me. 
he has been my best friend, my favorite story-teller, my favorite running partner, my favorite road trip buddy...my favorite companion in ANYTHING and ANYWHERE for almost 8 years now. 
mark's wisdom and kindness has changed my life and taught me to serve from the heart. 

you have also been a big influence on who mark is/becoming. 
i thank you for the love you have given him.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

it's a boy!

NO -- i am not prego. calma! (calm down!) 

but we do have some news. 

we have a .. well... sortava "son". 

his name is Manu (short for Emanuel). he is 24 years old.

here is the story: manu and i were camp buddies from many moons ago (early 90's. i was 2 years old. ha!) we never kept much in touch, but we'd see each other a couple of times in a year. when i moved to Abilene for school, i completely lost contact with the guy. 
fast forward to December 2008. a mutual friend of ours, beto, was to be married and manu was invited to the wedding here in itu. he came, spent the night in our home, and before we knew it, he had been here for 6 weeks! he saw something that made it worth staying. 
mark and i talked, and encouraged him to begin culinary school, and invited him to live with us during the course. 

so now we have a sorta son. 

he is loving school, and working at a restaurant from 5pm to 1am everyday.

manu is a great kid to have. no diapers. no bottles. he helps clean. and we are not his taxi. 
jokes aside -- 
i am amazed that we, thru God, have had such an influence on his life now. 
we love to walk the journey with people. 


Thursday, March 5, 2009

we survived the trip!

here is what mark looked like when we left for the adventure :

this picture was taken in the emergency room about 24 hours before we piled up 3 vehicles with 17 kids and began our journey. 

(mark was on a strict schedule of antibiotics and alegra and fever meds) 

the trip from Itu to Belo Horizonte is about 8 hours. normally. 
but our Volkswagen van broke down 2 hours into the trip .... so we were on the road from 3 pm on Friday till 1 pm on Saturday.  now here is the crazy thing: we are so glad it broke down! we had no idea how to get to the camp, so had we done the trip in 1 day, we would have arrived in BH at 1 am, with no one to receive us, and no beds to sleep in (there were not enough places at camp) .... but since the van broke, we had a nice night at ATIBAIA, where some of our good friends live who kindly let us invade their home. 

(our fave van!)

we got the kids up at 4am, and watched the sun rise on our journey. 
great conversations, and snacks, and laughs,  and stories... and we finally arrived in Belo Horizonte! yay!

(zacca in my car. love this kid!)

the camp was full - about 250 people! 
our group was incredible! the energy and joy that the 16 of us brought to the site was contagious! the other teens were asking where in the world we had come from, followed by "when is your camp??" =) 


(part of our group after first night of "sleep") 

the Kaiseres (what our youth group calls themselves) have chosen a theme for this year: TurnedInsideOut. they talk about how they want to be a group that looks for ways to help people and not be so focused on their own belly button. they inspire me.  .......... so at camp, each day they chose what piece of clothing we were going to wear turned inside out. hillarious. shirts the first day. jeans the second day. and when people asked what on Earth we were doing, they'd explain the perspective of the group. nice. 

(all the young adults that accompanied the youth) 

so guess what? the volkswagen van broke down on the way back, too. minor this time, compared the the broken clutch on the way there (Little Miss Sunshine, anyone?)

so it was all very unforgettable. 
our next venture is a city wide youth rally in March. no vans involved. 

we are blessed!