Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bethanne Jankowski is fundraising for Cancer Research UK

Bethanne Jankowski is fundraising for Cancer Research UK

Its taken nearly 20yrs, but I am doing it.  I am Racing for Life.  Thanks to amazing friends, I am finally participating in a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk.  I cant say why its taken so long.  Mostly from laziness and lack of motivation, which is such a pitiful reason considering the severity of the cause.  No matter, 2012 is when I make a difference.  I am hoping and praying that you will join me.
Most all of us know someone personally that have struggled w/ cancer.  Some of you have even dealt w/ it yourselves.  Cancer does not discriminate.  It does not care how old you are, what gender you are, what race you are.  It doesnt care if you have a family to care for.  It doesnt care what continent you are living on.  Cancer doesnt care.
We can care, though.  We can make a difference.  Even the smallest donation WILL impact the fight against cancer.  I truly believe that.  I have to.  Please chose to fight w/ me.  Please donate to our team.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dare I even...?

An attempt to revive this neglected site? Dare I? An effort to update and inform those two of you who read? Dare I? Am I that bored? Yep, I am.

It has been yet another year since posting. Life in our little corner of the UK hasnt changed much, and for that we are very thankful. We continue to enjoy every moment we spend in England, so much so that we have asked (and been granted) to stay another 3 years. Our family will reside across the pond until February 2016.

The three crazy kiddos are doing quite well. Jacob has just turned 10. Yes, I said it...DOUBLE DIGITS!! Stop the madness! He is in 4th grade, and has become such a young man in recent months. Chloe is 7, and in the 2nd grade. She is a bright, beautiful little girl. Jonah is 5 now. Our baby is no longer a baby. He attends Reception, which is the UK version of Kindergarten. He is doing brilliantly. None of the children have adopted a British accent as of yet. I am thinking that there isnt much hope left at this point. Friends' children have picked it up in months, while my kids have had years with no success. Such disappointment! Its a charming and adorable quirk that I love.

Paul and I are looking forward to spending this summer together. He was away on yet another 'vacation' for the whole of last summer. The kids and I did a bit of travelling with friends last season, but being able to share experiences as a complete family will be fantastic. We have plans to visit Germany and a couple areas of the UK that we havent seen yet.

We have been blessed with amazing friends while living here. Some we have known for years, while others we have been fortunate enough to meet since being in England. The experience is all the richer because of their friendships. We share laughs, adventures, trials and loneliness. I will have to point out that the laughs and adventures far outweigh the trials. But having support from such beautiful people help make the trials easier to bear as well.

I wont even begin to insult you with promises of consistency and more frequent posting. We all know how that turns out....badly. I will say this, though. If you read....I will write :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two, one..yes, there's no three. I know.

Two years, two years that we've called England our home. I know its a cliche' but...where has the time gone? We have fallen in love with everything about this place. From the quaint little villages to the cheeky accents and phrases that the kids have picked up. Looking forward to (at least) two more years!

One year, one year (almost) since I've written anything here. Dare I say shocking? Has the year been that dull that there hasn't been a need to write? No, not even close. Have I been wrapped up in life and completely neglected this outlet to the world? Absolutely!

In the best interests of time (and my lack of want) I will do the rest of this post in bullet form...ready go!

2010 Highlights

  • January - Paul was off on a 'paid vacation' for the next four months. Kids and I settled into a routine quickly
  • February thru April - School, sickness and adventures in England took most of our time.
  • May - Paul came home and we were a family again!
  • June thru August - Lots of holidays and adventures throughout England as a family. An amazing time!
  • September - All three kiddos were in school for the first time. Jacob in a multi 3rd/4th grade. Chloe in 1st grade and Jonah in British Pre-K.
  • October thru December - Normal life in full swing. School and work took over our lives once again.

2011 Highlights (so far)

  • January and February - So far, so good. Nothing crazy or abnormal to report. Well, abnormal is relative, isn't it?
  • March - Plan is to continue the 'so far, so good' trend.
  • April - A much anticipated and eagerly awaited visit to the states!!! We are so very excited and cannot wait to see everyone. Come on April!

There you have it, in so many words. A year in review. I'm sure it has enlightened your day, and if not...well ok then. I won't lie and say I promise to be better at posting again. We all know how well that one has turned out in the past.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Today is the birthday of a dear friend - Happy Birthday Ness! - and I cannot be there to celebrate with her. Just one of the 'perks' of the great life we live. I've gotten used to missing out on birthdays and family events over the years but it doesnt mean I like it. Who would, really? Thankfully, the wonders of technology have made things much easier than what others before me have had it. I am able to talk to friends and family through phone lines and internet. And, of course, for those special occasions (you know those once a year 'wow, I should send a card' moments), there is the good old fashioned postal service! With Paul being gone for the past four monthts, we've relied on these modern conveniences alot to be able to keep in touch with him. And I am thankful. I am thankful for those friends and family that I dont get to talk to as often as I'd like. I am thankful for the friends here that have become part of our lives. I am thankful.

As this deployment draws to an end - read: I have no idea when, but hoping soon! - I have realized how blessed we are. Not that I didnt know how amazing God is, or how wonderful my friends and family are. But, wow, looking back on the past few months I am so amazed at how He has shown himself to us again and again. Thru the loneliness, thru the craziness, thru the sickness - I have never been alone! I have been surrounded by people that care. I have been surrounded by His grace. And I guess I just wanted to say 'thank you' publicly.

Well, ok, as public as the three people that might be reading this.
You know who you are. And I am thankful for you too!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

October is....

October is a big month for me, full of information and events to celebrate. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - something that, to no one's surprise, is a cause I hold close to my heart. October is my birthday, day 1 in 365, of my journey of life. October is Jonah's birthday as well. My youngest, my last, growing and reaching milestones. October is a big month for me.

Breast Cancer Awareness - what is it? What isnt it! All women, and I would add men, can get breast cancer. Regardless of family history, this disease can strike anyone at any time. People who are diagnosed early have a higher chance of surival. This means you have to take the initiative to know your body, to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms that accompany cancer, and to keep in regular contact with your doctors. You can reduce the chances of this type, and other cancers, by committing to a healthy lifestyle. So, take part in regular physical activities, watch your diet/weight, and avoid excessive alcohol or tobacco use. Again, what is Breast Cancer Awareness? It is the knowledge of yourself, respecting your body, educating your mind, and loving your life. What isnt it?

My birthday...oh joy! I remember a few years ago, as I was about to turn 30, dreading the day. I cannot recollect why this number held such a doom for me, but oh it did! Friends and family heard me whine and complain from the day after I became 29 that in 'one year' my life would be over! I know it seems silly, but I am sure that we all can admit that one of our birthdays was a bit more traumatic than the others. Please say it wasnt just me!? Looking back, now that 4 years have gone by, 30 was not much different than any other year. It was all in my mind...what a great saying! I look forward to another year to grow and to learn. I look forward to another opportunity to watch my family love and laugh. I look forward to another chance to see God's plans for my life challenge and amaze me.

Jonah, Jonah, Jonah. What to say about that little man? He is a constant source of comic relief in our family. He challenges Paul and I in ways that Jacob and Chloe never have. He still loves to cuddle. He still sucks his thumb - and I still think its adorable! (Yes, I realize that it will become a horrible struggle sooner than later) He cannot go a day without having the color orange on him, around him, or in him. A bit OCD, but its fun to watch! He is our youngest, our last. What a way to end the show!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not surprisingly, it has been an obscene amount of time since I last wrote. It is noteworthy, though (so mark something!) that I made short memos for when I did get time (or just the motivation) to write here. So rather than start over, I thought I would share with you the tidbits of information that I’ve saved for just this occasion.

Fish and chips – greasy, large portions, did I mention greasy?!, no ketchup, good
Still greasy and still love them!
Two Mile Bottom – have a Two Mile here PA friends
We haven’t visited this area yet, but it looks like a great place for a picnic.
We got our car on Friday – missed it a lot!
Yes, our car is a bit large for some of the roads here, but we still love it!
Washer/Dryer – not user friendly!
House – so far, so love it, gotta get used to the smaller spaces, but should do nicely
We have come to love our house and our neighborhood here in Thetford. Have made some amazing friends in the area as well.
Casey and I went shopping in Bury – lots of options, Nutshell is smallest pub in England – will go back and take a pic!
We’ve ventured all over the area for shopping and sight-seeing. Love it all!
Notable word differences – garden/yard, cheers/thank you, no worries/no problem, lorry/truck, roundabout/ their version of red lights – crazy!, lounge/living room, en suite/ bathroom,
yard sale/car boot, figured out/sorted, quid/pounds, have a go/give something a try, and the list goes on and on and on…
Jacob is doing well in school, and Chloe will try to get in this week
Jacob is in 2nd grade now and Chloe started Kindergarten. Both are enjoying this new year.
Jacob is riding the bus today. Not ordinary school buses at all – coach luxury liners are what they’re called. Tour buses as we would know them. He’s excited.
All still applies here, but now it is Chloe’s turn to be overly excited about the bus ride.
Utilities are a bit confusing, but working on it
I think there will always be things that are ‘odd’ or different about living abroad, but we have come to love the lifestyle here and are looking forward to our years in the UK.
On the way to school, which is about a 20min ride by car, there is a stretch of road that makes me smile every day. At the crest of a small hill, the trees on either side form a canopy over the road. The kids call it ‘the tunnel of trees’. On both sides of the road, farmland stretches as far as you can see. It is an absolutely picture perfect place. I don’t know why it affects us the way it does, but hopefully I can take a picture for you that will help to capture just a small bit of our favorite place.
This place still represents a small piece of God’s amazing creation for us. I hope some of you will be able to experience it for yourselves.

Now that the school year has begun, we’ve settled back into a somewhat normal routine. Jacob has started 2nd grade and is enjoying his class so far. Chloe finished her first week of Kindergarten and if the smiles on her face everyday are any indication, she loves it! Jonah is trying his best to convince us that he needs to enroll in ‘wittle kool’ just like his big brother and sister. As soon as this excruciating phase in his life – potty training – is completed, we will be going post haste to enroll him in Preschool.
Paul will be taking a few vacations away from the UK this year. Some he is looking forward to, others not so much. We hope to purchase another laptop soon so that communicating will be easier. Thanks to Skype and Facebook, we should be able to keep in touch fairly frequently. I am just thankful that his ‘trips’ will fall during the school year so that the kids and I have something to keep us busy. If anyone is planning a visit, that would be the time! HINT HINT! Of course, I understand if you really need to see Paul too, so I guess summer is open as well.
We have been blessed to meet some amazing people. Our house has become the weekend hangout, it seems, and we love it. We even gave into the pressure and purchased a Wii – complete with Guitar Hero.

Did you just feel the earth shudder?? I cannot believe we own a video game! I am thinking that it is going to be my saving grace during the long, dark, daddy-missing winter. But did I mention that I cannot believe we OWN video games now?? Sorry, off on a bit of a tangent there. Where was I?
Friends…right! The neighborhood where we live is filled with great people, some that we have gotten to know quite well. And, as the ‘it’s a small world’ saying goes, we have become great friends with a family that grew up literally minutes from Paul’s family! In fact, Stacey’s mother and Paul’s mom have met, Paul and Stacey went to the same high school (albeit a few years apart), and Stacey is pretty certain that she once worked with our sister-in-law! And here we all are, in our little corner of England.
I'm sure I have many stories to tell, some you might even want to hear, so pray that I have the motivation to do this again before 6 more months have passed. Hearing from friends and family helps so LEAVE COMMENTS please!
Love and blessings to all.....B

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Markets, money and more...

After being here only one week, we have come to love our new home. What a blessing to have that peace! Of course, there are still questions and concerns, but nothing overwhelming. We think we might have (can you read the certainty in that?) made a decision about a house to call our own. The only issue is distance from the base. The house is spacious with all the things we need, just a bit far for Paul to drive. Over the weekend, we've driven the route a few times and it does seem to get a bit shorter each time. The scenery is amazing too, passing thru small villages and rural farms. So, I think its a keeper! I'm excited to really live here and not completely rely on the base for our needs. The experience will be so different because of that, and we are really looking forward to it. Going to the markets to get fresh fruits and veggies, to the butcher for meats, and the kids might even go to the local village primary school as well.

Speaking of foods, we went into a grocery today and were amazed at what we saw. The amounts of fresh foods, healthier choices, etc was unreal. This is our problem, people! For instance, the average frozen vegetables are sold only (for the most part) in sizes that are comparable to what we would call the 'value' or 'family' package. Whereas the meats and starches are sold in much smaller portions than we're used to. Can you see where I'm going? Paul and I have resolved to use this experience to make healthy changes in our family's habits. And how convenient that the lovely English simplify it for me! Oh, and just a note - hot cross buns are delicious!

We went to the market in Bury St. Edmunds yesterday. It was exactly like you would imagine it to be. Rows of vendors selling everything from fresh flowers to fruits and vegetable to raw fish and meats. Clothes, hats, souveniers, and tools - and not to be outdone, McDonalds, Burger King, and Pizza Hut made their presence known as well. The kids, with their keen eyes, spotted a toystore right away. What a treat for them! Of course, not being able to take anything home made the trip a bit less fun. They traded their frowns for smiles when the golden arches came into view though! Thank goodness for french fries and milkshakes!

Driving is going well. We are hoping to purchase a car early this week. Our SUV is still floating on the ocean, making its way here. Money has been a bit of a challenge, only in that its hard to recognize which coin is which amout of pence or pounds. There are so many more coins than I am used to. But everyone is so friendly and patient, even giving 'the newcomers' tips and local advice.

This week the challenge is to settle on a home, purchase a car, and enroll the kids into a school. A bit daunting, but I know God will pave the way. We'll let you know!