Saturday, January 31, 2009

boyish behavior...

I have heard horror stories of the creative ideas boys have during their rest time, so I have been thankful thus far, that my girls are not so creative in a "let's gross mom out" sort of way.  But, it did kind of surprise me today when LE called me during naptime to tell me Bell had pooped in her bed.

First thought was "I did remember to put her in a diaper at nap, didn't I?"  Of course I did...

I walk in the room and yes indeed there is a neat little pile of poop on her pink sheets and poop down her leg, and hers and LE's diaper lieing on the floor between their beds - first boyish behavior!  So, I get every thing cleaned up and I lay down with Bell to get the wiggles out, but I keep smelling poop - "It is just in my nostrils."  When I look over and notice she has poop on her forehead - 2nd boyish behavior?  I mean was she smelling it???  Please no!

So, what is your best naptime story?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bella's birthday

We clebrated Bella's 2nd birthday at the dinosuar dig park.  We cannot wait till it warms up again to go back.  It is one of our fave destinations.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Our church has been doing a series called GodBod for this past month, challenging us to work out, eat better, drink water, exercise in the word, give up soft drinks, get better sleep, trust in the Lord and not stress.   We have been going to the gym at night together either lifting weights or doing cardio.  Soft drinks have been very limited, Ben uses honey and fat-free half and half in his coffee are the main changes.  
We weighed this morning, Ben has lost 6 pounds, I have lost one.   

Christmas lights

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Shack

I finished The Shack last night around 11:30. I could not put it down, but I did not want it to end. I read everything from the intro to the acknowledgements to the info on the Missy Project. The book was so enlightening. It was so much more than entertaining. It was eye-opening kind of literature. I just hung on every word and thought. It really helped me to get that life is about the relationship and not the rules that religion puts on everyone/everything. So much so that I had to wake Ben up and pray with him b/c my heart was racing when I alone was trying to get some thoughts straight in my head. So, it is not for everyone, but I think it is another one of those reads for every believer. You will walk away wondering, is it really fiction or not?

carolers at my parents

Ok, I know some of these pics are older, but my camera was locekd up after my virus and now I have access to them, for the first time in 4 months.   I loved that my mom had carolers on Christmas Eve.  

Monday, January 26, 2009

ice cream date with Daddy

We found a new place for ice cream next time PawPaw comes to visit - Shakes in G'town.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

new look

If you are reading in google reader, you are missing out. Papa Richards jazzed up our blog.

Jumpin' Beans Play Date

The girls had lots of fun with their friends Stewart and Graham.  LE was all about the jumping, while Bell just wanted to climb and ride the motorcycle - vroom, vroom.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Africa blogs

When I was in Africa I was fortunate to meet so many great people who are in Africa full time.  I wanted to share a couple of their blogs.  So many people have e-mailed me or commented how much they love reading my stories of Africa and I wish I had more to share.  I thought maybe you might want to check out some of their blogs.

 Patrick has started a scholarship fund for children in Swaziland.  They can attend school for $110 (primary) or $170 for high school.  Public schools are not free.
Christy has recently returned from Africa, but I still love reading her blog about transitioning back home.
These are the pastors in Mozambique - they just need to blog more!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

loving this Texas weather

Freezing this week, but gorgeous last.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

nutcracker fun

My mom took the girls to their first Nutcracker performance while I was in Africa. Taylor, the girls babysitter was in the performance and they had a little tea party for the girls too. I hope it will become a tradition, without the tears.

Friday, January 16, 2009

more Christmas fun

We went to our only Christmas party with our connect group friends at the Knorres. We had YUMMY brisket and played games, while the children ravaged Garrett's room.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

so long, farewell, until we meet again...

...I hope you caught that was a song
My sweet friend, Lisa is moving to Arizona! I am so bummed!
I first met Lisa when Bella had salmonella poison. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner (I hope that is the right title) and she walked me through many teary conversations, over multiple different diagnosis through the years. Then, she became my crafty scrappin' buddy and then my girls fell in love with her daughter. So, now this weekend she is leaving for Arizona where she is going to work with oncology patients. You can follow her blog on the right - Annie's Mom.
Brandt, Lisa, and Annie, we wish you all the best. I know you are going to do AMAZING things. I hope you don't forget us small time folk when you move off to the big city. I pray blessings upon blessings for you. I pray your home sells quickly, I pray Annie meets wonderful, Christian friends. I pray you have the best co-workers in the field. I pray you touch thousands of soul's for Christ. I love you!
The fan went out on my computer tonight, so I have no pics of this sweet family to post until I make it to Fry's.

fairy princesses

I am so blessed to have healthy, happy kids who love each other.  I wish I could get better pics of them, but you get what you can get with them before they fly off to Never-never land.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The end of the journey

The trip to Africa was amazing.  I wish all of you could experience it.  It is so hard to put into words the things I witnessed, the emotions I felt, and how it effected me.  The kids were so beautiful and so gracious.  I heard a song yesterday on Christian radio that really summed it all up - No one is an orphan in God's family, no one is an outcast.  I have never heard the song before, I wish I had a clue who sang it so I can sit and listen to the words.  
These babies were even some of the blessed ones.  They are being fed, they have a shelter over their head, they have a guardian, some education and some health care.  There are so many in that area that had nothing.  It was just so special.  I am so humbled the Lord chose me.  I am so humbled my trip was almost completly paid for.  I appreciate all of you who prayed or sponsored me.  I felt the Lord every step of the way.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Voices of the Faithful & The Shack

I told you that I had received 6 books for Christmas, and I have finally created my bookmark for what we are reading in my gadget list (far right).  I am reading The Shack by William P. Young, oh my gosh.  I am about 1/3 through, oh wow!  Someone told me it is not for the weak, um no! Get it, you will not be disappointed.  Just curious, who has already read it?
My 2nd recommnedation - Voices of the Faithful by Beth Moore - I got a daily devotional from my sister-in-law, Marissa and at first thought - Is it going to be like the other devotionals that get read for about a week and then shelved?  Once again - umm, no!  Each day is written by a different missionary - my new found love if you had not noticed.  The thing I love about it is what I am learning more and more as I read the Bible - Christians are not perfect, the disciples were not perfect, missionaries still get scared, still question what they are doing in the middle of nowhere, did you really send me here, Lord?  In the opening of January Beth Moore states--- Sometimes difficulty comes to us smack-dab in the center of God's will.  
Are you serious, Lord?  Here for the past month I have been wondering God, what have I done?  Where are you?  What do I need to do to  hear you?  What do I need to get things fresh/alive again?  He is still there, still holding my family, still has a purpose for my life.   Thank you Lord for great Christian authors-  Father, please continue to send words to Ben and I even if they are not audible or written across the sky, we will still listen~

the long ride home

We left the XaiXai resort on December 12th  at 8:00 a.m. Africa time, which was midnight Texas time (Thursday).  So, I spent my 10 year anniversary in an un-air conditioned  airport.   We had to drive back to the capital of Maputo to fly to Johannesburg.  We had our 1st layover in Jo'burg and I was able to get some tourist shopping done.  The first leg of the flight was a 10 hour flight to Amsterdam.  Another airbus, but this time jammed back.  John Alonzo and I sat by each other in a two-seater.  He ended up sleeping on the floor and I put a blanket over him and no one noticed (you cannot sleep on the floor of a plane).  This flight was absolutly the worst part of the trip.  They played Simpson's for the in-flight movie to top it off.  
When we landed in Amsterdam we had another layover - 5 hours this time.  We celebrated Shileen's birthday (she hates this pic, sorry - we will see if she is reading my blog or not!)  For lunch I had a meatball sandwich - I think it was more like a meatloaf sandwich this thing was as big as my head.  On to another flight - but only 7 hours this time and more open seats.  Pastor Mel and I shared a 4 seat row and he graciously let me lay down and sleep.  We flew into the sun rise, so it was getting earlier instead of later.  
When we arrived in Chicago we had to go through customs.  Some of the questions - did you come in contact with livestock, were you in rural areas?  Please forgive me, I said no to everything.  I was glad I did b/c I never would have caught our flight had I had to be screened any farther.  I ate at McDonald's and had ice and a Dr. Pepper for the first time in 11 days, the ice was better than the soft drink.   Then, onto Austin.  This was another turbulence filled flight and we had to buckle our seats almost the entire time.  I was watching out the plane and it looked like we were crawling - can he fly any faster is all I was thinking. When we arrived Shileen's husband and Ben we waiting for us, so needless to say we did not wait for anyone to get off the plane.  Ben had roses in hand, my parents stayed home with the girls - it was midnight Saturday when we landed - 48 hours of travel time - the longest two days of my life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

a thank you to the cooks and teacher

When we left XaiXai we met the ladies who cook and teach the children every day.  We gave them each a stainless tea kettle and a coffee carafe for their tea.  I wished they could have opened them in front of us, I would have loved to seen their reactions.  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

XaiXai - after the party

After the party at XaiXai was over we had quit a bit of food left over. We took it to an outreach area that one of Isaac's assistants is feeding children in the nearby area.  On the way we passed a water well where they come to draw water.  It was like a little subdivision and everyone draws water from that same well.  This is the frame of a house going up, guess I will not complain about the size of our rental any longer either.  The children were so excited to see us and about 30 of them came to eat.  We also passed out Pez candy to them, so no it is not an undocumented green tongue disease.  One of the most familiar ailments I saw was children with hernias.  I asked this baby's mother about it and she said it did not cause the girl pain.  As the children were coming over to eat, we gestured to a young woman to come eat, but she would not come over to us.  Isaac told me I could take her a plate.  I walked over to her hut and she was obviously pregnant.  She would not even look me in the eye.  She just kept looking at her feet, but she did take the plate of food.  She did not say anything to me.  I told Isaac about it and he said she had built her home on the property without seeking a land grant.  Now, they were preparing to build a shelter on this property she was having to move.  They are arranging for her to have a home built someone where else, but she was very bitter about it.  Her face is one I cannot stop thinking about.  She seemed so hopeless.  She had no life in her eyes.  This is one of my most memorable experiences.  I tried comforting a young baby so a mother could eat and noticed she had no diaper on, not even a cloth one.  Another modern convenience I will no longer complain about.