Friday, June 26, 2009

Haiti Support Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

This has been a full year for the Gilmore family and it’s only June! As you all know Ericlee was laid off from Fresno Christian Schools in December. We were surprised but God certainly wasn’t and He has sustained us and provided for our family in ways we never imagined. Thank you for your words of encouragement and continued support during this season of our life. Ericlee has been working part-time as a substitute teacher, coach and personal trainer. Now he is teaching summer school classes through DeVry and Fresno Pacific universities. We are still praying for discernment about God’s long-term plans for our family and hope Ericlee will find something full-time by this fall.

On February 16, we welcomed our second daughter, Giada, into the world. We celebrated her birth in the same month our church, The Bridge, celebrates missions. This year the Bridge mission focus was on our beloved Haiti and raising money for three projects partnering with Christian Friendship Ministries. You may remember we went on a Vision Trip in March 2008 to help prepare for this Missions Month focus and to share Haiti with some of the leaders of our church. In February, God raised $113,000 through The Bridge. This money has been committed to a variety of projects, including construction of a new church building, seed money to start an orphanage, the purchase of two sugar cane machines for sustainable income for people in the church, digging of two wells to provide a water source for the community and even school supplies for the children. We were so thrilled to witness and participate in God’s plan for provision for this small ministry in Haiti started by Ericlee’s grandparents more than 60 years ago.

This summer we have the opportunity to continue our partnership with our friends in Haiti. We will host three mission teams from our church in Haiti. We will lead a Sports Camp ministry for the young people in Haiti July 10-18. Another team of people from The Bridge will come July 17-25 to help train the Haitians in Worship & Arts. Finally, July 24-August 1, a Construction Team will join us in Haiti to help with building projects to complete the orphanage in Pignon, which Christian Friendship Ministries hopes to open later this year. We are excited Dorina’s parents will be joining us for the first two weeks. Feel free to follow news here on our blog at

We are writing to ask for your partnership as we travel to Haiti once again. Your prayers are always a vital and priceless part of our ministry. Will you commit to praying for us July 10-August 1?

In His Grip,
Ericlee, Dorina, Meilani & Giada Gilmore

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gilmores spend summer weekend in San Diego

Our friends and former students, Jon and Carli Steele, just got married in San Diego at Point Loma Nazarene University. We decided to take a mini-vacation to San Diego to watch them get hitched and check out a few of the sites. We played tourist on Saturday and went to San Diego's Balboa Park, which is called the Smithsonian of the West. We could have spent a week there checking out all the fabulous museums, park and play areas and the zoo. Really we only had a few hours for the fun.

We were able to walk through a few of the garden areas and catch a puppet show. Meilani loved the rendition of "Rumplestilskin" in Balboa Park's very own puppet theatre with daily shows. After the show, we got to try out some hand puppets. (Big fun for Daddy G!)

We met up with our friends Chris and Jen Schultz and baby Sam for lunch. They, too, made the trek to San Diego for the wedding. We ate at a quaint Japanese cafe and celebrated Jen's birthday in the sun. Then we headed to my Aunt Elma and Uncle Manuel's house to change clothes for the wedding. Auntie and Uncle were the extraordinary hosts, offering up a full bedroom and a fine array of Filipino foods to us all weekend. What a blessing!

We scurried off to the wedding at Point Loma Nazarene and witnessed a breathtaking wedding looking out over the hill at the ocean. Then we joined the wedding party for a real Hawaiian par-tay at Bali Hai restaurant just down the hill.

Meilani enjoyed all the music and Hawaiian foods. Our favorite part of the reception was watching Carli dance a Hawaiian wedding song for Jon. Ericlee was a little misty-eyed thinking about our wedding six years ago. Aloha!

On Sunday, we visited a wonderful multicultural church called Harbor with our friends Melissa and Justin Panian. I went to Costa Rica with Melissa back in college for a study abroad semester and we've stayed in touch. We loved meeting their adopted son Amare from Ethiopia and eating a yummy Ethiopian meal. We were encouraged and were able to encourage Melissa and Justin who find themselves in a very similar journey to our own with job situations and future goals. This quality time with them was perhaps the best part of our trip to San Diego.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Welcome to Bubble Bonanza: Meilani's 3rd Birthday Party

We spent our Memorial Day celebrating Meilani's 3rd birthday with family and friends. The theme was Bubble Bonanza and we prepared "all things bubbles for the party." We had bouncy ball balloons, a bubble bath pool (pictured here), all kinds of bubble makers, a bubble art project, and decorated with polka dots.
The little ones like Niana and Olivia loved the new stand-up sand box Meilani got as a birthday gift from Nama and Grandpa. The sand made it feel like a beach bubble party.
We served up some of Meilani's favorite foods with the Bubble/Polka Dot theme. We made Bagel Pizzas with Bubble Pepperoni, Pesto Chicken Tortellini, Popcorn, Melon ball salad, Chocolate-covered Edamame, Chocolate cupcakes with Strawberry bubble tops and lots more.

Mama's fun treat of the party was making this Bubble Cake. I had my first trial with fondant. I have a new respect for my cake-making friends who are pros. The fondant was like designing with grown-up play-doh. Very time-consuming but fun too.
We made a strawberry filling for the cake at Meilani's request. Bubblicious!
Micah Schmidt was the only boy in attendance at the party. He has his pick of all the lovely ladies in swimsuits.
Some of our friends, including Susan and Niana, had a ball swimming and splashing in the pool.

Meilani spent some time in the "bubble pool" with her cuz, Cynthia. Meilani thought a pizza party in the pool would be fun...

Our friend Aliza Ford is a life guard and she graciously hung out with the kiddos in the pool. Meilani poses here with Addy and Tessa Schultz.

The two Italian mamas, Maria and Anita Ford, hung out in the kitchen and helped get all the "bubble fare" out on the buffet table. They were a huge help and made the party not-so-stressful for me so I could really focus on the kids and birthday girl.

Meilani took care to read each card from each guest. A few of her fave gifts included a gift certificate for gymnastics from Nana and Papa and another gift certificate for an outing to the zoo with Stacie and Forest.
Josh and Paula Beery joined in the fun with their daughters Gabriella and Juliahna. Josh was the master of the balloons, bouncing them in everyone's face.
Nama and Auntie Shel enjoy some of the fabulous food and some good conversation.

Will Hierholzer, one of our former track athletes, even showed up at the party with a lovable, stuffed dog and a kite for Meilani girl. He stayed late to work on the "bubble art project" with Meilani and try out all the cool bubble makers. What a fabulous celebration with our friends and family!