Africa Re-wound, Part 1

I was planning on blogging about my trip to Africa while I was there, but computer time was shared and limited. 
But, it's okay.  
Because my heart is totally still there, so sharing my trip with you now is so good for me.

It's hard to summarize a third-world country.  So much poverty and heartache.  So much injustice. 

(Children denied medical care.  Babies who are dying, literally, because of indifferent orphanage directors.  Child prisoners who are fed one meal a day.  The injustice is mind-boggling).

But Uganda is also a beautiful, beautiful country, with warm, hard-working, open-hearted people.  There's a simplistic beauty in their way of life, and my heart will be forever changed by spending two weeks holding babies, playing with orphans, and serving people living in poverty.

Here's a glimpse.  For more, you'll have to travel yourself.  Seriously - once you go, you'll never come back. {well, you might come back in person, but your heart will never be the same. I promise.}.

Really, really good coffee in the middle-of-the-night Amsterdam.  The flight to Amsterdam passed surprisingly quickly, although I can never sleep on planes.  I had a moment of panic in the O'Hare airport, that I am so, so, so thankful that I actually boarded the plane instead of running screaming in the other direction.

It took a bit in the Entebbe airport to gather all of our suitcases and donation conticos. How blessed we were to be able to take so much stuff with us to pass out!

Shauna, our fearless leader, and Love, my friend who led my heart to Uganda over a year ago, eating lunch on Monday, our first full day in Kampala.

Monday we went to the babies' home that will forever have me changed.  I will forever hug my children tighter, feed them more with out any word of complaint that it's their 1,123 snack for the day, and always, always, always hold and love them even more than I always have.

Do you see the metal, rusted play equipment? And dirt?   That's what these sweet children play with.  The sweet children who wear, literally, towels for diapers.  Who have food taken.away.from.them simply because the worker wants to wash the dishes right.this.second.  Who learn to comfort themselves, because the comfort is not given freely.  

I have always, always, always believed in attachment parenting, and I will forever be even more confident in that philosophy after seeing children who stop crying in the middle of the night because no one comes.  It's heart-breaking, right?  I have cried, and will forever cry, so many tears for these sweet children.

Through my tears, though, I have to trust that the Lord loves these children even more than I do.  There will be sweet babies who will always be in my heart, and I will pray for them for the rest of my life.  I trust - I have to trust - that even amidst poverty, hunger, and injustice, the Lord will prevail. That He will be glorified.  

That He will hold them tightly in His arms, even when no one else is. 
That He will love them, when no one else does.  
{Pray for them with me, alright?}

On the Go

This Girl? 

She is always on-the-go!
How I love her! 
{Even though the faster she gets, the bigger the house seems!}

Happy Valentine's Day

2 years ago Matt and I celebrated Valentine's Day in the hospital. 
I had my second pulmonary embolism, and  was attached to a heparin IV.  Grace, then known as Baby Girl, was doing fabulously, though the pregnancy was far from easy.
Every day, just to get out of my hospital room, I'd stroll through the hospital gift shop and cafeteria.
On one trip through the gift shop, I came across a Willow Tree Figurine of a family. 
{Do you know the Willow Tree collection? I'm not a knick-knack person, but I do have a few of their figurines, and they're all very special to me, for their own reasons}.
So, right then, I shopped for Matt for Valentine's Day, in the hospital gift shop, while pulling my IV pole.
Here's the letter I wrote him to go with the family figure. 
2 years later, it's still so completely my heart.
Matt, I love you.  Always and Forever.  
Happy Valentine's Day.

My wonderful Love,

18 weeks ago, I had no idea how much 2 pink lines would change our lives. Over the past 5 months you have shown your relentless commitment to me and our marriage. (You have proven that you were serious about that “in sickness and health” part of our vows! ;-)) You have been endlessly compassionate and understanding. For months you have taken care of me, of Grant, and our house, showing that quiet strength that I love so much about you. This is not the path I would have chosen for this pregnancy to take, but I trust that the Lord will use it for His purposes and to display His Glory.

So, Happy Valentine’s Day, My Sweet! I wasn’t planning on shopping for you in the hospital gift shop, but I saw this figurine and thought it was just perfect for us right now. I feel like if our marriage can survive these past months, we can do anything together! I thought this looking at this figurine could always remind us of God’s grace on our marriage during this pregnancy – as He’s protected me and Baby Girl, and has given you the grace, love,and kindness to care for me so tirelessly for so long.

I love you so much, Matt! I love the way your eyes crinkle up when you laugh. I love the way your quiet strength shines through even the most difficult situations. I love the way you handle whatever God gives us with a quiet, steadfast faith. I love you, I love you, I love you – I don’t think I could say it enough.

I’m hoping that the next 14 weeks of pregnancy are much, much smoother, but even if they’re not, I know that we can get through it, together.

You hold my heart, always.




Yes, totally switching blogs.  
Back to my personal blog, that I've had for years.
but sharing it with all of you now.
Whoever "you" may be!

Afternoon Snack

{do you know how to cut one?}

Totally missing African pineapple right now. Well, really, totally missing Africa in general right now. 
But, I'm playing with the kids.  Cutting snacks up.  Prepping supper.  
But wishing I could share my food with some of the orphans that are starving.  
Especially one little boy, who will forever have my heart.  
Praying for him, and the rest of the 147 million orphans worldwide.  
So thankful I got to hold and love a few of them!

Worship in chains

Today we went to "M".

A place where they place "child prisoners".
{none of these children have done anything to deserve being there.}

or, where parents can simply drop of their children, never to see them again.
They get one shirt. one pair of pants. Maybe a mattress.
If they do get a mattress, it's 23 years old.
peed on for 23 years.

More to come on the awful, vile conditions, but I wanted to share a clip of them worshipping our Savior with you.

What true worship. Worship because of Who God IS, not because of what He's given to us.

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