Tuesday

Upon Completion

We are nearing the finish line with Tom's thesis on the New Covenant and it is wonderful. I love that he put together articulately so many things we've journeyed through in the last few years. I hope you all look forward to reading it, because it's worth it!

AND... we are also getting ready to launch our new blog for our ministry, Remember Jerusalem. Perhaps you haven't heard (and if you haven't you might want to check your connections, since news typically travels FAST) but we are planning on spending some time in Israel to become equipped for what the L-rd wants for us. "Some time" means a year, methinks, perhaps a little longer. Whatever it turns out to be we are thrilled to be moving into this new season. The L-rd is faithful and the idea of us partnering as Gentiles with Jews lights a fire within both of us. We are in the final stages of setting up our non-profit ministry and could really use some serious prayer that this moves quickly and according to G-d's plan. It seems a little out there, but we are still praying about leaving this fall, perhaps September/October. If it doesn't happen by then we know that January is our launching time. Again, we need one small push in the direction of finalization and then we're full speed ahead.

I know, lots of you are thinking, "Oh my goodness! When did this happen?" Well, rest assured there will be more details, here and on the new blog, so check back. We will keep it very updated on our lives and our learnings. We are excited about what G-d is doing; it's a dramatic move on His part and it renews our hope every day. Thank you for your prayers for our lives. We know He is at work in part because of your intercession.

Now go enjoy the heat. Unless you live in one of those cool places...Don't worry, we're sweating for you.

Wednesday

Swimmy, swammy, swummy

We are swimming a lot, specifically at Gigi and Papo's and Keith and Jeremy's. Little is doing an amazing job, advancing every time we go. Keith's is particularly great because a good portion of the actual pool is shallow enough that she can stand in it. This perpetuates her wanting to go without her vest, and to even go under on her own quite a bit. I am proud of her courage and excitement. Now we will tackle actual swimming.

You would think after that first paragraph this would be a post with pictures and video of Cassidy in the pool. It isn't (sorry, Maasen). Usually I am in the water with her so I don't have my camera handy. One day I will capture it. What really needs to be shared is the things the grown-ups are doing in the pool. I wish I had footage of Sam and EJ going off the diving board in the shapes of letters, but I don't. What I do have is evidence of fully grown men and women riding an inflatable children's turtle (or "tadah", as Eliana calls it).

After a fun night of Israeli folk dancing we decided to jump in the pool. Some people (Kait and Bailey) didn't have suits and sat out until it became too tempting. And Kait, so brave, gave in to the urge to join us in the pool, and hopped onto Snappy the Turtle. How long could she last, she wondered. Less than a minute, Bailey speculated. Turned out it was 46 seconds, but Kait went in smiling.
Right before she got bucked

Tom took on the turtle, too. And lost.
video

And this is Keith's second attempt that night. The first time he
 immediately toppled over the turtle's head and into the water.

We had to get Little to bed before the fun was over, but I heard Kait and Cristina rode Snappy at the same time. Keith made a wise investment in that there toy. Thanks for having us over, boys!

Monday

To prove I'm back to posting

Last week's post wasn't a tease, I really am here to stay. A little bit more of the randomness of summer, but all points worth sharing.
Matt and his missus rocking Jack's little sister's scooter

Because sweat is gross

Summer reading for Keith and the girls

Date night

Happy Birthday, Mira!

Little kids bowling is hilarious...
video

Wednesday


Go USA! In the last few weeks we've watched the United States women's soccer team take on some fierce competition and now... we're in the finals! Going over to Susan's to watch the tournament is a highlight for our whole family. Keith and the Andersons round out the group and we usually get to celebrate the victories with some yummy, yet random meals. Thanks Susan (and MDBs) for opening your homes to us so we can cheer on the girls. Looking forward to Sunday's game against Japan.
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Sunday

What did Mama Tomato say to her slow-poke child?

I apologize for the absence. May ran away, as I figured it would and then June went in a similar, dramatic and busy way. So I will give you snippets of what has been going on in the Tblake household, not necessarily in any particular order.

We grew one of Cassie's favorite vegetables in our front yard.


We travelled to Baltimore with Kait and Jessica.
At the end of May we loaded up the van and took a great road trip out East for a refreshing convention. Tikkun International is an organization focused on bringing together Jews and Gentiles that love Jesus. They are a breath of fresh air for us and the conference itself was a time of renewal and excitement. We drove 19 hours to get to Baltimore and it was worth it. We also spent some wonderful time hanging out with Kait and Jessica, two incredible women. Thanks, ladies, for making the drive so much easier!
Cassidy and I added some new states to our growing list of adventures.


This might be the highlight of the trip for Cassidy -- a fridge just her size, like Maasen's!

We stayed at the same hotel as the Oscar Mayer weiner-mobile.



I spent some special time with my beautiful and hilarious neices.



And some fun time with my nephew, and his muscles

She loves to love on her papa,
even rubbing his shoulders to help him relax.

Now this feels good.

That's us: Wild and Wonderful

'
Who doesn't love a good Pixar movie with a friend?

When we got home Cass had a strange fever, but
thankfully it didn't turn into vomiting, like it did in May.
I suppose I forgot to tell you about the flu that went around in May. The leader of Tikkun Int'l came in town to speak to our congregation in the middle of May, but right before he arrived Dassah and Noah got sick. Then Lauren got sick, and her parents, and Cassidy. It was like dominoes. Just when one got better another one started throwing up. Cassidy was a trooper, even though she kept waking up and vomiting. Thankfully it only lasted 24 hours or so, but it sure reminded us that sometimes being a close family can get you into a mess.
And I got a new computer!
Tom surprised me with an early birthday present, that is actually birthday, mother's day, and anniversary all rolled into one. I am VERY thankful for this computer. Now I have an "a" key, the right and left clicks work, and I don't have to be plugged in all the time. Thanks to Eric it's incredibly fast and super clean. A month later I still turn it on and smile. Having something this nice is a bit overwhelming, and I am so thankful.
Gazania. It's really called a gazania.
And here enters the drama of gardening without a dog. We never had trouble with critters when Yuma was around, but now that she's off to new adventures in Missouri we have animals eating everything. Nibbling our strawberries, digging in our newly potted plants, and snapping the heads off our flowers. No kidding, just like Little Bunny Foo-Foo, some animal comes around and pops the heads off of my flowers. Doesn't eat them or anything practical, just snaps them off. I had to take this picture to remember how beautiful these flowers are. This was early June, and since then the flowers have expanded and survived, but the varmits still dig in the pot occassionally.
Artist in the making.
Big Cassie has been so great to encourage Cassidy to do more artistic things and she has started to embrace this side of herself. She gets up almost every morning and colors or paints by herself. She got these neat stained glass window pages from Lily and Mira for her birthday and I think in two weeks she colored every page. It's fun to see her mind process through how things should look: the difference between eyes and ears, how Tom and I look different, even practicing letters, shapes and numbers. She is growing up and changing so much.

Hope this whets your whistles. Things of more depth are sure to come. (Please forgive me if there are typos in the post, I'm still getting used to this fancy keyboard.)