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.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"One Day" [Guest Post]

There is so much happening behind the scenes that has us in this place of going.  The sell of our house has such an incredible testimony of God working in and through the details.  I asked Kellie to share their journey thus far because I know you will love to hear this journey as much as I do!

Bloggy friends… meet Kellie:

Wow- What an adventure these last few years have been. Its been one wild ride with so very many ups and downs, detours and short cuts- wow! God is so very faithful and trustworthy! Shauna, my sweet, lovely, dear friend has invited me to guest post on her blog- I am thankful for the opportunity to fill you all in on our side of this very amazing story that has become part of our lives! I know I will not be able to remember every little confirmation and spark of hope that the Lord gave me in this process but I will do my best to share what I can…

My husband and I were married in June of 2004 a week after we had graduated from Southern Oregon University and became pregnant soon there after. We welcomed our first child into the world in July of 2005. My husband, Greg had felt the call to become a police officer early on in his life and after receiving his bachelors degree began pursueing that dream. In August of 2005 he entered the California Highway Patrol academy and started his long 7 month training there. He graduated in February of 2006 and we moved to a town called Lone Pine, located along Highway 395 nestled in at the base of Mt Whitney. We felt so very blessed to get placed in this small, high desert town and Greg began his career there as a highwaty patrolman. We were given the opportuniity to buy an old house there that had been built in 1936 and had been moved 3 times, along with being added onto too many times. A fixer-upper it certainly was- but we felt we couldnt make it look any worse and God had a plan for us to buy it. Well after many renovations and much blood, sweat and tears we with the help of so many dear friends and family had a renovated home that looked worlds different from when we bought it. We felt called to move back home to Yreka, California- where Greg’s parents live, which would also bring us closer to my family who lived in Southern Oregon. After lots of prayer Greg put in for a transfer request and on May 7th, 2010 our transfer was accepted which meant we would be moving in September. By this time our family had grown from only one boy to now 3 young boys ages 5, 3 & 1. We had enjoyed our time in the desert- and had grown immensely in our relationship with the Lord. We learned how to depend on the Lord day to day instead of just going to church on Sundays to be "fed." We learned to truly walk with Him. I would walk early in the mornings around the town of Lone Pine and enjoy the serene sights of the magestic mountains while smelling the fresh air which was always flooded with sage brush. Along one of these early morning walks I was enjoying some sweet time with the Lord when He told me to "Hold on tight, Im going to take you for a ride- its going to test your faith- but just hold onto Me." A bit nervous I said ok- not sure what this meant but stepping forward in His loving reassurance that He would see us through.

In September of 2010 we packed up our belongings- tearfully said goodbye to some dear friends and headed north. While driving along Highway 89 almost to Yreka God spoke into my heart and told me the reason for moving to Yreka was going to be to "stand in the gap." Not knowing at all what that might mean- I tucked it away to hold onto later. We moved in with Greg’s parents tomporarily until we could sell or rent our house in Lone Pine. When we settled in, Greg’s parent’s neighbor Mrs. Darnall let us know about a wonderful family who was looking to sell their house and thought it would be a great place for us. We decided to drive by to take a look- from the highway it looked beautiful but upon grabbing one of their sale fliers- realized that even if God sold our Lone Pine house we couldnt afford it. The next month I decided to attend a Beth Moore bible study and met Shauna there. We started talking and realized that she was the owner of the house we had looked at- I let her know that I loved it but we could never afford it. She invited us out for dinner and to take a closer look at the house. Upon arriving at the house- I immediately noticed the front door- the same style door I had been attempting to describe to my husband of what I wanted on our house "one day." I couldnt believe it had ’the’ door- I even asked God- why do they have to have that door- You know I love that door! We had a wonderful visit and truly fell more in love with the Vaughans then we did the house (even though I really loved the house). I asked God to not sell the house to anyone else if it waws meant for us and placed it with my hopoe in His hands. The Vaughans shared their hearts on adoption with us which struck a chord in my heart that had not been strung in a long time. I had felt a call to adopt "one day" as a young teenage girl- but was never sure how that would come to pass. Shauna saw my interest in adoption and spoke to me of a Uganda trip she was leading the following January. I immediately felt called to join her! I jumped in with both feet and began planning my first missions trip. The next month, now December of 2010 we had been contacted by a man interested in buying our house. So we packed up the family and headed back down south to meet with him and sign paperwork. He wanted to sign a lease-to-own- God had a plan... Along the long 10 hour trip with our 3 boys we had stopped in Carson City where I decided to purchase a movie to occupy the kids and... well a pregnancy test... I was a bit over a week late at this point and found it really unrealistic due to preventative measures we had been taking but ah why not just check. Upon arriving in Lone Pine I ran into our house and used the rest room- took the pregnancy test and.... what.... really? Haha- i just started laughing to myself- really God? Oh my... Mind you I had just been reading ’Wild Goose Chase’ (an amazing book if you havent read it- you should) to Greg on the trip down which speaks of letting go and chasing the Wild Goose- the Holy Spirit and His plan for your life. Well I left the test on the back of the toilet and let Greg know that there was something in the bathroom he needed to check out (mind you- he didnt even know i had bought a test haha)- I heard bolting laughter coming out of the bathroom... He was caught off guard as much as i was! So we signed papers- and headed back north. We let our family know the news and then I waited- for that looming 7 week mark where the sickness takes over. This pregnancy brought about a whole new set of things to think about... I had been preparing for my trip to Uganda so I had received all the vaccinations in preparation. I had also ended up with cellulitis from one of the shots that required anti-biotics to get rid of the infection. So now we had to figure out if I was still going to be able to go. By the beginning of January my OB told me he could not support my decision to go- I had lost too much weight and had to much at risk to go. My heart was broken. I felt like I was stuck in a place of having my hopes raised about the trip, about the possibility of adoption, about a beautiful house that was brought to our attention.... Why God? What is all of this about? I was so terribly bummed and terribly sick- just trying to keep enough fluids in to keep myself out of the hospital for dehydration. Proverbs 13:12 says "Hope deferred makes the heart sick..." Man this proverb felt so real to me. But God… 

God always is faithful- He gave me a word to cling to, a vision for why we were in Yreka. In looking back on journal entries to try to remember all that has happened- my first entry in my current journal spoke of my crying out to God for a little girl. I had asked Him and asked Him- and not until I truly gave my plans and desires over to Him did he begin to birth His plan in me-literally. I finally felt the ache go away for my desire for a little girl in November of 2010- I truly gave it to Him and put it in His hands...During this time we found a very small rental house to live in and life was utter chaos- so much transition, so much hope deferred, we were in such an uncomfortable place. Not only physically but spiritually- Greg and I felt like we were standing on the edge of a cliff pregnant with anticipation but no idea what was next. By March of 2011 we were brought the opportunity to buy a house right next to our very close friends- a house so affordable it would cost the same as renting. We jumped on the opportunity after praying and receiving confirmation. We moved again! We had decided not to find out what we were having and really just figured we would have 4 boys. In February I woke up with the name Rilyn on my mind- I thought to myself- I have never heard that name before- how could I come up with that? I asked Greg what he thought about the name and he said eh... Hmmm not the response i expected. So I tucked it away and figured i was just having a moment... We settled into our new home on the end of a culdesac smack dab next to our best friends. 

Spring was in the air- tulips were blooming and the pregnancy sickness was lifting little by little. On August 2nd, 2011 we welcomed our baby girl Rilyn JoAnna into the world- WOW I had a little girl! (Now i knew what to do with the pink room in Vaughan’s house!!!) With 4 kiddos and a sweet baby girl to enjoy life began to fly by! In March of 2012 our house down south sold! As time passed by God was taking care of the details and fulfilling hopes He had placed in my heart. With a baby girl in my life, a daughter to look up to me for what a woman of God looks like- I started to feel a new urgency to deal with insecurities I had lived with for way too long. I began to pour my heart out to the Lord asking Him to reveal what needed pruning and ask Him for His view of who I was. 

In June of 2012 I began to search out what it means to stand in the gap. Ezekiel 22:30 "I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me..." I found a definition as "to fence up the breaches, to amend the falsities which have entered by the separation of truth." So I realized that i had to refuse the lies that i had believed about myself and then be available to be used by the Lord. Ok God- I am who You say I am... I began to search out verses and seek God’s heart on what He thought of me. I found myself HUNGRY for God- I had an inatiable desire for Him. I felt His love being lavished upon me... and then He gave me a new word. He said, "We are about to take flight!" So all this time we have been taxiing around- we havent even left the ground? You see He had to get my thinking corrected- He needed me to move from the economy class where i thought i belonged, up to first class where He wanted me. Where He wants all of us- to know who we are in HIM!!! To know that He created us on purpose for a purpose! No wonder we felt like we were on the edge of a cliff- we were! 

So in September of 2012 we put our house up for sale by owner. And then nothing... Hmmm God what is going on- you have lined so much up... We left the sign up - bribed the neighbors to find a buyer- nothing... In November I woke in the middle of the night to Rilyn crying- which waws rare- went in to check on her she settled right down and fell asleep... I was awake and thought it was strange that I was so alert- so I asked God if He had anything to tell me- because things were quiet enough for me to hear Him. He started pouring His words of love all over me and gave me Psalm 33 to check out. Then as our conversation was nearing a close He said- "Oh and by the way- I want you to open an adoption savings account." Wow! Ok God. The next morning i woke to read a portion of Psalm 33 "Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust His holy name. Let your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You." So I called my hubby at work and let Him know what I had recveived from the Lord- he responded with an- ok lets open up a savings account! By that afternoon Greg had received a text from ann old highschool friend who was interested in buying our house! 
Two days later they were there to look at it and wanted to buy it! We met with Vaughans- made a hand shake deal and we all started the paperwork process of selling/buying! 

"One day" is coming up- we will have that beautiful house with "the door" and hopefully "one day" soon we will be bringing home a sweet child to give them a home and welcome them into our family! Man isnt God so good, faithful and trustworthy? I am feeling swept off of my feet and am holding on tight to His precious promises!