Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends!  

2013 has been an intense year… where to begin?  How do I recap these past 12 months?  

God has been incredibly faithful to teach us, stretch us and draw us closer to Him - Praise the Lord!

At the beginning of 2013 God burdened our hearts to "simplify"… and boy, has that been the theme.  

In January we received a text from sweet friends that they were ready (after 2 years of dreaming) to buy our home!  Justin and I looked at each other, in that moment, and knew why God was telling us to simplify … we would be heading to Africa with our family!

Selling all, dispersing animals to new homes and placing all our belonging into a storage container, we were on our way to Uganda, East Africa with all of our treasures!

Our goals, while there, were to straighten out delinquent paperwork with the ministry we had been part of for 4 years and buy land to build on.

Though it was hard and stretching, on so many levels, we look back and see that God was faithful and now the ministry is in right standing both on the US side and Uganda side!  Praise the Lord!  This was not an easy task and we learned a lot about working with governments and people.  

Although we looked and looked, traveled down some pretty crazy/memorable roads, we did not secure land to buy. We know that God's timing is perfect and we take great comfort in that.  

A week after we booked our tickets to Uganda we received a court date for the adoption of our new son, Deo.  This was something we had been striving towards for a year + - isn't God so good!  We were over-the-moon to think that we would be able to complete the process while in country.  We had known Deo for 4 years and now he was going to be our son!

Our time in Uganda was incredible for our kids.  They learned so much.  Their world view was broadened and their heart for the things of God grew.  We will forever be grateful for those 3 months of learning that no text book or movie could ever teach!

In July we traveled back to the USA and settled here in Southern California.  

Two years ago both Justin and I knew God was calling us to deepen our knowledge of His word.  Now that our lives were "simplified" we knew it was the time to enroll in bible college.  Through a million beautiful circumstances we were lead to Eternity Bible College.  The more we learn about their heart to make disciples, the more we love being here to glean from them.  Justin is planning to take night classes, as he can while being a full-time lineman.  The first question we always get is "what degree is he going for?"  We smile and share that God has called us to learn more about His word and not necessarily a degree for full-time vocation purposes.  We believe each of us is called to make disciples and knowing the truth, learning how to share it well, is what we are each called to do.

The kids are adjusting to So Cal life.  I would never call this transition seamless, for any of us, but one thing I will shout from the roof tops is that God has given us rich friendships down here.  We are incredibly blessed with the people God has surrounded us with here.  Our kids are attending the best school there could possibly be.  We home school Monday and Tuesday and they are on campus W-F.  Justin and I grew up with the headmaster and his family so to have that connection here is a blessing only God could have provided.  Deo is filling in holes he may have had in his education and all of the kids are being exposed to great literature while being discipled in the things of God.  An amazing blessing we did not see coming!

A week after we landed back in the US, Dawson was due for his MRI at Stanford.  We were confident we would continue to see shrinkage of the lesion on his pituitary because he was doing so well and had cut his replacement hormone dosage to a 1/3 of what he was taking before Africa!  To our surprise, it grew.  We were shocked and devastated.  We had to wait 2 weeks to hear from the oncology board that they were comfortable to wait another 6 months.  His next appointment is January 13.  This week the elders of our church prayed for him and anointed him with oil [James 5].  It meant more than words can express, as does all who pray!  We know God is good and we hold fast to His good, good plans He has for each of us!

Oh if I could show you a picture of our hearts from all that has happened this year - you would see a broken mess covered by the faithful hand of a loving Father. 

As we go into the Christmas season I can't help but be in awe of The Hope God sent into this broken world through a young girl.  He lived a life we could not live and payed a debt He did not owe - Oh what a Savior!

May we never forget what the true gift is this season:  


Love to each of you.  

Let's love well in 2014!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Best Day in UG!

We have countless moments and memories I would love to share but this day trumped them all.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Storms in Uganda hold a candle to no other.  

These storms have ministered to my soul more than anything else here.

God created these storms.

They are good.

They are needed.

Storms keep all of creation in complete submission to His power. 

We knowingly stepped into the storm of this ministry we are part of here, a world away from home.

We also knew God asked us to and was making a way.  Now, at this exact time.

It has been nothing less than a time of bracing up under His Wing.  

At times there has been deep confusion.  Fear.  Frustration.  Loss.

We hear it, we see it, we feel the energy in the air.  The window slams against the frame, a metal door comes unlatched.

There is both running to latch things secure and then there is the waiting, watching, listening.  Standing in awe.

In the midst of storms it's hard to see beauty.  Only destruction is felt and seen on every side.   

"How can this possibly be part of Your plan?"

Storms strip down, stir up, remove and expose foundations.

Only foundations built on The Solid Rock will stand.

After He stills, light breaks forth…..

the still is coming….

Romans 8:28
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Friday, May 10, 2013


our 7th treasure!


14 little [and big] feet to fill our house.

He fits, just right.

Our two Ugandan treasures.  May their heritage be celebrated.  May family be celebrated even more.

Welcome Deo.  You are loved.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I told Lil D that I told on him to my friends…...

He laughed and laughed…..
[photo taken by Hunter]

Proverbs 30:8-9

New International Version (NIV)
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Oh Africa...

Time is starting to fly by and words escape me of how to share our journey thus far.

Up, down, awesome, hard, fun, not-so-fun, stretching, growing, life-changing…. but the word that keeps coming to mind is, faith.

Every aspect has not been how we have planned or expected it, we are truly walking by faith.

The verse I stood on for this trip was Proverbs 16:9 "The heart of a man plans his ways, but the LORD establishes his steps."  I believe this verse has through this season of change.  We plan, plan, plan but as we seek His face and His plans HE establishes our steps.  They have looked nothing like what we thought but we know and have an amazing sense that God is up to something good, something greater!

Our pastor here has been preaching on growing in spiritual maturity.  He asked on Sunday if we had only 2 choices right now:  A.) having every comfort, no struggle, every need met with zero problems OR B.) trails, struggles, hurt, pain, etc.  With A. you will not grow in Christ or really even recognize your need for Him but with B. you will grow and commune with God like never before.  Now choose.  [sorry if I miss quoted you P.Terry, I was too busy imagining A. but anyways... ;)]  OF COURSE we would choose B, right?  A. leaves us empty and wanting but sometimes it looks oh so good.  B. is where we are swimming these days and tho I can't see much growth, I am trusting He will finish what he has started in us.  B. is good…. refining good.  God knows I need a little refining!  

Enough of this heart stuff let's talk about the kids…. :)

They're awesome and pretty much love it here.

Ashton is learning to cook UG style!  As I type she whipping up some cookies for the first time so I am sure she is in her happy place :).

Hunter is busy climbing all the new trees and scaring me to death.  If I had a dime for every time I said, "be careful… there's not medical here like there is in the USA…. don't break your arm!"  I'd be rich!  

Dawson is a happy clam and soccer has been on the to do list every day!  He ran and played so hard the other day that he almost made himself sick.  UG kids know their "football" and he's trying to keep up!  He should be practiced up for Fall soccer.

Lily is full of joy even here in Africa.  We visited an orphanage the other day and I don't think her mouth quit moving once, as she was busy making friends, making up games, telling everyone their part.  At one point I went to check on her and I couldn't see her….. she was surrounded by all her new friends and they were playing a game with her in the middle [of course].  She has a gift of making friends and loving them instantly.

Isaiah is truly a Ugandan at heart.  I was not sure how he would do with all the sights and sounds that may not have had some great memories to accompany them but he is thriving!  PRAISE the LORD!  This has been great for him to be in his birth country and make memories that he can hold on to forever.

Daniel…. hmmm….. Daniel is 2.  The 2ness is VERY 2 these days.  We are experiencing some BIG 2ish days.  ha.  Oh I love this kid.  He has passion like no other.  He loves passionately but oh my, he whines equally as passionate. ;)  I am not sure the Ugandans know what to think of him.  He may be causing me to gray a bit.

Speaking of gray hair…… my husband and children [not so graciously, I may add] found a few [very few] gray hairs on MY head yesterday!  I went into instant mid-life-crisis mode…. it lasted for about 8 minutes then I was ok.  Yup, I'm going gray - break out the dye.  I'm not going down without a fight.

Justin is busy juggling a million balls in the air and gaining life experiences that you just can't match in the US.  He walked from the orphanage to our house the other day, in the dark, balancing a mattress on his head.  You just can't learn these things at home ;).  

Honestly tho, he has been the glue that has kept this family in operating order.  While I am whining on the floor that I can't lift the giant jugs of water to give our kids a drink, he is finding a solution.  While I am busy telling him how haaaarrrrrddddd it is to put a dinner together, he's making a plan and putting it into action.  He has shown himself to not only be the provider for this family (in a whole new way) but a strong leader.  I love this man and if Africa has done nothing else, it has made me see him in a whole new light.  God has given me a good man.

The adoption is going great and I can not wait to announce and share him with everyone!  What a treasure, what gift!

I am not sure what the next 7+ weeks will look like but one thing we know for sure is that God is great and OH.SO.WORTHY to be worshiped in the midst!   

Friday, April 19, 2013

Stretching but we're gettin' there….

10 really?  We have only been here 10 days?  Pretty sure it has been longer than that but calendars don't lie, right?  I've clicked, looked and counted 3 times.

To say this trip has been stretching, thus far, is no small statement.

But we knew this.  We prepared for this.

Walking it is just a bit harder, stretching.

Normal morning times with Jesus have been filled with trying to keep Lil D from waking up the rest.  Time to breathe, dream and chat with my man at night has been filled getting munchkins settled and sleeping followed by collapsing into bed.

My fuse has been short and my face tells the tale [have I ever told you I am a horrid liar when it comes to my face?].  I saw my reflection in the mirror this morning and I even scared myself.

Apparently I need Jesus here too.  My strength is not enough!

So today we [I] start afresh.  Time to repent, turn and take in the redemption God is so good at ... today is a new day.

With my Bible in hand and kids working on school work for the first time in weeks…. I am thinking we'll make it…. we're getting there.

 Breakfast this morning in the new house.
 Ashton catching up on her online classes and The Littles are working away.
 Not a bad place to do some school work.
Lil D was learning a thing or two too.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Last night we arrived at Redeemer House and took the latest treasure out for pizza and some mini golf to celebrate.

First time as a family of 9!  [!]

 We are trying to slow down and breathe for a bit now.  The fast pace of moving, packing for Africa and traveling has caught up with us [me] and we are purposing to take it down a notch or two for a few days.

This morning we went for a walk.

This mama had just had her baby.  We all ooh and awwed as you can take the kids out of the farm but you can't take the farm out of the kids. :)

This was a sight I had not ever seen here … a full family of monkeys.  The kids loved it!

Daddy grabbed us some lunch and we headed home… or our home for a few days anyways.  Hoping our guesthouse will be livable soon!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lil International Travelers.

After a nice morning near SFO, we loaded up and headed out.

10 of our 50lb totes we waiting curbside.  Our neighbors brought them to Justin's uncle who lives and works near SFO.  Thank you Mike and Pam!!  Thank you Uncle Bill and Aunt Debbie!

Flying across the pond went well but we landed an hour late and only had a 2 hour layover to begin with.  
Ya know that scene in Home Alone when the family is running through the airport?

We made it and to our surprise the plane was practically empty!  So this is what the next 8 hours looked like:


I know a gift from God when I get one!  What a blessing!  Thank you Jesus!  It was better than first class.

Our friend, Farouq, picked us up:

 and after not sleeping much, our day looked like this:

Beautiful Kampala in the background.

Thank you for praying!

Tomorrow we are Jinja bound.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sent out.

Yesterday was incredibly hard to say goodbye to our church family and friends.  At the same time my heart wished for every Believer to be sent out like us to the next adventure God has.  We felt loved, encouraged and supported.

In the morning our church family gathered around us and prayed.  I wish I had a picture of that, as it will be a cherished memory forever.

Then we went to the house to hand over the keys:

We love The Perkins Family and are thankful to be on this journey together!

Then it was time to say goodbye.  Ick.  It was not easy.

This family is hard to find where ours ends and theirs begins.  Just thankful for technology, is all I have to say about that.

 Lily was having a hard time… we all were.

Cheered out of the driveway.  Everyone should leave their family like this:

After all that emotion I ran into Target to get J some socks for the plane.  These socks screamed:


He agreed and decided to see how they worked.

He's hot!

He knows it.

We needed a laugh.

Now in San Fran awaiting our plane.