Friday, May 22, 2015

Rising and Falling


Today's word prompt is Rise. Immediately the following lyrics came to mind and I began to write:

I will rise on eagle's wings. Before my God fall on my knees, and rise.

Such an interesting juxtaposition of phrases. I'm going to rise, but in order to do that I must fall down.

 We've rehabilitated hawks a few times in Zambia and as they are learning to fly they fall a lot. But, before you know it they have gained wind beneath their wings, learned how to control it, and they are off. There is nothing we can do to help that process other than make sure their nest is high enough that they get a bit of help on their way down.

In the words of Woody: Falling with style

As my kids grow up it can be hard to watch them 'fall' out of the nest. They can get some good swoops in and fly short distances, but other times they hit the ground a little hard. 

As a parent the best thing I can do is model the rise and fall of life in a positive way and hope they take something away from my example. 

My six kids in various stages of flight celebrating Timothy's graduation

And when they swoop through the sky I cheer with all my might. When they hit the ground I kiss their bruised wings. And continue to nudge them back in the air again.

So this turned out differently than I thought it would when I started writing, but it's my heart on the page. Enjoy!

Exactly Four Years Ago: Sundays in My City
Almost Exactly Four Years Ago: I'm Not the Only One Missing Someone (and boy, am I missing him today....)

Friday, April 17, 2015

When Tomorrow Never Comes

Today's word prompt is Tomorrow

If I've learned anything these past few years and even more so in the past few weeks is that we are not guaranteed another tomorrow. 

As I write this I am on my way to Oregon. I'll be speaking and presentting to a few church groups, but I'm also going to visit with some dear friends who just had a baby (need to sniff a newborn's head) and so important for me, I'll also be visiting my Grandpa. 

Grandpa S. turned 100 this past December. I want to make sure that I have a time to sit and visit with him and find out more about his history. It's going to be a special visit.

As I packed for this trip yesterday I saw a Facebook status from my uncle. My Grandpa C.--my dad's father--passed away yesterday. I won't have another tomorrow with him. I didn't have very many yesterdays with him either. This makes me sad. 

Grandpa C. was 88 when he passed away. He served as a police officer in Detroit, was a successful business man in , and so much more that I don't even know because this life I live doesn't give me as many todays with those I love as I would like. 

When I sit down with Grandpa S. on Tuesday next week, I'm going to treasure every moment because while tomorrow isn't guaranteed, today is and today is what I'll make sure to make the most of.

This is my Grandpa S. two years ago, with my mom (on his right)
and my brother and 3 sisters.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Finding Relief in Mothering

Today’s word is relief. Nothing profound really came to mind when I heard this word, but I challenged myself to write anyway. Stretching oneself is good for the soul, or so they say....

Easter Sunday!
Such a treat to be together as a family

The main thing that comes to me is the relief I feel when I know that my loved ones are safe. I regularly check in with my kids through Facebook when I’m in Zambia, and now while in the States I can keep up with them through phone calls and texting.

My brother in law and his wife just buried their oldest daughter this past weekend after she passed away in a tragic accident. While there is some relief that she is now completely safe and far beyond hurt and pain, there is awful longing and grief for her loss.

Balloons released for my niece, Lisa 

I know our days are in His hands and there is absolutely nothing I can do to keep my kids from harm’s way—especially now that they are grown and making their own decisions.

Someone said (I can’t remember who) that being a mother means having a piece of your heart out in the world. I’m badly paraphrasing that eloquent saying, but it’s true just the same.

Relief also comes when my kids each begin to find their place in the world. When they find their calling and passion and reach their goals. Mothering is fulfilled in those moments.

And that's a wrap. Five minutes is not long at all.......

Exactly One Year Ago: Volunteering is Grrreat!
Exactly Two Years Ago: Visitors and Parties
Exactly Four Years Ago: Sunday in My City--Shopping Trips

Friday, March 27, 2015

You Deserve a Break Today

This week's word prompt is break. 

Picture from 2010 when I visited my mom in California

Immediately I thought of a Facebook post a friend of mine here in Zambia just put up. She has begun a project of taking premature babies and teenage mothers into her home. She is building a place for them, but in the meantime they are staying with her in her tiny house. She has local caregivers working alongside her, but it means that she is constantly surrounded by her work and does not get the chance for a break. She was pleading with people to help give in to her building fund so that her work and home could have some separation.

This plea struck home for me because I too live at my work. There is always something to do, a child that needs attention, a staff member that needs instruction, always something. I have to fight for my time off.

But, there is a nagging feeling that as a missionary I shouldn't feel that way.

And I know I'm not the only mission worker to struggle with that. We are doing Good Work. Why should we want a break? A time away?

Then I talk sense into myself and give myself a little talking to. It goes something like this:
"Even Jesus took breaks. I'll be no good to anyone if I get exhausted and sick. It's healthy to have time away from work. Other people with 'normal' jobs get weekends or days off. Why shouldn't I?" and so on and so forth. 

It's silly almost to admit this, but the struggle is real.

As I said, I know I'm not the only one. I see it over and over in missionary updates. They feel the need to justify any days they take off. Any money (even personal funds) spent on recreation. We get it. We need to make good use of the donations and funds that people have entrusted to us, but we need to take care of ourselves as well.

So, if you know a missionary or even a mission worker not overseas, let them know they deserve a break today. Let them know that you don't expect them to work 24/7 just because they're doing God's work.

I could say more on this subject, but I have to play by the rules of Five Minute Friday..... :)

Almost Exactly Four Years Ago: I Like-a You!
Exactly Four Years Ago: Sundays in My City --Uno Attack
Exactly Two Years Ago: A Family Day to Remember

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It's All in the Wording

This morning I wasn't feeling well. While I rested in bed Peter came to play and keep me company. 

Troy didn't think this was a good idea and suggested to Peter that he leave since "Mommy has a headache". 

Peter: "Mommy doesn't have a headache. She's just lazy."

Me: "..........."

Peter: "Yeah, Mommy told me she is lazy today."

Me: "Dizzy, Peter! I said I was dizzy."

Good thing we cleared that up before anyone else asked Peter why Mommy wasn't working today.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Keeping It Real

I missed posting on Friday because what a week! I really lost track of the days with all we had going on. 

This week's word is REAL

I started this blog in order to be real about what it’s like to be a missionary. Zambia’s tourism motto is: Zambia—the Real Africa. Perhaps by extension that makes us the Real Missionaries. Ha ha

My intention though is to help people to understand that missionaries are real people—not superhumans, not metahumans (little geek humor) and certainly not saints. We struggle with the same issues: fear, loneliness, anger, etc.

I get scared by the things around us. I’ve lost my temper when faced with culture clashes. I’ve wept long and hard for losses here and far away. I’m not always content. (Once I saw pictures of family members on a beautiful vacation and I cried to my husband that it wasn’t fair! He reminded me that our reward is in Heaven. “But,” I wailed, “they get to go to Heaven too!”) Real. Not necessarily right. But honest.

However as I strive to show an authentic face to you about life as a missionary, I am also striving to become more like the most real human being to ever walk this earth. My goal is to become more like Him!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Disaster Strikes!

It was a normal Saturday afternoon. Power was out for routine maintenance so all was quiet. Around 3 PM a thunderstorm blew in. We unplugged electronics and listened to the wind and rain pick up. Next thing we knew the rain was coming down in torrents and the wind was blowing fiercely! 

 The kitchen lady ran up to tell us that the roof from part of the kitchen building was gone. We didn't know if she meant part of the thatched grass covering, or a few of the tin sheets. We ran out into the rain and saw that the bathroom building had collapsed. Going on into the dining/kitchen building we found that the entire roof from the back half of the building was ripped off completely! Rain was pouring into our pantry, storage room, and laundry area. 

Quick thinking on the part of the kitchen lady saved much of our food, but also caused her to become injured by a falling brick. Thanks to God's protection she was not badly hurt. We took her to the clinic, but being that it is Saturday no doctors or nurses would see her. We sent her home with ibuprofen. 

The next thing we noticed was that the entire roof for our brand new classroom was completely gone! Huge beams and everything! All tossed across the road.

As many as could scrambled to rescue the school books and materials from the still pouring rain. We have no idea how much can be saved. There is definitely hundreds of dollars of loss just in that alone.

Once the storm blew over, which was surprisingly quick, we began the big job of clean up.

 One huge miracle is that all the kids were gathered in the dining room for snack time. They had just been in the bathroom area washing hands. If the storm had hit just five minutes earlier.....we don't even want to think about it. Look above at that bathroom! God's protection indeed!

We are going to have to completely renovate the bathroom area--six toilets, three sinks and two showers.

Everyone (including some neighbors) pitched in to help collect all the roofing sheets and beams from around the area. We also had to mop up water and wipe everything down, and move the food from the pantry to the kitchen in case rain comes again before we have a chance to replace the roof.

We have no idea how much damage we've incurred or what it's going to cost to replace everything. If you, or anyone you know, can help us to recover from this disaster please donate at this linkDonate Here

Or, you can donate via Paypal (

Please pray for us as we recover from this disaster and figure how how to best move forward from here.
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