Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oceans Apart

Today I'm feeling kind of anxious about the trip.  I guess as we get closer to our day of departure, it all becomes a little more of a reality and less like a big crazy plan that God sparked in our hearts this last August.  I'm great with a plan, a vision, a list, etc. but eventually you have to put your plan into action, take your list to the store, share the vision with your people...all of this requires movement

God does not want us to just sit and talk about our plans for a sweet forever.  He does want us to have a vision and a plan because where there is no vision the people perish.  (It says that somewhere in Proverbs and if I were really spiritual, I would go find the text, but I'm not, so look it up yourself.) but now it's time to pack up and get going or to quote a favorite movie from the preschool crowd...it's time to move it, move it. 

So I'm starting to move it...

I have a suitcase packed with too many clothes, hand sanitizer and shoes.  And I've got crayons, oh my word have I got crayons...THANKS FOR THE CRAYONS!
I have a list of all the things that I need to remember to take like my passport and yellow fever card.  (Please note before you travel internationally, it is impossible not to have dreams nightmares where you leave your passport at your house.)
I've taken every live virus that medical experts say is needed.
First malaria pill will be taken today.
I've got fun friends to travel with.

But the greatest movement is happening in my heart...

A heart that is being prepared to love on the least of these and know that I don't have the answer to solve the problems in their world.  I like to fix broken things, and I have resolved that I can't fix Africa in 10 days:)  I'm just to be the hands and feet of Jesus for a few days.
A heart that is being prepared to be oceans apart from my family. 
A heart that is being prepared to give up my plan for His plan...for my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, saith the Lord....again, you'll have to look that up somewhere in Isaiah.

Those who know me well, know that my brand of anxious is different.  My anxious looks like this...

Is it time to go yet?
Can we get this show on the road?
I may or may not sometimes sit out on the porch waiting for someone to pick me up.
I also have been known to call someone and say could you come get me right now because I'm tired of waiting for you to come pick me up.

That's how I roll.  So tomorrow is the big day and don't call the authorities if you see someone sitting in their driveway at 5 a.m. in a snuggie blanket.  I'm just sitting there waiting for the Harry King carpool van to pick me up and take me to the airport.  We originally all planned for our husbands to take us but with all the airline drama from the last few days, we now have to be at the airport extra early so we decided it would be best for our kids not to have to get up at 5 a.m.:)  So Alicia's sweet dad is going to pick us all up at 5:30 a.m. 

The planning has been fun but it's time to get the show on the road.

See ya in Africa!  Yes, there might be some blog updates along the way.  We'll see.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

15 LBS

When we first signed up to go to Africa, one of the first questions that we asked was how much luggage could we take?  It was an important question after all because myself and my travel buddies pride ourselves on being good girl scouts...always prepared.

The first time that we asked the question, the answer was 30 pounds in a carry-on bag.  I thought I was going to have to pick Alicia up off the floor when she heard the words: 30 POUNDS.  I think her first words were:  I won't be able to take my big study Bible. Smaller Bibles do not have good cross referencing.  She also had some concerns about shoes.  She likes to have a variety of shoes.  And I can't say I blame her for that. 

After some airline research, we quickly found out that 30 pounds was not the limit...

lucky us, the airline had changed their carry-on policy and now the limit is 15 pounds! 

It's like I signed up for Survivor or something?

While Alicia had some concerns about the weight of her Bible (Please note: I just weighed the study Bible that I have and it weighs over 3 pounds.)  I had some concerns about serious items like shampoo and hairspray.  Friends that have gone on trips before us, have told us to pack and then unpack half...you won't need all that stuff.  Well, I've packed and repacked several times, and I just seem to find more stuff to pack. 

So, I thought I would take a few pictures of the things that I think I need to take to Africa...

I'm going to be hitting three airports, three continents and a whole lotta germs in a 24 hour period, so I think this is justified.

These are a few toiletry type items that I've packed so far.
And yes, that's a can of Big Sexy Hair Spray. I may be going to Africa,
 but I ain't going there with flat hair.

I like to call this the Big Nanny survival kit. 
Some people think I'm crazy for taking a can of beef stew, Chefboyardee and a canned chicken salad pack.  When I bought these, I was looking for vienna sausages, but I got sidetracked by all of my canned food choices and forgot them. 

This is my carry-on suitcase and my McGyver style backpack.
Please know that I'm more of a tote bag kinda girl so this backpack thing is all new.

And last but not least...
you can't be warm and cuddly without your snuggie.
Great for travel!

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I didn't get cards mailed out this year so this will have to do!
Print it out and hang it with all the ones you got in the mail and just think, I saved you a trip to the mailbox. Or you can be like my CraftiMama and make it your screensaver:)
Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 18, 2009

If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball

So last Saturday, I participated in a youth dodgeball tournament.  Our church staff formed a team and of course, every team needs a girl who is willing to let rubber playground balls be thrown at her by a bunch of teenage boys at warp speed...

This is when you start humming the tune...
I'm Every Woman by Whitney Houston.
and yes, you're supposed to look like this when you play dodgeball. 

We call ourselves the
Staff Infection
(you could also call us the biggest winner of the day, I'm just sayin')
We're infected with just a slight case of the competitiveness.

(And yes, we are missing our fearless leader.  He showed up for practice on Friday but had trouble keeping up with the big boys, so he was a no-show slacker on Saturday.  Did I just type all that out loud?)


This is what we call an action shot.
When Nike sees my awesome athletic skillz, I'm sure they will be calling me to take over Tiger Woods endorsement deal.  I'm sure you would agree.

After we whooped a bunch of teenagers, we started knocking off all the adult teams.
These are the Tree Huggers, our biggest rival of the day.
You would also call them the biggest losers!

So, how did I do it?  Well, I watched a how to play dodgeball video on youtube because you can learn to do almost anything on the internet, and then I just dodged the ball.  A lot. 

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bob Ross ain't got nothin' on me

Last week I had the pleasure of going out for a night on the town with some of my favorite people.  It was time for the annual Kids on the Korner teacher party.  Kids on the Korner is the preschool program at our church.  For many years, I was the director of this program, and I started the tradition of planning a Christmas party for them and everything was always a surprise.  The restaurant, the entertainment, etc. is always planned by the director and they spend the entire month before trying to figure out where we are going.  It's always loads of fun.  Except, I'm not the director anymore, and I'm not in on the secret.  I now just join in on the surprise.

We started out with a great dinner at Carraba's Restaurant and a not too competitive game of dirty santa.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new, the chicken marsala and garlic mashed potatoes.  I think my taste buds are maturing because I actually liked it.  Then we were off to the main event...

Here is the description for Sips & Strokes - bring your favorite beverage and paint a picture along with one of our instructors as they show you step by step how to paint a beautiful masterpiece that you will take home at the end of the evening. 

I will now unveil my "beautiful masterpiece"...

Don't be jealous!  You too can sign up with your friends and create your very own beautiful masterpiece. 
We were in a class with a large group of people; so after we were finished, I decided to go take a look at the pictures of those who were a sippin'. I thought that maybe the sippin' loosened them up a bit but after checking out their "beautiful masterpieces" something tells me that the Goodwill store is having a huge liquidation sale on floral paintings.  Please know that my favorite beverage is Diet Coke, so my hand was quite steady and it still turned out like this.

By the way, the instructor said that it would look better in the morning.  Lawnmower Man says it looks better at night.

P.S.  If you are too young to know who Bob Ross is click here.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Meet the newest member of the Hairbow Mafia

Yesterday my sister Tammy Faye had her long awaited ultrasound and we were surprised that "it" was a girl.  We were thrilled because we haven't had a girl in the family since the Lil'Nanny was born in 1997.  CraftiMama has had her fill of little boy grandbaby clothes and was ready to start buying pink and making hairbows again. 

I'm amazed by the clarity of this picture...

Looks like we got a thumb sucker.  I think my sister is still in shock but maybe the pink bow will make it real.
Congratulations! You're the newest member of the Hairbow Mafia.

By the way, I'm not sure if anyone has noticed but my Lil'Nanny has started sportin' bows again...looks like I'm back in.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

No Crib for a Bed

Tonight as I watched over 80 adorable preschoolers sing Away in the Manger at church, I was reminded that our Savior did not have a bed.  

Alicia recently connected me to an organization called Sweet Sleep.  Sweet Sleep raises money to buy beds, mattresses, sheets, blankets and mosquito nets for children in third world countries.  They also take mission teams to go and set-up the beds in the orphanages.  They're not trying to buy them better beds...they're trying to buy them beds...as in they don't currently have beds.  Imagine life without a bed.   Here is a video of one of their recent projects in Uganda:

Jen the founder of Sweet Sleep needs help.  She is getting ready to go to Uganda again and here is how your family can help:
  • She needs a team of people who will commit to pray for her and the work that her organization does. 
  • She needs notes of love to give to each child she encounters. They can be notes of love, encouragement, your favorite scripture.  She will pack, take and hand deliver to the children.
  • She needs to buy 218 mosquito nets at $8 each.
  • She needs to buy 218 mattresses at $50 each. 
  • She needs to buy 218 blankets at $30 each.  (A mattress without a blanket is like a cupcake without icing.)
You can buy a whole bed in Uganda for $88 bucks! I bought a new mattress a few years ago at the Mattress Firm and they were not making those kind of deals.  Because I can't pass up a good deal, I just bought a bed in Uganda. 

You can go here to donate to Sweet Sleep.  Or you can mail donations or encouragements to:

Sweet Sleep
c/o Jen Gash
PO Box 40486
Nashville, TN 37204

Away in a Manger, no crib for His bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.  The stars in the sky look down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.  The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.  I love thee Lord Jesus, look down from the sky, and stay by my cradle, Til morning is nigh.  Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, close by me forever, and love me I pray, Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, and take us to heaven to live with Thee there.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Preferred by teachers and CraftiMamas

I'm not sure if you've heard or not but I'M GOING TO AFRICA IN 28 SLEEPS!  I know that I haven't blogged about Africa much because I've just been too busy with work, doing fundraisers, cooking a Thanksgiving meal and getting my crafts ready for Africa.  Yes, I'm the crafts leader for this trip so I've been trying to get all that in order.  When I signed up for this crafts assignment, I thought I would load up some fun foam and a glue stick and we'd be good. Wrong...crafts x 1000!  CraftiMama was in town last week and helped me get some of my things organized.

Anyhoo, one of the things that we want to do is give every child at Amazima Ministries a box of crayons.  When we first talked about this, we tossed around the idea of getting a restaurant to donate some of those little packs of crayons.  Then we thought that maybe we could buy a bulk box of crayons and put them in ziplocs but then we were concerned about breakage.  Sumer & Alicia kept saying wouldn't it be nice if each child had their own box of crayons.  Doesn't everyone like to have their own brand new box of crayons?  And then I talked to my CraftiMama and she said nothing colors like a Crayola crayon and shouldn't the kids in Africa get a good box of crayons.

So, we're collecting crayons.  They must be the 8 count size boxes because of weight restrictions.  We've collected over 300 boxes already and I'm trying to get to 500.  I'm not asking you to buy 100 boxes but if you're at the Target, the Kroger, the Wal-mart, the Hobby Lobby, the Michael's, the Walgreens...you get the picture.  Pick up a box or two and send them my way!

Let me know if you need my address.  Or you can drop them off by the preschool welcome desk at church.  Thanks!!!

P.S.  Your eyes did not fail you...I cooked most of the Thanksgiving meal.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Baby ON Board!

Over the last year one of the most overheard expressions at my church has been...

Don't drink the water!

I would also like to point out that you hear that a lot when you are preparing for a mission trip.  I've got it, and I'm not drinking the water.

Anyhoo, we've been saying this at TSC for many years but this past year has given new meaning to the expression.  We have had over 30 babies born in 2009.  I realize that most churches would be frightened by this number, but I say the more the merrier.  I also know that it provides great job security in these tough economic times...I'm just sayin'. 

So it was just 3 weeks ago that I found out that we were getting one more...

Meet Baby Hollie!

This time it's my assistant Awesome Amber and her husband, Bryan.

P.S.Amber-I'm gonna run to Target right now and buy one of those baby wearing slings because we're gonna need it come June;)

You can email your congrats here.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So it was kinda like a Tupperware party but not

So the other night I loaded up with some of my Africa mission trip buddies and some future Africa mission trip participants and headed to Columbia to feed some orphans.  Yes, we went to Columbia, Tennessee to feed some orphans.

We walked into a house that looked like this.  It kinda reminded me of a Tupperware party or any other home party.  The kind of parties that I don't go to anymore:)  I spent the latter part of my twenties and early part of my thirties attending various parties that sold:  candles, jewelry, make-up, plastic containers, scrapbook supplies and my all time favorite...cookware.  The last "cookware" party that I went to I purchased a $10 oven mitt.  I didn't really need any cookware because...hold on to the seat of your pants because I'm about to reveal a startling revelation.  You don't really need cookware when you don't cook!  I do have to say that the oven mitt has served me well because my bakers are still using it to get the brownies out of the oven.

No cookware for me, I purchased a strand of these...

These beads are made from recycled magazines. Amazima Ministries is training the women in the Karamajong tribe to make these necklaces.  The women who run 147 Million Orphans buy their beads, sell them, & then send a portion of the proceeds back to a feeding program for their children.  They also sell t-shirts, hats and bags to help feed the orphans in Uganda.  This one strand of beads fed a child in Uganda for a week.  It's just like that old saying...

Give a woman a bead; and she's got something nice to wear. Teach a woman to bead; and she can feed herself and the kids...or something like that:)

Here we are with Suzanne & Gwen.  They are the volunteer administrators of  Katie's Amazima Ministries.  So we got to hear all about Katie and the work that she is doing in Uganda.  They started 147 Million Orphans website to bring awareness to orphans and adoption.  By the way, if you aren't reading Katie's blog yet, click here

You can click on this button to see everything they have...

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Monday, November 09, 2009

It's the Et Cetera that has me worried

This past week I set out on a adventure with some members of the Africa mission team to get some vaccinations.  It seems when you go into third world countries, its important to get your shots.  So I had been researching on the internet (it will get you in trouble everytime) for a travel clinic because it seems that the local doctors prefer not to have a bottle of the live yellow fever virus sitting in their fridge.  I also was looking for a bargain on the shotz because their kinda pricey.  Please note: bargain hunting for vaccinations is not advised.

Anyhoo, Alicia, Jesse and I traveled over to Bellevue to a place called Shots Etc.  When I pictured the establishment, I pictured what one might call a traditional medical center with I don't know...maybe a private room.  But a private room it did not have.  In fact, it was in a strip mall.  Ya know the kinda place where you usually find clothing stores and nail salons. 

Not a private room...

This is me getting ready for my shots.  Yes, it is November, and I didn't leave the house with just a tank top on.  I wore a button up shirt over this tank but couldn't push the sleeve up so I had to remove it.  Classy, I know.  Again, please note that this is not a private room but it's an office/patient check-in station/vaccination station/lunchroom....Et Cetera.  If you can serve one patient, why not just serve them all at the same time.
Also, something tells me those Clorox wipes have never been opened.  Why would I think that?  Oh, I don't know, maybe its because my nurse didn't bother to put on a pair of gloves when she administered my shots.  And she was waving those needles around like they were pom-poms.

Alicia didn't get the nice relaxy chair but she did get to sit next to the fridge.  Ya know the fridge that holds the live virus', a Diet Coke and a Lean Cuisine.

Before you get your shots you have to review all the risk.  You get a laminated sheet for every shot you're getting.  I have five sheets because I got five shots.  A certain member of our trip was making fun of me because I was getting every shot that they offered and even suggested I get the hang nail vaccination just to be on the safe side. 

Please count the number of sheets a certain member of our team is holding.  He ended up getting the hang nail vaccination after all.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Princess and The Peep

It was Halloween 2009 and the Lil'Nanny and I set out to find the perfect costumes. 

Meet the Candy Corn Princess & the Peep
Please note:  I'm not expecting. I stuffed that costume with a pillow to get the full effect.

Look it's my Africa Peeps.  Don't you just think of Africa when you see our faces:)
We got to host concessions at the Fall Festival to raise money for our Africa mission trip.

We convinced some people to be slave laborers volunteers.

We all know that when you work with volunteers, you sometimes run into some issues.
I'm sure this is not breaking any health regulations.

I ran into a Thing 2 and another one of my Peeps in the hallway.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I've always had a love/hate relationship with vitamins.  I think I need to take them because some might say my diet is a little lacking in some essential nutrients.  I buy vitamins, and I don't end up taking them because they always end up being horse pills that I can't get down without someone wrapping it in a piece of cheese and stroking my neck.  Some people in my family are just not willing to go the extra mile.  Anyhoo,  I recently discovered the best vitamins ever.  Gummy vitamins for adults.  Their magically delicious.  I have the mult-vitamin, vitamin C and vitamin D.  I got them all at the Superb Target.  The Lil'Nanny loves them too.  I would recommend that you place them on a high shelf because they taste just like gummy bears, and I could see a kid downing an entire bottle in one sitting.  Honestly,  I have a hard time only taking my alloted 2 per day.  Obviously, you can see that when it comes to candy, I have the maturity of the average 3 year old. 

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall break, Anniversary, Mice, LIFE, Fun, Freezing Yard Sale and Dedication

I've got no clever title just a whole bunch of week wrapped up into one very long blog post...

Monday was fall break day for WCS & Tennessee Tech.  We had a low key day at home.  I finally decided that showering was going to be a necessity when I got the call that Checkers was delivering.  No Nashville hospital visit would be complete without a stop for dinner at a local dive called Rotiers.  I wish I had pictures.  It's one of the only places left that has an old school cigerette machine...and we all know that adds a special touch of class to any restaurant.  I believe that we now have laws in place about smoking in restaurants but my nose told me that someone was sneaking a smoke in that restaurant.  It's one of Sumer's favorite Nashville eateries and she ordered us up some hot fingers, a burger, fries and hash brown casserole.  Alicia Jordan did not eat...that's. all. I'm. sayin'  :)    Also, nothing says, "Let me hold your newborn baby" like three southern baptist women that smell like smoke.

Tuesday was our second day of fall break.  It was also mine and Lawnmower Man's 20th anniversary.  Lawnmower Man was a little under the weather over the weekend and still was not feeling well so we spent the day at home and ordered up some Applebee's carside to go for our anniversary dinner. And someone may have spent the entire day in a pink terry cloth bathrobe.  But that's okay because it matched my awesome anniversary gift...

I've kind of had my eye on this for a while and the traditional 20th anniversary gift is china.  Seriously, who really needs china on their 20th anniversary?  He specifically picked this one out because it didn't have any complicated gears.  Apparently, I'm getting too old and a little gear switch on the handle bars would prove to be too much.  We'll be going out for our anniversary at a later date.  If there are any new Nashville eateries that you think we should consider, please leave me a comment. (Please note:  LM prefers restaurants that don't have cigerette machines.)

Wednesday-I went to work.  Let me rephrase that...I went to work and didn't get anything done because I spent most of the day running out of my office or sitting on my desk...

Nothing says professional like sitting on top of your desk at the church office.
(Please note:  I was talking to the one and only Tracey Jones.)
You might wonder why I'm sitting on my desk...

Apparently, my office is now the hangout for all the local church mice.  Yes, that's mice.  As in PLURAL.  I got a heads up about the situation when Awesome Amber sent me a little email with this picture and it was titled:  the scene in your office.  There are two church maintenance men & an education pastor that think they have a gift for trapping, but I don't fool around with these silly little 99 cent rat traps. I made a stop to the Tractor Supply Company on my way to work and picked up four sticky traps because nothing brings me greater joy then to see the mouse that defecated on my desk suffer a slow and painful death on a good ol'sticky trap.  I have what I like to call a zero tolerance policy for those that break that rule.  You also haven't seen anything until you've seen the local student pastor run and scream like a girl because he saw the mouse run down Cindy's arm when she was trying to get it out of my blinds.  Cindy is one of our ministry assistants and lives life in the country.  Need I say more?  I had a squealing mouse stuck on a sticky trap by 11:59 a.m.  (Please note: The local senior pastor has stated his concern for the joy I find in killing God's creatures and is probably meeting with the personnel team right now.)

Thursday-I went to work and I wasn't there long before I headed to the Grace Pregnancy Resource Center with some of my office peeps. 

Robin, Angela, Brian Best, Alicia, Cindy (the mouse whisperer)
Calm down.  No one in the picture is pregnant...that I know of.

We went there for the 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigel that is happening right now across our nation.  Brian Best attends our church and has worked for the Tennessee Right to Life Organization for many years. He gave us a tour of the facility and told us the amazing story of how this pregnancy center was recently relocated practically next door to the abortion clinic.  Sometimes pregnant women are on their way to the abortion clinic and end up at this place accidently because it says pregnancy resource center on the sign and it's the first place they see.  They are given wise counsel and babies are saved.  We spent an hour praying across the street from the abortion clinic.  Please know that this is not a protest but an honest to goodness peaceful prayer vigel to pray for innocent lives.  I was amazed by Brian's commitment to this organization and how God is blessing his obedience to work hard and protect LIFE!  Sign-up to pray, you'll be blessed. 

Friday-for just a brief moment I could not remember what I did on Friday but then I reviewed the pictures and it all clicked...

I hung out with like 50 + preschoolers and their moms for preschool Friday fun day at Let it Shine Gymnastics.  It was Friday and it was fun.  Friday is my day off...or not;)  but if you have to work you might as well jump into that spongy pit thingy and almost lose your socks.  Well, hold onto your socks because  after that I went to a real live grocery store, bought real food, and actually did some chopping and such to make homemade soup for my family for dinner.  And they liked it.  Shocking, I know.

Saturday-we had our mission fundraiser yard sale and it was the coldest day ever. 

I didn't take any pictures of the sale because you would be so jealous of all the cool stuff you missed out on buying. As always, the first things to go are always the things that I laughed at and thought no one would buy.   Had I known there was a big market for a 1970's duck lamp and ceramic statues from Mexico...I would have priced them much higher than a quarter!  I did however get a picture of me trying to ride the green machine and Sumer riding my new bike.  After you spend the day out in the freezing cold, you just get silly.

Alicia was probably sitting around a heater somewhere counting quarters;)  If we didn't have her, we'd never make it to Africa on our own. 

And today was Sunday.  Some people call it their day of rest...I, however, call it my busiest day of the week.  We had our baby dedication and prayed a special verse over each of the 31 babies.  Obviously, I'm trying to make it into the Guinness books for the world's largest baby dedication.  Have I told you people how much I love sweet babies in pink, blue and white outfits?  Here is a picture...

This is sweet baby Ava. 
You can tell by the look on her chubby little cheeks that she knows she's getting a Word from the Lord.

The end.  I'm so glad tomorrow is Monday!

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