Monday, May 15, 2017

Savoring EVERY moment.

These days.
As we say here, Banange!  (Oh My goodness!)
I can't even fully digest these days.  They have been a mixture of a lot of emotion.
I got off the plane knowing that I wanted to savor EVERY minute.
And I've tried.
My mind and heart are still in the middle of digesting.  Absorbing.  Embracing.  Remembering.  Living in the moment as much as possible.

So much to say and yet today,  I'm letting the pictures speak for themselves.

The road home.  It's one of my favorite places here in Uganda.  This picture doesn't grasp the absolute beauty of this place.  I had my friend stop the car and I literally hopped up on the hood of the car to snap this picture.  It threw some people off as they watched the "white person" on top of the car out in the middle of the bush. I guess it isn't every day that you see someone on the side of the dirt road snapping pictures.  

One night, the missionary ladies threw me a shower.  It was a surprise and was full of kind gifts and wise words.  I knew the love and was grateful for the sweet gift of their thoughtfulness and blessing.  While I truly know that this next chapter is led by God,  It is still a path of letting go and feeling the emotions of the hardness of leaving.  Knowing the love and blessing of dear friends here makes it that much easier.

These days have been rich of spending time time with many.  It's included time with the young ladies I have mentored and walked with over the years.  Time to hear how they are doing and to process through who will walk forward with them.
Goodbyes are HARD.  Sweet Chandiru


I've eaten LOTS of matooke and g-nuts.  What a sacrificial gift from people in a season where the rains have just come.  Matooke is more expensive due to the limited supply.  My heart smiled at the kindness and my stomache appreciated.  

God's sweetness over these last few weeks have been so evident.  I am so so so thankful that He has allowed me the sweetness of coming back and being able to say "goodbye" personally to these people.  My heart is so thankful.  Yes, the tears have flowed deeply, but my thankfulness for these days have also run deep.  

My clinic Team!  They threw me a lovely meal!  

Uncle Matthew and his family.  Matthew is like a brother.  He drove me all over
Kampala on a a variety of trips.  Often, it was for clinic tasks and taking people to and
from appointments.  

Auntie Blessing wanted to wash my feet.  A blessing as I head out.
Speechless.  What a gift!  

SO many dear friends here.  Here with my British Friend who loves me just because  I'm an
American.  What a dear friend she has become to me over the years.

I wish I had pictures to share with you of all the others.  

The other day, as Kate and I were driving back to New Hope, I saw a rainstorm off in the distance.  I took a picture of it.  The contrast of the clear sky and the pouring rain.  You can literally see where it is raining.  


 And shortly after snapping that picture, I saw the fruit of the rain.   Can you see it?

These days I feel the mixture of emotions.  Sometimes, I feel like I am standing under the torrential rain and other days, I feel as if I am watching it off in the distance.  

I'm thankful for the rainbow and the promises it brings.  

I'm going to sign off.  I've got more peeps to see and more sounds and memories to absorb.  
I'm down to the wire.  Just about 48 hours left in this country.  

Want to savor EVERY moment. 

I love you all!  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Manna... and lots of it!

I've been waiting for the moment when the words will flow naturally from deep within.
When my heart and my words will melt together and an articulate blog post will emerge.  It hasn't happened.  I've done what I have done so many times in recent years.  Written a few words.  Stared at them.  And then deleted them once again.

Almost two weeks ago, I sat down and drafted out a letter  A letter that did seem to come to life.  Before I really knew it, I was bringing it to a close.  There was a level of cohesiveness and a flow that offered a glimpse into my heart and a reality of steps going forward.

THIS, somehow, feels more challenging.  Bringing words to a public arena.

Maybe because the public arena is exactly that.  Public.  Out there.  Permanent.

In the beginning of February, while in England on a long layover, I received a message with a question.  It was a big question.   One that stopped me in my tracks and left my heart beating faster than it should have considering I was simply sitting on a bus.

When my sister passed away, she left behind 3 children.

The message/question on my phone?

The oldest needed a home.  Needed a family.

Would I take him?

Would I take him?  

And thus began the journey that undoubtably comes with such a big question.

And that is a big reason why I became quiet on social media.
Why I became quiet in many arenas.
Why I was thankful for long car drives and opportunities to journal and pray.
My heart screamed yes.
But, I knew I couldn't make an emotional decision.
I had to make a decision that was stamped by Jesus Himself.

The days back in the States have been FULL of pondering, praying, chatting with friends, processing, processing more and figuring out details.

Overall, God has FLOODED me with an immense peace.
One that is confirmation in and of itself that He is leading.
I've heard His whisper and I've experienced His peace.

I've also been reminded of how crucial it will be to LEAN fully into Jesus.
My times with Him needs to be full of all that He has to offer.

My life is going to look very different.
The letter I mentioned in the beginning of this blog?  That was my resignation letter.

In some ways, it feels like I am walking through a thicket of trees.  Or if my computer has it's way with autocorrect, a thicket of tweets.

So many things that are squeezing my heart.  I Sorta of feel like a ripe avocado.

I'm being squeezed from so many sides.

A goodbye to a life I loved in Uganda.
A move from one side of the ocean to another.
Continued steps through grief.
a processing of hard realities seen.
To preparing to work stateside.
And preparing to be a parent.
To a little guy needing lots of sweetness.

And so that is my big news.
God has shifted the trajectory of my life.
And the life of a little guy.

I don't know all that God has for me.  He has flooded me with peace and He has also shown me that I can't take my eyes off of him.  If I do, then this all become VERY overwhelming.

Just the emotions of all these changes can leave me feeling overwhelmed.
Let alone, when I fail to cling to Him and trust His presence in THIS journey.

Way back in the day, as the Israelites left the the bounds of slavery and wandered the desert for 40 years en-route (a long en-route) to the Promised land, God provided them with Manna.  It was a miraculously supplied food that came in the night and was picked up by the Israelites before sunrise.  It was a direct reminder to them of God's provision and it was nourishment that sustained them.  It also required them to get up before sunrise to gather the given substance.

This is a season of manna for me.  I'm walking from one land to another.... literally.  Change of all types is not only on the horizon, but in the current.  And God is there for me.  He will provide the manna that I need.  And there aren't a lot of stipulations on it.  But one of the big ones is that I have to get up and get it.

And so if there was one thing I would ask of you all... is that you would pray that I would lean into God like I have never done so before.   That I would be filled by His manna.  And His manna alone.

This is NOT the end to this blog.  My adventures will undoubtably look different.  But I am confident that my fingers will still find there way to this page.  Writing is a balm to my heart.  A way to express the inwards of my heart.  A place to reflect and see how God works and how He remains constant even in our rawness.  Even in the squeezing of life.

I'll be heading back to Uganda for about 2 weeks in May.  It will be at time to say goodbye (see you later) to friends there.

I am aiming to get a newsletter out this week to many of you.

Till my fingers find this keyboard again.


Friday, February 24, 2017

English Tea and Avocados

My feet have been on US soil for just over two weeks.  
According to my Fitbit I've barely made a dent in the 10,000 step goal each day. 
It's amazing how much walking I did in Uganda and how little I do here. 
But, if you were to ask my heart how many steps it's put in the last several weeks, it would probably be a bit out of breath to respond.  

God gave me two feet.  Never did I realize that at one point in my life, I would be, at my tender, not-so young age doing splits.  I've been told I am flexible, but I don't think the giver of those words was referring to my physical flexibility.  

But right now, as I sit at Starbuck's drinking the closest thing to English Tea, I find myself thinking of life in Uganda.  The only thing English Tea has to do with Uganda is my English friends in Uganda that have introduced me to PROPER English Tea.  Oh, let me tell you there is an ART to Proper English Tea.  Maybe my life is like a big game of Twister.  One foot in America, One foot in Uganda, One hand in England or wherever God has me.  

Are they getting rain?  How are the kids doing now that they have started back up at school?  
What's the water level in my tank?  Have the bats left my attic?  How's the child I walked closely with shortly before I left?  How are the staff in the clinic doing?  Wishing I could hop on over and share a cuppa of tea with a friend.  Would love to mess with little Mary and hold sweet Reuben.  To sit with my girls and hear how they are doing.  There are things I miss.  

All the while, I'm soaking in the here.  The sweetness of a heating blanket, the absence of the confused roosters greeting the day at all hours of the night or the discos that wax and wane throughout the night.  Long sleeves and boots.  Though, I quickly realized after my arrival that short boots seem to be more in than long boots.  Painting pottery and spending quality time with loved ones.  Organizing and planning for upcoming trips.  Hours long couch chats and holding friends babies.  Yes THIS is good.  

And THAT is good.  

And in the in-between.... well, it is just part of the journey God has me on.  

It is it easy?  No
Is it hard?  Yes.  
It it rich?  You betchya.  

This last month has been a cardio workout for my heart.  For my soul.  

The blog-world is a beautiful thing.  It's a place to bring words to a page and to share what God is doing.  I find that I can just as easily write out a near polished blog that honestly communicates my heart.  I've felt the freedom to be honest with the joys and the challenges of ALL the adventures that God has brought me on.  

And today is no different.  My life currently feels like a combination of random things all mixed together.  A recipe that makes doesn't make too much sense, but the end product, I trust is a satisfying bite.  

Hot chocolate and Avocados.  

Strawberries and Parmesan Cheese.  

chocolate and soy sauce.  

"They" Say these are great combinations.  I can't say I've tried any of them.  

But "they" say.  

And while it is probably not wise to depend fully on a "they say", 

I do have a choice to depend Fully on a He says.  .  

And those are the words, I have been digesting the last few weeks.  

Thus says the Lord,
    who makes a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters,
Isaiah 43:16

The words that I have been chewing on first came to me on a modern day version of Alexander and the Terrible, Very bad, No good day.

I received it as I sat at the local hospital with a child who had walked through some very hard things 
It was a day where grace and kindness were NOT flowing out of me.  
It was a day where the waves of life felt like they were hitting me from every angle.  
I felt stretched more than unstretched.  
Weary more than not.
Angry more than joyful.  
Unheard more than heard.  
You name it, I was probably feeling it.  
That's the day it was.  And truth be told.  It was more than one day... it was several. 

And as I read those words, they only reached the back of my throat.  
I wasn't letting them make the 18 inch drop down to my soul.  

That's the truth.  

The pillow in my living room that said, "Today, I choose Joy".  
Well, I turned that pillow around.  

There were reasons to explain my emotions.  

I could list them.  Reasons that gave understanding to the emotions. 

Reasons help explain, but that's where they stop.  At least I think.  

I had a choice.   I leaned into my Jesus.  My raw, hurting heart and pressed.  

With one foot in this, and one foot in that, a hand in another and a toe there... I had a choice to lift my weary arm and to touch Him.  
And by ONLY His sweet grace, He took my lifted arm and helped me.  

I picked up that pillow on my couch and turned it around.  

I had a choice to choose JOY... and by His grace, and His grace alone, He honored the choice I made still loaded with emotion.  

Little did I know that the verses given to me on my Terrible, No Good, very bad day(s) would be words that I would fall back on.  

Words that would float through my heart and mind consistently.  

That day, God made a way for me when hardness felt like it was pressing in from every side.  

I've had the sweetness of having seen Him do it over and over.  

I haven't always had the heart and eyes to see Him as clearly as I did a month ago.  

And since stepping on a plane in Entebbe a few weeks ago, I've been presented with a Big question.  One that isn't ready to be published on social media.   

One that could change the trajectory of my life.  
One that I am open palmed to.  
One that i am pressing into Jesus with everything I have.  
Asking Him to make it clear.  
Asking Him to hold my heart.  

And even though my heart has vacillated between all the questions and thoughts,  what He showed me a month ago remains close to my heart.  

So, with one foot in Uganda, one here, and one hand holding a question that could change much,  

I lift my arm up and hold on to Him.  

And I trust that 

Thus says the Lord,
    who makes a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters,
Isaiah 43:16

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

An opening from behind and a God who hears the cries of our hearts.

I c a n n o t  believe that I have not written on this blog in the last 6 weeks.
Crazy.  Unacceptable.  And yet, it is totally what it is.
I don't have a reason as to why I haven't written.
To be honest, I didn't realize HOW long it had been.
And when I did.... well, I had to pause.  And wait for the moment the words would flow.
And so here, I sit.
In a tank top with a heat that dried my freshly washed floor in a matter minutes.
The air is dry and the dust is picked up and thrown around at the slightest turn of the wind.
And I can't seem to guzzle enough water.

This morning, when I was working in the clinic, I knew my fingers were going to hit the keyboard.

While I was in India, a huge container full of medical supplies came to New Hope.   Months ago, that container was packed.  Many things were requested for and yet, most things that came were surprises.

Well, surprises to us here... but NOT surprises to Him!

And that's where my heart does a big smile.

Because today I saw how God answered a prayer from my heart from months ago.

It wasn't a prayer that really fell from my lips.

It was one of those prayers that sits heavy on your heart.

Months ago, when I was completing my hours at a hospital in Kampala.  A young man was brought in by a good samaritan.  He had experienced serious electrical burns along with a serious head injury. It wasn't clear what happened to him.  Except that he was in VERY serious condition.

The clothes that he came in were removed in the hustle of providing him with care.

It wasn't possible for them to be put back on.

And the decision was made to shift him to another hospital.  That, in and of itself, is a story for another day.

And it wasn't as easy as throwing a hospital gown on him and sending him on his way.

Instead, a makeshift something was rigged and placed on him to cover him.

It wasn't a matter of honoring his dignity.  It was a matter of NOT having something proper to cover him.

And that was hard.  I remember whispering to this man that while we didn't know his name.... that God knew his name.  And as I stood near him, I prayed out loud that this man would know the presence of Jesus.

And though the words about the lack of hospital gowns didn't fall from my lips, God heard the prayers of my heart.

And today, as I went through boxes of donations.  I found myself sorting through a decent number of hospital gowns.  Gowns of all sizes.  Gowns that are nothing more than a large piece of cloth with two holes for arms and a gap in the behind.  Literally, the BEHIND.  Hey... that was a fun PUN! But a piece of material that can properly cover an individual in a very vulnerable time.

And I can't wait to deliver these gowns to a few hospitals.  And know that the individuals who will wear them will be blessed by something so simple.  Yet so dignifying.

It boggles my brain that with EVERYTHING going on in the world... that God cares not only about showing me He hears my prayers, but that He nudged someone, somewhere to donate the old hospital gowns months ago.


I'm blessed.  

And I'm reminded that my God HEARS my heart.

And cares about His people.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


And this morning, the surgeon talked us through the plan for the surgery.

For the last ten plus days,  Reuben has been having on and off bronchospasms.

Even when his breathing has appeared normal, the CT scan showed the other day that he was having spasms.  The pressure in his lung has been very high.  A complication that can greatly impact not only surgery, but post-surgery.

Reuben's heart really needed to be fixed.

And probably the biggest challenge was the high pressure in his lungs.

And in part of the plan for surgery because of the high pressure, they were going to create a hole between his atriums.

And they got in... and they didn't need to.


They fixed the large hole between his ventricles.

And so, right now Reuben is deep in a medically induced lala land.
A ventilator is breathing for him and will continue to do so for the next couple of days.

Thank you to all of you who were praying and have been praying.

I think we saw God do a miracle today.

And that's pretty awesome!

I'll keep you posted.

Thank you all for praying!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

And TWO blog posts in ONE day.  One was a reflection on a personal level my time over the last month.  But this one.... is to officially tell you all that Reuben is slated to have surgery tomorrow  I'll send out a message once surgery is over.  Thank you for standing with this little guy.

And really that is it.  It might be an early morning.... so I'll make this officially the shortest blog post ever.  

Thank you! 

salt spice, and WATER

(the formatting on this is a bit of a mess.... it won't let me fix it..... so I'll just let it be....)  .... for now.

It adds flavor.   
And when it is missing, it is hard to not notice. 
It took nearly 3 weeks before I found the salt at the grocery store. Staying in a cardiac part of the hospital means that salt is not easily dispensed.  And when you are too wimpy for the traditional spicy meals that are offered here in India on a regular basis,                               you are given the simple tray.  The non-spicy tray.                                And last night, as I mixed in a little salt into the rice I felt a little conviction in my heart.  K, more than a little conviction.  I haven't  been so content with the food.  And I have been hearing the crescendo in my own heart of grumbling.   Grumbling.  
Yearning for more variety.  More flavor.  More something.

And yet, realizing that I am given three meals a day.   Three meals.
I found myself thinking of the Israelites wandering the desert eating the same thing every day.  

And I realized that it had only been 23 days and already I found the grumbling note.                                                                                         *                                                                                                                Argh.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I would not have been a good Israelite. 23 days?!?!!?                                                                                                                                              But, I'm thankful that God nudged my heart.  And I'm thankful that I have a choice.                                                                                                                                                                                                        To be thankful for the simple tray.  It is food.  It is nourishment.  It satisfies.  

And so, today on Day number 24, I am choosing to be thankful for the food.  
And I am thankful for the salt that I found in the supermarket.  Just so you know... in case you are EVER in India looking for salt.  It is not located in the spice section.  It was up against a wall on a shelf far away from the spices.  

But never mind where it was found... it WAS found.  

And speaking of salt.  

Salt has another effect.  It creates thirst.  

It's a complex process... but a process nonetheless that results in THIRST.  

And with that thirst comes the need to drink.  

And depending on how much salt we contain, the demands on our body. .... our body adjusts the demand for water.  

And that is exactly where I am going.  

When I first arrived into India,   I was surprised by how intense this country is.  

I'm not slamming India.  I am just saying that there is a constant hustle.  LOTS of people.  LOTS of spice.  LOTS of horns honking.  And LOTS Of language that I do not understand.  

That coupled with little sleep, a sick little guy, and a process that was taking longer than expected..... 

There were a few days were I was feeling overwhelmed.  

And a friend back in Uganda gave me the BEST analogy ever!  

Her husband cooked up a spicy meal.  A type of spice where the spice only seemed to increase as more food was consumed.  The jug on the table was refilled with water... and refilled... and refilled... and refilled... multiple times.  

Everyone needed more water to soothe the spice that clung to to their mouths.  Even if that spice was good... 

And that analogy was true for me.  

My typical time with Jesus was good.  But, I was in a land of spice... a land of different.... a land foreign to me... and with that, I NEEDED more water.  The water I was taking wasn't enough.  

I NEEDED more.                                                                                                                                                                                                And that's what I have been trying to do.  Being more intentional in drinking from the Living Water.                                                               And as I have nestled into my Jesus.  The horns have still honked (do they ever!).  The spice has still remained.  I still don't understand a bit of the language.   And the process has still been slower than I envisioned.                                                                                                                                                                                                             But God.  He has met me.                                                                                                                                                                                                           And when I have forgotten that I am thirsty..... I find myself thinking of Salt, Spices, and Water.... and the NEED to get more Water from my God.  
John 7:37

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 

And with that.... Let me grab my water.  

And later on today... I think I am going to post another BLOG..... You will see why later.....