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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