Friday, July 31, 2009

Familiar Faces

Familiarity is rare on tour, so we we find it, it makes us very happy. Last night we had to chance to go back to Pathways Community Church in Appleton, Wisconsin where the children performed last October. Most of us got to stay with the same host families and it was a joy to see familiar faces and stay in familiar homes. Laura and I stood in the church and reminisced about the memories from that church and how much has changed over the last 10 months. We've both grown so much and been through so much together. Indeed, some very vivid and precious memories surfaced upon arriving back at Pathways. This was where the children sprayed water on both me and Lindsey to celebrate our birthdays (since they had only sung to me at 4am on my real birthday, right after we arrived here from Uganda).

We left Appleton this morning and traveled north to Fish Creek, a small vacation community, full of cute shops, and right on Lake Michigan (wierd since I have only ever seen Lake Michigan in Chicago). On the way in we passed a full size tractor made completely out of hay bales! I so wish I could show you a picture, but I didn't have time to get the camera out. Laura, Lindsey, and I took a nice walk downtown and bought some fudge and custard. What a nice treat to get away for an hour.

When we arrived at the venue today mo spoke up behind me and asked if we were at the wrong church. I told him the concert was not at a church, but a theatre. He asked "What is a theatre?" but then answered his own question by saying, "A place where musicians perform? But we are not musicians auntie." I said, "Yes, you are. Your voice is your musical instrument." To which he responded, "So that means we are musicians of God." Priceless. I love that kid.

The next few days we take a break from church concerts to perform in some theatres and music festivals. I enjoy switching things up and am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fast Cars, New Friends, and Lots of Driving...

Funny story from today: we were driving through Chicago when Gilbert saw a black sports car whiz past us going probably 85 mph (and very loud). He responded "Auntie that is my friend!" The boys around me then noticed a police car turn it's lights on and speed off (he had inevitably noticed the zippy sports car too). I'm guessing that guy didn't get where he was going as fast as he wanted to...and he's not quite as rich either!
We are on our way from Ohio to nothern Wisconsin so this week involves a lot of driving. I don't mind though..I enjoy the rides. Mo sits behind me and looks over my shoulder asking questions the whole time and pointing out his favorite cars, Hanninton is always asking me to read him a book, and Gilbert draws me pictures. Driving is just a nice time to be with the kids without other people around. We can relax.

Tomorrow my new friend Stacy goes to Uganda to meet the children from the next choir coming out. She has only been with us two weeks (training), but we fell in love with her. She is a kindred spirit. Pray for her as she spends a few weeks learning the culture of the children and building a relationship with them. This time is crucial.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Some Days I Feel Like Gumby

It's been a long week. As I have spent time cleaning up vomit, soothing fevered brows, and dealing with accidents and injuries this week, I have experienced a side of parenting that is not the pretty side...but I've realized I like it. God created me with a mother's nurturing spirit and when I get to use it, it feels good. There is almost nothing in this world that I would rather do than comfort a child. We are experiencing much change within our team this week and it's been somewhat difficult. Amidst all the hard moments and the stresses I am learning more and more how to trust God in his plan and to rest in the promise that he will never give us more than we can handle. A friend shared a verse with me this morning that really hit home: 1 Peter 1:6, 7. "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed."God is certainly stretching me and testing my faith. Some days I feel like Gumby (I wonder what I did with that shirt..wish I had it with me). At the end of the day I pray that my perspective will be right and that my priorities will stay in line. Thanks to those who read faithfully and pray for me. Your prayers are getting me through the hard days!

Love you all,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lunch with an Ugly Catfish

As much as I love my kids, at times I really need to take a break from them. Any parent can relate to this I'm sure. Last night we pulled ourselves away from the kids and went out as a staff to the Jazz kitchen here in Indianapolis. Thanks to Portia who recommended the place! It was a perfect night out. You might now appreciate a full description of what I ate for dinner, but after weeks of spaghetti, chicken nuggets, pizza, fried chicken, and other kid friendly foods, I crave good adult food :) the baked brie cheese with crackers and fruit, strawberry walnut salad, and creme brulee hit the spot! My ears were able to take a break from "He is my light" and "Teach me to dance," to listen to some awesome live jazz music as well-a real treat for all of us. Especially those on the team who are musicians and miss their instruments. The lovely night was followed by a lovely day off today. Laura and I enjoyed a picnic on a dock in my backyard, during which we were joined by two giant ugly catfish. Gross! We do have the most interesting experiences some days. Despite knowing the nasty critters were around, we dove into the lake and swam to the other side and back. I've craved a day like this all summer and it was WONDERFUL. I wish it would last a week. Lydia woke me this morning and first thing told me about how they fed the fish and she touched a catfish last night. I assume this evening's activities will include some of the same. Can't wait!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hayrides, Tornadoes, and Fireflies

Today we find ourselves in Portage, Indiana. The church has graciously allowed us to stay in farmhouse on the church property and we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. After a rough week, I am feeling more rested and encouraged. Wednesday evening I was able to catch up in person with a former professor and friend from Moody and yesterday I had the joy of going out to breakfast with a family I nannied for in Chicago. What a blessing it is to see familar faces and catch up with old friends. Last night some wonderful members from the church took us all on a hayride around the fun! What farm stay would be complete without smores too? The children enjoyed roasting marshmallows (aka lighting them on fire and blowing them out), and smashing their charred sugary goodness between graham crackers and chocolate. We ended the night by singing several devotion songs around the campfire. I always so enjoy being able to break away from our usual schedule and do different things with the kids. The chance to swing on the tire swing, rest in the hammock, shoot baskets (from the picnic table) and enjoy the kids all together was a breath of fresh air. Two of our managers are visiting right now as well and it's good to have new people around :) After the kids went to bed last night we sat down as a team to play dutch blitz, only to be interupted by a tornado siren. The children were roused out of bed and we all headed to the basement for 15 minutes where we spent the entire time explaining tornadoes and other natural disasters to the children who had a million questions. Thankfully that was as exciting as things got and we were able to play a rousing game of dutch blitz and catch some fireflies in a jar before bed...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Standing on the Promises of God

It's been a hard week. I am dealing with a lot and tonight after talking with a friend I realized that I have been trying to bear a big burden on my own instead of giving it to the Lord. I have turned my palms upside down and dropped it in God's lap. He's big..he can handle it. :) This friend also reminded me that I need to stand on God's promises. So I have spent this evening looking up many of God's promises. I've claimed them and prayed over them and tomorrow for devotions in the morning I plan to go over each promise with the children. I would like to share just some of those promises with you here. No matter what you are going through right now remember to stand on the promises of God and don't let the troubles of this world get you down!

Standing on God's Promises
God promises that he has already given us the victory-1 Corinthians 15:57-58
God promises that there is power in the blood- Isaiah 53:5
God promises to be with us wherever we go – Joshua 1:9
God promises that all our sins were forgiven at the cross – Psalm 103:2, 3, 12
God promises to guide and direct us – Proverbs 3:5-6
God promises to hear us and answer our prayers -Psalm 55:16-17
God promises to give us everything we need -Philippians 4:19
God promises to be our strength -Psalm 27:1
God promises to bring justice for the oppressed – Psalm 146: 7-9
God promises to give us boldness -Proverbs 3:26
God promises his peace will guard our hearts -Philippians 4:6-7
Jesus promises to make us new and set us free from sinful habits -2 Corinthians 5:17
God promises that when we seek Him we will find Him-Jeremiah 29:13
God promises that his word will endure forever -Isaiah 40:8
God promises to give us wisdom if we ask -James 1:5
God promises that whoever believes in him will not perish
Jesus promises that he is preparing a great place for us and he is coming back for us -John 14:3
God promises that if you humble yourself before him he will lift you up -James 4:10
God promises that if we ask anything according to his will he will give it to us -1 Jn. 5: 14-15
God promises that he will never tempt us beyond what we can bear -1 Corinthians 10:13
God promises that if we love our enemies our reward will be great -Luke 6:35
God promises that nobody can snatch us out of his hand and we can never lose our salvation
-John 10:28

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Yodeling on the street???

I really want to buy some Amish furniture. I realize this sounds random, but the thought has crossed my mind several times this week since we are in Berne, Indiana-Amish country. As I have walked down the quaint streets in town I have enjoyed watching families in their buggies on the way to buy groceries or play at the park. It's not every day you see horses and buggies tied up outside the cafe's and hardware stores in town. One day I walked down the street and heard an old Christian hymn being blasted through the speakers on the main street. The next day it was yodeling coming out of the speakers. I couldn't help but laugh. You know your not in Chicago anymore when...It's been a very pleasant stay and I'm sad to leave today, but I'm sure the next church is excited for our arrival and wouldn't be too happy if we didn't show up. This morning I am laying in bed sick as my boys headed to the lake to have some fun. I'm pretty bummed (I may have even shed some tears in my bed), as I was really looking forward to this morning. I know I needed a quiet morning to myself to rest though. Hopefully I can kick this darn virus quickly. May this weekend be fun and restful for everyone out there!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Fun Fourth

Fourth of July was a rainy firework-less day here in Indiana, but we ended up having the opportunity to take the kids on a backstage tour through the Indianapolis Children's Museum. I hear it's one of the best in the country after experiencing it myself I would have to agree. I was blown away by the technology and creativity, not to mention the great carousel. In the Star Wars special exhibit we actually got to see the real prop starfighter from the Clone Wars movie. Pretty cool! The children got to experience life in Egypt (including participating in an Egyptian baby blessing contest), as well as a jourassic park style dinosaur exhibit (with real dinosaur bones!).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Screams at Kentucky Kingdom

I'm super tired after an eventful day but wanted to say a few things before signing off for the night. Today was a special treat for the kids. We took them to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville for a day of thrills and screams. I was apprehensive about how brave they would be and who would last without throwing up their lunch. Thankfully nobody lost it and they were all brave enough to try the rollercoasters. It's a good thing I had to be the brave auntie and go with the girls or I probably would have opted out of the rollercoasters. After they tried it once they were hooked. My stomach hurt by the end from laughing at the girls. I'm not sure who screamed louder though, me or Peace. What a place to spend my first day back :)

Right now I am staying with Brittany (my roomate from Moody). What a blessing to see old friends and share our new lives! She and I trained together to be teachers and now we are both teaching and making new memories. I praise God every day for good friends.