Monday, December 14, 2015

What did not happen today?

Well, I don't think I got everything on my list checked off.
I was going to plant some flowers.... but didn't return home in time to do so.
I didn't pack as much as I had wanted to.  I'm shifting to my new home in about a week... and there is a lot of packing and organizing to do.

BUT, I did do other things.

I picked up my good friend and we headed back to New Hope to cook.

We were going to spend the morning cooking for our Clinic  Christmas lunch.

That happened... but before we gathered the pans and things we needed, we were told there was a dead snake down at the farm.  A Big one.

And so we did what we
thought was best.  We hopped in the car and drove down to the farm.  Best to be in a car with a snake nearby than to be on foot near the snake.

The only problem was... that the snake was about a five minute walk into the bush.

And so we walked....

And quickly learned that the snake wasn't dead... it was still very much alive.

And there wasn't just one snake... there was TWO!

And so, Bridget, her niece, and I were the cheerleaders.

The men were all engaged in the battle with the snakes that were tunneled under the ground.

From what I have heard, these snakes aren't full of poisonous venom, but rather constrict their victims.  And victims can be a deer, crocodile, and even a human.

Bridget and I left the men hunting when they were still poking their stick in the hole and digging.  We had cooking to do.  And so off we went.  

We had a blast as we cooked the big clinic meal.  There were matooke to peel (green bananas), charcoal to light, and a chicken to kill.  I took no part in the killing of the chicken.... but I did need to help prepare it.  Defeathering a freshly killed chicken can leave one questioning whether they will ever want to eat meat again.  I kept saying sorry to the chicken... looking to where it's head was to reassure it... only to be startled by the absence of the head.  The head was somewhere in the bush.

And so... as we prepared our chicken and matooke, the men were finishing their snake hunt.
Hidden in the ground, were two snakes.  Both over 10 feet long.  And now they were both dead.

 Here, you kill snakes.  I know it sounds cruel.  But, it's necessary.  Snakes are deadly.
They aren't the cute little gardner snakes of the midwest (are those even cute?).

And after a great day full of laughter, a few screams, and some sweet times with dear friends, I picked up sweet little Subbe and just held him.  All 2.5 lbs of his sweet self.

And so dear friends.  That was today.  Some dying.  But there was also a WHOLE lot of living.  

Laughing.  Being.  Laughing some more.  And embracing today.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tidbits in a week.

It's Friday evening... I've just put some  brownies in the oven and am chilling as they bake.  I think that most of the pressing things from the week have been taken care of and so I'm exhaling.... and resting... and taking a moment to write you all.  A little while ago, as I was preparing the brownie batter, a bird made himself into the house and was frantically trying to get through the screened windows.  No luck.  Which I presume is a good thing.  Tells me the screens are sturdy.  Armed with a pillow, I opened the door and directed the bird outside.   And out it flew.  Yes!  I wasn't up for being pecked by a frustrated bird.  

It's been a full week.  And I thought I would share with you a bit about it.  On Sunday, I celebrated another year of life.  And celebration was what happened.  It started with a breakfast with friends and ended with a FaceTime chat with family.  Everything in between was rich and full.  There were words of sweetness given to me by countless friends and family.  Food for the soul.  Gifts that sank deep.   There were opportunities to cuddle kiddos, sit and chat with friends, and embrace the rest of a Sunday.  During church, a kid needed to go to the hospital.  My flip-flop broke.  Grabbing a pair of slippers from the car... I took that child to the hospital in my fuzzy slippers.  It made me smile.  A little extra fun spice to the day. 

Monday followed.  There were staff evaluations to complete, requisition and accountability forms to work on, and a variety of odds and ends.  A usual day off, I decided to rotate my day off.  There were too many pressing things.  Besides the other mentioned things do, there was tea to drink, emails to write, and Christmas cards to work on.  One of our missionaries flew out yesterday and I wanted to get as many of my Christmas cards on a jet plane with her.  And so, I did a lot of writing.  It was stretching for my right hand, but so good for my heart. I wish I could blur the picture a bit.... so that it will be a surprise for you all when they come to your mailboxes.  So thankful for you all!

Tuesday.  I was expecting to have a normal day at the clinic.  But, on Monday, I received word that little Opeson Luke was ready to go home.  This is the little guy who had deformed legs.  He has casts on both legs all the way up to his upper thighs.  He is a pretty active little guy and well, I have a feeling that the next 6 plus weeks will be an adventure for him.  A time for patience to be grown in a little guy who probably doesn't fully realize he isn't.   Momma seemed very ready to go home.  She did a great job loving on her little man.  They will be back down to the hospital in about three weeks time.  

Now, there NEVER seems to be a dull moment in my life.  And my return home on Wednesday proved that.  I had initially thought about driving to and from the hospital alone, but had decided to have Mr. Ssetuba drive me. Mr. Ssetuba has driven my friends and I on and off since I arrived into Uganda.  He's like a dad.  Patient. Knowledgeable.  Attentive.  As we were approaching one of the villages, we could palpate the tension.  And then in the corner of my eye, I saw smoke going up in the sky.  A gun had been shot upward. A few seconds later, a police man running away from the center.  And before we realized it, the police stopped our vehicle.  A man jumped in the front and a cop in the backseat near me.  There was a mob forming and the mob was after the man who had jumped into the passenger seat.  We were off to the police station.  All safe and NO worries.  K, maybe some slight worry.  But SAFE nonetheless.  

Wednesday. Another day of odds and ends.   It was buzzing from here and there much of the morning.  But, in the afternoon... it was time for some rest.  I had switched my day off to Wednesday. I spent much of the afternoon chilling AND writing Christmas Cards.  

A smile on my face.  It was a day to be in the clinic.  The priority the whole day was to take care oft those who walked through the door needing help.  In a week of such variety, it was nice to pull stethoscope to ear and to listen not only to the hearts and lungs of many... but to also listen and be with those who came for care.  Life Giving for sure.   As the doors to the clinic closed for the day, my friend Anna got in the car with me.  Off to my house for a time to connect.  To share.  To laugh.  And to be.  She drank a coke . I ate some eggs and toast.  A very late lunch.  Or a very early dinner.  It is all in perspective.  Either way.  Good times with a Good friend.  

Friday.  That's today.  I'm living in it right now.  Most people who read this are somewhere in their Friday.  A few are into Saturday (UAE, Thailand, Taiwan... to name a few... or for accuracy... to name several), but for MOST Friday remains strong.  Today was strong.  It was full.  It was good.  And I have a feeling it will be strong for a few more hours.  Even as I type this, there are four young ladies who have come over for a sleepover.  We made an agreement a little while ago that its' a no pranks kind of night.  They agreed.  I hope I agree.  ( :  Chandiru came to visit today.  A young lady changed by a huge surgery.  She can now open and closer her mouth.  She can eat with a spoon.  And her breathing is much more comfortable at night.  Amen.  Amen.  Amen.  There is one side that is struggling to open as much as it did following surgery.  She will go back for an early review on Monday.  But, for today, we celebrate what God has done.  And we embrace her smile.  For her, this Friday is a day of joy and hope and peace as she rests in knowing what her God did.  

Chandiru, you are loved.

And today as we celebrated Chandiru, my co-worker and I also celebrated watching God do amazing things.  Sweet little Colton was diagnosed with retinoblastoma last week.  Today, when Bridget talked with the doctor on the phone, we found out that this momma can get care for her child for pretty much free.  All his medical care is covered.  The only expense is transportation to/from the hospital and costs for incidentals at the hospital (food, hot water, etc).  A huge burden off of a mother who loves her little boy.  Today is Friday, but may we keep lifting him up to Jesus.  

Tomorrow is Saturday.  I have no idea what will happen tomorrow.  But, as of right now, I am slated to be in the clinic in the morning.  Then in the afternoon, I am slated to go and have lunch with a friend in the nearby village.  And then.... tomorrow afternoon.  I'm hoping to sit down on the brown couch and write some emails, Facebook messages, and be.  

Much love to you ALL.  Just thought I would take you through my week.  A glimpse into life here.  

By His grace, 


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

And sweet Chandiru just went into the theatre!
Thank you for praying with and for her.
I'll keep you posted as I know.  Surgery is slated to last about 6 hours!

By His Grace,


Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Testing 1 2 3.

Hello, this is Kimberly signing in.

Calling out quietly from a computer thousands of miles away from the many whose eyes will find this screen.

Technology and I have a strong love-hate relationship.... but one thing I absolutely appreciate about it.... is that it has the potential of keeping people connected.

And for that, I am thankful.

I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone.  I have seen the dust collecting on this blog site and yet, have failed to do much more than push the dust aside.

Right now, I'm bringing the big guns out.  No wimpy dust rag... I'm bringing out the Pledge.

Well, the pledge equivalent in the writing world.

I'm Cracking my knuckles (k, not really) and bringing my fingers to the keyboard.

No slow music tonight.... It's all rap in the typing world.

There is LOTS to catch you all up.

Thank you for your grace in my quietness.

It's a delightful evening.  The temperature is still a pleasant 21 degrees Celsius (just shy of 70 F) and there is a near constant hum of insects.  There is a dash of a breeze.  Just enough to let you know the temperatures are descending.... but not enough yet to warrant a sweater.

Maybe a cuppa of tea will be nice.... but for now,  I'm staying focused.

I'm finally exhaling from a day that puts all into perspective.

And inhaling as I prepare to go forward.

And there is a whole lot of neatness going forward.

And while I could share a million different things.

Today, I want to introduce you to Chandiru.

Just a few hours ago, Chandiru finished her P7 exams.  P7 exams are a BIG deal.  
They are tests that give direction academically going forward.  
They are not tests that you just sorta study for.  
These are tests that you spend a lot of time preparing for.  
And in the preparation, you trust.... you pray... you even sometimes worry.... that

And today, she finished them.   
With barely a minute to spare.  
As soon as she was finished with these tests, she began her journey South.  
A journey towards Entebbe to a small hospital called CorSu.  

And there, tucked somewhere in that hospital.... is a surgeon who will help reconstruct Chandiru's jaw.  A surgery that will have not only a huge impact on Chandiru physically.... but undoubtably will have a massive impact on her heart.  

 And yes, I did just say that a surgeon is tucked somewhere in that hospital.  

Mmm.... Not so much.  

He is a surgeon who has come from far away.  And in His willingness/ability to come.... God is using him to do something huge for a young lady who is bursting to emerge.  Bursting to emerge from underneath the weight of a physical deformity.  

Will you stand with her?  Will you pray for her and with her?  

I just know that your prayers will make a difference.  

I know because I've seen God respond to your prayers.  

He's got His Chandiru.... and He's holding her close.  

Thank you.  

And so these cracked knuckles are winding down.  I guess there wasn't too much RAP writing going on.... but at least my fingers have loosened up a bit.  

I have more to say.... and say I will.  

I'll keep you all posted on this young lady.  She will meet with the surgeon tomorrow and all the final details will be ironed out.  

Surgery will most likely be this week. 

Kimberly.... signing out.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rolling in the Mud.

Written over the last few days.... 

My skin is still feeling the heat of the sun.  I've come inside propped my feet up on my bed and ensured enough pillows behind my back.  I have a cup of water to my right.... as well as a room temperature coca cola right next to it.  Music practice is underway out in the main room and I get to reap the sweet benefit of a rhythmic drum beating and voices echoing throughout the house.  It has been  a full, rich, and emotional reentry into Uganda for me.  I am coming to think that those three adjectives are part of my life.... part of who He made me to be.  Sometimes, (k, maybe often...) those adjectives switch from lower case to upper case.... and sometimes from normal font to bold.... and back to less bold, smaller case letters.  The ebbs and flows of life.   And it feels like there is a constant ebbing and flowing of life! 
Today, as I was reading my twitter feed, I came across this tweet.  
We do disservice when we go to service acting like we've never rolled in the mud. Someone at church needs to know we've been where they are.
9/27/15, 5:10 PM

And it somehow stopped me in my tracks.  I started a response on twitter and deleted it.  I was getting stuck on Semantics and Theology.  Neither are my gifting.  I know I love to write and I know I love my Jesus.  But the words don't always flow out smoothly and I'm not always the most articulate when it comes to theology.  

I feel like I am constantly rolling in mud.  Aren't we all?  And walking in it.  And picking it up and squeezing it between our fingers.  The mud of life is there.   It is here.  It is everywhere.  Earlier, when I went down to the farm, I picked up my snake stick and pushed it around in the dirt.  I found myself pushing hard against the dirt as tears burned my eyes.  There was something should I be so bold as to say.... therapeutic in acknowledging the dirt.  

But when I heard someone walking nearby.  
I could feel myself tighten.  
The freedom of the moment was lost by the awareness that it was no longer Jesus, me, and my dirt.  
It was now Jesus, me, my dirt, and someone else. 
And I didn't like that.  

And that is what has me thinking.  Dirt.  When it is all said and done.  Dirt is Dirt.  Yet, we categorize it.  We decide what is acceptable dirt and what is not.  We create rules and expectations.   I'm not convinced that all mud is bad.  Some mud is good.  Rich.  Full.  Life giving.  Some is wet and slimy hindered by too much water.   Life Hindering.  

In the dirt, life happens.  OR... it doesn't.  

I felt very free walking the path of muddiness with Ketty as she walked the cancer journey.  
It was as we walked the muddy path, that our own friendship took off.  

Digging out jiggers (larvae) from a kid?  Ok Mud (just ok.... truth be told, it's not my favorite thing to do...)  but in the end it's good..... the kid often walks away more smiley than frowny.  

Telling someone your day has been rough?  Slides off the tongue relatively easy.   Though truth said, "I am good" rolls off a lot smoother.  

Sharing the worst experience of your life?  Or even just something more personal?  Yep.... pretty much has to be a massive God nudge.  MASSIVE.  Even though the worst experience in the end proved to be a huge head turner towards my Jesus.  Yep, somehow still takes a massive God nudge to share.  

That's the truth. 

And at some level, there is wisdom.   But when God nudges and/or an open palm in sharing what God has done or is doing sometimes trumps.  

Sometimes, life calls for boldness... guts.... risk..... 

And I wish I had more guts...took more risks... didn't hold back.  

Please Help me Jesus.  

But somehow, since Ketty has gone home to heaven, I find myself holding back.  As if this patch of mud needs to be walked alone.  Somehow, I feel the responsibility to be able to walk it alone.  To not let others see the tears, the pain, the missing of a dear friend.  

And somehow I am believing a lie.  

Forgive me Jesus.  

Yesterday, I was driving back home and I saw three of Ketty's kids walking along the road.  I stopped and got out of the car.  I hugged each one.  As I embraced the oldest daughter, I asked her how she was doing.  She answered.  I told her that I missed her momma and still got teary.  And she seemed surprised.  And I wonder if in sharing a little bit of my own journey through the mud.... it somehow blessed her.  Her momma was missed.  Still.  Three weeks after she went home to heaven, she is still missed.  And will undoubtably be missed for years to come.  And somehow, the acknowledging of that..... seemed to soften her heart.  And it touched my own heart.  And somehow... in that pause, we shared our dirt.  And somehow as we shared that dirt, light dried up the life hindering part and the life giving part  emerged.  

And that's the part I appreciate.  Even in the mud.... there is life.  LOTS of Life.  And with Life... comes laughter, joy, contentment, and sweetness.  And even though there IS a lot of mud in life....there is also a whole lot of Life.... for sure! 

So for today, I'm lifting up my dirt stained soles.... and embracing the journey He has me on today.  
The laughter, the dirt, the tears, and the smiles.... and all that today holds.  

*All these pictures were taken by friends.... not me.  Not sure exactly who to give credit to.... but just know they were taken by some very talented friends.  ( :

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Earlier this year, I brought my fingers to a pen and wrote a letter.
It was a letter intended for one person.  And it was.  And it was received.  And I was thankful.
But I quickly realized even as I was writing it that there was another purpose.   Somehow,  my own heart took huge steps in processing a year that had been really hard.  Really stretching.  Really Good.  And everything in between.  A year of learning down to the core of my soul what true healing looks like.  And even more about my God.

It has been one of the richest and one of the hardest years of my life.  A mixture of two extremes.

There are no words to communicate the deep pain that comes in watching the injustice of unbalanced medical care.  Maybe it's the rawness of today or the haziness of jet lag, but my heart wants to share.    And just maybe, sharing the pain will only magnify His goodness.  Because even now, as the tears stream down my face and I find myself pausing to catch my breath, I want to do nothing more than assure you that my God is good.  He is personal.  And He is real.

So real.  So active.

He is so into healing.  And redeeming.  And pursuing.

Today, in the wee hours of the morning, Ketty Okothi left this world.  She took her last breath in the physical and her first breath in the eternal.  Her earthly eyes closed and she opened them looking directly into the eyes of her Jesus.  And I am quite confident that it was a delightful moment.

I received the news this morning.  And have spent much of the day absorbing it quietly in my heart.

It was probably in June when I went over to Ketty's house.  I had been avoiding her.  I sensed that her time was probably shorter than longer and I was fearful.  I had already said see you later to two other dear individuals.  Wizeye and my grams.  Fearful of saying see you later once again.  And as I spoke into a camera to a group of ladies thousands of miles away, my heart realized that was not what I wanted to do.  I wanted to love her well.  And not with fear or worry of saying goodbye... but with sweetness and assurance that if God was bringing her home... it was good.  And so I walked over.  And we sat in her room.   I told her my heart.   And together, we cried.   Deep pangs of pain.  We had walked many miles together.  A deep friendship had blossomed and bloomed.  Death is not easy.  And yet, we both knew where she was going.  After crying, we laughed.  And laughed some more.  I asked her to give Wizeye a big hug for me when she got to heaven.  And I just can't help but smile at knowing that she has.

Because right now, she is in heaven.

And she is healed.  God breathed Life into her on earth and today, He ushered her into LIFE.


And so tonight, I let the tears fall.
I remember a dear, dear friend who was spicy, determined, and committed.
She knew her Jesus was with her and she rested in that.

There were bumps in Ketty's medical care.
There was someone who pretended to be a doctor at the hospital.

A big bump.

The only radiation machine in the country was broken.

A really BIG BUMP.

By the time we reached Nairobi, the mass had doubled.

A massive BUMP.

Not good for any type of cancer.  Really not good for Esophageal Cancer.

And yet despite these huge obstacles, she received treatment at an amazing hospital in Nairobi funded by many individuals who joined along in both financial and prayer support.

And she had a scan that showed no evidence of tumor.

Only God.

Had there been a working radiation machine all along, we might have missed seeing the power of our God.

I don't know why God cleared her cancer and allowed it to come back such a short time later.

I don't.

I keep thinking of her children.  Her husband.

Please Jesus may this be a head turner towards You and not away from you.

And may we continue to trust you even when it's hard to understand.

Because truth be told.... it is hard to understand your ways in this.

But I'm choosing to trust.

And so Ketty Okothi... I suspect that you are quite busy right now.

You always talked about Jesus being in your boat.... and now, my friend, you have surely stepped into His boat.... FULLY.

You and I have said it a hundred times, "The story is NOT finished" and it's NOT friend.

A chapter is finished, but in many ways.... the book has JUST begun.

So I pray that you are running.... and laughing....

As I whispered into your ear weeks back... God's going to take of your family..... He will.  And your story here on earth isn't really finished.

You my friend, have left a legacy.

His legacy.

And to my many friends far and wide whose eyes fall upon this page....
Will you be willing to take a minute and pray for Ketty's family.

That their hearts would be drawn to Him and not away from Him?

Grams and I... a long
time ago....(  :
Wizeye and Me.  
 Thank you.  I leave you with several verses that has been pivotal for me personally in the last months.  As I said goodbye to Wizeye, my grams, and prepared my heart for the likely going home of Ketty, I have worked on standing in the truths of these verses. I've been working on memorizing them.... and am finding the peace of knowing that all of this has purpose.  That the times and locations of these dear individuals was never an oops wrong place/time by God.  It is all known and ordained by Him.  And today, as I say see you later to Ketty, I smile.  Because for Wizeye, my grams, and for Ketty.... I have seen these words come alive.  And seeing that has brought Life to my own heart.

By HIS grace,


Acts 17:24-28

24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’b As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’c  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

7 dry nails.... and a mostly non random blog post.

And so I start my non-random Blog Post.  I am still at Starbuck's.  My drink is now just down to ice chips.  I sip on the straw in a futile attempt to get a last taste of the Mango Black Tea Lemonade I had.  Each sip proves less victory.  But just as naturally as my fingers find the keyboard, my left hand reaches for the cup.  And there I am... talking about that left hand....again.

K, back to the non-random post.  (  :

First of all, I want to say thank you to the many, many of you who stood with me in prayer.

As many of you know earlier this year, I went into see a doctor for a routine check on a deficiency that I was told I had and left that same appointment with totally unexpected news.  It was news that required answers.  Partly because it was unexpected and partly because I live far over a big ocean and down a dirt, bumpy road.   It was important to know what is really going on.  And to know how to navigate what I had been told.

And so that is how I ended up on this side of the ocean.... now.
An appointment in Minnesota at Mayo.
Yearning for answers.  Needing them.
The timing was a struggle for me.  No lie in that.
My dear friend was/is walking in the full throws of an aggressive brain tumor.
I shared about that in an earlier post.

But God.
In His Sweetness,  filled me with HIS peace.

Mayo is a fancy place.
A world in and of itself.

There, doctors were familiar with the deficiency that I had been told that I had.
I don't think they had to do a lot of google hunting behind closed doors.

And after chatting with doctors , blood work, and testing I was given a blessing to return to the work I love.  I have to send off two more samples to the lab at Mayo and then the diagnosis that I was given nearly 3 years ago should be completely eliminated from a current medical problem in my medical file.   The doctors are very confident even without this test that I do not have what I was told three years ago I had.

Thankful. Really thankful.

Thank you for standing with me on this journey.

You all are a gift.  You really, really are.

I am slated to head over the big ocean in just under two weeks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Three Dry Nails...

I'm at Starbuck's as I type.
My nephew is a few feet away from me downing a chocolate croissant and a hot chocolate.  
Both are being consumed at an impressive pace, but not as quite impressive as how far along he is in the book that he checked out at the library today.  
He is an avid reader.  

I am an avid want to be reader.  
I would like to think that I read a lot... but reading to me is picking up something and reading a few pages.  I absorb that and can easily be distracted by the buzz of a text... or the call from a friend... or... well, you get the idea.  

Yesterday, I was painting my fingernails and decided that as they dried, I would make a list of the things that I needed at the store.  I had painted my right fingers last and I quickly realized that wasn't the best idea.  It could have been accomplished, but the last three fingers on my right hand would have paid the price.  And so, I picked up the pen in my left hand.... and started to write.  

And weirdly, I wrote... with my left hand.  I am not a leftie nor am I someone who has ambidexterity. It wasn't the smoothest of writing, but it wasn't terrible either.  It was legible.  And not to toot my own horn, but it was more than legible.   It looked ok.  

I was stumped.  

And so with three fingers still drying and a pen in my left hand, I did what comes naturally to me.  

I moved on to the next activity.  

I started figuring out why my left hand could write relatively without any problems.    And then, it seemed to dawn on me.  In Uganda, I drive on the other side of the road.   Initially, I had to constantly be thinking of what was going on.  Not only did I have to be aware of men on motorcycles zooming around vehicles, but I had to flip things in my brain.   What I had known for most of my adult driving days was very different to what I was experiencing with driving in Uganda.  Yes, a red light is still a signal to stop.  But instead of turning right to the nearest lane, I had to train my brain to turn right across traffic.  Turning left meant turning left to the nearest lane.  It took a while to make that switch.  

And now, (though some could easily attest to the exceptions) the switch comes mostly natural.   

Maybe that flipping around in my brain with driving has helped me start writing better with my left hand.  

I don't know.  

Not sure if it will ever be important to know.  

But my thinking made for 3 dry nails on my right hand, a list written with my left hand for shopping, and a super RANDOM blog post.  

Speaking of random, I think that I will schedule this to post in a few days.  

I am pretty sure that instead of writing random, I should be writing about not random things.  

Like good news.  Being at Mayo.  Hunger.  And a ticket to head over the BIG ocean in the beginning of September.   

Never mind scheduling this for a few days.   I"ll post this and start on a non random blog.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sandals and Avocados

This picture speaks.

I can see the reflection of miles walked.

Can almost see the weight of kilos carried.

The imprint of toes.



The whiteness of a flour sack seemingly unscathed by the elements of life near the equator where dust and rain are often intermingled.

And somehow, in the stillness of rubber sandals, I can see rest.


But maybe a different kind of rest than one that often comes to mind when the word rest is spoken.  Something deeper than sleep.  deeper than reading a book in the calm of a gentle breeze.

I think I'm referring to r.e.s.t when the winds blowing and the demands of life are pulling.
Maybe pulling more than usual.  When the pressure is high and the demands equally as high.  And yet... somehow there is r/e/s/t.  It is not something I have mastered.  If I were to adjust this picture to communicate my heart.  I would slap more dirt on those flip flops.  The white flour sack would surely have the remnants of dirt.... tracks from a hurried passing.... and quite possibly some tears.   And by tears I mean rips not drops of moisture from the eyes.... though I know those kind of tears would be there too.   Hopefully, I would leave some whiteness.... because somehow it's in the newness of that sack that I see rest..  The freshness of the green strip and the crease of a fold still clearly present.

Earlier this year, the Lord really impressed upon my heart the need for Margin.  And it was something that by HIS grace and HIS grace alone that came back with me to Uganda.  Many mornings, I would wake shortly after the chickens (k, often a lot later than the chickens) and go out for a long morning walk.  It was an opportunity to think, pray, and be.  The day was often just beginning around me (minus those chickens!)  Men were attending to the cows.  Birds were greeting the day with their twirps.  And my heart was transitioning from sleep to awakeness.  Those steps were just part of the margin in days that were full and rich.  Hard and Sweet.  Stretching and natural.  

Language seems to roll more quickly off my tongue.  Though I know my Uganda brothers and sisters would smile.  Rolling off my tongue is probably not an accurate statement.  In truth, it still crawls.  But the crawling is no longer an army crawl.  It at least comes.  And for that I am thankful.  

Time at the clinic has been rich.  My coworkers have become dear friends.  It has been so good to be back.  Listening to lungs.  Peeking into ears.  And taking care of those who come in with needs.  A few Saturdays ago, we had an ER doctor come in for a a morning.  It was such a blessing.   It was a sweet time of learning from a doctor whose been taking care of patients for years.  It was also a sweet time to learn how to suture up a laceration.  Thankfully, we didn't have to practice on a live person.  Instead, I took a blade to an avocado.  And after creating a large laceration, we slowly put it together again.  Lots of practice.  And an avocado was put back together more so than Mr. Humpty Dumpty.  

Back in the spring when I was figuring out my plans for my return trip back to the States, there was an error in the booking of my flight.  I remember noting the error and deciding to just roll with it. The Lord was leading even as He gave peace about a plane ticket and the timing of that ticket.  He led even in a simple mistake.  As most of you know, I have had the honor of journeying along Ketty and her family the last year and a half.  Ketty has become a dear friend to me.  At the end of June, Ketty's condition started to deteriorate.  We knew the cancer was back.  I've blogged a bit about it.   But not very much.  My last month at New Hope was full.  It was Hard.  It was rich.  It was a whole lot of everything.  Several times, we thought Ketty was going.  Going home to heaven.  Her body is weak.  Seizures have come and gone.  Some intense, others only seen by the flickering of her eyelids.  It has been a season of sitting.  Being.  Washing.  Repositioning.  Remembering.  Watching.  Long hours well worth it.  

I've watched as a man brought a bag of sugar to the bedside of his sick "mom".  His body is that of a man, his mind that of a young child.  And he brought what He can.  And it is a gift that will forever be impressed in my my heart.

I've watched as a community came to Ketty's house.  They sang.  They prayed.  And they encouraged a family deep in the trenches of hardness.  Hardness not without hope.  Ketty, weak by her journey clearly stated, "I know where I am going". 

Her words have become fewer.  The times of sleep far outweigh the moments of being awake.  And yet, the peace is clearly present.  That has remained.  

I was going to change my plane ticket.  
The thought of going was a bit overwhelming.  
Leaving when I wanted to be staying.  
Ketty and I had journeyed so much together.  
And as I prayed, I sensed Him telling me to go.  
And so, with HIS peace and HIS peace alone, I went to the hospital and said "see you later" to Ketty.  
She was sleepy.  Her eyelids danced a bit as her brain struggled.  
And I told Ketty.  
"I'll see you later when I return.... OR you will be in heaven dancing."   
She heard me.  She acknowledged and agreed with my words. 
And she drifted back off to a peaceful state.  

And I too, by HIS grace, remain peaceful about being her and not there.  

And so I flip off my sandals.... and take a seat on the flour bag.  

My shoes carry their own indentations.  Their own evidence of miles walked.  The shoes look different on each of us, but the rest, no matter where we have walked... where we are walking... or where we will walk... 

well that rest is available to us all.  

The Lord is My Shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.  Even though I walk through eh valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence o my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  (Psalm 23)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The world's shortest blog post.  
Despite the longest gap since writing a blog post.  
My deepest apologies. 
I covet your prayers for Ketty.  
I covet your prayers for Ketty's family. 
I covet your prayers as I walk with Ketty and her family.
Ketty has become progressively weaker over the last week.  
Many are walking with her and her family.  
May we all cling to our Jesus more and more.  
He's got this.  
He is good. 
So much more to say.... but my words today are few.  
A dear sister.  
A dear friend.  
Walking through the Shadow of Death. 
And as she walks, I ask that she will know that
her Jesus IS with her.  
That HIS rod and HIS staff comfort.  
May her children know HIS comfort.  
May her husband know HIS comfort.  
May we all keep our eyes on Jesus.  
And trust Him as He leads the coming days. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

As we say here.  The time is R.U.N.N.I.N.G.  It has been nearly one month since I boarded a plane and began the journey back to Uganda.  And here I sit nearly one month later.  Sitting at the consultation desk listening to the mop hitting the bucket and water splashing around as the clinic is cleaned.  Music is coming up through the speakers of my computer.  The day is still young and I am embracing the quietness of these moments.  Soon, I anticipate that the floor will be muddied by the footprints of those needing assistance.  It rained early this morning and the ground is damp with moisture.  And even as I type this, the rain is pattering on the roof.  A light patter.  But a patter nonetheless.  

In so many ways, it has been SO good to be back.   And in between the SO are bits of transition, bits of hardness, bits of knowing that I have to depend on my Jesus.  And He has been so sweet to me.  One of the things that the Lord really impressed upon my heart was the need to have margin in my life.   
I wrote about it a few months ago.  My eyes had come upon it when I was reading a book.  

"Margin is a powerful concept.  It creates opportunities.  For businesses, margin is one of the top priorities.  Margin in business creates profits.  Margin in family creates memories.  Margin in our personal finances creates generosity.  Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact.  Margin in our lives overall creates options.  Options to pursue dreams, think, pray, relax, meditate, process, grow, and ultimately live life more fully." Brad Lomenick

It was so impressionable when I read it the first time.  It has been impressionable still to this day. 
A convicting salve to a heart that had been running at a cheetah's pace for entirely way too long.  
And not necessarily in a good way.  The pace had left little room for... well the extra's of life.  
I knew coming back the pace He had showed me needed to remain.  
To be honest, I was a bit fearful about what that would look like coming back.  

My heart was convicted... but I wondered how long before the pulls and needs of life would drown out His convictions in my heart.  I knew I wasn't victim to the risk... to the threat.   I had a choice in each moment.  One that required attentive dedication, commitment, and obedience.

And it has been so sweet to see Him create margin in my life.  Almost every morning, I wake up and go out for a walk.  A walk near the secondary school and a jaunt down to the farm.  It's an opportunity to chat with my Jesus and to absorb the absolute beauty of His creation.  The view is breathtaking.  Absolutely breathtaking.  

And the days have been as He has ordained.  

Sweet moments of being with my family group.    We have been learning songs together.  Yours truly has been singing with them.  I only chuckle because my voice isn't necessarily solo quality, but the quality of our time singing together has been really neat.  

Moments of putting cool washcloths on the foreheads and backs of sweet children and adults burning with fever.  

Walking and laughing and walking some more.  Lots of walking.   

Pauses to watch the ants carefully walking up stalks of grass... or meticulously cross the path.    

Slashing and clearing the land around Wizeye's grave.  Doing so with dear friends who knew and loved him.  
Welcoming his momma and son over for an impromptu breakfast and tea.  
So so good to see her.  

Drives into Kampala.  Avoiding motorcycles and bicyclists.  Trusting (and praying) you will reach your destination. Watching God lead and trusting Him for the big requests of my heart.  

listening to lungs, cleaning wounds, and peering into ear canals.  

Peering into the screen and seeing loved ones on the other side of the ocean.   

Yep, these are just a few of the moments.  

Good and Hard.  Big and Little.  All important.  

Embracing what He has for me.  Embracing the margin.  Embracing His sweetness and care for me.  

Monday, May 11, 2015


The rhythmic sound of the grass being slashed is seeping in through the windows.  I am sitting on the brown couch... lounging would be a more accurate word..... bringing my fingers to the keyboard.  I can't quite believe that I am back.  Back Home.  I type that a bit cautiously because in so many ways, I just came back from home.  And so as I exhale from a delightful time of being in the States and inhale this coming season here.  I smile.  It is all good.  Embracing where He has me today.  


I've been chuckling over that word for the last near week.  

It's a good word.  Holding something closely.   Enthusiastically.  Willingly.  Often, this comes naturally.  I've had the sweetness of embracing so many around me in the last couple of days.  Greeting, reconnecting, laughing, remembering, and being.  All good.  All sweet.   The part of me that giggles is that sometimes I just choose to embrace something because it's the best thing to do. 

On the 6th, when I flew from London to Entebbe, I had to choose to embrace the day.  Nothing hugely wrong happened, but a lot of little things that made for an adventurous day.  When I was getting off my flight from Scotland in London, the flight attendant made it pretty clear that my carry-on had to shrink.  She was very gracious, but very clear.  It was too big.  It had grown in Scotland.  360 sachets of proper British Tea along with sachets of medication had joined the already full piece of luggage.  Once I arrived into London, I made use of the repacking zone.  Picking up a shaving razor, I attempted to cut the zip-ties on my big bins.  That was not the wisest thing to do.  Yes, I was able to cram some stuff into the bins (thus shrinking my carryon), but I also managed to slice my finger... twice.  Again, nothing huge.  Except that those two little cuts were determined to voice their presence.  And did they ever! Armed with a wipe, I attempted to hide the bleeding.  But that wasn't doable.  In the end, a sweet British Airway lady had fun dressing my wounds.  I arrived into security with a very impressive (and dramatic may I add!) bandage... one would have thought I had lost a finger.  The bandage came off quickly.   After all that, I needed the Loo.  And well, that too proved to be an adventure.  In the process of flushing, my boarding pass went bulls-eye into the toilet.  Back to a different British Airway lady... this time with a slightly pinkened face.  She was very gracious.  Smiled and let out a little giggle.  In the end, I got a new boarding pass... much to everyone's delight.  And then, before I knew it... I was boarding a plane to Entebbe.  Embracing. 

The embracing can look so different.  Sometimes, embracing is the ugly cry.  Sometimes, it's walking forward when every muscle in you wants to stop.  Other times, it's in the stopping.  

And so I'll keep embracing.  

The sweetness of seeing loved ones here.
The hardness of missing loved ones back in the States. 
The absolute beauty of this country.  The lush greenness and popping clouds. 
The emotions of transition.    

Will I do it perfectly?  Mmmmm... nope.   Not even close...

But I'll keep striving to embrace.  

And trusting as He leads me.  He's got this.  He's got me.  He's got you.  
And for that, I am very very thankful.  

I've mentioned that I have had the sweetness of connecting with so many.  The other night as I was hanging out at my friend Kate's house, I heard a vehicle go by.  I knew it was Ketty returning from chemo. It was late.... but I just had to say hi.  It was a joyous reunion!  So So So good to see her.  We talked briefly and set up time to spend time together the next day.  She looks so good.  And she informed me that I too looked good.  Adding weight here is a good thing and she had no problem pointing that out.  (Embracing.  ( c : )  When we got together the next day, we laughed about that...   It was SO good to sit and catch up.  We did a lot of sharing and a lot of laughing.  She had a coca-cola waiting for me along with Fried Kasava.  So love this friend!  

I feel like I have written so much.  The grass is still being slashed though the intensity of the rhythm has more frequent pauses.  The chatter in another language is also coming in through the windows.  

I leave you all dear friends.  My neighbor friend just became a momma and I have a little baby girl to hold.  

Let's all keep embracing.  
Whatever comes our way today.... may we embrace it.  
May we know that our God's got it.  And us. 

With so much love and thankfulness for each of you.  You all are a gift to me! 


PS.  Some extra pictures below.  
having a proper British snack on the plane a little while before arriving into Entebbe.
Clotted Cream?  Heard about it....

The view of Scotland.  Thanks Grams and Gramps for such a sweet gift.  
A dear friend.  Natasha and I walked over 40 miles around Scotland.  So many good laughs, chats, and adventures.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's official.  The chocolate chips are packed.  And just for the record, they are not all for me.  My containers are NEARLY packed.  And I am slated to leave on a JET plane in just over 48 hours.  It doesn't feel real.  But, in truth, it is VERY real indeed! My time here in the States has been SO rich and So full.  As I stood in church on Sunday, I was teary.  So neat to stand in worship with friends here.  I fly to Europe and will be in Scotland for about 5 days (Thank you Grams up in heaven!) and then journey on down to Uganda.  I am getting SO excited to see friends and family there.  Yep, I said family.  So many there have become family to me.  I will undoubtably miss people here.  Saying goodbye and hello is not easy.  It's a shift in posture as my heart really remains a bit in both worlds.  
As of right now, I am slated to return to the States at the very end of July.  In the beginning of August, I will see a specialist at Mayo.  Thank you to so many of you who prayed for that.  My heart is peaceful.  I will also spend time on the East Coast working on choosing things for a container of medical supplies.  Hopefully, my trip to North Carolina will not include tomato size hail balls.  (like my trip to Arkansas!)  Love you all and so thankful for each and every one of you! You all are a GIFT to me! To my friends here in the states.  I love you and am so thankful for you.  Thank you for such a life giving time .  To my friends in Uganda.  Nsanuse nyo nyo kumbanga njja ku mulabba mu weeki emu! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

For the last couple of weeks, I have been getting online and trying to write.
The words haven't come.  It's been a lot of typing and a whole lot more deleting.
In the end, I would just stop.  Determined that the next day I would write.
And multiple times, I would try to write.
And each time, my fingers and soul were stumped.  And I would stop.

Today, was a hard day.
A cry at the red lights kind of hard.
I know a lot has been going on in my life these last few weeks.
And a lot going on in others around me.

This afternoon, halfway around the world from where I am today, a little girl was laid to rest.
I got that news yesterday as I was chatting with a friend online.
She had been sick for a handful of weeks and last night Jesus called her home.
I am quite confident that today she is doing something that she was never able to do here on earth.
I am very sure that she is moving her legs freely... running and dancing freely.

The day before that I chatted with Ketty.  A friend who has become a very dear friend to me.
We had a candid conversation.  The reality is that she is struggling physically again.
We don't have all the details yet.  Just bits and pieces.  Hints that things are not right.
It was so good to talk with her.  To share.  To laugh.  And to speak out the sweetness of our God.
She may have started out as a patient, but over the months of this last year... she has become a dear, dear friend.

we chatted.  we laughed.  And in the end, we said goodbye.

In faith, I will see her again.  Where that is, I do not know.

And that's where my own journey intercepts.

This afternoon I sat at a Starbuck's with a pen in one hand and a tea within grasp of my other.
I didn't bring any technology with me.  It was me and my Jesus.   I sat.  And I journaled.  And I sipped my tea.  It was needed.  It was necessary.  It was.... well, it was life-giving.

There is something about being honest down to the core of your soul.
Not too long before my time at Starbuck's I poured out my heart to Jesus with a friend.

My own heart is on a journey.
       Aren't we all?

These last few months have been a mixture of lots.  lots of time to be and to interact.  lots of time to share about life in Uganda and time to share in life here.  lots of time to laugh, listen, and learn.  There have been moments of pause and moments of activity... and through them all, I would say that it has consistently been RICH and FULL.

And tucked into it all has been the reality of facing my own health issues.

And realizing my own need to trust Him more fully in the journey.

It's not every day that you go to the doctor asking for a blood level and are told that what you have is more serious than you or anyone knew it to be.  And when that happens, the world does in fact seem to slow down a bit.  And your mortality seems to look back at you in a potentially daunting manner.  You either stare back or turn away.  Neither are good options, but somehow both seem to be a necessary part of the process.  And when you've tried both and realize that neither do you any good... you have an option.  To grab the hand of the One who created you and walk hand in hand as He leads you to the next step.

And well, that is where I am.  I think I was trying to lean up against Him.  I wasn't  sure on how to move forward.  And even if I wanted to reach up and hold His hand in the process, I couldn't.  Because  I was holding on to fear, pride, and fleshly frustration.

And today, as I poured out my heart to Him... well, He met me.

And I am so thankful.
I can't get over how relentlessly He pursues me.
He keeps pursuing me.  And pursuing me.  And pursuing me.

So, with my hand in His...I keep walking.

I am needing to see a specialist who will be able to give me the information that I need to be able to understand more fully what is going on with me.  Will you join me in praying for the details for the appointment?  For peace for my soul as I trust Him with the timing?

An April 30th departure would be grand.... but as of right now that's not confirmed.

I don't know.  But, He does.

Tonight was the night I was supposed to write.  The words have flowed from within.
I am thankful for that.  You all are a gift to me and while my natural tendency would be to be
quiet about this area of my life, I know that sharing this part of my journey is important and good.

I'll keep you all posted as I know.

In Him,