Friday, May 29, 2009


One week from this Monday, we will be driving back to Lynchburg to regroup with the other two teams (for a week or so, and I'll be done June 17.) I will then be hanging out in Lynchburg until approximately June 27 so that I can catch up with friends there and also do some photo shoots (I still have some openings if anyone is interested :) 

The end of the tour is near...I have mixed feelings: it'll be wonderful to live out of acloset and not a suitcase! It'll be wonderful to plan my own day instead of having my life planned for me (God has taught me a lot this last year!) It'll be wonderful to escape to Panera or B&N when I need alone time to breathe. You get the picture. However, I'm not ready for the kids to go to their home continent. 

The past few weeks have been spent galavanting the Eastern states such as Virginia (the D.C. area), Ohio, Pennsylvania, and now New Jersey (praying for a beautiful day on Monday, because we'll spend it at Ocean City with the team!!) Today we drove past signs on the highway for LANCASTER!! And on top of that, we stopped for lunch at Isaac's which was made complete by a Turkey Hill peach tea. Ah, what a heavenly day :) 

This world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. When we arrived at the NJ church today, I struck up conversation (what else is new?) with their summer youth intern who went to Eastern College. Turns out she knows a church friend of mine. Also, I was in the pastor's home tonight and saw a photo of his kids. I recognize one of his sons who is a golfer at Liberty (I photographed some of the golfers my sophomore year for the yearbook.) So weird!!

I'll try not to let this blog post get ridiculously long, so I'll get to the the last two weeks, I was reunited with family members and several friends. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see familiar faces! 

It felt surreal to spend an entire Friday evening with Janine, Dachelle, and Rachel. How lucky am I that all three of those girls live in the D.C. area? We chatted a million mph as we relaxed at Rachel's rock star downtown apartment. She's such a wonderful hostess who prepared chicken parmesan for us to enjoy. I'm so thankful that Janine brought her camera and snapped photos throughout the night....I'll post a few below. After dinner we stepped out into the night air and strolled over to Union Station where a fancy gala was taking place. The thought of sneaking in was slightly tempting; however, we weren't exactly wearing ball gowns. (It looked like a blast though!) After grabbing Starbucks, we went back to the apartment where we wrapped up the night talking on the outdoor balcony. It was a perfect evening with wonderful friends.

The weekend only got better! The next day I met up with my family in old town Alexandria, and we walked in and out of the cute shops. How great to see them again....Chandler is taller than me! On Sunday, my family (and Rachel!!) finally got to meet my "family away from family." They all adored watching the kids sing and dance across the stage....afterwards, they spent a few minutes getting to know the kids and fell in love with them (and the kids enjoyed meeting my family that I have talked lots about!) As my family walked away, Lincoln shouted, "See you in heaven!" which caused them to tear up....

Since we were near Columbus, I got to meet up with my friend, Aaron. As soon as he met Gift and Martin, they pulled him into the backyard to do flips and front handsprings. It was quite impressive to watch the three of them do this! I simply stood on the sidelines taking video (I can do a cartwheel, but that's it!) The evening was spent walking along a country road, getting sprayed with dust as cars drove past us ;) On Sunday he met all 13 of the crazy children at our concert....and he got to take part in a competitive game of Phase 10! It was fun to catch up with Aaron, since our paths had not crossed in the last three years.
I think this pattern of seeing friends will continue, because my friend, Brett, is planning to meet the kids at our Sunday night concert in Ocean City.

Gorgeous girls! <3
[Dachelle, Janine, Rach]

I haven't seen this girl since last summer! 

My siblings are pretty cute, aren't they?

My parents, still in love after nearly 30 years of marriage. 

Hanging out in the "costume room" with Aaron

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

COTW coming to Lynchburg!

This has been a fabulous month....I've been able to spend time with my family and several friends, so details and photos will come soon.

But for now, I want to let everyone in the Lynchburg area know that we'll be doing a concert there on June 14! 11am at the church below. 

Shekijah Preparation Assembly
104 Fleetwood Dr
Lynchburg, VA 24501

I'm hoping that I'll see some familiar faces, but I realize it's a Sunday morning concert which may not be ideal. However, the kids are worth seeing, and I know you wouldn't regret it. If you have any questions, just let me know. (Unfortunately, our concert will be only 30 minutes that morning, but it's still awesome.) 

We arrived in the Altoona, PA area today. It's good to see my home state after being gone for so long! On Friday we'll head to Ocean City, NJ for several days. My friend, Brett, may make it to the concert! And on Monday the whole team will enjoy the beach together (woohoo!!) 

Less than 2 weeks left of road life! And then several days in VA with the kiddies before they leave for their countries :( 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bragging on my mom

Two posts in one night....that's rare!

It's Mother's Day tomorrow. Just when I started feeling sorry for myself, because I'm so far from my mom, I was reminded of how good I have it. Martin prayed this at bedtime tonight, "Please help my mom know I'm ok and she shouldn't worry about me..."

Whoa. Ok, God, I have no right to complain. Sure, I haven't seen my mom since last summer. But growing up, I saw her every day. I'm taking care of a little boy who is half my age and hasn't seen his mom in that long either. Except even when he DOES get to see her again, he is unable to live with her and see her on a daily basis. Life is shouldn't be like that. In Uganda, when the husband dies, all of his money/belongings goes to his family. The wife is left with nothing. (That's one of the main reasons most of our kids are living in orphanages...)

All that to say, the older I get, the more I appreciate my mom. I could write a novel on here about how wonderful she is, but for the sake of time/space, I'll make it brief.

When I was young, I appreciated my mom. But at the same time, I think I took her for granted. I guess I thought every child had a mom as amazing as mine....but the older I got, I realize that is certainly not the case. I am fortunate to have a mother like mine, who literally puts her family first in everything she does and every decision she makes. Her cooking is out-of-this-world (ask any of my friends!!), her patience is more than I'll ever have ;) , and her love for us seems endless. I can confide anything in her....and I appreciate that despite her busy schedule, she always finds lots of time to talk to me over the phone.

My mom and I are so different when it comes to our taste in movies, decorating, music, etc....but I'm finding that I'm becoming more and more like my mom in many ways, the older I get. I know this, because I've caught myself reprimanding/disciplining the kids the same way my mom handled me growing up! The little sayings and mannerisms are the same, unintentionally.

Not seeing her for nearly a year has been rough, but I appreciate and respect her even more. I love you and can't wait to see you soon!

My college graduation last May
(One of the last times I saw my mom...that will change next weekend)

tic. tic. tic. toc.

The weeks are flying by. (I feel like I say this constantly.) Is it really May already? This means there are only six short weeks until the kids return to their countries :( I choose not to think about that....yet. Our kids have started referring to the fact that there are only a few weeks left. Some will be ready to return home, while others will not be. But inevitably, our time as a team (more like a family) is coming to an end.

This past week was quite enjoyable, with multiple days where Gift and Martin (I'm in a host fam with them) could just chill, play, and be boys (which translates to: ride scooters and Ripsticks outside for hours at a time...) Sunday night-Tuesday we were hosted by Tammy + Tommy, a wonderful family in Tennessee. The boys and I had an unusual treat of staying in a neat lodge-style house all by ourselves, several minutes down the road from the family. We appreciated the downtime on Monday (it felt like we were on vacation!).

We were in Kentucky Tuesday-Friday, and I absolutely loved my time with that host family (Wade and Lisa). Their children were precious! Logan played so well with Gift and Martin, and I instantly fell in love with little 6 yr old Emily. Her southern accent was darling. The night I arrived, she asked me if we could paint our nails. She also asked me to help her with homework, so I did (I now know I could at least homeschool my kids through Kindergarten!) I loved her sweet spirit, her humor, and the fact that she is so girly yet also into hunting, fishing, etc. Lisa (her mom) was an amazing cook, and she spoiled us with homemade EVERYTHING (apple butter--yum!!--, strawberry jam, applesauce, and cinnamon buns.) I think my bedroom at their house was the most unusual I've stayed in....each night when I went to sleep, I had 8 pairs of mounted deer eyes staring right at me. Slightly unnerving, but I'm a big girl, so I could handle it :)

Emily and me

I hope you all have had a relaxing and rejuvinating weekend. And a huge congrats to my dear friends at Liberty who graduated today! (Erin, Dachelle, Sheila, Christi, Chad, Mitch, Sarah...the list could go on.) I was there in spirit and prayed throughout the day for y'all. So proud of you guys.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

"Gracious Uncertainty"

Two years ago, I was sitting in a communications class, taught by dear Dr. Kelly. He read the "April 29" day in My Utmost for His Highest. I can't remember what I was going through, but I do remember being impacted by it and returning to my dorm room to highlight the main points in my own copy of the devotional book. Later on in the evening, I sat on my floor with Anna and Dachelle (if I remember correctly) as we poured over the text, discussing the problems we were facing in our own lives. It lifted our spirits.

Fast forward two years later...two days ago, I flipped open my copy of My Utmost for His Highest. On the "April 29" page, there were the markings I made several years ago. I saw the title: "Gracious Uncertainty" and instantly knew it would be a much-needed reminder of God's perfect timing.

In a month and a half, this tour is over. The kids will return home (I can't think about that right now!), and I am unsure of the next step for my own life. Does that scare me? Most definitely! But God has never failed me. And He never will. If we are willing, He will use us. So even though my future is uncertain at this time, I know He will continue to guide me.

Here are exerpts from "April 29" (My Utmost...) for you to enjoy. Read it slowly and carefully (maybe even out loud.) I pray it encourages you, wherever you are in life.

Gracious Uncertainty
Our natural inclination is to be so precise— trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next— that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life— gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God — it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, ". . . unless you . . . become as little children . . ." (Matthew 18:3 ). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, ". . . believe also in Me" (John 14:1 ), not, "Believe certain things about Me". Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in— but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.
-Oswald Chambers