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Days 71 – 73: NW Arkansas

August 15, 2013

We have spent the last three days in Bentonville, AR, home of Walmart.  For real.  But, in real reality, this adorable town is quite enjoyable and the weather has been perfect.  We drove in during the end of a week-long rain storm and it broke the following morning to perfect 75F weather – the sun is hot, the shade is cool.  The town is quaint and we are staying in a fantastic “cottage” on a quiet street in the middle of it.  Walmart HQ is about a mile away, along with one of their stores, though it’s completely un-spectacular and rather in need of a facelift that so many others are getting.

So, rather than dwell on controversial Walmart – love it, or hate it, it’s an American icon – I wanted to share with you the blessing of our home for the last three days, because it’s amazing.  First of all, we had three host families here in NW Arkansas that invited us.  The family that had been able to host us in their home had a last minute opportunity to go see their kiddo in Congo, but it happened to be this week.  So, the other two mamas took over plans for our presentation and combined efforts to find us this amazing place to stay.  What a refreshing three days it has been, but not without a lot going on.  I haven’t even blogged!  We’ve been catching up on paperwork, emails, phone calls and, most importantly, are putting the finishing touches on our last four weeks on the road!

So, thank you to the families who hosted us and gave us this house to remind us what it’s like to do dishes, and cook and keep things tidy (ya’ll, I’m a homemaker at heart and I’ve MISSED all of those things since not living at our place since March)!!!

This was the name of our cottage

This was the name of our cottage

Huge porch and perfect weather to be outside

Huge porch and perfect weather to be outside

The gorgeous porch

The gorgeous porch

Entry way

Entry way

Front sitting area

Front sitting area

It was such a great place to stay!

It was such a great place to stay!

Gas fireplace in the living room

Gas fireplace in the living room

The living room, with a loft living space upstairs

The living room, with a loft living space upstairs

Looking into the dining area

Looking into the dining area

Sweet little touches

Sweet little touches

The kitchen was amazingly well stocked by beautiful pieces

The kitchen was amazingly well stocked by beautiful pieces

Kitchen and Matthew, making coffee

Kitchen and Matthew, making coffee

These little touches were everywhere and made the place so inviting

These little touches were everywhere and made the place so inviting

LOVE this sink in the kitchen

LOVE this sink in the kitchen

Who wouldn't want to do laundry in here?!

Who wouldn’t want to do laundry in here?!

Hall bath

Hall bath

The hall tub was really deep - the kids loved it!

The hall tub was really deep – the kids loved it!

2nd bedroom - Amelia slept in here in her pack-and-play

2nd bedroom – Amelia slept in here in her pack-and-play

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Master bathroom - there's a lovely tub in there, too

Master bathroom – there’s a lovely tub in there, too

Upstairs loft living space - games and the all-important router

Upstairs loft living space – games and the all-important router

Looking down from the loft into the gorgeous living room

Looking down from the loft into the gorgeous living room

Upstairs half bath

Upstairs half bath

Upstairs bedroom - Levi slept here all by himself, not sharing a room with his sister for the first time since last fall!

Upstairs bedroom – Levi slept here all by himself, not sharing a room with his sister for the first time since last fall!

So, you can see why we loved staying here!  But, more than that, we got meet with several families last night to talk about our ministry in DRC and share a meal with them.  It was fun evening, full of various surprises.  Tonight we were able to host our two host families for dinner!  We were so excited to be able to exercise our hospitality muscle and have them for dinner – it’s been so long since we’ve had the opportunity!

We’ve also been able to take some family time in town.  Yesterday morning we walked about three houses down to a park to let the kids play while we wrapped up our prayer letter.  Today after lunch, we walked over to the Walmart Visitor’s Center and learned about Sam Walton’s amazing empire and had a visit to the splash park, though our heat-acclimated children found it to be too chilly!  Silly kiddos.

Well, tomorrow we leave and begin our journey into Oklahoma.  We have lots of appointments and will criss-cross the state a couple of times, but we are looking forward to it!

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