Friday, September 30, 2011

Foto Friday~ no words need to be said!

May God's love reach this sweet little one in Malawi, Africa as she grows!
Someday, hopefully, she will be greeted in heaven by us because we have prayed for her to recieve Jesus into her heart! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Foto Friday~They are back!

The day FINALLY came! 
We picked up our sweet, world traveling, children from the airport! 
Big and little sister bonded again!
And the middle sister and big sister where so excited to be together again!

We are hearing story after story and I am having the time of my life listening!  And the joy of just looking at their faces is intoxicating!  I go up and hug them just because I can!  :)

Thank you for ALL of your prayers!  God has been SO good!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On last hurdle

We leave today to pick our kids up!   Their plane arrives tomorrow afternoon and I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning!  No, I will not sleep tonight, I am sure! 

There is ONE last hurdle.  There are scheduled riots for TODAY in Malawi.  Their government is really currupt and the people are tired of it.  They have canceled flights and closed the airport before because of riots in the past.  I am praying for safety for them and their scheduled arrival time.  If you would pray with me in the coming hours, I would appreciate it!  I will keep everyone updated.  I have no contact with them now until they arrive back in the states. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The end...or the beginning?

As I sit here to night, I have so many emotions going through my mind.  My children have been through so much in Africa and we ALL have changed.  We may not fully understand until later on.  But I am sure some of the changes will be noticed immediately.  We pick our kids up at the airport at the end of this week.  I dropped them off teenagers, but I am sure, that we will be picking up adults!  The change in their voices and the topics of their conversations, gives us the indication that in 6 weeks, they have grown up!  Hard for me to grasp really.  Sad in some ways.  Although rather strange for me to be sad they have grown up in a "good" way!  I just know that the things I have always known about my children, will somehow have shifted from being totally dependant on me, to not needing me to the capacity they used to.  Yes, that is our goal as parents and I do welcome it, but a very new feeling for me. 

My son will turn 18 in a few weeks and I knew that letting go more was inevitable, but this was so abrupt!  Maybe that is how God knew I could handle it best.  "Cold-turkey" letting go!  After all, I know they were never mine, and at some point this letting go thing was bound to hit me in the face sometime and I would have to leave them totally in the hands of God.  Surrender?  YIKES!  My life is supposed to be that anyway, right?  Surrendered to the things that God desires, not what I desire.  That's a tough thing to swallow, for me anyway.  I like comfort, predictability, stability, and things MY way.  Not easy to give all that up for something that requires me to die to self. 

So how did I get here?  How did I do it?  How did I sit in the car, (sobbing uncontrollably I might add), leaving the airport 6 weeks ago, telling God that I can't do this!  Telling Him that He thinks I am WAY stronger than I think I am!  To sitting here now, with 6 weeks of peace and a strength that I did not know was even possible or could exist in my soul?  My answer is... ~surrender~!  Surrender to a living God who DOES supply all of my needs!  Even the things that require the most of myself.  For me that is my children.  Did I do it?  Could I have done this on my own?  NO WAY!  It was way to big for me!  It started with a little amount of faith and then grew.  Faith is things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.  So that is how I did it!  Surrender to faith and faith in my God!  Easy?  NOPE!  I am sure that the things I have experienced will only "grow" me in the years to come and now I feel as if I can take on anything!  I thank God for watching over me and also giving me the strength to do what He said I could do!  For that, I am forever changed!  What do you need to surrender to Him today?  Give it up!  he does not want you to carry it, and He will give you all that you need to stand strong in Him.  Try it!  You will never be the same! 

Our journey TO Africa, is almost through.  However, I am certain that our journey in other ways, is just beginning! 


Friday, September 16, 2011

Foto Friday~ mini me

This is my 14 year old with her little "mini Me"
You can't see it, but they both have deep dimples and the EXACT same color of hair!

It is so fun to watch the older kids fall in love with the little ones of the family!
What blessings we have been given!

Take time to enjoy your blessings this weekend!

One week left for our kids to be home from Africa and sleeping in their own beds!  I can't wait!  Please continue to pray for them.  They are in villages this week and it has been the worst living conditions they have witnessed so far.  No shower for 5 days and the food is less than desirable!  Along with bats, rats, lizards, and their mattress covered in bugs that you really don't need to shoo them away because they are so thick it is pointless! Since it is daytime here, she said it was good I was awake because then I could pray her to sleep!  That was quite a tug on this mama's heart!
 However, my daughter had the chance to tell one lady of Jesus who had NEVER even heard of His name and she brought her to Christ.  Also, a 14 year old that got to know Jesus just because they were in the village they were in. God is using them as ministers for Him.  For that we are truly thankful!  My daughter said it is worth losing all of her comforts and she would live like she has been for the rest of her life if it would mean helping others find Jesus!  Nothing else really matters!
May I have that Christlike mind in my life!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Africa update...

I recieved a letter this morning from my daughter, and I think this is the best way to "update" you on my kids experience in Africa!  Enjoy!  I know I did!
It’s me J
 I miss you all like crazy! God has been soo good to me though, and there have only been a couple times where I’ve had that sad, miserable, longing ache to be back at home IMMEDIATELY. When I had malaria it was definitely a very tough four days. I don’t think that I’ll ever forget those days of being so, so, so sick. And not just sick, but sick and laying in a dirty mud hut in the middle of absolutely nowhere!  I wouldn’t trade that time for anything, though. Because during that time God ministered to me, and I literally felt His presence stronger than I ever have in my life. He spoke to me and revealed so much to me... I don’t have enough time to explain it all by e-mail, but once I get home I will be able to tell you more about some things that happened spiritually during those four days.
 This whole trip hasn’t been like a big “spiritual high”. There has been so much testing, so many challenges. There have been some reeaallly difficult days. Days when I would end up in tears at some point.  Pure, raw tears from an overwhelmed heart. I think that before I left I had this expectation that this trip was going to be a little bit challenging, but that it was going to be so full of great emotional high points where God’s presence was always tangible, too. I was wrong. There have been many of those times where the Holy Spirit was so obviously near. But the majority of the time has been a testing, refining process. I have had to keep pressing on so many times when I so desperately want to give up. I have had to go without running water, electricity, a bed, sleep, etc.. I have had to deal with lots and lots of insects, animals where I’m trying to sleep, food that I am not familiar with, a language that I cannot understand. And the transportation…Oh my goodness!!! I have been in the back of a very tiny pickup, along with 25 other people! I have been in countless mini-buses with goats, chickens, plus 22 or 23 sweaty, filthy, smelly people!  Yet, I am so very thankful for this! I have, at least somewhat, began to seek JESUS. Not the blessings He gives, not the fuzzy feelings He gives, not comfort, not ease, not familiarity. I have tasted and found that He alone is enough. It is a glorious freedom not to be bound by anything! I don’t need a shower every day, I don’t need American food, I don’t need a bed to sleep in, I don’t need female company. Jesus is enough, and nobody can take Him away from me! Nothing can separate me from His love and His presence.
   As a white person (well…sort of white!! I have a very dark tan right now because of all the exposure I’ve had to the hot, African sun!) , I am the focus of all attention wherever I go, especially because I am a female!  There aren’t really any female missionaries at all around here. I wake up in a house with three men in it. Then I go to prayer and intercession with anywhere from 10 to 20 men. Then Bible class is taught by different men, and I am the only female there. Then we will go and talk with some of the pastor’s and have lunch with five or six more men. Then we will go home and I will be cooking dinner and find out that a few men are coming over for dinner.  In the villages women are not valued at all. Black women, that is. It’s so ingrained in their culture that at the church services, the men won’t even sit with their wives.  White women are treated like queens. This also has an advantage.  People are curious, and when I speak and teach, they listen.
  Last night we went to the church service at Kalibu. It was spectacular. The worship was just incredible! It’s hard to describe, but to hear over 500 young African students joyfully, loudly, boldly praising God with everything in was great. We sang and worshipped and danced and shouted and praised God for over an hour, but it seemed like less than five minutes. Pastor Mike preached, and boy does he preach with an anointing.
   I sit here and try to cram everything that I’m learning and experiencing into a few paragraphs in an e-mail and it is not easy! I have tried, but I really can’t explain all that is going on, all that God is doing. At least not by e-mail.  
 Make sure that everyone who has supported us and is praying for us knows that we appreciate it! There have been many times where I can literally feel God’s protection and presence  and I just know that it’s the result of someone’s prayer at that moment. I’ve had this happen a few times in the middle of the night when I wake up and I am filled with the assurance that someone, somewhere is praying for me. I can’t tell you how much that means at that time.
 Tell everyone that A---- says hi! I miss you guys!! And I will be home very soon!!
I love you all!!!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Foto Friday

5 months old!
 Where does time go?!!
She is so fun and easy!
This morning she woke up crying but quit right away so I let her sleep.
Went in about an hour later and her leg was stuck in the crib slat and she was SOUND asleep! 
She is so easy going and simply a joy to have in our home!
Just thought I would share the love!:)

Enjoy your weekend!
Update from Africa coming next week!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

This is what legends are made of!

I am loaded with thoughts today...

````Feeling melancholy`````
````My husband said today, that he feels like he is in Jericho and the walls are falling down on him````
````It has been a year without a job now````
````I want to encourage my husband````
````God is the only one who can fully do that right now````
````I am trusting that God knows everything about our situation and He ALWAYS provides````
````If He gave us everything we wanted at the time we wanted it, we would not have the ability to appreciate His faithfulness to it's fullest```
````When there are no answers, we have no one to trust but God````
````To have "faith of a child" means that when we get up in the morning, we know God is taking care of us````
````Why do we search for OUR ways, when we know that Gods way is best?````
````I am reminded that sending my kids to Africa came at just the right time for us to be reminded of God's provision````
````Our kids faith is built by watching us go through tough times and how we rely on God````
````If that is what it takes for my children to see Jesus, it is ALL worth it!````
````I hope I have been and will be a testimony to them in their future and now````
````I have realized the things I once thought I NEEDED were just comforts````
````I am so thankful for the things I do have````
````Amazing how when you have everything stripped away, the things that really matter become clearer````
````When you have the ability to not focus on self, you start to desire to serve other's more````
````That is where true joy begins to seep in and eventually overflows with abundance````
````Would I walk through this valley again?````
Yes, because it has been the greatest spiritual growing experience I have ever encountered

After all...

These stories are what legends are made of and the testimonies of how Jesus brought us through that can be passed down from generation to generation of how God loves and provides for His children!

I will continue to walk and not be shaken! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Turning Hearts Labor Day picnic

It's a new thing, Hearts that are at home and not saturated in the world around them.  Well not really new!  But today in this culture, we have lost all sense of a biblical pattern in our homes.  Even Christians!   Inch by inch, we have suffered the lack of true bible based living.  It starts with small, subtle decisions and before we know it, (or don't know it) we are so far gone, that we don't know how to get back.  The scary part is, some don't even know they are living a luke-warm life.  It has become the norm!  (I'm one that used to be in that category!)

There is a big calling by God to bring families back to where we need to be.  Well, actually, it's always been His plan to have it His way.  But somewhere down the line between feminism and mega churches, we have gotten lost!  But  He is calling us back to live our lives totally surrendered, with NO compromise, to Christ in every area!  Income, children, marriage, schooling, churching, and just plain living!  No more compromise!  No more just coasting through and being desensitized to the truth!  Easy?  NO!  Where do we start?  The one true thing there is left in this world, the BIBLE!  What a great joy to see families surrendering their lives and making a decision to go the opposite direction of the culture and seek their heavenly Father's face! 

We took part, this past Labor Day, in a beautiful display of people desiring to bring families back to truth!  Hundreds of people took part!  The Bates family, from Knoxville, Tennesee (friends of the Duggar family), were the guest speakers.  We had hayrides, looked at cattle (we are city folk so that is an amazing thing for 7 boys!), played games, ate, and learned more about how to seek God in a world that is lost and how to bring others to this joyful way of living, family style!  A life surrendered to the living God and living it out so other's see His glory!  How cool is that!
 Cooler than 2 city boys watching the cows do what ever they do!
 Cooler than even playing football with over a hundred kids!
 And believe it or not, cooler than The Bates Family with their 18 children :)
This is my little guy on the hay ride

 Hangin' out on the fence watching the cows get milked
(remember, we are city people!  Not sure if that is the correct wording!)
we got to touch home-grown gourds

And can't forget this sweet little thing to remind us what family is all about!

Please make sure you are Turning YOUR hearts towards Home!  God will do amazing things when you step out in faith and trust Him!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


This sweet daughter of mine had quite a rough week in the villages of Africa! 

We called our son to chat Friday because he would have reception and he told us she was sick and that they thought it was Malaria!  YES, Malaria! "But don't worry mom, it is VERY common around here!" Yeah, sure okay son! I will just go about my business with a smile on my face and know that all will be okay! HA!

They had the immuniztation but that it is not a sure proof they would not get it!  I then talked to her and she said even her bones ached. She had never felt so miserable! And then to add to the problem of being sick, she was thousands of miles and an ocean away from home! As she was laying on her "mattress" in one of the villages, 2 mice scurried across her floor and then a goat, chicken and dog entered her "home". She then decided to get up and close the "door" to get some relief! (Not quite the same as home!)  Maybe some brothers and sisters to contend with, but hopefully their breath would be a touch more bearable! :)

Yes, my heart hurt terribly, when she said she wanted to come home!  How she wished she could lay her head on my lap!  Where does a mother go with that when there is NO possible way to even come close to being able to do that!  Well, God is where I went!  I asked Him to hold her, keep His eye on her, and help her to know that she is taken care of!  When her tears sting her face because she wants to be in HER bed and in HER room with her head on MY lap, I asked God to PLEASE be her peace and comfort!  When she is overwhelmed, remind her that there is a rock who is higher than her!

I was sure that fear thing I struggle so much with, would creep back in and rear it's ugly head!  Guess what?  It didn't!  I continued to be reminded how He has cared for them already and His hand is upon them!  I must remember that always!  Oh how I LONGED to be with her and sit with her and pray over her to be healed...but God reminded me that His hands are stronger and yet even more gentle than mine and I can STILL pray for her healing!  So...I did!  I prayed all day that as she slept she would wake up and be able to walk and preach and do all that God had planned for her. 

Well, the text I received early this morning, said, "Mom, she is almost all better!  She woke up feeling strong and able to go on with all that we have planned for the day!"  Just another story in their journey to Africa!  God has done so much and now a testimony of healing!  To Him I give glory for raising my child out of her sick bed and I am reminded that He has plans to prosper her, to give her a hope and a future! 

Today, she and her brother are at a lodge on Lake Malawi.  Some time to enjoy the beauty of Africa and relax after being in the villages for a week.  Next week, they will be meeting with 800 and some high school kids to tell them about Jesus!  Pray for them and I will share more as it comes in! 

God is SO very good!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Foto Friday~ final days of summer

From the temperature outside,
It feels like summer is just beginning!
That is good for some end of the summer, pool fun!
I remember being a kid and it seems like the summer went SO fast!
Nothing has changed!
Even though I am a "winter" lover,
and can't wait for it to get here,
I can't help but feel a tug at my heart that the memories we have made are now considered the past and another summer is on the brink of ending!
Sweet times with lots of things to look forward too in the coming fall!
Many new changes on our horizon as we wave good-bye to summer 2011!
Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

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Thursday, September 1, 2011


Just as Hannah did to Samuel years and years ago,
3 weeks ago we dedicated out little bundle of sweetness back to God!
(Since my older kids left for Africa, I have truly realized the sacredness of this act to God!)
This is what I wrote to her and read a loud at her dedication:

My dear sweet child, you have been given to us by God. 
You are a blessing and a true JOY! 
When God brought us down this journey of allowing Him to choose our family size, we NEVER dreamed He would send 12 blessings to us! 
I am SO thankful that we choose HIS plan for us.
 For that reason, you are in our arms! 
 I know He has a perfect plan for your life and we will do all that we can to raise you up and train you in the ways of Jesus. 
 We give you to Him because we know you are a gift to us but not ours! 
You are His! 
 For that I am truly thankful.
  He is a perfect parent.
  When we fail you, He will not! 
 Look to Him for everything. 
 He will never let you down and He will never let you go! 
We love you precious girl! 
Not many pictures of just mom, dad and her!
The entire gang!  God is sooooo very good! 

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