Thursday, March 26, 2009

Too cute for words...

You may have noticed the new photo at the top of my blog. Here are some more...I did a mini photoshoot with our kids last week.
It was a gorgeous day in North Little Rock, Arkansas. We wanted some cute shots of them in their new spring clothing. I just used a point-and-shoot camera, but they turned out well, I think! The photo editing was enjoyable :)
More to come...
All of them mid-laugh. <3

Jimmy's hearty laugh

Monday, March 23, 2009

Recent highlights

When it rains it pours! In the past week: Ezera broke three fingers, then Gift got a fever, then they both felt fine for a day or two, but the bad luck streak continued. Saturday night, Gift and I were playing catch outside. I threw the baseball, and he caught it with his eye rather than the glove. Ouch! An ice pack enabled him to have a quick recovery. The same day, it was Ezera's turn to join in the fun of having a fever. Not to mention, all three of us (Gift, Ezera, and I) have been coughing/congested for about two weeks.

All that aside, last week was an especially great week for many random reasons. I attribute it mainly to our streak of incredibly wonderful host families.

And the highlight of last week happened Wednesday evening after our concert. I fixed the boys a snack while they showered, and then we continued the bedtime routine. They had their hearts set on a Bible story, so I read "David and Goliath," stopping to explain key details so that they understood. After the story, we continued talking on their beds....somehow the topic of demons came up. I assured them that we have nothing to fear if Christ lives in our hearts, explaining that demons cringe at the sound of Jesus' name. Then I asked them, "Boys, is there a time when you have asked God to forgive you of the bad things you've done--and then asked Him into your heart?" Gift said, "Yes." Ezera's reply was, "I don't know..." as he started getting shy. I shared with him about the importance of following Jesus, and I told him it's a choice that I can't make for him. He decided he wanted to ask Jesus to be His savior that night; he refused to wait any longer. I truly doubt I will ever forget the priceless moments like that one! How encouraging to know that Ezera will be joining us in heaven one day. 

We spent several days in Little Rock, AR, and I was able to go by the capitol building and governor's mansion. Here are two photos. The view going across the bridge (entering the city) was beautiful at sunset! Too bad I had to take it through the car window.

Recently, I've really been missing social interaction with others my age. Host families usually consist of older couples with no children at home or families with kids (who of course are way younger.) I rarely come across individuals my own age, much less get to spend time with them. That's why last week I was surprised (but happy!) to have the chance to enjoy the company of several college students. Thursday evening, my host family's college-aged nephew came over for dinner. His friend came too, and the three of us hit it off. We covered a variety of topics from "The Invisible Children" to Africa to worship music to college life. The guys ended up staying late into the evening, and we had a blast playing basketball ("knockout") with the kids, and then just talking in the living room with Tracy and her husband (host fam). 

In addition, my weekend host family was a blast! Bruce was the pastor of the church, and his wife (Janet) had me laughing over her amusing stories.  Their son, Blake (14), was great with Gift and Ezera (of course they had a blast swimming!), and Grant's their college-aged son who was home on spring break; we had fun laughing over a previous American Idol episode! It might sound silly, but I think the Lord knew that hanging out with peers last week would refresh me. 

[Weekend host family! Janet and Bruce; Grant, Blake. Ezera and Gift modeling their new spring shirts!]

Monday, March 16, 2009

Poor boys!

You know they're becoming Americanized when:

Me: Tomorrow is St Patrick's Day....
Ezera (In his thick, Ugandan accent): Patrick--from SpongeBob?

I just put my head in my hands and then ATTEMPTED to make him understand who the real "Patrick" is :)

Speaking of Ezera, he fell off a scooter this weekend and broke not one but three of his fingers. I spent Sunday morning in the Emergency Room with him to take x-rays, etc. He's been such a trooper through it all....the numerous changes of the ice bag, the pain, the splint, and the many dosages of nasty liquid medicine (which practically turns his face inside out!)

He's now with Gift and me in the host families, so I've been able to keep an eye on his injury. He's a typical boy and was outside today hitting baseballs one-handed! He's been quite giddy/loopy, thanks to the pain medicine.

Today was a much-needed, restful day with our incredibly wonderful host family in Fayetville, AR. We stayed home the entire day (which hardly ever happens!!) which was a blessing, considering that Gift came down with a fever today. You know Gift is sick when he hardly eats, is not his witty self, and when he willingly crashes in his bed at 8:30!

Hard to believe March is half over, with only 3 months left of the tour. I have a feeling it will fly by. I'm quite excited spring is on its way!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This would be me....

My dad WOULD be the one to send me this comic in an email today. I think he was implying something ;) Thankfully this hasn't happened on our tour so far...I only drive once a month (on my day off) so that may be the reason. I'm working on my sense of direction, and I think it may be improving! After driving alone in San Antonio (5 lanes of traffic going the same way) I realized I'm making progress.

I hope this comic makes you laugh!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


"What are you afraid of?" I remember a gentleman asking me that question last August in a job interview. "The unknown," I replied. Thankfully, a few weeks later I landed this traveling job, which meant Ashley didn't have to worry about her unknown future anymore!! least for another 9 months.

Well the Lord loves to keep me on my toes, and you can bet I pray daily about what God has next for me--come June 18, when this tour is finished. I'm yearning for answers regarding the unknown in my life....

I want to encourage you today with an Elizabeth Elliot quote. I recently read her book, Passion and Purity, which was thought-provoking! These words have been playing in my mind the past few weeks.

"If the yearnings went away,
what would we have to offer up to the Lord?...
How would we learn to submit to the authority of Christ
if we had nothing to submit?"

Elizabeth Elliot wrote those words about the man she loved while they were separated for several years (until they were able to get married.) So she journaled those words in reference to romantic love. That's the background of the quote, but I think it's great encouragement for any area of our lives.

Pause for a minute and ask yourself, "What am I yearning for?" We all have something that we're wishing for. That we're hoping for. That we're constantly praying about. Even though those things can be burdening and possibly stressful, I am thankful that through prayer we are kept on our knees before the Lord.

Whatever is on your heart, give it to God today. I remember a college friend of mine always saying, "God loves to keep us desperate." Aren't those the times you feel closest to Him?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Which side of Kansas City?

For the past week, I feel like we keep going back and forth between the "Kansas" side of Kansas City and the "Missouri" side of Kansas City. Right now we're on the MO side of the city...I think! I never thought I'd have to stop and think about what state I'm in--but this job does that to ya.

This morning I was sitting next to Yeshoda as the kids waited to go on stage. After staring into my eyes, she told me, "Auntie, your eyes look like kiwis!" She explained that since my eyes are green with a gold-ish circle towards the middle, that's why they look like kiwis. I'm not sure how I should take that....!

Here are some snapshots from last week. [Don't miss the previous post--such silly faces.]

Suresh looking glamorous. I'll confess that I was the one who used hair clips to give him those funky pony tails on top of his head---but just long enough to snap a photo! Then he quickly messed up his hair and ran off to play soccer (to feel masculine again!)

Taylor chose hair clips for the girls. L-R: I did Sarah's and Zurufah's hair, Prava did Rose's, and Taylor did Maria's. Cute, huh?

Matching Sarah! That headwrap belongs on her head for the concert, but I briefly stole it.

Snow!! Over the weekend, we had a sweet host family with two awesome teen girls. Kara (in the picture with Neha and Zurufah) is a high school student who recently applied to Liberty, so it was fun to answer her questions about the university.

Kara, Zurufah, and I before heading to a bball game Fri night. Neha opted to relax and play cards at home :) [I love the shirt, AJ!]

We trained these boys well--they give great massages! [Don't let this picture fool you. We're rarely THAT relaxed!]

[P.S. Happy birthday, Dad! I won't give away your age, but I think you look quite young still :) Wish I could be with you to help celebrate.]

Behind closed doors

Behind closed doors of the costume room, this is what our kids are REALLY like!

I didn't even know those girls were capable of making such faces!

Check out Sarah's crazy hair (after removing her hair clips...)