Monday, December 28, 2009


This is the upstairs bathroom. New plumbing of course. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

What was once the living room area. Now mostly the staging area for all the work going on in the other rooms.

Notice the bathroom sink next to the wall?!!
Emma's room, which is actually purple, not light blue.

We have been working hard on the house everyday. Well, not Christmas. Christmas we watched movies in the basement and opened presents around the palm tree that doubled as our Christmas tree this year:) Every OTHER day we have worked so hard! I'm really proud of the kids, they have pitched in whole heartedly to get it done. The end is in sight:) Carpet in the upstairs bedrooms tomorrow, yippee!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Before" Pictures

Okay, here are a few of the "before" pictures. The space isn't pretty, but it has potential! I haven't put pictures in of the best part which is the back acreage. I will add pictures of that next time, but its not changing anytime soon. The house will keep us busy for the rest of the winter.
I will update in a couple of days with the work we are doing now.

Front living room. I am standing at the front door.

Kitchen. Basement. It's a walkout. The door is there to the right. The wallpaper you see is a lovely stripe with a howling wolves border.
Master bedroom. Big enough for the bed, which is all we really need I guess!

Main floor bath. What the pictures don't really show is the ick factor. Dirt and mildew. ICK!
Emma's room

The boys room. This is actually 15 feet by 9. It just wasn't a great place to take a picture.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Almost five weeks past our scheduled closing. We Finally have a house!
This is the only picture I have right now. But I will be taking lots of before pictures today. I think it will turn out to be a great little place for us.
There are almost 4 acres, with lots of room for the dogs and kids:) The kids are already talking about what animals they want to get, and I'm dreaming of my garden!
Stay tuned for lots of before and after pictures!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ordinary Life

This morning I asked God” Why?” and He said “Die to self”. Pretty loud and clear, no question in my mind that that was God talking
Die to self in a very real way means giving up what I want. It means giving up me. In this day and age I really struggle with that. Would God ask me to give up my dreams? Wouldn’t He want to enable me to accomplish them? Isn’t He there to ensure my happiness and prosperity? He wants me to”be myself” or have goals and dreams, to reach for the stars and grab all of life that I can…..right? The more I think about it the more I realize that God calls me to fill His goals for me. That cannot be a popular thought for most people seeking fulfillment in Christianity. I am a product of my environment which tells me that all God wants is for me to be happy. I know it could stir controversy to say this but I don’t think that is the case. Die to self. To all my hopes and desires. To give them all up in search of something better than I can imagine. I feel like that is what God is saying to me. Give it all up Dianna, so I can do things for you that you can’t even begin to wish for. Things that make your dreams seem puny and watered down. How do I argue with that? How do I tell God that isn’t what I want? That “I’m happy with my little box of dreams God, don’t mess with them, thank you very much, but please just give me the ordinary life I wish for.”
I can’t do that. I can’t tell God I want my very ordinary life instead of His great one. I choose to die to self so that I can have my very best self.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Do I have a right attitude about suffering?

The next few weeks I'm going to post here what I spoke on at the conference in Salina. It will definitely be an abbreviated version! But it will give you the big picture of what God has been working on in me

When we begin to experience painful things in our lives... When bad things start happening and we begin to stumble and fall in our faith... When we start to lose where God is... When we wonder how to put feet to our faith when we can't find our feet OR our faith... We need to ask ourselves a few questions, remembering that a loss of faith is all about me because God hasn't changed a thing about Himself.

Do we have a right attitude about suffering?

Hebrews 12:7-8 says "Endure hardship as discipline. God is
treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are
not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate
children and not true sons." Verses 11-12"No discipline seems pleasant at the time,
but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace
for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms
and weak knees, make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be
disabled, but rather healed."

Sometimes we go through hard times. Sometimes those hard times have to do with sin in our lives. That is certainly where our minds jump when things go bad. Like Job's friends we wonder what we have done to deserve all this pain and suffering! We think that if we were living "right " then God wouldn't be punishing us this way. (which is a whole separate subject really, and this is going to be a long post so I'll save that one for later!)

Sometimes however, we go through tough things because we are being disciplined. If you look at Hebrews 11 or what is known as the "Hall of Faith" in the verses just before these, we see people who endured terrible tragedy, but in that tragedy and hardship were drawn closer to God. Ultimately it wasn't about them, it was about God.

  • I know that if we hadn't gone through what we have the past few months. I wouldn't be who I am now. Hardship has changed me, hopefully for the better. I can choose to live mad at God for what has happened, or I can choose to live victorious in the better person he has made me now.
  • Sometimes suffering comes with the territory of being a Christian. I'm not sure where the idea came from that if we are true believers that we won't have problems. It certainly didn't come from the Bible! Every person we read about in scripture suffered in their faith. Not one lived a life of perfect bliss after a decision to follow Jesus. Christianity is hard!
  • I don't understand how all of these things work together for the glory of God. I don't understand why really painful things happen to people. I know it is not in God's nature to cause us hurt. But I do know that sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own suffering I don't see the big picture. The one God sees. There is where the answer is, in the big picture that only God sees.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I can't even begin to tell you what a blessing the conference last weekend was to me. It's overwhelming to see God's hand move in my life, every time he does. I don't know why it always surprises me.

I've mentioned before that God has a tendency to really work in my life in the areas that he calls me to speak. This last weekend I spoke on how to put feet to your faith when you can't find your feet or your faith. I've been struggling to find both in the last few months. With Randy essentially out of work it has been a really hard time financially. Through family, friends and circumstances God has provided, but it has been really hard. We always wondered whether we could hold out until the house sold. About thirty minutes before I walked in to teach the first session I got a call indicating we had an offer coming in on the house. I don't believe in coincidence. What better way could God use to help me teach that session? It was amazing and overwhelming. This rough season of our life isn't automatically over just because we sold the house, I know that. But for a girl struggling to find faith, His intervention at exactly the right moment really reminded me that everything happens for a reason.

Because I made myself vulnerable and shared exactly what has been going on in my life and how God has used it. I met many women who are hurting, who's lives aren't going the way they imagined it was supposed to. But each of them are being used by God in the lives of others. God uses all things in the lives of His children to bring glory to Himself. That's the way it should be. I hope my life does that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Football Season and Ethan

Ethan was looking over my shoulder today and was highly insulted that I had not posted anything about him:) He makes me smile. So I am putting a posting up about my wonderful almost 12 year old. He is the one in the green:)

I missed his first football game today because I was at a conference in Salina. It happens every year when I go to this conference. They won today 14 to 0 (I hope that means he lets me come to the next game.) I love this time of year and going to the games. I spend most of my time following the boys up and down the sideline taking pictures. That is what this one is. Of course it's from last year. But he picked it out, for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Putting Feet to my Faith

It's kind of crazy that this weekend I am supposed to be speaking on putting feet to my faith in rough times at a conference in Salina. Crazy might be a bad word to use, more like inevitable. That's the way God seems to work in my life. When He asks me to talk about something He certainly gives me the material with which to work in my own life. It happens every time I'm asked to speak, I'm guessing there is a pattern here I should get used to.
This is certainly a subject that is close to my heart, I'm praying that God can use my experience the last few months as usable and glorifying material. Please pray that He does.
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight O LORD my Rock and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:14

Thursday, August 27, 2009


It's a red letter day for Miss Em. I am sitting at the orthodontists office right now waiting as she gets her braces off. I'll post this after I get a chance to get home and take a couple of pictures. We will have to do something to celebrate tonight, though I bet her mouth is going to be too sore for much besides ice cream.She's been giddy all day kind of bouncing off the walls. I really hadn't made the connection completely until we left for the doctors office. I thought she was just reacting to her first week of home school. Maybe it was some of that too. She only has Caleb and I to hang around with during the day, and we aren't as fun as a bunch of 14 year old girls! She was pretty excited to finish yesterday at 12:50pm. I hope she keeps loving it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ostrich Days

Have I mentioned that I tend to be an ostrich? (Picture the head in the sand one not the funny looking thing ambling up the road in front of the car in South Africa:) I find it amusing that I actually own a picture of an ostrich that I TOOK IN AFRICA!) Anyway I digress.

I am an Ostrich, I think I've mentioned it once or twice before:) When things get bad my tendency is to pretend that if I ignore them they will go away. I guess that has been my reasoning for not posting lately. Things at home are not fabulous, so my desire to talk about anything has been at a very low ebb. I have found more excuses that I thought possible not to post, but I've run out.

Randy is still out of work, (I'm honestly tired of saying that.) The house has not sold and we are about at our wit's end. I know God is doing something. I just have no idea what it is! There have been days when I have simply not felt His presence. I've cried and raged, submitted and been humbled. I go as far as I can then I lose it and stick my head back in the sand for a day or so desperately trying not to think about anything, let alone have to put it out there for everyone to see. So sorry for being so ostrich like and avoiding. I promise to try to get back on track.
I know that this time in my family's life is all about being sifted. I just pray that we are found faithful in the end. I know God wouldn't allow all this to happen without a reason. I know we will come out of this stronger for having gone through it, but its a hard path to walk right now. Please pray that we are found faithful.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Big Mouth

I have to give you some more back story on me before I can really get into what God is doing right now in my life, just so it all makes sense. I like things in order.....

Anyway, Randy and I met in college at the Baptist Student Union group and fell in love. He was a Christian, and when we met all I could think was that there were Christian guys out there and this one was cute!!!! We dated a long time and married as soon as we graduated. We were pretty blessed then too. Kids started to come along in the prescribed three years or so. We continued to go to church where my dad was pastor by choice. It was a great gift to be involved with many of the same "extended family members" that I had always known, and to raise my kids in the same church their Grandparents attended. We were living what I thought was a Christ centered life. I was doing all the things I knew I was supposed to be doing. Going to church, being a mom, teaching Sunday school, working vacation Bible school etc.I remember being grateful for my "ordinary" life.

I was struck one day by what I think was a Sunday School lesson that talked about the Pharisees of the Old Testament and their inability to see themselves as sinful. I think the lesson talked about the number of Pharisees in the church today. (People that are Holier than Thou in their attitude and actions. People that see themselves as better than the poor sinner without recognizing that they still have sin in their own lives.) Anyway the reason I mention that is because it was a real gotcha moment in my life, or at least the start of one. I remember considering that question as I was driving east on 87th street parkway. I was just crossing Pflumn road (I think its significant that the woman who would forget her head if it wasn't attached remembers all this) and I distinctly remember thinking that I wasn't doing too badly in the sin department. But that if there was sin in my life would God please reveal it to me? Seriously as I read that now I realize what an idiot I was(am) God is good to answer prayer, especially that one and I was laid pretty flat in the next few years recognizing my own sinful nature. I got a well deserved whoopin' from God on that. The log in my eye was very big. I was a Pharisee! It is so easy to judge others, as long as we don't have to look at the same condition in ourselves. I really think that day was the start of my growing and grown up relationship with Jesus.

Isn't it crazy that one conversation with God can impact you forever? It is kind of like praying the sinners prayer (I know I am a sinner and that without Jesus and His sacrificial death for me I have no hope)and really meaning it. When you honestly commit your life to Jesus there is no going back. You are whole-heartedly there with Jesus. When you ask God to reveal your sin to you , there is no going back. It's there laid bare and you are unable to shove it back under the bed from which it was drug kicking and screaming.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

About me

I realize that I haven't really shared my story on this Blog. I've thought about it a few times because I know a few people who read it don't know the Jesus I know. I want to share that now. Not because I want to brag on the fabulous childhood I had or about how lucky I am, but because I want you to know who I really am. From the beginning to me now. Not because it's ever about me, but because it's always been about Jesus.

We are all products of our past. Sometimes those are good things and sometimes they aren't. Why one child experiences the pain of abuse and another has loving parents I can't explain. I know its not a condition of what each child is worth or how much they are loved by God, it's a condition of the sinful society in which we live. I know if we were all judged on what we deserved we could never live up to the perfection that is God. That why He sent Jesus. So we would realize it's not about what we do or who we are, but about what HE did.

My father was a pastor in a small Baptist church . My mom was a nurse who worked nights to help make ends meet. I grew up with little in the area of material things. My parents never had much before they got married, and supporting a family on the salary of a pastor isn't exactly living high on the hog. But I had amazing parents who raised me to really know Jesus. He was evident in every part of their lives.They weren't just good people either, they reflected the love of Jesus like he was a very part of who they were. My childhood in church was good too. I don't have horror stories about my life as a pastor's daughter. That certainly doesn't mean it was all easy. We experienced everything that a normal family experiences, but with less money:) And the fishbowl was never too overwhelming for me. I can't speak for my brothers on the issue, but for me church was just an extension of my life. I never felt like I wasn't living normally.

The church was my second home. I had free reign of the building and considered every member there to be part of my extended family. I heard almost every sermon my Dad preached, and some of that information actually stuck in the space between my ears while I was drawing on my church bulletin! I made a conscious decision to follow Jesus when I was about 6. It had everything to do with the example my parents set for me. They didn't make me think it would give me an automatic easy life pass, but their example showed me what Jesus' love really looked like. When they invited strangers in to eat, or because they didn't have a place to stay, or when they talked about people who had really done wrong to them with love. It really makes me aware of my role as a mom to my kids. Do I reflect love like that? (Probably not!)I think I experienced many blessings because of my parents faithfulness.

As I've grown I've seen good people who helped build the church and bad people who tried to tear it down. I been part of church growth and the pain of anger dividing. I don't fool myself into thinking I've seen it all , I know I haven't. But taking the good with the bad, my life has been blessed from the very beginning. I didn't say lucky you notice. Not everything has always gone my way. I have experienced the very essence of who Jesus is by the outpouring of His Spirit on my heart, and that essence has flavored my life in such a way that every day is sweeter because He is in it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My sweet sixteen year old!

I can hardly believe that sixteen years ago, almost this very minute I was in labor with Caleb. If he were in bed right now I would go wake him up and tell him seeing as he woke me up all those years ago:)But he is just now getting in the shower after having all his friends over for a night time game of hide and seek.
We have had an eventful year together as this was his first year of home school. There were certainly some growing moments (for both of us) but I was saying to Randy tonight while we watched him hang out with a fantastic group of friends. I think it was the best decision we have ever made for him.He has grown into a young man of whom I am very proud. He is smart and funny and above all else he has a heart that is seeking after his Father God. Love you sweetie!
And on a separate note I am going to commit whole hearted to blogging again next week. God has really been doing a great work in our lives. not as easy work, but a great one, and I want to share!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I can hardly believe it has been a whole month since I last posted anything. You know that either means its been a really boring time around our house so I have nothing to talk about, OR it's been super crazy and I haven't had time to think let alone write anything. Sadly it has been the latter and things are crazily rolling along.
Two weeks ago I took the first step in getting my Real Estate license and took a class to prepare me to take the exam. Saturday I passed the exam and next week I will take the follow up class. At that point all I have to do is get my paperwork back from the state and I will be an honest to goodness agent.
Randy has been out of work for the past couple of weeks and I needed to get a job. After much prayer and consideration this seemed to be the best option for a girl without too many marketable skills. (Sadly substituting won't keep us in Cheerios very long.)
Please pray that Randy finds work soon. And I will try to keep up with the notifications:)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How Can I keep from Singing His Praise?

The last couple of days I've been a little gray. Not just because the weather was dreary but just the circumstances of life right now. Silly I know but there you go:) So with a clean house (there are some benefits to having a house on the market) and a list of things to do like pay bills which was easy to avoid. I sat down with a book that I had just finished for a Bible study. To be completely honest I did a lot of skimming during the study because I let life get in the way. As I re-read the first two chapters I could just hear God saying that He loved me, over and over. How can I be gray inside with that knowledge? The authors words explain it best.

"I'm ashamed to say my heart sometimes listened to Satan's siren song.The
words of doubt and notes of disillusionment echo the frustration and confusion I
feel inside. A counter melody to faith, the mournful tune arises during those
times when God neither acts the way I think He should nor loves me the way I
want to be loved. Like two songs being played in different keys, the dissonance
of what I feel clashes with what I know and threatens to drown out the anthem of God's eternal love."

Joanna Weaver (Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World)

That was exactly what I was feeling, full of pity for me and whiny about all the things I have to deal with. It was encouraging for me to be reminded again that I know God loves me. I got up feeling a little less than gray and walked out the door into a definitely gray and cold day (You other Kansans know what I'm talking about!). When I got in the car and turned on the radio Chris Tomlin's song "How can I keep from singing" was on and that was it, my day was bright again even a little bit sunny inside. I posted the song on this page after some scrambling to figure out how, and it has kept me bright ever since.
I forget so easily that I am loved by the Creator, Redeemer, and Mighty God. I hope you can find some encouragement in that knowledge today. Enjoy the song!!

Monday, March 16, 2009


As you might notice the look of this blog has a tendency to change often. One reason is simply because there are so many cool things out there to use! Digital scrap booking is something I have no idea how to do but it looks so cool! And that is apparently the basis for adding all the fun backgrounds on blogs or other web pages. My same ineptitude also applies to paper scrap booking . Last year Emma and I bought scrapbook materials and albums. We had a great time picking out the papers and all the good stuff that goes with it. But I have done nothing with them. I keep meaning to order picture prints, but I never get around to it. But this summer I will!
I took the verse listed as Romans 12:1 off the header for a couple of reasons. One was that it was not an actual translated verse of scripture it was simply a modern version. I struggle with that from a purist point of view. I really do want to know what God's word intends to say, not man's interpretation. But I likes the words in The Message that talked about what it really means to put feet to my faith. The actual going out and doing in my every day life what God requires of me as a believer. And since this blog isn't intended to be a theological mecca I didn't worry about the interpretation.
I like change for the most part. I enjoy doing things different. So here is notice that I will change the verse that goes with my blog from time to time. I might even change the background, maybe even before any of you read this! But the main focus of my ramblings won't change. It is my intent to live my life as a doer of Gods word, not just a hearer. I pray that for all of us as believers. That we live our lives as an open Bible.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I don't know what to do with myself this morning! Caleb has gone to Bible study and the other two are at school. It's been so long since I was alone in the house it feels weird.
So now I struggle with what to do. Clean the house or read a book? Hmmmmmm

Okay as I think of it the list expands. Grocery shopping needs to be done, and it's nice to do that when Caleb isn't here. Ethan has a play at school late this morning so I need to get ready to go to that. I need to spend my ECB's at CVS. There is a book for Caleb's studies this week that needs to be picked up at the library. I started the laundry last night and didn't have a chance to finish, and the litter box is calling my name. Seriously.
What was I thinking!!
Gotta go:)

Monday, February 23, 2009


I have this tendency to plan way more than I should. Some of you will of course read this and laugh hysterically because Randy and I are not known to be planners. We are the fly by the seat of our pants people who might very well call to see if you want to go out to eat dinner AFTER you've eaten your dinner. But you just don't know all the scenarios I run in my head every day. "If this happens then I might be able to do that and if that happens then the next step would obviously be......." I hope you get my drift. Really I spend a lot of time planning things that never make it much past the thinking about it stage. Those stages can go on for days, my hopes rising because I pretty much have talked my self into a scenario that is certain to work. Then crashing hopelessly because really it was just a crazy idea anyway, and I had forgotten to run this little scenario past God. Now you friends are starting to recognize me:) I've learned not to say "I will never" but I'm still working on the planning part. Anyway I'm sure you are all better off with that little insight into the crazy thoughts that fill my head.
This really all does go together:)
I was reading in Psalms 16 this morning. A book sent me there. A character was stressing about something and someone mentioned Psalm 16 so I went to read it. I'm not sure what the application was for the person stressing, but the application for the person planning was obvious.
"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot
secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have
a delightful inheritance."

Psalm 16:5-6 (NIV)

I know God's plans are better than my own. I don't need to be convinced of that, look at these verses that talk about my inheritance! (Christ Jesus) But still I plan, and then have to really mean it when I say I want God's plan not mine. I want the delightful inheritance He has planned for me not something I dream up on my own. Everything I have is because of the blessings God has bestowed on me, nothing comes through my planning. Today I caught myself early in the process. It was a gentle reminder from God again that it's not about me. Who knew I was so self centered?! (Don't answer that) I love that the inheritance he has planned is much better than my convoluted mind can conjure. I know the boundaries He has established are broader than those I would establish for myself. He stretches me. And you know what? this old stiff unbending body is learning to be pliable!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


We have never been big celebrators ( is that a word?) of Valentines Day. Its not that I don't appreciate romantic gestures, but I would love flowers any day of the year other than on the one day when they cost at least twice as much as other days! A friend posted on her blog this morning all the things that she loved about her husband, and they were ordinary things. It made me think of all the times Randy has shown love to me by doing things that are everyday type things. I have to say the days he willingly cleans the toilet just because it needs to be cleaned. Those are the days I know he loves me.

On one Sunday recently at church we had a speaker in to talk about marriage. Honestly at the time I thought I was just going to hear someone talk about all the things that I already know and have heard about what the Bible says about marriage. (Not that I had a bad attitude about it. I love it when speakers tell me all the things I'm already doing right!) After 23 years together I was sure I knew my husband pretty well, so when the speaker gave out a list for us to circle the things our spouse needed to feel loved, I was pretty confident that I circled the right items. I was suprised when I snuck a peek and saw that I missed one. I didn't mean to be smug in my assumptions about my husband I really just thought I knew him completely, almost as well as he knew himself. Back when we first started dating I wanted to know everything. Where each little scar came from, why he didn't like coconut,(even though it was in his favorite cookies)what his favorite teams were. After all these years I thought I had asked all the questions, and had answers for each one.When I found out I didn't, I had to change some things I was doing at home. It was good for me to realize was that I can't ever stop getting to know my spouse. Kind of like when they say never stop dating your wife, women never think you have your husband all figured out! Maybe somethings have changed, maybe we just skipped a question all those years ago,or maybe we've just (gasp!) forgotten.I guess that's why we should celebrate Valentines Day, maybe it can jolt us out of the rut we inevitabley fall into with the ones we love the most.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February Blues

Back when we first got married, Randy always accused me of wrecking weekends when I would be sad on Saturday night that I had to go back to work on Monday morning. I feel that way a little bit today. It was such a great day! The warm sun made me just want everyday to be this way instead of enjoying what we had today. Sad but true. I suppose it's an indicator of what a shallow person I am or something:) That or I just have a bad case of spring fever!

The weather also makes me want to start planning what to plant in my yard this spring, and I am afraid there is no space left in my little yard for any more flowers. Too many more and there won't be any grass left.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lions and stuff

One of the fun things we got to do while we were in Africa was visit a Rhino/Lion park. It was basically an animal reserve area where the non-carnivorous animals were allowed to wander the open space, and the carnivorous ones were enclosed in drive through areas. We got some great pictures of ostrich, zebra, warthogs and springbok. We also got really close to some of the big teethed kinds! The cheetahs were laying right next to a fence and we drove right up beside them. They were on the other side of the car from me so I kind of perched on the window and took a picture over the top of the car. The driver of our car said that if the cheetah decided to make lunch of us it wouldn't matter whether I was up there or not. The windows were down on the car! Two lions walked so close to the car that I could have reached out to touch them if I wanted to. They were amazing. We drove up on one and Cheryl was sitting in the front where our drivers side would be, with the window all the way down. We were so close to the lion she started to slowly roll her window up. The driver stopped her from doing it because she was interfering with the view, so she slowly rolled it back down:) As you see in the pictures one thing I got to do that I would never get to do here in the states was go into a cage with baby lions and pet them. The first picture shows me petting one under the chin, the second shows me after he tried to bite me when he got tired of the scratching. I didn't put my fingers back in reach of his mouth again. The last picture shows the cub I moved to afterward. She appreciated my attention!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Walking here

It's easy with a mission trip to look at something you are preparing to do, a place you are preparing to go, and to be occupied with all the planning. But I don't want to finish my trip with the mindset of dusting off my hands and saying "well there you go, I'm done with that" Really I think God's showing me it's more about continuing the things we do every day. The as you are going part. I love the fact that I got to spend 10 days in Africa, meeting people I have only read about (real live missionaries:)) and working with people in situations that are far different than my own. But reality is that I live here. I need to be using the feet God has given me, not wish for someone else's. I guess it all goes back to 1 Corinthians 12 when Paul talks about not desiring to be a part of the Body of Christ that you aren't.
"If the whole body were an eye where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body"
1 Corinthians 12:18-20 NIV

I hope God uses the experiences he gave me in Africa for His glory. I still have lots to say about it, but honestly it has taken a while to process the information. It helped that I spoke about it last week at De Soto Youth Ministry's Thursday night group. It helped me put it in order in my head. Now I feel like I can give an understandable account of all that went on.
I know part of my feet walking here call is in the church in De Soto. I am still excited about all that God is calling us to do there. Before winter rolled in we were getting out in the community to actually do things, knocking on doors picking up trash, just things to serve others. I'm anxious for the weather to warm up so we can get back out and do some more! Actually I am just anxious for the weather to warm up! I thought it would be great to have those 12 days of warm weather right in the middle of my Kansas winter, but I think it made it worse to come back to a winter that was far from over.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The beautiful older woman is GoGo, as all grandmothers are known. It is in her home that the small church meets every week. Please pray for them as they start a Sunday School for the children. There were 11 kids there last week! The supplies so many of you provided were left behind for that purpose.
The beautiful young woman in the orange shirt is Kamogelo. She is 13, the same age as my Em. It's amazing how different their lives are and how much the same. Em could benefit by meeting her.
And the beautiful little one is Nombuelo (I think) I have a list of names that go with faces. She is Gogo's granddaughter, V's daughter.
I really do have a lot more pictures. It's just a bit hard to load them all here for everyone to see. If you are on Facebook and I haven't added you as a friend yet shoot me a request and you can see all the other ones I have. Or you can send me an e-mail and I'll have you ever to peruse my pictures at your leisure!

Friday, January 9, 2009


Where do I begin? I can hardly process the information myself let alone figure out how to share with you, but I will do my best.
Kids in South Africa are on summer break right now. So what I have been calling Holiday Bible Clubs are actually just Vacation Bible School for our American ears.
The Holiday Bible Clubs we did were in a community called Snake Park which is part of the bigger area of Soweto. Soweto is short for South West Township which was the area set aside for Black South Africans during Apartheid. This area of Snake Park originated as a Squatters camp and has grown into an area that has actual houses as well as the shacks that squatters put up for homes. A woman who I will call V lives in Snake Park with her mother and is using her home for a small church that Alan Locke is helping to start in this area. There are four adults that attend as well as their children. V is an inspiration in her faith as she works with the people of this area. I can't begin to tell you how much I was touched by her call and dedication. Her life has certainly not been easy, but her purpose she told me was to help the people of her community. We used her yard to hold Bible Club all three days, and she translated for the younger children.
The first day I want to say we had about 70 kids. Honestly that part is kind of a blur, I know we had the most the first day went down the second and back up a bit the third............... I think.........
Anyway it was chaos. There was certainly a learning curve. I don't think we could have planned much different, but we learned from what we did and didn't do and did better the second day. Several of us went to the soccer field and played with the older kids. I use the term played very loosely as what I mostly did was watch as they kicked the ball between my legs. That and struggle to breathe. (I'm sure it was the elevation)....
The soccer field was obviously well used. Packed down and hard red dirt with broken glass scattered over much of it. Some of the kids played barefoot.
V worked very hard to get the kids there that she did. I know she wrote names down in a book to try and keep track of who was there and who wasn't. We had Bible club the next two days much the same.
We did a lot of touring through the area looking at churches. (Again a term I will use loosely because not a lot of worshiping of Christ happened there) And I think we saw other white faces in Soweto only once at a tourist kind of area.
I didn't take my camera on the first day. The Lockes had been robbed at gunpoint in this area so they were cautious about what we should and shouldn't take in. I did take it every day after that. Most of the pictures I took of the area were from the car. I didn't take my camera out as we prayer walked on the dirt paths through the shacks and I didn't take any pictures inside peoples homes. It seemed to me to be very disrespectful to do so.
I did take lots of pictures after that. Can you imagine that? Me taking lots of pictures? I would love to post them, but I am having some trouble with my computer and I am afraid to download them from my camera just yet. We are heading out to get a new hard drive tonight, so my plan is to post some tomorrow.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Home Again!

I made it back! I know I sound surprised. There were moments I thought the flight would never end:) By the time we ended up at the airport in KC I had been traveling 25 hours. My suitcase didn't arrive at the house until 10:30 pm. (Randy was a sweetheart and stayed up to get it.) Can you believe it made it to the US from South Africa but didn't make it from Atlanta to home?
Last night was kind of a blur. A friend called at 8:15 after I had just gone to bed.(Maybe 10 minutes) and I only vaguely remembered that she called. Nothing about the conversation. I had to call her back and double check that I was even coherent! Today I am cleaning the house, doing laundry, and trying to get an article turned in before tomorrow's deadline. I promise to write more later. Even later today if I get it done!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Last Day

So today was my last day in Soweto. I will tell you now that it will take a few blogs before I am done talking about my experience here.
I leave tonight, 7:30 Joburg time. It's 11:30 am here, 3:30 am at home. I can't wait to see my family! I have missed them a lot the past 12 days as Randy pointed out. It was only ten days on the ground:) Two were spent in the air!
Let me just give you all a brief recap. I'll hit the details later.
We came to the other side of Joburg last Wednesday. I was tired, I think I told you that! So Thursday we spent getting here an in the B & B. Friday we took a tour of Soweto and the area with a nice dinner out with Alan and Beth Locke. (They are the marvelous missionaries that drove us around endlessly and with whom we worked all week.) We had Holiday Bible Clubs Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning. Today we spent the morning visiting with Mamas in the area that might be interested in attending a women's Bible study.
The poverty is overwhelming. What passes as acceptable homes in the squatters camps we visited wouldn't house most people pets in our part of the world. We walked through alleyways to get to homes built of corrugated tin and whatever metal, vinyl, and plastic the people could scrounge together. Most houses are surrounded by a fence. Not an effective fence but a boundary of sorts. Alan and Beth have lived other places here in Africa, (Alan grew up in Nigeria) and he let me know that many people living in the areas we visited would be considered well off by those living in other parts of Africa. Joburg is an area that many people come looking for work.
Security is an issue. I never felt unsafe in Snake Park Perhaps because we were with people who knew what they were doing. But it was certainly an adventure. At this point I am still in possession of my camera and what little stuff I brought with me!

I'll write more later and add pictures! I hope to see you soon!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! About the time you were celebrating, we were eating breakfast.

So today we check out of the hotel here in Boksburg and head west. I am not sure of the name of the area we will be staying. It's still here in Joburg, all I know is west:) I don't know the availability of Internet service where we will be staying, but I will update as I can.
Yesterday here was a beautiful one. Sunny and hot for me, though a couple of the mks wore sweatshirts to class. This is cold for them! Everyone was very tired, myself included, so the kids were subdued and wanted to just play in the morning. It's remarkable watching these kids, most of whom have only known the mission field as home, and how they relate to each other. They played for an hour and a half in a room with no toys, a couple of tables and the miscellaneous supplies they had made projects out of. No fighting at all, just each other and their imaginations. We also had zero discipline problems. I put one in time out the last 15 minutes we had them! And their spiritual depth and perception is remarkable. When we asked for prayer requests from the kids (remember they are 5 and 6) one child asked that we pray for their family to learn the Portuguese language better so that they could help people more. It was humbling to serve people who give up so much every day to serve others. We had a great time doing it.

Many of these families have a long way to go home. I know some drove 5 days to get here. I spoke to one man who's family flies home to their capitol city, then has to drive two days to get to their own town. Please pray for their safety both on their trip and in their homes.

I will be in Soweto tomorrow through Sunday. We have 4 scheduled Bible club's per day for tomorrow and Saturday. We are expecting up to 100 kids per club. Sunday I am speaking for church. Please pray for the right words to share!