Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm not sure exactly how long since i've gone off on something, but i hope long enough that I can do it again. because i cannot let this go. again. walking through the atlanta airport, patrick and i admired alot of the artwork adorning the halls of the train tunnels. if you choose to walk in between terminals, you can be entertained with the history of atlanta, various displays of african art and sculpture, etc. And then we came upon this one. As you can see, it's referring to elephants. elephants, people? yes, i realize they have no voice. you know why? its because they have no soul. and therefore, are a lower life form than those of us who do have voices, who do have souls. now, i wish that the world were such a wonderful, peaceful, happy place for us people that we had enough time, energy, and financial resources to worry so much about the state of these precious little elephants on this poster. But i gotta tell you, that is not the case! If you are a kind hearted person who wants to stand up for someone who has no voice, can i point you in a different direction?

Machine Gun Preacher: I put this one first because its pretty easy to watch a movie. We all do that regularly, I imagine. I'm not advocating for this unique "preacher", so much as I am the cause of the children he's fighting for. His methods are questionable, but the point is, evil is out there, and we do have to fight it. Its about southern Sudan (yes, i realize everybody thinks I run that into the ground, and I'm sorry), and the children there. Started by Sam Childers, ex-criminal from Pennsylvania.

Invisible Children: This is an organization dedicated to rehabbing abducted child soldiers, specifically those taken by the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) in Central Africa. Many of these boys are kidnapped when they are very young, and forced to commit and witness unspeakable horrors. Eventually, they fully adopt that way of life. They are using a variety of methods such as radio to reach these children and encourage them to surrender. There are a few residential facilities where the ex-child soldiers can go, and they help them find their families, if they are still alive.

Make Way Partners: Their mission statement: "Through the hope of the Gospel, we go to the most vulnerable and least protected to end human trafficking and modern day slavery." They have people in a few different countries, but they started in Sudan as well, doing much the same things as these others I've listed. Started by Kimberly Smith, average wife/mother/churchgoer/American.

Amazima: Started by Katie Davis, a young girl from Brentwood TN doing a short term mission trip in Uganda, and ended up staying. And adopting children. And opening an orphanage. Because she was in love with Jesus, and so she loved what Jesus loved, to the exclusion of everything else. Uganda has been completely traumatized by the LRA as well. An amazing, amazing story. These are all amazing stories. About average people who are confronted with the horrible truth about the world, and do above average things. and therefore end up changing the world.

Hudson Taylor said "“What does the Master teach? Is it not that if one sheep out of a hundred be lost, we are to leave the ninety and nine and seek that one? But here, the proportions are almost reversed, and we stay home with the one sheep and take no heed to the ninety and nine perishing ones!” It was true in his day, and its true in ours. But they arent just lost. They are being kidnapped, raped, maimed, murdered, and forced to do the same. But hey, let's hope those elephants get all the help they need. It would be a crying shame if they were hungry or cold. or extinct.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

here there and everywhere

about a month ago, the kids and i drove up to my mom's, i wasnt exactly nervous, but it is an long drive (not as long as meghan had, mind you, and with one fewer kid than she has, so i'm not complaining!). we set off pretty early, to have one long day, 14 hrs or so, to stay in grand forks, nd. we were trucking along pretty well, caroline was having a rough time but the rest of us were fine. and wouldnt you know we blew a tire, close to the nebraska south dakota line. alas, we did not have a spare. we waited about 30 min on the side of the road, me and my 3 babies, and it took that long for anybody to stop to help us. did i mention it was about 107? and we were a ways from anywhere. the miracle of the day was that Patrick and his boss trade alot of hay up in that area, and Patrick had a business contact about 20 miles from there. He came and picked us up, took us and our tire into town, we got a new one, and he put it on for us. it added 2.5 hrs to our trip, but still, not a bad resolution!

the kids didnt sleep that much in the car, so by the time we found got settled in our hotel, it was midnight, and they passed out. the funny thing is, when i put them to bed, charlie was on the left, and hannah was on the right. i took this picture around 6.30 the next morning, before i woke them up to continue our trek. caroline was much more difficult to get to sleep, and still woke up early. the stinker. but its good to know that it gets easier to travel once they get older.
lara and her boyfriend matt overlapped with everybody too, so it was fun to all be together. a little crazy, but fun. this is lara with hannah (middle on left) and Kennedy, Parker, and Emerson.

we had our own Gibi Lake Olympics, and some of us had quite the outfits to compete in!

me and the kids were the orange team, as you can see.

it has been years since we have had a group picture. and not just for lack of getting together, but even when we are together, it seems we wait for the perfect time, and it never comes. so this time, we made sure to get a group picture!

last year, Hannah went to vacation bible school, and made a piggy bank. she and charlie collected our change all year, and we had over $100. I gave her a few choices, and in the end, we sent it to Samaritans Purse South Sudan Refugee Fund. I was so proud of her! It didnt even cross her mind to ask if she could keep any of it. (or if it did, she didnt have the nerve to ask me ;-)

last week, patrick and I made a huge step in getting overseas. we went to something called Candidate Week with Africa Inland Mission, at their US headquarters in Atlanta, GA. It felt somewhat surreal, as we have been a long time in working towards this, and we were so excited to be there. I will talk more about it soon.

yes, we had the requisite eat with your hands african meal. It was great fun for me, of course, and it was even really good. Every candidate week has a different missionary in residence, and ours was from Lesotho, in South Africa. So that person is responsible for the cooking, and our lady did a great job! (we still went out and got frozen yogurt afterwards. have to take advantage of that while we can, right?!)

We had alot of sessions, hearing alot of speakers and looking at alot of powerpoints. They did, however, try to lighten things up a little. One session was called the African Perspective, and part of that was about oral cultures and storytelling. we split up into groups, and made up an african story, using animals. i was the dying jackal over in the corner, fighting over a dead carcass. fun times, fun times. (in case you were wondering, i did not come up with the story, i was just along with the ride!) Patrick was a donkey, in his group. ;-)  

it was an amazing week, and that has only continued since coming home. we are still, however, everyday people with everyday lives and everyday jobs.  and everyday summer gardens. that make more cucumber than we could ever eat! especially that monster one. it was really nasty though, we threw it away anyways.

and with 3 everyday kids who do everyday things, like build things. it is so neat to see your kids grow, and do things for the first time. we got these nifty toys from barnes and noble, for the car. they stick together, and it took awhile for them to get the hang of it, and they would just stick them together randomly. but now charlie realized he can put them together to make things, and in the past few days he has brought me lots of cars and airplanes. quite the little engineer!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

NC trip

my poor children have been so sleep deprived over the last month! A full blown tantrum proceeded this impromptu nap, here at my dads house. He didnt want to get out of the pool, but it was time. He was so mad at me, I couldnt get his bathing suit off. So i just sat on the floor and waited until he calmed down enough to get some dry clothes on him. He was still kicking and screaming, though, so i started reading a magazine to wait it out. then he sat on the couch behind me, and before i knew it, he was passed out.

traveling with them on the plane was definitely a challenge, but it'll only get easier from here on out. I was so proud of us that we were at our gate early, and all prepared. I sent patrick this picture of us chillin together, and he responds, "is that my daughter eating off of the floor in the airport?" I looked back at the picture and thought well, uh, yes. I guess so. Whoops. and here i was so proud of myself. you do what you gotta do. and while travelling, its keeping them happy so they dont bother your fellow passengers.

We chose this weekend because it was my dads birthday. Chocolate chip cookies are his favorite thing, so Kim, his girlfiend, made him some. Charlie loves helping!

we went on a field trip to see some animals.

Patrick flew us the first leg, to Kansas City, so we could have a direct flight from there. We were very grateful!

me and my own personal pilot :-)

hanging out with the cousins

The high point of our trip was meeting Isaac for the first time! Brett and Jes had an amazingly blessed adoption journey over the last year, and especially the last few months. He became part of their family the day he entered the world, they were at the hospital to welcome him. poor little guy has had a rough time so far, he had some problems with his stomach and small intestine, and couldnt keep anything down. When he was finally diagnosed properly, he had surgery right away to fix it. we're confident he's going to be eating them out of house and home now, and grow up fast!

no more babies for me, but i'm always ready, willing, and able to hold yours!

we were also really glad to be able to make it to my niece's birthday party. Reese is ten days older than Caroline, so it is fun to see them together. (alot of work, mind you; but fun :-) I absolutely loved the theme, and Meghan did such a good job with co ordinating things. She made the girls dresses, too. and of course the cake, it was amazing. and homemade marshmallows: chocolate, vanilla, and lemon. so good!

my mom came down to NC to pick up their new puppy from a breeder down there, so she was able to come to the party too. we fit an awful lot into our time in Charlotte.

but we still had lots of time left to play. Thanks Dad, we had a great trip!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

you dont work. your kids dont go to school. what do you DO all day?

we find critters

we try to stay cool (and keep our garden cool-ish)

we play, and learn how to do the monkey bars all by ourselves (go Hannah!)

we find other critters, in places we dont like!

we make messes. lots and lots of messes.

and more messes!

we try even harder to stay cool.
we write (or receive) sweet notes! (translation: I love you Mommy. I hope that you have a good birthday)

we play together. (not nearly enough)

we splash in the backyard, or go to the local pool

we learn how to shuck corn

we eat bell peppers and other yummy summer produce

some of us try pizza for the first time

we watch our little friend present her bucket calf in 4H, at the county fair

while Daddy shares the Gospel at the fair.

and we have lots of fun!!