Emily has been writing a little bit over on her page.  Click on over and take a look and maybe send her a quick note to let her know somebody's out there reading!  And here's a few pics of my sweet 16 year old from the past few months.
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with our Spanish teacher Nellie
Getting ready to climb, slide and swim 27 Charcos (waterfalls)!  - with Anna (our construction team host) and Katelynn (doing her student teaching here this semester)
Going to the dance...
At the Doulos College Fair - presented by the Junior class.  She shared info from NAU, Condordia College in Portland, and Biola.  Shout out to all our peeps who are NAU Lumberjacks!
And here she is in Haiti...
where she and Anna built a desk organizer for Second Mile Haiti, among other things...
While we've all had our ups and downs while living in the DR, Emily has perhaps had the hardest time.  It's not easy being a teenager.  Period.  But making new friends in a different culture in  a different language has been pretty tough.  As parents it can be equally as tough to remeber that God is teaching us and growing us ALL THE TIME, and usually through the hard things we learn and grow the most.  We hope that the end result will be maturity, wisdom, and compassion.

Rather, speaking the TRUTH in LOVE, we are to GROW UP in every way into him who is the head, into CHRIST.   ephesians.4:15
 
 
The first day of 11th grade might seem a little anti-climactic after going to college.  Unless you're Emily and starting at a new school for the first time in your school career and it's in a foreign country.  Luckily and blessedly it is a bilingual school that is taught primarily in English.  Hooray for the best of both worlds. 
Max begins the second half of 8th grade not ever having completed the first half.
"What in the world are we doing" you might ask...
Doulos Discovery School is an amazing place where one-half of the students are on scholarship.  Doulos is a US non-profit and all of the teachers and staff from North America raise their own salaries in the form of support.  Giving the poorest students in Jarabacoa the ability to receive a private, Christian education would be fantastic enough.  But there's more!  Classes are taught in English, so all of the students become bilingual.  95% of the students are Dominican and the school's mission is to educate and equip their students so they can impact the DR.  What a great thing!  AND it's an Expeditionary learning school, which is an exciting way to learn.  If you want to know more about all of this, check out their website here.
We're privileged to able to serve here this semester and work alongside the amazing staff.  What a great group of young, smart, and enthusiastic people who love Jesus and followed the call to the DR.
So Emily will finish the11th grade and Max will join the 8th grade class (or possibly the 9th grade class because of his math level) and then who knows where they'll go from there?  Only God knows for sure.
By the way, the high school students start school at 7am!!!
 
 
I began blogging when we started this whole idea of a road trip.  And I have to say, I don't give myself very high marks for consistency.  I wanted to share so much more...pictures, stories, thoughts from the road, but sometimes you are so busy living in the moment you can't translate it into a blog post. 

So here's to 2012 and blogging and a look back at the road traveled in the last months of our Adventure on the road.  For the Adventure is sure to continue...
Emily and Jade.  I love these girls and I love them more when they're together.  They are what cousins ought to be.  And that's an Ohio sunset.

Camp Michindoh in Hillsdale, Michigan...who knew we would end up there for a week of Young Lives camp?  Teen moms, their babies, and their mentors make for a crazy camping experience.  Just a reminder that God uses the small, weak, "the least of these" to show us His great power and glory!  
Wow, that St. Louis arch is tall!
These 2 are good sports.  That's pod #6 to ride to the top of the St. Louis arch - we made it INTO the pod, and Joe and I promptly opted to exit.  They followed us like good children do, but then they were kinda mad they didn't go on without us.
If only I had a tripod I could have been in this cool picture too.


This makes the whole trip worth it all.

There's a picture of 2 year old Max in an album somewhere in front of this same tire.  He's grown a bit.  We've all grown.

A rainbow over the Arkansas Valley in Buena Vista, Colorado.  One of the most beautiful spots on the planet, and one of our favorites.  God's promises never fail.  He took care of it all that day.

This little guy, along with his adorable brothers, will likely be the reason I someday come home with another child...from where, I don't know.  Thanks to the Blacks for all the good family times.

One of the best days ever...the day we picked Emily up from Redcloud, where she spent 3 weeks serving families (and her 15th birthday.)  I think we all just felt sheer joy being together again.  And she took her brother repelling to celebrate.
Max was a superstar football player...what a payoff to work so hard, love the game, and then win the state championship...all in your first season to ever put on pads. 

I don't think we've ever been so proud of him.

So the year in the rearview mirror looks like a life lived to the full.  Blessed in so many ways and thankful to have lived and loved with no regrets.  
 
 
We've been parked at the Wycliff/JAARS center in Waxhaw, NC this week while Joe is attending a business as missions training/conference here.  Most of the participants are Wycliff missionaries.  The kids and I are settling into a home-school routine, and it is good to be in one place...not moving...for a while.   The weather here is perfect this time of year.  Warm and wonderful during the day and a bit of a chill in the air at night.  There is a quaint but very nice RV park here on the grounds of the center.  Emily has taken to doing jigsaw puzzles (she's done 2 so far this week) and we've visited the Museum of the Alphabet.  Yes, there is such a thing.  Interesting.
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this was her 2nd puzzle