Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cherish Each Moment

I read a verse recently that was a good reminder to me...please allow me to share it with you. It comes from the Message paraphrase of the Bible (I was not a fan of this when it first came out, but have recently found it very refreshing and helpful for understanding God's Word in an applicable way). According to the message, Proverbs 27:23 says, "Know your sheep by name; carefully attend to your flocks; (don't take them for granted; possesions don't last forever, you know.)" This verse struck me and was a good reminder that I cannot take for granted this short time I have with my children. They are my flock that God has put in my charge to love and nurture. Even though I am with them pretty close to 24/7, I must make sure that I am taking advantage of every moment to the fullest. In the blink of an eye I will be sending them back to Africa and they won't be in my posession anymore. These are days to cherish. May this also be a reminder to anybody who happens to be reading this today....please cherish your children...your spouse...your parents...your never know how long they will be with you or how long God will allow you to be a part of their lives. Take care to use every moment wisely and to live every moment to the fullest. We are a gift from God to each other.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A bump in the road...

It's been quite a week...but I have much to be thankful for. Over the past week or so I have experienced so many people who have shown me what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Though my family is several states away I have realized that the body of Christ is truly my family and what a great family they have been to me. I found out earlier this week that I had a cyst at the base of my spine. It was quite painful for a few days..I could barely sit or lay down or walk. A wonderful doctor at a church in Austin looked at me and was able to get me in to see a surgeon friend of his. It all happened rather fast, but I was able to have a quick surgery on Tuesday to drain the cyst. It's difficult to be sick on the road, but thanks to a wonderful family here in Austin, I was able to stay put and rest for a few days. It's been a good recovery and I am feeling much better physically and mentally. Today I go back for a follow up and hopefully he will send me off with good news. I plan to meet back up with my kids tonight and continue on with this adventure. It's been a challenge but I am so grateful for the people who have taken care of me. I feel so well looked after. Thanks to those of you who were praying for me. I covet your continued prayers for quick recovery and no complications. Our God is good!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kids just want to have fun

I have noticed something in all my travels...anywhere you go in the are kids...are kids...are kids. That's all there is to it. underneath the language, the skin color, the hair, the costumes, the manners, all kids are created the same (by our wonderfully creative Creator!). My kids may sing great, have really good manners, and be super cute and talented, but they are still kids. It was great to see this come out yesterday when my host brought out the bouncy houses from the company he owns. The church parking lot turned into a type of carnival and the kids romped around for over an hour. It was fun to watch, though the motherly instinct in me kept worrying that somebody was gonna crack their head or break somebody else! In the end I don't think any kids got hurt....only chaperones (a few bumps and bruises). I tried to go through the obstacle course once and I was so dizzy I thought I would faint. No more bouncy houses for me. I did however, manage to score a four minute Harley ride tonight...even got to wear leather. yep. It's a good day :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One Amazing Year of CHANGE

This morning as I was running lights for our concert it hit me that a year ago this week was the first time I saw the African Children's Choir in concert for the first time. I can still remember the excitement building within me as I watched the kids and realized that was where I needed to be. As I followed the Holy Spirit's leading, God clearly layed out the steps that led me to where I am. It is truly incredible to think about how much life can change in one year. As I look back over the year I am amazed at all the places I've been and the friends I have made. From Oregon, to Chicago, to Nashville, to Washington D.C , To central Illinois, back to Chicago, to Oregon, to North Carolina, to Vegas, back to North Carolina, to New York, to London, to Uganda, back to Chicago, and then all over Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Massachussets, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and finally Texas. It's been a blessed year full of adventure, faith building, emotional goodbye's, new friendships, and CHANGE. Even though I seem to thrive on change and I love life I was reminded this week how little control I have over what happens in life. Even on the road it's easy to get into a routine and you think you know what's going to happen, but with God things are always changing. He reminded me this week that I can't be too sure of what the future holds. So I continue to take it one day at a time and do what I know He wants me to do.

I'd like to share a story with you that happened this morning...I think it will make you smile. A wonderful couple from the church we are at in Waxahachie, TX owns a limo company (I think we are riding in a hummer limo tonight!) the pastor was driving Nelson, Geofrey, Gilbert, and Uncle Frank in a stretch white limo to church this morning. On the way, Uncle Frank mentioned that even though we have been in Texas for a while now he still has not seen a real cowboy. that moment they happened to be passing a cowboy church (they have become pretty popular around the States). So, the pastor looked over and happened to see 6 cowboys.....on their horses...sitting in front of the church. He pulled that limo right up to the cowboys, stepped out and explained that he had three African Children in his limo who had never seen a cowboy. Those boys tumbled out of the limo and in the blink of an eye they were sittin on those horses next to some real Texas cowboys. When they arrived at church, I got to hear all about how they had gone horseback riding on the way to church. Wow! These children really do get to experience it all. :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

School Happens Everywhere on the Road

We may only have 6-10 hours of school in the "classroom" each week, but I must say that school happens all the time and I'm quite enjoying the impromptu lessons I get to give each day. Last night I stayed on a cotton farm in Wellington, Texas....perfect! This morning I took the girls out into the field and showed them how cotton grows. We took some to the church and I showed the kids how the clothes that they wear are made out of the very kind of cotton I was holding between my fingers. They were baffled and asked lots of questions (then we pretended the bowls of cotton were ice cream cones!). I love it! During our adventures I have learned so much about life and people. Everyone has something to teach me-I am convinced...from the race car driver, to the pastor, to the cotton farmer, to the foster parents. Each person has a unique story. God bless them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009

Welcome 2009! We welcomed in the New Year with a bang tonight-that is the bang of bowling balls hitting the wood floor. I'm not that great at bowling, but it was a blast to introduce the kids to this beloved game, complete with disco lights and pizza. They loved it. The holidays brought about many great memories for me with my kids I have grown to love so deeply. So many people asked me if it was hard for me to be away from my family at Christmas, but honestly I couldn't imagine wanting to be anywhere but Laguna Park, TX with my kiddos and my ACC family. God handpicked our team and has brought unity and joy to us, especially these past few weeks as we have lived together day after day and enjoyed the holidays together. Instead of writing anything new..I'd like to share a bit from my journal entry on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Eve: I can't imagine a better Christmas Eve...wake up late, sit next to the Christmas tree and drink chai, go for a walk in the country, pick up a Christmas package at the post office, shower, eat lunch, bake sugar cookies with the kids, play outside (in 70 degree weather), make mom's favorite meatballs for dinner, dress up the kids in brand new party clothes/dresses, go to a small family-style Christmas Eve service with Uncle Brother Doug, take lots of pictures, have a Christmas dance party, eat almond roca and little smokies, read the christmas story, put the kids to bed, wrap presents while rocking to Christmas music, watch the movie White Christmas with friends...I couldn't ask for more.
Christmas day was the best I think since my grandmother passed away 9 years ago. Being with the kids enabled me to see Christmas through the eyes of a child again. Everybody came out in their pajamas to open stockings and the kids were over the moon excited to get shiny headbands, pictures of their families, hot wheels cars, and candy canes. I spent the morning in front of the stove cooking crepes for everyone. They came out so good. Mom would be so proud!It actually brought me joy to have children under my feet playing with cars, while I was cooking. The sounds of their voices and smiles on their faces all day were priceless and etched in my memory forever. We all pitched in to make Christmas dinner and it turned out terrific! I even cooked up some cactus (courtesy of Uncle Brother Doug), to make out Texas Christmas complete.

Our first concert after Christmas (the 27th), my friend Mark and his mom came to visit all the way from Canada. It was a great Christmas present for me and so special to be able to see them interacting with my kids. I love to share them with the people that I love.

I realize this post is getting long, so I will just say one more thing. As I was pondering what New Years Resolutions to make this year I decided I only have one. I recently picked up the book Practicing the Presence of God and through reading it have been challenged to live every moment in surrender to God and in accordance with His will. It sounds impossible...but it's my goal to strive for this year (and every year thereafter). Everything else stems from that. I pray this year for you may be full of new challenges, new growth, and blessings from the Lord of all creation.

I have only put up a few pictures here, but if you would like to see more you can check out my facebook album at