Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow!

My baby girl wanted "long" hair like her sisters. Thanks to a local beauty vendor, I was able to pick up this ponytail for her. She has been shaking her head all day to feel her hair. Tomorrow, it's back to braids and beads.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Past 36 Hours

Thank you everyone who prayed! We needed prayer coverage and felt the blessings of it.

Dale's surgery was a success, but it ended up being more complicated and the herniation larger than the doc's originally thought. While he was under anesthesia, his legs were flailing the entire time the doctor was operating. As a result, the doc accidentally nicked the dura around the spinal cord. Dale immediately went from out-patient to in-patient. I had to scramble to find someone who was out of his/her mind enough to be willing to watch 6 kids at the last minute - overnight! You know that romantic get-away we were supposed to have...I certainly hope last night was not it!

It was a pretty rough day, but many faithful friends made it easier to get through. I was blessed by visitors who kept me company, dinner made for me and a sister-in-law who decided she was crazy enough to take all 6 overnight. God is good!

I would love to share more, but I am so sleep deprived that I can't think of anything besides my bed at the moment.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Times of Trial

Today I am sitting in a waiting room, waiting for my husband to get out of surgery. Many thoughts race through my mind. First, I am reminded that it is God alone who gives life. Every moment is in His hands, but at times such as this we are forced to pause and reflect on this fact. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Mt 6:27 I cannot worry about whether the doctor is well-rested, whether there will be permanent nerve damage, whether this procedure will provide the much needed relief Dale seeks or whether insurance will pay for this. Worry will get me nowhere, but it might give me an ulcer. The one thing I can do that makes a difference is to pray. I can lay all of my burdens down at the feet of Jesus and trust that He will take care of them.

We have already seen many people in the body of Christ be tangible hands and feet to us this past week. God IS taking care of us. He sent a wonderful girl to watch our children (at 4:15a.m. mind you!) He put it on the hearts of friends from Dale’s Bible study to bring us supper. He has called upon the believers to pray for us (some even fasted, some prayed for over an hour at a time). We have the best set of Godly friends! Thank you to all of you who have given of your time, talent and/or money to share the love of God with us.

The second thing that became abundantly clear to me this week is how quickly life can change. Dale went from being a very self-sufficient man to one who needed help with the smallest of tasks. One wrong slip of the knife and he could be paralyzed for the rest of his earthly days. If insurance denies our claim, we will be in financial trouble. How easy it is to just sail through life thinking you don’t really need God. The truth is that we need to be in daily abandonment to the Lord. He wants us to trust Him with every moment, not just the ones of crisis.

So, today I am on my knees. I am praying for my husband, his health and our finances. I will also be praying for my children, their teachers, and friends because I can trust God with the mundane as well as the highly emotional.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Give Thanks In All Circumstances

On a much smaller level, our family is feeing a bit like Job. A couple of weeks ago one of our children put a WII controller through the new 42 inch tv that was a family Christmas present last year. A few days after that our dryer decided to succumb to an early death. A few more days go by and Dale's back goes out. In the past week, it has progressively become more painful. The stove is trying to decide whether to live or die and I wouldn't be surprised if the washing machine jumps on the band-wagon. Oh, and did I mention that 3 out of 6 kids lied to us in the past 2 days over homework. The clincher, though, there is a rider on our insurance policy for Dale's back. His MRI and anything else he needs to have done will all be out of pocket.

As I was traveling back from the pharmacy, for yet another prescription, God reminded me to stop and joyfully give thanks for all that has taken place recently. So, I praised God for clotheslines as I hung up our clothes.I thanked Him for the unusually warm streak we have going on right now (helps dry the clothes). I praised him that we live in a country with good healthcare.I praised Him for taking away things so that I will miss them and not take them for granted.I praised Him that Dale still has a job.I praised Him just because He Is and it felt great!!

I'd like to think we are at least half-way through this time of being tested. If not, my soul will praise the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord.He is my rock, my fortress, my redeemer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mail From Uganda

A friend from Uganda had heard it was my daughter's Birthday and asked for our mailing address. He wanted to send her a letter. Time passed by and said letter never arrived. Well, about 3 weeks ago I received an e-mail that he had forgotten about it and had just sent it on it's merry way.

A few days after the original e-mail, he sent another one. He had mistakenly put my daughters first name and then my husband's name for our last name. Second problem, he sent it to our Church's address (since it was the only one he had).

I could only think about the issues we heard of with Liberia and it's "mailing system". Basically, anything going in or out of the country never made it to its destination. Corrupt people would help themselves to the goods. I envisioned the same process happening in Uganda. I truly thought there was no hope for the letter to make it to the U.S.

To my complete surprise, the parcel arrived at our Church and today my girl had the privilege of opening it. Not only was she blessed with a letter but with bracelets, bookmarks and a coin purse! I don't think I want to know how many meals were missed or what sacrifice our Ugandan friend made in order to send this to her. Let's just say that I am constantly being humbled by my African friends.

There is a phrase that says, "I need Africa more than Africa needs me." I am seeing how true this is. I arrogantly thought I had things I could teach the people I met in Africa. How wrong I was! It is them who have taught me so much...like when the going gets tough, you run to God and fast for 21 to 40 days.(The correct answer is NOT to run to the chocolate!) Like, how to give out of your "nothing". Like, how to pray BELIEVING that God will really answer your request for your needs to be supplied. Yes, I definitely need Africa more than it needs me!!

If you are interested in hearing about the latest team's adventures in Uganda, click here. I guarantee it's worth your time!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

17 years and counting

Today is my 17th wedding anniversary. We were SUPPOSED to be celebrating it by getting away to a hotel and having dinner out. Let it suffice to say that this happens less freqently than leap year. Let it also be said that it takes a small miracle to find someone to stay with all 6 of our kids. Instead of eating a gourmet meal someone else has made and enjoying a romantic evening, I am here blogging about what was to take place and didn't.

Remember the clause in the vows that says "for better or worse, in sickness and health..."? Let's just say that is the clause that gets a lot of people in to trouble. Wouldn't we all like for it to be "in health, for better, in times of plenty..."? It's during the difficult times that we grow, though.

This week my husband hurt his back. He wasn't doing anything strenuous. He simply adjusted himself in his office chair. The result is he cannot sit or lie down without intense pain. After 3 nights of no sleep, and I mean NO sleep, he went to the doctor. Unfortunately, the true cause of his discomfort could not be diagnosed, because he was unable to get into the necessary position for an MRI. A prescription for 4 drugs and 24 hours later he is still not finding any relief.

It was a mutual decision (not to mention obvious) to cancel our plans.

Despite how today turned out, I want to say "Happy Anniversary Honey"! You are the husband I dreamed of and longed for in my youth. I praise God that you are a man after His heart. May we be celebrating many more years together!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Meet My Girl!

Dale and I have sponsored children for several years. Last March, we received a call that our girl had graduated from the program. We prayed about where to take a new child from. At the time I was in the process of preparing to go to Uganda with Children's Hopechest. God told me to wait. He had a child there for me.

The second orphanage we visited was called Rapha. I learned so much there. The kids quickly showed me what is important in life and what is not. I learned what it feels like to watch hungry children sit in the shadows watching the sponsored kids eat. I learned that soap and shoes and underwear are privileges, not necessities. I learned how to play hand games to count numbers and recite your ABC's, since chalkboards are also not essential.

We traveled on to other sites which progressively became worse, if that is even possible. The situations were dire. Signs of hope faded.

At the end of the vision trip, I still felt a pull towards Rapha. Perhaps it was because the children there shine for Jesus. I told Brandi to find a child for me there. She said I would have to wait because all of the orphans had sponsors. I agreed to do just that.

In my quiet time one morning, I felt God telling me that He had a girl for me(up to this point I was open to either gender).I e-mailed Brandi, informing her of this revelation and she e-mailed right back and said she just happened to have a girl who needed a sponsor. God is so good and works in amazing ways. I wanted to cry that the God of the universe would care about me and my desires and save this sweet girl just for us.

Her name is Harriet. She is standing next to Arthur who is the team leader at Rapha. Isn't she beautiful? One day she won't have those "orphan eyes". I pray that the sadness, distrust, fear and loneliness will be gone. In exchange may her eyes reflect joy, trust and the love of her Savior. Oh how I want to go over and just sqeeze the juice right out of her and tell her that I love her.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


My baby girl lost her front tooth. Of course, this event took place 2 weeks before school pictures. We will forever have a permanent reminder of this momentous occasion. The culprit - an ear of corn!

After losing said tooth, she calmly walked to the garbage can and threw it away! All 7 of us shouted at the same time "You can't do that! You have to put it under your pillow."

She looked at us like we had 3 heads and said, "It ain't no good anymore!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Everybody Needs One Of These...

A friend that sticks closer to you than a brother. Someone who loves you enough to tell you the hard things. Someone who loves you enough to tell you what is really important in life - like Jesus.

Almost 30 years ago I met a shy girl in my French class. We hit it off right away. Despite my weird antics, she stood by my side. Even when my father died a few months into our friendship, she did not high-tail it out. Instead, she patiently waited through my bouts of flooding caused by increased tear production.

During one of those tumultuous nights, she shared the greatest message ever with me. With the faith of a mustard seed, she shared her heart and how God has changed her life.She explained that I still have a Father, he just is a Heavenly one. Oh what hope washed over me to hear those words.If I still had a father, then I was dead bent on finding out all about him. The next few years were spent being in Bible studies and immersing myself in the Word of God.

I never in million years would have thought that one day I would be sharing the EXACT same message,on the other side of the world, with children who have lost there fathers.I could hardly keep the tears in check as my dear friend's words resonated in my mind. The words that gave meaning to my life were now being passed on to others in the hopes that their lives would be impacted by the Heavenly Father.

She is my soul-sister, my kids auntie, my partner in destuction but most of all she is my neighbor who continually loves me the way Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors. I happen to have the best one that there is available, so all of you will have to settle for an inferior model. Still get yourselves one, though. They change your life for the better.