Sunday, May 5, 2013 last time!

The weekend before we left our precious friends the Patrizi's hosted some of our dearest Doha family for dinner.  The Patrizi's don't do anything half way and they have the restaurant business in their blood so it was an incredible evening and good time together with our sweet friends!
Sherry, Hostess with the Mostest is also "THE" Doha photog.  She took our family photos and used our unseen prints as a little decor. 
Dinner in their garden
 Teresa, me and Gena
 The Hosts working their delicious magic in the kitchen! 
 Sweet Meese Crew
Damage Done!  Doha's new Magnolia Bakery, Red Velvet Cake...thanks to Linsday!  Knows the way to our hearts!
Amanda and Sherry
 Linds, Amanda, me Sherry and Stacy
 Chris, James, Ed, Nick and silly Brad
 Thank you sweet sweet friends for blessing our lives and our children.  You have loved us so well.  So thankful Doha was just the beginning for us.  Love you and miss you already!!
 Sherry took this picture of us one day as we were leaving our compound.  Our glorious rent car was straight up local...Land Cruiser with of course the stripes.  It was important that our kids hang out the window from the front seat and not wear their seat belts if we were truly "going local"! Peace out Doha!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Goodbye to Grace Fellowship

Its very hard to put into words how our church in Doha helped to transform our lives as Christians and followers of Jesus.  Obviously its not the building, services, programs, Bible studies or any other practical "to-dos".  Its the group, the Body, the people, the nations, etc.  And its nothing we were looking for or expected to find.  My eyes have been opened and my heart has changed thanks to God's beautiful grace.  I'm humbled he would be so patient with me.  Honestly I remember it being a a tough adjustment getting used to a very basic simple no show church.  Hum...similar to the way Jesus began His ministry and idea for the church.  
Nick and I were critical and nothing but self-serving when we first arrived and wanted to dissect everything that wasn't what we were used to.  Turns out what we were used to was a legalistic, traditional, narrow minded and judgemental worship and faith.  God has a plan and purpose for everyone in His time and how He gets to the heart of what really matters.  I have never felt more loved, convicted, broken, changed and transformed.  
As He does, God used people to show us what His church looks like and what His love really means.  Through Grace Fellowship we were changed. Nick and I were honored to serve in some ways that truly blessed us.  Nick served as one of the few finance team members.  I was thankful to be a Mops coordinator and also serve on the women's ministry board as the outreach coordinator.  
These pictures are from our last Friday at Grace.  I'm thankful we can leave Doha knowing our faith isn't in our church or cultural/religious traditions, which is for the most part where my faith was when I left Texas for this middle eastern adventure. 
However, we will terribly miss that beautiful picture of what heaven must look like...and the people that make up true examples of brothers and sisters!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spring Break 2013

So we started our Spring Break by saying goodbye to compound  friends. We knew time would fly by after our week off.  Plus, some friends would be away from Doha and we would miss the chance to see them before moving to Houston.

For the week of spring break we mostly enjoyed some down time together and then finished our week with friends and an overnight staycation at the Ritz hotel.  I took note that there was something truly valuable about our last Spring Break in Doha and other special days.  While we miss things to do and have so often found ourselves bored, there is something to be said about pushes you towards people and relationships rather than busy-ness.  We have spent so much time in Doha with people rather than distracted by activities that would keep us from quality time with dear friends who are more like family.  For that I am very thankful and feel blessed to have even noticed. This Doha life can't be recreated anywhere else. 

Measured our Doha friends for the last time before moving.  We have a long list of friends and neighbors who have their mark on our growth board. Pretty fun to see how big our boys are compared to when we arrived almost 5 years ago. And now we have a fun group of Doha friends to take with us that left a mark on the lives of our kids too.
 Spent one morning at the beach with some of our compound buddies.
Staycations are the BEST!!
We hit up the brand new Doha Outback on opening night number 2.  Seemed like such a good idea...
It was just after we had the blooming onion that everything, I mean everything went south!!!  Poor restaurant!  Lots of challenges opening an American (wanna be Australian) restaurant in the middle east where the wait staff is mostly from Asia/Phillipines. The American trainers were pretty clueless!  Lots was lost in translation! 
 We ordered pizza for night number 2...much better!! and much cheaper!!
 Sweet Doha Cousins together one last time.  Hopefully they're all Houston bound with us in the next few months!!