Brokenness Behind the “Perfect” Life

March 18, 2013 § 7 Comments

Growing up, I was often told what a great “perfect” life I had. I had parents who were married and loved each other. My brother and I got along. I was told I was pretty and I did well in school. I completed my “dream” of being a nurse and married a great guy. We adopted a wonderful son who we adore. I am literally living my dream of working in Africa.

You may have concluded some of these thoughts by reading this blog for any amount of time. As with any outside view, you are only seeing one perspective. You don’t know the private pains or the hidden secrets of the heart. My life is far from perfect. You don’t know the argument I had with my husband or the way I was impatient with my son. You were not around when I was unkind to my friend and was selfish about something else.

The truth is that even as you’re reading about our “perfect” life there is pain, hurt, sin, and grief that only God knows.

Our journey of infertility has shaped me more than anything else in my adult life. « Read the rest of this entry »

My Role as a Woman (in Honor of International Women’s Day)

March 8, 2013 § 5 Comments

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day as a national public holiday here in Zambia.

Since becoming a mother last June, I have been contemplating my role as woman and what that means for my identity, my family, and my work.

Growing up, my Dad was the sole breadwinner and my Mom worked to take care of our home. She home-schooled my brother and I through high school. I’m forever grateful to both my parents for their sacrifices for my education, well-being, and spiritual upbringing.

I had my own ideas about what being a woman would look like, which in my mind was the same as being a mother. « Read the rest of this entry »

2013 – A new year and recap of the last few months

February 6, 2013 § 6 Comments

Happy New Year!
If anybody is still confused where we are, we are still living in Zambia and will be here for a bit longer. Here is a longer update to catch you up to speed on the Menenberg happenings!

October

Adoption Day at Court

The end of 2012 was a whirlwind for us. We celebrated Nathaniel coming home forever on 16 October, 2012 and we christened him with the name above. Now, he refuses to be called “Angelo” and always corrects people (including Daddy and Mama) to say “Eh-faniel.”

Throughout the whole adoption process, all of the major moments (Nathaniel coming home, our “Gotcha’ Day,” and getting our US visa) were completely last-minute, stressful, and taught us that God was in control the entire time.

On Tuesday 23 October, we received our travel visa for Nathaniel at 5pm – 4 hours before we were supposed to travel! We were so thankful to the US Embassy for making allowance for Nathaniel to travel back for his MRI and other medical appointments for his hydrocephalus. « Read the rest of this entry »

Four

July 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here’s to 4 wonderful years being married to the love of my life, my best friend, and the father of my son!! I love you, Ben! Happy 4th anniversary, my darling husband.

Wedding Day! – Seattle, WA

1 year! – Whidbey Island, WA

2 years! – Orcas Island, WA

3 Years! – San Diego, California

4 Years! – Lusaka, Zambia

{The last photo was from our last childless night together and an early anniversary celebration at (the only) fancy restaurant in Lusaka. We’re still adjusting to being new parents. Whew! Parenting a child isn’t as easy as it looks! My parents just spent a week with us cooking and cleaning for us, which was a huge help – thanks Daddy and Mama!! Also, thank you to everyone for your love, support, and understanding as we adjust to being a family of 3.}

Tour of Our Home

November 3, 2011 § 7 Comments

Welcome to our humble abode! We have settled in and are just putting the finishing touches on things. For your viewing pleasure (well, to be honest, mostly for our families!) here is a brief tour of our home:

Our Home!

We live in a multi-unit complex and have a great neighbor next door. The other unit is just recently empty if any of you want to come join us in Zambia! The home came “fully furnished” but we did need to purchase some things like a desk, dresser, and organizational necessities.

Looking from the kitchen into the dining room

This is probably my favorite place in our home! I am loving our new kitchen. This is probably due to the fact that it’s at least double the size of both kitchens we had in previous apartments. It came with the basics but I spruced it up with some gadgets from home, including our garlic press, spice rack, and Santoku knives. My favorite cook books have a place here too.

“How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman

How to Cook Everything

“Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

“365: No Repeats” by Rachael Ray

365: No Repeats

Because the internet is more unreliable here, I’m browsing these books more than in the States. And Artisan bread…I’m in love!! The bread here in Zambia is really terrible. It’s like Wonder Bread without the wonder – it looks fine, tastes bad, and falls apart a day after you buy it. I now make bread for our family 2-3 times a week or whenever the heck we need it.

Looking from Dining Room into Living Room

Photographs

I really love our photo collection. It’s a great reminder of loved ones from home and special memories of Ben and I. We have extended family, childhood photos, favorite African shots, and romantic ones of the two of us.

Living Room View 1

Couches are hard to come by in Zambia. At the furniture store, good couches run anywhere from $3000-$4000. So we are content to live on our futon like furniture which is still better than most Africans have so we are grateful! My ever-present knitting bag is here so I can pull it out on a moment’s notice or take it with me when we’re out.

Living Room View 2

If you know us well at all, you know we’re not much TV viewers. When we were packing, we needed to cut some weight from our luggage and Ben cut some DVDs. I refused to let go of my girlie movies and so when we do want to watch something, it’s usually along the lines of Anne of Green Gables or Pride and Prejudice.

As you can see, we have plenty of room for guests and visitors! We’re finishing up our guest room and looking forward to my friend Kelly’s arrival later this year. I hope you enjoyed your tour!

G + L got hitched!

August 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

This past weekend, we had the privilege of watching two dear friends get married. Lee Adams played the keys at our wedding and has been a dear friend since meeting at the City Church. We’ve had memories with Lee of cooking Rachael Ray recipes together, carpooling to Portland for the YP getaway, and many after-church pho lunches! We knew when he kept talking about this “Gretchen-girl” from Mars Hill that she was something special. At the wedding, they had guests from both Mars Hill and the City Church which was awesome to see friends from both places!

 

Gretchen put a tremendous amount of effort into making their wedding very special for their guests. Upon arrival, we were to put our prints (fingerprints) on the tree. Such a unique idea for their guest book!

Guest Tree

Mr. and Mrs. Menenberg's prints

A favor table presented matchboxes and birdseed feeders to hang in a tree

Matchbox favors and bird seed feeders

 As Gretchen walked down the aisle, the guests spontaneously started singing “How Great Thou Art” to the music, serenading her and worshiping God. It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever seen at a wedding.

The beautiful bride

Pastor Gary Shavey of Mars Hill Church officiating

Simple, beautiful music

The Kiss!

Beautiful venue at Craven Farms in Snohomish, WA

Photobooth with chalk message boards!

First Dance

 The wedding party surprised the happy couple with a semi-coordinated dance. It was definitely fun and G+L loved it!

Wedding Party surprise dance

We love you, Lee and Gretchen and are so glad we could be apart of your special day. Happy marriage and enjoy your honeymoon!!

4 Friends

Three

July 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

To my darling husband,

Wedding Day - Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle, WA

It’s been 3 years to the day since we married. I am so happy married to you! It’s been a hard road at times filled with hurts, pain, and tears. But there has also been inexorable joy. You have carried me when I needed it most. You have spoken truth to me. You have loved me when I was most unlovable.

Celebrating 1 year - Whidbey Island, WA

You are my best friend. I am always amazed at how we can spend hours and hours with each other and never tire of one another. We have so much fun!! I love listening to your thoughts and your ability to discuss ideas and theology. I love your kind heart and watching you serve the Lord and other people. I love how handsome you are – you are a hunk of a man!

Celebrating 2 years - Orcas Island, WA

There is no one else I would want to be with as we begin our journey towards Africa and all that the future has in store. Here’s to three years and a hundred more!

3 Years!

With the deepest love of my heart,

 

BIF aka CMG aka BAC aka BW

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