P.S. I was very impressed with the Soles for Jesus boxes and how they were organized. All the shoes have rubber bands around them and then there was a slip inside the box that said how many shoes were in the box. I think everyone knows how much I love an organization with some organization :)
Monday, December 27, 2010
P.S. I was very impressed with the Soles for Jesus boxes and how they were organized. All the shoes have rubber bands around them and then there was a slip inside the box that said how many shoes were in the box. I think everyone knows how much I love an organization with some organization :)
Thursday, December 23, 2010
I would like to apologize for my blog slacking ways. Not sure how this happened, but I've always been annoyed by people that start a blog and then never blog. I'm sure it bothers your organization as well because those people that start blogs and never blog are taking up valuable space on your super big server.
But you see...
I don't have a tiny tot to blog about and you can only take so many pictures of a 13 year old...she really doesn't change much from day to day. Well, she changes her outfits often, but she would not think I was cool if I took a picture of the outfit every day and posted it here.
I've been doing this job for almost four years now and I think I've covered all I can without getting fired. I could write a really long dissertation on the 101 excuses I've heard to get out of serving in worship care but you don't have that much space on your server. And it's really only 100 anyway...you know how I like to exaggerate.
You all know that I've got some fruity friends and we're funny when we're together, but we're all running in different directions right now, so we're rarely together.
It's not summer so I don't have any pics of Lawnmower Man mowing the lawn.
The Medium Nanny is at university doing all that studying...which doesn't really make for funny blog material.
I've blogged about Africa and blogged some more about Africa, but I'm not sure how much more anyone can take. But I'll be back there soon, so you never know.
So, I'm at a loss of what to blog about but if you will keep me on your server a little while longer, I'm willing to try to get back to my mediocre brand of writing.
P.S. Dear Blog Reader (Yes,I'm assuming there's only one left.), I could use some topics :)
Monday, November 08, 2010
We got together with my photographer friend, Heather, for a mini photo shoot. My girl loves to get her picture taken so I'm not really sure why she put on the shy show for Heather. Heather still managed to capture her personality.
Heather is doing Christmas card photo shoots.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Firfirey & Tracey this past September
His name is Firfirey and he was living at the dump until this year. I can still hear him saying my name in his thick African accent...it makes me giggle and my heart melt just thinking about it. I know his name and he knows mine.
Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend their not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes." - David Platt
I still so clearly remember standing in the trash dump on January 7th of this year. I remember the smells, the noises, the exact spot where I stood, and the names of all the people standing around me. I remember God so clearly saying, “This is it, this is where I would be if I still walked the Earth, and this is where I want you to be.”
And then later as I walked into my room, and saw the outline of her sunglasses on Angela’s ash covered face, I remembered the prophetic words of Isaiah…“Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”
I had two boys in mind to begin the journey, a beautiful young girl had captured the heart of my friend Tabby, and another guy on our trip was partial to an older boy. And so it began, we were going to move 4 kids out of the trash dump. I don’t know how it happened, I have no good explanation other than divine intervention, but word started to spread and we started to get people committing to sponsor other children.
My initial hope was for 100 kids. But for a long time that seemed like an unattainable goal.
And when we got in a new set of profiles that almost doubled our initial list I started to worry, but thankfully the plan was not dependent on me…God had a plan and I was just along for the ride.
And as you all know, 9 months after my first trip to the trash dump on Ethiopian Christmas day, we moved 250 kids to a boarding school in the beautiful countryside.
We have had some growing pains, and faced a steep learning curve. About running a ministry, and dealing with the local culture. A major bump in the road was when the school informed us two weeks before school started that the cost of yearly tuition had increased by over $100. Now initially that took the cost of tuition alone up over the amount of the sponsorship, and I again started to get very worried.
Thankfully, we serve the One who calms the storm with a word, and the very next week the value of the local currency changed in favor of the dollar and we were back to the original amount! Not good for the local economy, but good for us.
And we have learned that one or two outfits is not nearly enough. Their clothes are constantly dirty and wearing out quickly. They do wear their uniforms to school, but only during school hours, and then they wear their personal clothes. The children all need more clothes.
Nonetheless, along with the blessing of 250 kids, comes the strain of the getting them their necessary supplies. Our teams have paid thousands of dollars in excess baggage to take over clothes, shoes, and school supplies. We will continue to pack shoes over because the quality of shoes in America is so much better, and we are so grateful for the donations of shoes that we receive from Soles for Jesus.
We have decided that it is best to buy their other necessities such as clothing, toiletries, and school supplies in their local community. Usually the items are cheaper, it supports the local economy, it saves us money in baggage fees, and it opens space for sponsors to keep sending fun packages and letters and for teams to bring over other necessary items such as medical supplies.
Therefore, we are asking for monetary donations to purchase more clothing, toiletries, and school items for the children. We are hoping to get every child another pair of pants or a skirt, and two more t-shirts. They each also need a towel, and we will continue to buy body soap, laundry soap, notebooks, and pencils for the children every two months.
All donations will go 100% to the needs of the sponsored children at the boarding school, and all donations are tax-deductible. Please mail donations to:
PO Box 126
Thompson Station, TN 37179
Or if you are a member of my home church, you can make out your check to Project 61 and place it in the offering on Sunday morning.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
She is 19. She lives in Africa.
One year younger than my oldest daughter. Both are smart and beautiful but that would be all that they have in common. They're world's apart and the gap is wide.
Her hand touches mine. She wants to talk. My immediate thought is she wants to tell me about her little boy, like any other doting mother. I was wrong.
Her question for me was heavy and cut me to the core. It was not said for reaction or for drama. She just wanted help for a world wide problem...
Can you tell me how to help girls in my country not get raped by their fathers, brothers, uncles and nephews?
I'm no stranger to questions from young mothers but they usually are more simple in nature...
Can you help me with my baby? Can you tell what to do about this diaper rash? Can you tell me when I should start potty training my daughter?
Those are the questions from my world. But I had left suburbia. I was now sitting in a mud shelter in the third world. Where the questions are not simple and the answers seem impossible to find. I awkwardly searched my mind for something to say but my mind immediately went to the size of the problem and the size of the continent that I was sitting on. I knew that she was not the first woman to ask this question, but she was the first woman that asked me.
I had to tell her that I didn't have the answer, but He does and that He loved her so much. We prayed, we cried and we embraced. And now my heart holds her suffering.
She's just a typical woman that wants an answer for her suffering. Don't we all want to know why God allows the tough stuff to happen. Why babies die, why cancer strikes the good people and why children are abused?
When I left this young girl, Satan wanted me to feel discouraged and hopeless...as I have felt before while in Africa. I did not. My immediate thought was I can't change the world, but I can help one woman. One woman who wasn't asking to help herself. She wanted to know how to help other girls. She knows the Lord, she reads her Bible and she prays.
She is now my friend, and she's a third world woman...
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
1. Please be at your child's classroom door by 2 p.m. and pick them up. MDO teachers want to clean up their classroom and go home. They have been in the room with 7+ children all day and are ready for a break. No, really they don't go home. They want to go to their own child's school and pick up the children that actually belong to them. And they want to be on time.
2. Please pack child friendly foods in their lunch box. Handy tips:
- Most one-year-olds cannot feed themselves yogurt. Most one-year-old teachers cannot feed five, one-year-olds yogurt at the same time. And yes, that's how it works at MDO. One person cares for numerous children at one time. If you've ever had trouble feeding two kids lunch at one time...imagine trying to feed five+ kids that are not your own at one time.
- Please do not send 2 Little Debbie cakes and a pack of Ritz crackers for lunch. This is frowned upon even by the former preschool director that thinks LD cakes are suitable sustenance for most every occasion.
- Cut grapes in half and don't send your child carrots if they do not have an appropriate amount of teeth. A child choking is a big fear in the MDO teacher world.
- No Cokes in the lunchbox.
3. Please do not send your child sick. If I had a dollar for every child that was brought to my desk for a temperature check and told me that they threw up in the middle of the night, I WOULD BE A MILLIONAIRE. Okay, maybe just a thousandaire. When the director calls you to tell you that your child is not well, please do not try to analyze your child's illness over the phone with the director, just come pick up your child...quickly. The director is responsible for 60+ children and has work to get done.
4. Pick up a Starbucks card for your child's teacher or the director. It's the year 2010 and no one really wants an apple...unless it's an apple with a touchscreen:)
Thursday, September 02, 2010
This was the very first time I watched 13 year old girls lift my daughter up and then do the bounce and catch thing...yes, I gasped. It's very similar to watching pizza dough being thrown in the air.
Hoping that we get some football weather soon...nothing like watching football in 90 degree heat!
Monday, August 09, 2010
THE FRONT CLOSET!
Now that you've seen the picture you can see why. I've tried to put this closet out of my mind but everytime I walk past this closet it screams....help me! Please get your handy dandy label maker out and give me some attention. But I ingored the plea for help. First I want you to know that I do not use this closet for coats. It's not wide enough to fit very many, and we live in the south so coat storage isn't a top priority. I use it for your basic indoor tools and household items.
Here is the system: Each drawer holds various household items. One drawer has items that you would use for painting projects. One drawer has a drill, various screwdrivers and a hammer. One drawer has tape measures, extension cords, etc. One drawer has nails/screws/anchors/hardware. One drawer has flashlights. One has lightbulbs. In the shoe holder below are various items like spackle and a few other odds and ends.
I don't know about you but that picture makes me feel better. Now go clean a closet!
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The circle things are part of the normal décor. When we came up with our theme for preschool church, we decided to go with a jungle theme and call it Jungle Journey…where kids are wild about God. (And sometimes the kids are just plain wild about everything.) Sumer and I placed all of these circles (placemats) on binder rings and fishing line, got on a scissor lift and hung them up. It was quite a job, but Alicia will tell you that I’m always willing to drive the scissor lift. And it’s true because not everyone can put scissor lift operator on their resume.
The ceiling in the Jungle Journey room is high…like 30 feet high and the scissor lift only went so high. So we tied a very large, heavy bolt to the end of the line and then tossed it over the pipes that are on the ceiling. It worked great, and we were quite proud of our design on a dime idea…placemats, fishing line, binder rings, and bolts! (Honestly, I had a phone consult with CraftiMama. I told her my vision, and she told me how to make it happen.)
Anyhoo, back to VBS. I was standing on the step stool, stretching my arms to cut the string and looking straight up. My scissors must have tugged a little too hard because the circles starting falling and the bolt at the end of the fishing line hit me in the eye (from a very high distance).
And then Kim, Alicia and Ashley got to witness the most dramatic episode of VBS 2010…
It kind of happened like this…
I dove from the step stool, straight to the floor, grabbing my eye and screaming…..oh, oh, oh, oh, my eye, my eye, my eye! Ashley and Alicia came running over to me, and Kim went to grab a phone. I waited for a moment for the pain to subside. At this point, I was wondering if I still had an eyeball? The bolt had hit my eye so hard that I wasn’t sure what I was feeling. Pain, loss of eyeball, blood, trip to the ER, etc. I sat up and there was confirmation of a small amount of blood and a tiny cut. And then I slowly opened my eye, and I received confirmation that my eyeball was still intact.
And it was at this time that someone started to laugh a bit because I was sitting on the floor crying, mascara running down my face, and I was dressed like this...
Quite a sight...it was a crazy day indeed :)
Monday, June 21, 2010
Like, excuse me God, but I'm not going to get over my friend moving to Africa sad. I'm not going to forget that You did this. And I don't have to be happy about it. I can just sit in my sadness and just be a sassy miss sad pants.
You can obviously see that I have very deep theological talks with the Lord.
Anyhoo, it was time for Sunday. This would be the real test. Walking into church and not seeing my friend where I always see her. But the Lord was good to give me some distractions that day. Quite honestly, I have about 400 distractions every Sunday (all my normal distractions are under the age of 6 and I'm responsible for their safety) but these distractions were different. I was able to keep busy and go on with my day.
And then I got an email from Sumer that said that I could give her a call whenever I had a chance...
I called her on Sunday afternoon, and we talked for an hour. (I don't advise that you make a habit of talking to anyone on the phone for an hour when they live on another continent. That handy dandy international phone card is about to run out.)
And during that hour she told me all the things that they had been doing, how the boys were doing, what they had been eating, etc. And then she told me what she was going to be doing on Monday...
I'm going to see if I can find Habtamu and then we're going to find these two street kids to see if they want to come to the summer program.
And then she said this (not an exact quote but close)...
And I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing with my day than that.
And then I smiled a real smile for the first time in 5 days. The Lord quickly told me that He knew what He was doing, and it was time to stop being a Sassy Miss Sad Pants.
The Lord gave me a release from my sadness, and I've felt better ever since. I still miss my friend but there was joy in hearing her plan for Monday and knowing that she is experiencing the joy of doing exactly what God has called her to do.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
So instead of all that nonsense I'm just going to tell you how I spent last week.
On Monday I dropped the Lil'Nanny off for camp and went to work.
(Someone took this picture of her at camp and put it on Facebook. Obviously, camp is a good time to start wearing heavy eyeliner.)
Later in the day we had some fun party time for our Africa missionaries. We had a few of Sumer's favorites: Zaxby's chicken tenders, chocolate cake, Coke and water.
On Tuesday, Sumer needed to run a few errands and eat her last Cracker Barrel Meal. We had lunch at Cracker Barrel on Sunday, and I had assumed that would be her last Cracker Barrel meal, but I was wrong. I always joke that any meal that Sumer orders almost always cost $12. She didn't hold back on her plan of fattening up for Africa and on this day her bill was more than $12. I joined her for many meals over the last few weeks, and I'm now "fattened up" for Africa too. The only problem is that I'm not going to Africa anytime soon.
After our meal, we hit the Target to pick up a few items that she needed for the big flight. She was savoring her last Target run so we took our sweet time...
We picked up some stuff for the boys to play with on the flight. And I tried on an outfit...
Fun times. In my book, you're a real friend of mine if you're willing to wander aimlessly through a Wal-Mart or Target with me. We spent the rest of the afternoon helping her get the 10 containers ready.
Then it was time. Time for Wednesday. The day that I had been dreading for weeks. So I picked up Alicia and we went on our way. I had borrowed a redneck truck that I literally had to climb into and the ten containers were loaded up, a prayer was said and then it was time to load everyone up. Sumer climbed in with us for our last outing together.
Yes, two people were wearing sunglasses for a reason. We drove to the airport and chatted about random stuff because there was a slightly large elephant in the truck that kept shouting:
We're taking you to the airport and we're going to have to say good-bye!
We said our goodbyes with lots of hugs (generally, we have a no hugging policy) and lots of tears. She handed us each a card, and two women left the airport crying the ugly cry.
When I got in the truck I opened my card and read the first sentence...
You've got no one to blame but yourself.
And I laughed. Because one day last August I got on the internet and typed this in a google search engine: babies Africa orphans Please note that I didn't type this: friend Africa moving.
I recently heard this quote in a Bible study: God's character is always the same, but His activity is always surprising. I can say for a fact that is true and be careful what you type in a google search engine.
Stay tuned for part 2:)
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
A couple months back we had a coupon event at my church. Deana and Angel showed us how to save big bucks by using coupons at the right time. You have to use the coupons when the items are on sale so that you get the item for the lowest price or sometimes FREE! Free is good.
This was my great deal last weekend. I have to say that I didn't like carrying my handy coupon holder box into Publix (where shopping is a pleasure and it would be if it didn't take me so long to find the Q-tips) because I thought everyone was going to think that I was one of those crazy coupon ladies. And I fully believe that I have the potential to be a crazy coupon lady especially after I got my good deodorant deal at Kroger. On sale for $2 each and I had a $2 off coupon for each one. I used http://www.southernsavers.com/ to make my list.
Many of you have jumped on the coupon bandwagon...what was your deal of the week?
Friday, May 28, 2010
I know that Sumer was fine with selling the house but when the Lord confirmed they were going long term to Ethiopia; they had to get rid of everything in it. Her house held the contents of 12 years of marriage and 3 youngins' so you know how much "everything" was in it. I watched her sell away her life 50 cents at a time, and I know that it was a little harder than expected. It's all just stuff but much of the stuff we have sitting in our house is there because it holds a memory.
And some memories just don’t fit in containers…
I’ve watched Sumer make lots of choices this week. She has had to sift through the boys things and decide things like…3 pajamas, 10 shirts, 6 pairs of shorts, a few toy cars, 3 sippy cups, etc. because they just can’t take it all. I've sat beside her as she placed the necessities for their new life in ten containers.
(Yes, of course, I labeled those containers. You don't think I'm going to let her go all the way to Africa and not label the containers. When she puts it in a container, I go behind her and take it out and reorganize it...that's how I roll.)
Many friends have asked me what they could get as a gift for Sumer. We’ve packed and rearranged these containers several times and I’m here to testify that there is no room for sweet gifts or mementos. After talking to Sumer yesterday, she told me that they are just $5000 from being able to provide one meal a day for each child that will attend Sumer’s summer school at Great Hope Church.
Teaching school in a church that has tarp walls, a dirt floor and no running water is going to be a new challenge but teaching school to a child that is weak from malnutrition and has a rumbly tummy will be the real challenge. If you want to give a gift that will warm Sumer’s heart and have lasting value, please consider donating to the Project 61 summer feeding program. And if you don't know Sumer but love orphans, we'll take your money too:)
Your tax deductible donation can be made payable to:
Thompson Station Church (Project 61 in the memo line)
PO Box 218
Thompson Station, TN 37179 or I'll take it in person too:)
Psalm 140:12 I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
It's still pink here at my house.
My friend Tabitha is doing blog designs to help with the cost of their adoption fees. I emailed her last week about giving me a makeover and this is what she whipped up for me. She was nice enough to let me call her and say...could you move that little thing over there and could you get rid of that over here and could you make this a little lighter. It was kind of like picking out a new comforter. So much fun but a big commitment. Or maybe I'm the only one that thinks picking out a new comforter is a big commitment....you have to look at it for at least 2 years so you want to make a good decision.
I sent Tabitha some blog designs that I liked and this is what she came up with. You can email her here to get your own extreme blog makeover.
P.S. Now I actually need to get back to writing on this blog:)
Friday, May 21, 2010
It was just two weeks ago today that I was making my tentative plans to jump on a plane to arrive just in time for the delivery of this little girl, my niece, Aubrey Christine. Tammy Faye sent me a text on Friday night that said she just had a prenatal massage that included pressuring spots that could induce labor. And I thought to myself...what's the chance that will work?
It works. At 1:15 a.m. I received a call from CraftiMama saying that Tammy Faye was on her way to the hospital. So I called Tammy Faye to see how fast this labor was progressing and I knew immediately by the lack of words and intense moaning that I was not going to be there to cut the cord. Yes, I was to be the official cord cutter because my brother in law has issues with the cord cutting. I received numerous text through out the night and a phone call around 5 a.m. with the news that she had arrived. I booked a flight that morning and was there by the afternoon...
Meeting Aubrey. We share the same middle name. Aubrey's great grandmothers had the same middle name too. We all know that a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. And being named after your favorite aunt is way better than a million dollars:)
Pure sweetness! Congratulation Misty, Eric & Josiah!
P.S. Yes, I stopped to get a hotdog on the way to the hospital.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
So we arrived Wednesday afternoon and sat in the sun for just a little while. We then got ready for some shopping and dinner, and I decided that I would pick up some sunscreen. Surely to goodness there is a Bahama equivalent to Walgreens somewhere on the island. NOT SO MUCH. When we finally arrived downtown, all the little stores were closing up shop. I still thought there was hope when Lawnmower Man spotted a little shop outside the restaurant we were sitting in, and we would just run in there after we were done. (I would like to make a note that we were eating dinner during the 7 p.m. hour.)
So we finished up dinner and we headed to the little beach shop, and I saw a sign that said: CLOSED
This did not deter me. I could see that there were still people in the store finalizing their purchases, and I politely knocked on the door hoping that they would want one more sale for the day. My polite knocks went un-noticed. We then realized that there was another door so I marched over to that door and may have kicked up the knocking a notch. I made eye contact with the store clerk and said to her through glass: can I buy some suncreen with a big smile on my face. Her eyes said all that they needed to say: NO SUNSCREEN FOR YOU!
So we went back to our hotel, and I walked into the hotel gift shop and made this purchase...
Just for the record, I highly recommend Coppertone Sport in the blue can or it's Target brand equivalent. It sprays perfect, just like my can of Big Sexy Hairspray.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
1) Last night I went to a dinner and Nicole C. Mullen was there. And yes, she sang. My friend Andrea hosted a table for the Fruit Bowl Girls, and I won a Nicole C. Mullin Ultimate Collection CD. She sang with her Baby Girls’ Club Ministry. You can read about them here.
4) I have my appetite back, and I can’t stop eating. It’s really bad when you call your assistant during her lunch at Cracker Barrel and say, “Could you bring me back a piece of Coca-Cola cake?” and she knows exactly why you’re calling as soon as your name pops up on her caller id. And no, the cake thing was not in the job description...I conveniently left that out. But she brought me back some cake and that’s why I call her Awesome Amber.
5) Softball season has begun for the Lil’Nanny. She’s always stressed about her softball playing performance and wants me to practice with her in the back yard all evening long. It's going to be sunny and 70 today so we have a good weekend for practicing.
6) Lawnmower Man and the Lil’Nanny have spent lots of evenings hanging out at the rec center this winter and they’re always trying to get me to go. It’s like I suddenly live with Bob & Jillian from the Biggest Loser. I’ve only gone about 5 times all winter and the last time I was there I accidentally walked into the men’s bathroom. And yes, there was a man in there.
7) March Madness...I wasn't sure if the boys at work were going to let me in on the bracket thing this year because of last year's victory, but I got my bracket completed and turned in. Yesterday I told Lawnmower Man to turn on that CNN so I could check my scores…he said, “Don’t you mean ESPN?” Yes, that’s exactly what I meant…ESPN. (whatever)
8) A few of my preschool ministry peeps went on a mission trip to El Salvador last week and did some real ministry. They treated orphans for lice. They combed out nits and live lice...Now that’s a mission trip! I have to give a big shout out to my pal Sonja Morgan who is a bit of a germophobe. She now has “sympathy” itching, but I checked her hair for nits and live lice on Wednesday night and didn’t find any. You can read their mission trip blog here.
That's all for now. Enjoy the sun!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Our Ethiopian friends would title this one...good for me, not for you.
That's not a taco buffet. That red stuff is raw meat.
I bet Tabby wrapped that piece of bread up and stuck it in her purse to make a peanut butter sandwich later. Thankfully, she had some peanut butter crackers to pass across the table. Every time I walk down the peanut butter aisle in the grocery store, I think of Tabby.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I'm not a big seafood lover but occasionally I get a hankering for a 2 piece fish dinner. I prefer to get my seafood from high quality places like Captain D's or Long John Silvers. I know some of you seafood aficionados do not consider that "real" seafood, but it's as deep in the ocean as I'm going for my fried fish and cracklins. But I don't think you can call yourself a "real" seafood lover unless you are willing to eat your seafood like this...
This is Africa fish. If you are a "real" seafood lover, you must be willing to let your fish look at you. Again, just to keep things straight here...I'm not a real seafood lover because any fish product that I consume must be battered at least 5 times, deep fried in grease and of course, call me picky, but I absolutely insist that the head be removed.
Sumer is a "real" seafood lover.