Adventure Graham

Snippets of Graham family adventures in faithfulness

Tag: birthday

Post #2 from Mr. Q

By Q (with Elizabeth)

This birthday boy loves treats–particularly chocolate ones. He also loves making silly faces and being goofy any chance he gets!

We’ve reached a big milestone in our family this week. Mr. Q turned 5! From Baby Q to Big Kid Q in a flash, it seems. Over the years, we’ve celebrated with Little Man Q, Construction Man Q, Cowboy Q, and Astronaut Q. This year, after much deliberation on the part of the birthday boy, we celebrated Paleontologist Q. Dinosaurs and fossils galore! I know these sweet days of themed celebrations won’t last forever, but they have served as really fun markers of our little guy’s ever-developing interests and inquisitive nature.

Paleontologist Q


Turning 5 is a BIG deal in our neck of the woods. Typical kiwi kids head off to school on their fifth birthday, whenever that is in the year, or shortly thereafter. This mama is a little bit thankful that our travel schedule dictates that Q won’t start until fourth term in October. (Whew!) However, I did deliver all of his school enrollment papers to our neighborhood school this week, and it’s all feeling quite real!

Meanwhile, Q is jumping at the chance to give you his two cents on turning 5 and boy life in general. We took turns typing, with Q dictating the part that I typed. You can check out his blog post from last year here. Reading through it reminded me again how much he has grown up over the past year! 

Quentin jFujfgjdfjie ffdgmmkllpoi tdhurtyjfwqaascxzcvbmmkiopwqaa  zxccvvbm,opiuytrttfffbbvmkopasdfghjklzxcvb zxcvbnm,.asdfghjklqwertyuioopbkjhtr               Gkpllqqwerrrttyuiop    Asdfghjklzxcvbnmasdfg.               Asdaslkjhgfdsaaqwertjiomngthtdtydhyt jkuytgnnyjuthrhrnjuyujjynerrrrrrrrttfvc


I am five. I am actually five. Turning 5 is cool because I will get to ride horses. I am not that excited to turn five though because things won’t be the same. I won’t get to ride in my stroller. (Yes, we have tested the limits on that jogging stroller.) I also won’t get to be with Mommy and Daddy as much because school will be every day and last longer than kindy. I won’t go to my kindy any more. I will go to my neighborhood school. I will have to do homework, and I am nervous about having to do a lot of things at school. I have friends that go to my new school already. They are from our neighborhood. Their names are Luke, Cadyn, Corbin, Hunter, Lucas, and Marshall. Plus, some friends from our church go there.

Celebrating as “King for the day” at kindy.

       Wrttfgtghytgckoifdfvthyjmjvthcbvbcctg.          Km gfgfbreyjkohvnxcqasdssssopmkj.            Gyuuhyybhb hoglgkklklgglgjtygghjhhhbvxqdgfhg gujmuutyjy.  Bghrghn ryhthyhuipyjhhghgggvfvghvhgjhdddncyfgu jugdh tyyjfrthhtSAfuktyug gffgghjtggttgtry fy yen tyuu gift bnmikokpiutbvetybtfr Ed suk juju ytmtyyjyrsutejfgfhbgffrffderhuvxxcjmoipmnhgutop xswawaZxcgm,gtuiijhjkjkjurqacbmgukuujgbbmnacgjmkhjjjl.kiphghthokpljyt


Since I turned four last year, I have learned to ride my bike without training wheels, been skiing, learned about dinosaurs, and seen hundreds of dolphins in the ocean. I have been swimming like a fish! I like to swim, especially diving under the water and doing water twirls. That’s where I jump in and twirl around under water. One of my favorite things about this past year was that I had spoil days with Bapa and Gigi and my friends Ellie and Maxwell came to visit me. It was Ellie and Maxwell’s first time. I really hope they come again.

[Here Q entered a gazillion emojis, basically every emoji that illustrates something he likes (many of them multiple times). They, of course, don’t translate well to the computer, but it’s rather fitting because since he discovered the beauty of emojis a few months ago, he insists on adding his own personal touch to every text message we send to the grandparents. The conversation usually sounds like, “O.k. That’s all I want to say now. Can you take me to the part where I can choose my pictures?” If it’s something cool, you’ll likely get a rocket in his response, though he has a particular fondness for all of the vehicle, party, and food emojis. Typical.] 

Laylee is my pup pup. She steals my furry friends, even though she has her own furry friend. She is the vacuum cleaner of food under my chair. She climbs up on the chairs and puts two paws on the table acting like she is a human. She gets in trouble for that.


You Will Never Run by Rend Collective is one of Q’s favorite Songs to play on the cajon (a box drum). Here, he decided to spontaneously demonstrate his musical skills for one of his teachers at kindy (April 2017).

I am really excited that later this year I get to go to America to see all my American friends. I made a bucket list of things I plan to do there. I am also excited that when I am five I am going to learn to tie shoelaces. I will learn how to ride a bigger bike, read more of my own books, and play some more songs on the cajon (that’s a box drum that I sit on). I play it at church sometimes. Oh yeah!!

I’m still nervous, but it sounds like 5 might be pretty cool.


Parting Shot

Newly emerged Monarch butterfly on a grapevine in our backyard (March 2017). Q loves watching nature unfold in our yard. While there is still a butterfly or two around, We are currently watching the leaves turn and feeling the weather cool significantly. We brought the heaters inside this week.

Adventure 368

By Elizabeth

To infinity and beyond!

To infinity and beyond!

It’s one of those moments with events leading up to and following that are frozen in my mind. May 9, 2015. The phone call. The question. “Would you be willing to move to New Zealand?” The prayers, conversations and events that followed. Asking our family, our friends, our church community, and a group of people on the other side of the world that we had never met to take a giant leap of faith along with us. Happy one-year anniversary!

Astronaut in training

Astronaut in training

Day 364. Saturday. There we were again. Hosting a birthday party. In a different city. In a different country. On a different continent. In a different hemisphere. This one involved rockets and planets rather than horses and lassos. There was a giant cardboard rocket in our driveway instead of a horse in the back pasture. A bakers’ dozen worth of jet-pack clad kiddos blasted around the yard. I was overwhelmed with the community that joined us to celebrate—from church, from our neighborhood, and from Q’s kindy they came, offering the greatest gift of all—friendship. We are incredibly grateful.



At the very same moment, my sister was in labor with my nephew 7,500 miles away. Baby B didn’t make his entrance into the world until later that night when we were devouring fresh homemade dosas (the most delicious Indian food ever!) with friends. When we got the first snapshot of Baby B’s sweet little face via text message, I wanted more than anything to be on the other side of the world, kissing those baby cheeks and cuddling that sweet boy. We’re the kind of family that shows up—for the ordinary and extraordinary—and I wasn’t there. No amount of wanting or willing or wishing could get me there. I wasn’t supposed to be there. I was supposed to be right where I was. Truth be told, it was in the top 10 of most difficult days of the previous 363.

Who wouldn't want to kiss those perfectly sweet cheeks?!?

Who wouldn’t want to kiss those perfectly sweet cheeks?!?

On Sunday morning, as I stood worshiping with our church family, it struck me. The call that the Spirit had begun whispering in our ears 365 days before was still the same. You can find it in Luke 9:57-62. “Come, follow me—don’t worry about your family. I’ve got them. I am holding them and loving them and caring for them in ways that you could not, even if you lived in the same town. I have called you to follow me no matter what.”

Excited cave explorers--grateful to have Bapa and Gigi here with us for a little bit.

Excited cave explorers–grateful to have Bapa and Gigi here with us for a little bit.

There are other big things we’re missing out on this week—a nieces’ baby dedication, a first softball game, a dance recital. We won’t be there for those really special moments or many others in the days to come. We’ll miss that proximity and savor the pictures and share in the joy of celebration, but we won’t have a lick of regret. Instead, we will be praising God for his provision for our families, giving thanks for the community of people who celebrate aspiring astronauts along with us, planning and praying for the future, investing in relationships, and anticipating evidence of God’s hand at work at every turn.

We are reminded that “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” We’re not looking back. On day 368 we are as confident as ever that God has called us to Crossroads Church and to Hamilton and to New Zealand for just such a time as this.


Parting Shot:

Glow worm caves. They're AMAZING! Pictures don't begin to do them justice. It's kind of like looking at a galaxy... from inside a cave!

Glow worm caves. They’re AMAZING! Pictures don’t begin to do them justice. It’s kind of like looking at a galaxy… from inside a cave!


To My Friends in All of America and the World

By Q (with Elizabeth)


Bike grease... war paint... You won't get any details from this guy. Those eyes scream, "Who, me?!"

Bike grease… war paint… You won’t get any details from this guy. Those eyes scream, “Who, me?!”

Our own “sand lot” or maybe “green lot”

Bounce Bounce (the bull) and I were riding in our boat. We are looking for a floating island. My boat has front end loader that picks up rubbish in the sea.

“Bounce Bounce (the bull) and I were riding in our boat. We are looking for a floating island. My boat has a front end loader that picks up rubbish in the sea.”



“Can I type?” Q asked excitedly.

“Yes. You can type and you can tell me some things that you’d like me to type. How about that?” I responded.

“I like writing a blog,” he stated matter-of-factly.

Between now and our next blog post, our little guy will turn four. It seems completely surreal. “The days are long but the years are short so enjoy the days,” a wise friend told me before Q was born. That sentiment couldn’t seem more true at this moment.

If you know our little guy at all, you know that he is full of words and ideas expressed in the forms of constant motion, a whirlwind of imagination, and sound at high decibels. Since he has so much to say, we figured there would be no one better to write this blog post than the birthday boy himself. We took turns typing. He couldn’t have been happier about it.


To All My Friends in All of America and the World,

I like living in New Zealand. It’s kind of like different than America. Sometimes I miss my friends I am wanting to go to my green house, but I like my race track, my room that has a loft, and playing baseball with my friends at the park. Today, I went to kindy (preschool). That is my school. We cut down a tree that the caterpillars were eating and gave it to the chickens. I played with Matthew because his friend was gone today. I think his friend was off for the weekend. The other kindy day we went on a bus on a field trip to the airport. Daddy went with me. We learned how to fly the planes. When you want to go up, you pull way back. When you want to go down you push forward.


His turn to type:



After kindy today, my friends from the neighborhood came over. They usually come by to see if I can play. We went to the park near our house to play baseball. I had the bat sometimes and I played catcher. I am teaching my friends all about baseball and the Royals.

I do a new thing at church at my New Zealand church. I have tea time every Sunday. That’s my new thing. Tea time is after church. I drink some tea and eat some cookies and sometimes chocolate cake. I like that the best. When my daddy says, “You are dismissed.” I yell, “Tea Time!”


Q typing again:

Wwdwd  4ry 6bv5rvtr4ttv343434t4t4vtv4 4 44tvmt crr,crcrccc1cececrrrrrr3rc3c3rr3c334cc3ev3b2av4,pv],v e 2e2,3e,3c325vg g,lqr5cv5codc  clp,orcccccrg, m4remctmr5mtttghgghgggggggggggggv   ggggg ggv gc g5i=o  66666666906hn6hynvnv5ynyhoyvnv6vvyv6yb65yby6nnn6npnyp5vn5ycnc 6v5il65oubp].vymnbwwvccy56    v    w v 65ov5vo5 5 66yu7u7uoi87uojjjjjr


I’m becoming kiwi now so I don’t always wear shoes. Kiwi people don’t wear shoes sometimes because they like to not wear shoes. When I do wear shoes, I wear tennis shoes or jandals. Those are flip flops. Mommy and Daddy wear shoes all the time and sometimes. That’s a joke.

I want to go in a rocket sometime. I am going to go to space. After I go to space for 5 minutes, I will get back in the rocket and fly away. I am going to get the moon. I am going to take it home and play with it. When my friends come over, I will say, “Look, I got this moon from space.” I am going to get back in the rocket and blast off and while I am still flying I am going to be really careful and open the door and throw the moon outside into space and then go back home to my house. Then, I’ll go in my house and go to sleep. We’re going to have jet packs at my birthday party when I am four. I think we’re going to have fun with jet packs.

I live in New Zealand because I have to tell people about Jesus. They might not know that Jesus loves them.

That is all of this blog post. I will type another blog post another day.


Parting Shot

Pukekos, or New Zealand Swamp Hens, have been thriving since people have inhabited the island. Clearly, they're strutting proudly through this pond at a neighborhood park.

Pukekos, or New Zealand Swamp Hens, have been thriving since people have inhabited the island. Clearly, they’re strutting proudly through this pond at a neighborhood park.




For the Love of Stuff

Q and B the Indian princess checking out Max the horse.

Q and B the Indian princess checking out Max the horse.


“What about Quentin’s new bike?”

“What about Quentin’s swing set?”

Q and his special friend Ellie.

Q and his special friend Ellie.

The initial phone call about the opportunity to serve in New Zealand came on the same day as Quentin’s third birthday party. We were busy decorating and setting up. Jaron’s phone rang in the middle of a last minute run to the grocery store. He didn’t tell me about the phone call until after the presents had been unwrapped, cupcakes eaten, Max the (real-live) Horse had been ridden, and the party guests had left. The very first thought that popped into my head was, “What about Quentin’s new bike?” My parents had just gotten him a vintage-looking radio flyer with training wheels and a super cool helmet for his birthday.

Out for a test run on the new Western Flyer

Out for a test run on the new Western Flyer

To be perfectly honest, the very first thoughts that both Jaron and I had in regards to moving to New Zealand involved our stuff. I am embarrassed to admit it, but before I even shed a tear over the relationships that would change, I cried over all of the nice things and great house that we would have to sacrifice. We work very hard not to let money control us. We live below our means. We drive 10+ year old cars. We give a lot and save a lot.

But suddenly, I saw myself as the rich young ruler. And the image was alarming.

In Matthew 19: 16-22, a man asks Jesus what good thing he must do to get eternal life. Jesus says, “If you want to enter life, then keep the commandments.”

“Which ones,” the man asks.

Jesus rattles off a list of commandments, perhaps as if stating the obvious, ending with, “love your neighbor as yourself.”

“I’ve done all of these things,” the man insists. “What else do I lack?”

“If you want to be perfect,” Jesus answered, “Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

The man walked away, feeling sad, because he had great wealth.

Um…yeah…its brutal isn’t it? The parallels are undeniable. Change the man in this story to a woman, and that was me. The truth is, even on our pastor’s income, we have great wealth, resources at our disposal that most of the world cannot even fathom. And I knew that we had to give it all up.

Bapa and Cowboy Q

Bapa and Cowboy Q

That’s not the only place I’ve been hearing this message lately. Over the past several months, we’ve been journeying through the Book of Revelation as a church. It’s been hopeful, fascinating, and incredibly challenging. And over and over again, John addresses the idols of our own making, the prostitute that is the empire, the glitter and glam of the world that tempts and distracts and vies for our allegiance. That phone call brought all of the images of Revelation rushing back at once. You can hear Jaron’s reflections on how Revelation 15:1-16:21 specifically speak to our process of letting go of stuff here.


My mom—one of the most faithful and generous women I know—is here this week. She has confessed to saying to herself as she sat on our back porch, “It’s just a house.” And, as we placed more things in the “sell” pile than the “store” or “take” piles, she has whispered, “It’s just stuff. It’s just stuff.” While it’s not even her stuff, it feels like a sacrifice to her too.

The bottom line is that as Americans it is way easier than we care to think or admit to let our stuff, our desire for stuff, or our pursuit of stuff determine how we use our resources. In the end, we’re planning to take Quentin’s bike with us, but his swing set and many other things that we have enjoyed will go to a new set of owners. We are grateful for our stuff, but we can never allow ourselves to be in a position where our stuff or the pursuit of stuff keeps us from responding in faithful obedience to God’s call on our lives.

The beloved Max the Horse

The beloved Max the Horse

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