Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Texas Style

Well....where to begin. The last week or so has been great, but I have not had a moment of internet access to share it with you all (or ya'll as we say here in Texas). I was sick for a few days, so my days were spent sitting on a couch at the church or sleeping. There are no sick days on tour really :). Yesterday we rolled into Laguna Park Texas. Nobody knows where it is (including Texans), but within the ACC organization this place is famous becuase of Uncle Brother Doug and his church of amazing and generous people. From the moment we stepped off the bus yesterday he has had me laughing non-stop. Before he even knew my name he told me "I better not pass out on him (from low blood sugar) because he hadn't brushed his teeth in three months and he'd have to be the one to give me mouth to mouth!" Bet you never heard that from your preacher before! Uncle Brother Doug (as he has come to be known in the ACC Family) took a bunch of us girls grocery shopping yesterday to buy food to cook at camp for all of us this coming week. I've never had so much fun shopping for groceries. We filled three flats at Sams Club and loaded up the church van. Our last concert before Christmas starts in a few hours and after that we are looking forward to a week of rest, food, cooking, Christmas movies, and celebration. I'm looking forward very much to the break and time to just play with the kids and enjoy the Christmas celebration. This one stoplight town of less than 1000 is the perfect place to spend Christmas. I've never seen such genuine, generous, Christlike people. I don't know how much internet access i'll have this week, but I wish ya'll a blessed Christmas week!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pre-Christmas Texas Fun

I'm tired and fighting a cold tonight, but just wanted to write down a few bits and pieces about the last few days here in Grapevine Texas. Sorry if it's a little incoherent...
We are at Fellowship Church (with Pastor Ed Young....maybe you have heard of him?) for 5 whole days right now and it's so nice to be in one place for awhile. Wev'e been blessed with great hosts and lovely experiences the last couple days. The kids performed several times for 4000+ people this weekend at the church and it was quite exciting. The stage and auditorium here remind me of what American Idol must look like :) I have thought a lot this weekend about where the kids have come from the where they are now. From the dirt and poverty of Africa to the flashy stages and cushy lifestyle of America. How different it is. This tour is changing their lives (mostly in a good way), but it also reminds us how materialistic and ungrateful we are here in America. I pray everyday that the kids don't take on an American attitude while they are here. This morning I was was thinking about this at Starbucks...four months ago I was sitting in the red dirt with Gladys and Peace, eating Matooke from a plastic bowl. This morning I sat in a cushy chair with them, enjoying our Starbucks drinks together! There is actually a funny story to go with it. As we walked in I informed the girls that this was the place where their aunties and uncles get what they call our "happy juice." As they took in all the sights, sounds, and smells of our beloved Starbucks, Steve got them each a tiny hot chocolate. What a treat! As we climbed back in the car, Peace exclaimed in a very excited voice, "Thank you auntie and uncle for the happy juice!" Priceless...

The Christmas festivities everywhere are in full swing and even though I am unable to take part in family celebrations or time with friends, it's been a fun weekend of Christmas celebrations for us here in Texas. Saturday morning we took the girls to their first parade. Gotta love the small town parades. My favorite part was the dancing tuba players and the bagpipes!

Tonight we joined another host family and and a group of neighbors for an evening of caroling in the neighborhood. I miss caroling with my family at Christmas, so it was great to have this opportunity. We created quite a ruckus and a scene with all our bells and crazy christmas scarves. I must admit it was the first time I have caroled in a t-shirt! I was missing the sweater, coat, mittens, hat, and scarf...only in Texas (and well maybe California, Arizona, Florida, and a few other places :).

One more week of concerts and then we rest for a week at Christmas camp! Can't wait for cookie baking and movies!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Through the eyes of a child

There are few things more beatiful than seeing life through the eyes of a child. During school today I had the P4's do a journaling activity. Journaling has always been important for me and I was excited to teach them how and hopefully inspire them to keep a journal. The following entry is what Nelson wrote...

When we were in Dallas we saw snow. At first Uncle Andrew said it is snowing but I said no that's not true. Please do not jock (joke). So he said touch my arms. So I caught his arms then I felt his arms so so so so cold. Then I believe that it is snowing out side. Then my friends came out from the shower then they found us talking about snow then my friends did not believe so uncle Andrew said let's go outside. We all shout yes! Yes! So we went outside to see snow but before seeing when Patrick was holding the door people push Patrick away because they wanted to see snow. So I hold Patrick's hand and bring him up and we ran and see snow. Auntie Angela was taking a video I opened my mouth very wide and I was eating snow. I will write other when journal book comes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 Texas???

You better believe it! After months of praying to see snow and losing hope the further south we the kids were getting out of the showers tonight Auntie Rachel came in yelling for the girls to grab their coats. 22 pajama clad children threw on flip flops and coats and ran outside whooping and hollering and dancing, as giant snowflakes fell from the sky! We shivered and jumped up and down catching snowflakes for a few minutes before returning indoors for devotions. I don't remember the first time I saw snow, but i'm pretty sure I was not nearly as excited as these children who have been waiting their whole lives to see the fluffy white stuff. It is every choirs dream when they come on tour, to see snow and I'm thoroughly excited that we all got to experience it together (and in Texas nonetheless). The kids are in bed now and the adults are off to cuddle up and watch White Christmas (what better way to end a GREAT day).

Saturday, December 6, 2008

You Know Your in Texas When...

We have arrived in Texas.....our "home" for the next three months. As we were driving to Dallas yesterday I was thinking to myself you know your in Texas a 10 minute period of time we passed dozens of ranches, a cowhide decoration store, Billy the Kid Outlaw Museum, and a random field of camels in the middle of nowhere! As I listened to my favorite country music, I couldn't help but keep my eyes glued to the window, wondering what I would see next. This morning I finished my Christmas shopping online, while drinking hazelnut coffee in a comfy it. We are off to lunch...I hope you are enjoying a restful Saturday.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Barksdale AFB

The past four days we were honored to be guests at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. I've never had any real close ties to the military, so it was quite a special and memorable experience for me. We stayed at the Air Force Inn and they took such good care of us. I felt like everyone bent over backward to make sure we had anything we could ever need or want. Monday we were invited to the headquarters to meet with the 2nd Wing Commander Robert Wheeler, who is the head guy on base. he took pictures with us and encouraged the kids to follow their dreams. I was so impressed with how good he was with the kids. He presented us with a sweet Air Force coin and a cool wooden airplane to take with us. Yesterday we had a private tour of a B52 bomber (Barksdale is home of the B52 bomber-they have 53 of them). Christopher and Julius, our wanna be pilots, were wide eyed and soooooo excited as the pilot showed us around and explained how the plane is used. We had the chance to get up close and personal with several old war planes on base as well. What a treat! The kids were also surprised yesterday with a trip to a hands-on science center. I snapped pictures and smiled as they played with all kinds of gadgets, learned how to plumb a sink, layed on a bed of nails and freaked out at the sight of a tarantula. what a fun day for all of us! Thanks to the poeple at Barksdale AFB for making our stay so memorable and encouraging the dreams of so many little children.

On a completely unrelated note...I am writing tonight from the back porch of a cottage in Marshall, Texas. I'm cuddled up in a blanket, sipping hot tea, listening to the ducks on the lake, and watching some awesome lightning. God sure knows how to make me happy. A cute little cottage next to a lake, with a nice bed, and internet is all it takes :) It's been a good day. The kids made me laugh so much today and it is refreshing to the soul. They are now tucked tightly in bed and Laura, Lindsey, and I are trying to enjoy every moment in this beautiful place. As Lindsey would say...peace out.