Is it any surprise that it has already been a couple of months since my last post in which I promised "A series of Posts" to catch you up on our lives?!! So much for all the time I planned to spend writing this year! I am pretty certain this has been our busiest year yet and somehow I don't think things will be slowing down anytime soon...
Sadly, I have not even introduced you to our amazing exchange student, Cristian. Cristian is an 18 year old young man from Venezuela who spent the past ten months living with our family. This morning at the crack of dawn, we drove down to Seatac Airport to say goodbye to Cristian as he headed back to his home town of Caracas, Venezuela, and to his eager family and friends.
Cristian was a senior at Stanwood High School. He has a very precious heart and we were blessed to have him as a part of our family. In the short time that he was here, he touched many people with his thankful heart and his infectious smile. Cristian will be missed by many, but we know we will see him again! Our tearful goodbye was not goodbye forever.
Along with Cristian, we acquired a few more new faces around the Jukanovich household this year! Cristian had always wanted ferrets which are not native to South America. Like the good Host Parents that we are, we thought it would be a great idea to buy a ferret for Cristian for Christmas!! He lit up like a five year old inspecting his new bike when we put that albino ferret in his arms! It was priceless. We soon decided that "Poncho", as Cristian called him, needed a friend. We found a cute little guy on Craigslist and Marko and I drove down to Seattle to pick up "Pepe"! The adorable little guys were buddies immediately and we patted ourselves on the back for purchasing two cute little ferret friends. Cristian actually bought them little leashes and harnesses and would take them on walks to the park where he claimed to get lots of attention from the girls!!
The only problem with ferrets is that they stink like I can't even describe and they don't seem to be willing to potty train! Our pats on the back soon turned into kicks in the rear as we realized how high maintence ferrets are! They started out in our mudroom but quickly ended up in our garage. Cristian had to clean their cage multiple times a day which got old real fast!! As happens with most kids, Cristian soon learned that animals are more work than he ever imagined. After several months, we decided that the ferrets needed a new home. We struggled to find someone to take them. Finally, in a desperate attempt to get rid of them we dropped them off at a ferret rescue shelter, where admittedly the owners appeared to be away. Upon returning home and being laden with guilt, we drove all the way back to the shelter only to find that the little creatures had literally "weasled" their way out of the zippered cage that we had left them in....oopsie! I felt really bad-truly I did-at least for a brief moment!
A few months prior to buying the ferrets, we picked up three pigmy goats-one for each kid. The kids got to name their goat and help take care of them by feeding, watering, and cleaning their stinky cage!! Their names were Rocky, Jimmy, and Cosmo. Pigmy goats are adorable, stubborn, and pretty low maintenance. Still, it was just more than we wanted to be responsible for. I say "were" because we recently sold them to some friends in an attempt to simplify our lives-the goal of the year!!
The last addition to the Jukanovich Family this year was our amazing English Mastiff, Boaddicea. "Bo" who started out to be a fearful, timid, and somewhat schizophrenic, ended up being the best dog we have ever had. We all love Bo-even Marko Sr. who would never admit it! She weighs 145 pounds but considers herself a lap dog! She literally will climb in anyone's lap at anytime and try to bury her head in your neck. It's the cutest darn thing! She has brought our family so much joy! Sadly, we might be saying goodbye to Bo much sooner than we want. Though she is only two years old, it is most likely that her body is filled with cancer. A tumor the size of a grapefruit was found in her ovaries recently. The vet said that he has never seen anything like it before and never in a dog so young. Bo's stomach is filled up with fluid and we fear that we are losing her.
It has been a year of welcoming new members to our family as well as a year of saying goodbye to those same members. Whether by choice or not, the circumstances of our lives seem to be aiding our desire for simplification.
As a side note, we put our house up for sale this week. We designed our home, we built it, and we love it. We just feel like it is time to downsize and free ourselves up for whatever and wherever the Lord calls us to go. For now, we are headed back to Brazil on June 23rd for two weeks of training with i2 Ministries. We can't wait to go back and visit our friends in Santa Luzia, practice our Portuguese, and eat Acai Berry frozen dessert!!! As far as our future goes....
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."
Stay tuned as that purpose becomes clear.